Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Future of Blockchain Technology

What is Blockchain?

The term blockchain has been used in numerous social and corporate conversations in recent years and everyone seems to have heard about blockchain technology, but a majority of the population actually has no idea what it actually means.

In order for us to clearly explain what blockchain technology actually means allow us to give you a brief breakdown about the history of how the transaction of money has evolved. Historically whenever people used to exchange valuable items there were middle men whose sole purpose was to record the authenticity of both parties and build trust between them. Currently these middle men are known as banks. The use of banks and brokers has continued over time and with the emergence of digital assets like stock, electronic money, and intellectual property the need for a more secure method has emerged. This is because digital assets are usually files within a computer that are therefore vulnerable to manipulation and theft. Thus the use of the blockchain technology enables parties to transact openly and transparently ensuring that the exchange is secure and efficient.

The Future of Bitcoin

Blockchain has the ability of completely disrupting the financial industry the same way social media disrupted mainstream media or the same way Netflix destroyed Blockbuster films. Blockchain technology has the potential of being used as a platform that provides financial services to everyone on the part of the world, this includes people in developing countries who may not have the access to traditional banking services and cannot afford the rates required to make large transactions. This technology has the potential of making major breakthroughs in nearly all major industries that are usually manipulated by big corporations.

The use of Blockchain technology in Education

Blockchain technology in education can be used to figure out the students that actually need the scholarships and those who can afford it. This is because a few students have been bypassing the system and getting financing. This would actually end up being detrimental to the needy students who end up dropping out or accruing a lot of debt that causes them to work for nearly.

Lastly, a huge number of the population may currently be hiding their heads in the sand as they wish blockchain to go away but this piece of technology is definitely going nowhere. In the near future we will all be trading using blockchain as part of our daily activities our great grandchildren will read about money and ATM machines just as how we read about barter trade and gold. It is therefore imperative that we jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible and get adjusted before we are forced to adjust.

Issues and Trends in Curriculum – From Technology to Global Awareness

Many immediate and complex issues overwhelm educators today. With positive and negative global influences, educators must look beyond the surface of education. Students are not just products of their schools but will become shaping forces in society, determining the success and failure of their nation’s future. Curricularists, educators, and everyone in leadership need to work together to develop a well-rounded curriculum, which includes the learning of different cultures. Our next generation will need to cope with cross-cultural matters and grow into sensible adults who are fair and just to the global society.

Technology plays an essential role in our education today and will even more so in the future. Especially in countries where economic and political situations are stable, the accessibility of the Internet and computers to maximize curriculum and to act as a means of communication among educators, even to the extent of intranets, must become available. This technology should be available in every school funded by taxes and donation from private industry.

Technology can also close the gaps between the educational levels around the world. Because of the political and socio-economic differences among countries, it would be impossible for this degree of technology to reach all parts of the world, yet effort should be made to see that education is fairy distributed to all children everywhere. This will require volunteers, donations, and assistance from the capable countries internationally. Even if there was just one computer in every town for those countries for school children, it would make a difference.

Another reason technology is significant to our curriculum development is for cultural knowledge expansion. The need to understand different cultures is an emergent issue in today’s education and societies as relationships among countries become more intertwined. The United States has always been a country of diversity; however, for the longest time, the contents of its curriculum were selectively western-focused.

For example, high school world history courses emphasized primarily European and western history. We now can make use of technology to design a world history curriculum that includes not only that part of world history but extends farther. San Diego University, in cooperation with the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of Los Angeles, offers Internet information on world history and assists teachers in delivering a whole curriculum without excluding a major part of the world’s people, events, or times (San Diego State University, 2007).

We should also take advantage of technology to form a curriculum for creating international awareness, understanding various cultures, and learning different opinions and values. Curriculums

need to focus on melting down barriers against others who are different and to encourage mutual respect and understanding for other cultures and beliefs. One way to promote cultural exchange is through technological communication. Thanks to the advancement of technology today, students all over the world can actually use computers to see and to talk to each other. More effort on promoting such communication should be encouraged and assisted by the government, various organizations, and individuals with the means to do so. One day, through the help of technology in education, people will learn that we are all part