Friday, March 30, 2012

Advantages of Distance Learning Programs

Distance learning is gaining prominence among students eager to upgrade themselves for better career prospects. Distance courses serves as an alternative for students looking out for further education without undergoing any form of conventional classroom learning. With the rising competitiveness in the market, more and more adults are taking interest in pursuing higher education. Considering the rise in interest for higher education via distance program, education providers are looking forward to offer new technologies in order to meet this demand.
Distance education courses, no doubt, offer much of freedom and flexibility. Most students enrolling for distance education courses are working full-time and are not in a situation to quit their jobs. They need a source of income to run their family's expenses and quitting jobs mean inviting financial problems. Hence, in order to upgrade their educational qualifications along with a job, they prefer taking up distance learning courses.
Benefits of Distance Education Programs:
Distance learning has a number of benefits as compared to classroom learning, which include:
  • The student gets an opportunity to learn at his own pace.
  • Classroom learning allows you to listen to any class lesson only once. But with distance courses, the learner has the freedom to replay that portion of the audio or video tape or re-read a particular module which he/she is not clear about.
  • In classroom learning, the time spent on a particular module depends on the teacher, which is not the case with distance learning. Here, student can decide the amount of time to be spent on any particular module.
  • Distance programs offer students the flexibility to use time according to their requirements
  • Another added benefit is that students have access to learning any where and at any time with no limitations and restrictions time and location of study. It gives students ample time to spend with their family and work.
  • Above all, distance education saves the time and cost incurred in travelling.
Distance education is available for a wide spectrum of courses. Some of the IT based distance learning courses that have gained prominence over the years include BCA, MCA, PGDCA, MScIT, MComIS and so on.
BCA (Bachelor of Computer Application)
Distance learning BCA course helps students to apply computer science principles to crack problems created by the interface connecting technology and business. Recently, the communication systems and IT sector have become a vital component in every company's strategic plan. Hence to take advantage of the latest IT techniques and communication systems, firms look out for professionals well versed in this field. Distance learning BCA is an undergraduate program that exposes students to assorted computer applications thereby keeping pace with the latest developments in the industry.
Master of Computer Application [MCA]
MCA Distance Learning is specially designed to develop excellent managerial skills in computer professionals. This course offers special emphasis on study of various application-oriented subjects and cover diverse methods of developing software products without any errors and efficiently.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sensory Stages One and Two in Concept Development

In order to learn about the world and the things in it, we must explore our surroundings and gather information through our senses. Regardless of whether we are talking about a child or adult, or a developmentally delayed or gifted individual, and regardless of the skill or concept we are considering, the brain must begin its search for information by using the senses.
If we do not recognize something as having been encountered in the past or if we encountered it but did not understand it, we will rely on our sensory organs to gather information. Both children and adults who are presented with something completely novel to them will begin their investigation by looking, touching, tasting or listening to it. It is only after we have gained information about the physical properties of the thing we are exploring that we can move on to investigating it at a more sophisticated level.
Because sensory exploration is the foundation of all learning, individuals who have visual or hearing impairments and those who have inadequate sensory integration or sensory processing abilities are at a great disadvantage and are therefore at higher risk for experiencing delayed development and learning disabilities.
All skills and concepts follow the same sequence of developmental stages: acquiring information about something's physical properties by exploring it with the sensory organs, discovering how these properties change when an action is taken (cause and effect relationships), and the ability to manipulate this information symbolically in the mind in the absence of the thing itself.
Children with atypical development progress through the same stages of concept development and in the same order as children with typical development. Due to the sensory processing problems that the atypical population experiences, however, they often cannot progress as fast through these stages and can become stuck in a stage for years, perhaps even indefinitely, if they are unable to gain access to the information and experiences they need in order to progress to the next higher level.
The fist two stages of skill or concept development (we call this "cognitive" development) are the sensory stages. In the first stage the learner uses only one sense at a time to explore something. Stage One is marked by behaviors like watching but not touching or looking away from something that is being manipulated by the hands.
Stage Two is marked by exploration behaviors that show the coordination of two or more senses: an object an be manipulated at the same time it is being watched or it can be mouthed at the same time it is being manipulated with the fingers.
The sensory stages illustrate the progression from "simple to complex" and from "single to multiple" that will mark all of the stages of cognitive development. In language development, for example, infants vocalize and produce individual sounds, grunts, or squeals before they produce more complex constructions like combining consonants and vowels ("canonical babbling"). In the same way, children first explore individual physical properties of things before they can coordinate their senses well enough to explore two or more dimensions of an object at once.
We can think of the process through which brains gather information from sensory exploration as like stringing beads to create a necklace. Individual bits are collected and strung together one after the other before the pattern appears. In the next article we will explore how brains move from collecting information about the sensory properties of objects to considering how those properties might change when an action is performed (e.g. exploring cause and effect). It is in this next level of cognitive development that the brain will move beyond a simple fact gathering machine to higher level cognitive abilities like imagination, creativity and attaching symbols with meaning, While the first two stages of sensory exploration form the foundation of all learning, it is in the next three "cause and effect" stages that higher level cognitive abilities begin to appear.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is Modern Technology Bad for Learning? Tips for the User of Modern Technology

Recently I went to my beauty salon to get my hair cut. They were running a special - "Hair Cuts for $7.00 after 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings." There were more people than usual in the waiting area because of the special as many of us are looking for ways to save money. Most of us who were waiting were visually occupying ourselves while we waited. There were five to six people using hand-held electronic devices - phones, iPads etc. Two people were reading magazines and two of us were reading books. I do not know specifically what the owners of the electronic devices were doing - there are many ways to use these devices including talking, texting, listening to music, playing games, surfing the web and reading. It appeared that most of the users were visually occupied.
Since we see such great technological advancement in our day, we may think that we have increased in our intelligence. Sadly, our education system seems to be floundering. Some would have us think that our forefathers were widely illiterate. To discover the literacy of our forefathers we could calculate the "readability" of their documents. Educators determine the readability or grade level of a text by using a graph counting the number of sentences and syllables in a 100-word passage. Our forefathers used long words and long sentences placing the readability far above the majority of students and adults today. For example, I looked up The Federalist Papers online and chose a 100-word passage from each of the three authors (Alexander Hamilton # 1, James Madison #38 and John Jay #64). Each were at least college level using Fry's Readability Graph. Keep in mind that these papers were intended to be read and understood by everyone throughout the Colonies, not just intellectuals.
Due to the relative lack of close visual stimuli, these individuals allowed their eyes to develop normally. They were outside much of the time, allowing their visual system to mature. Also, they had well-developed auditory systems. This can also be understood by reading the documents. Listening to each other speak in this way helped as well.
Our lives are so much different now. However, we do not have to return to an agrarian society to restore much of what has been lost. Here are some tips for the user of modern technology:
1. Take breaks often - at least looking up and outside.
2. When possible take longer breaks, taking walks outside.
3. Get sunshine and breathe deeply.
4. Use appropriate sized reading material for young eyes.
5. Limit screen time (TV, Computer, and hand-held electronic devices) for young children whose auditory and visual systems are still maturing.
6. Use meal times to discuss current events or other issues as a family.
7. Read together as a family.
8. Encourage and model reading for your children.
Maggie operates the Center for Neuro Development in Lakewood, Washington, along with her husband Ronnie. Maggie earned a Special Education from Adams State College in 1989. She has been in an internship / independent study leading to certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. They offer local, on site services as well as some long distance consultation. They work with homeschoolers as well as those who attend school. While many of their clients are challenged with learning they offer products and services for a broad range of individuals.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tips For Parents of Specials Needs Children

You can get a very good, quality education for your special needs child within the school system. You do need to take heed of some important aspects when dealing with disabilities and the school district.
Educate yourself before you go into a meeting with the professionals in the school district:
* Learn all you can about your child's specific disability (classification)
* Learn your rights & responsibilities (for you & your child)
* Learn the rights & responsibilities of the school district
* Find an advocate through the state dept. of education
* Find a support group or start one of your own
* Find online support groups- they have a wealth of information that you may need.
You will never learn all the laws of special education as there are several notebooks (about 4 inches thick) filled with these laws. You can, however, learn the laws that pertain to your child and their specific needs.
Your child is entitled to a FREE & Appropriate Public Education!!!
Always keep a record of any and all meetings (IEP or private) dealing with your child. Document every call you have with the school, teacher or district official, with the date, time, name(s) of those involved & the specifics of the conversation. Do this with all meetings as well (general or IEP specific). Any notes sent home should also be kept in this file for reference at a later date, if necessary.
The school &/or district does not usually freely offer the information to all that you feel your child needs. Before attending any meetings with the school personnel, write a list of questions to ask about the things you feel your child needs to achieve his/her maximum potential in his/her school career.
When attending an IEP meeting, make sure the goals & objectives to reach those goals, are realistic & achievable within the year they will be worked on & monitored. If you feel there are other needs your child has, bring them up at this meeting so they may be added to the IEP & another meeting won't have to be convened to change the IEP. If it's not on the IEP, chances are, it won't be worked on in the classroom. Be sure you stay on top of what your child & their teacher are doing at least weekly. If you wait until marking periods end, you've lost valuable time that could have been spent working on viable goals for your child's success. Become involved in your child's education by volunteering in the classroom.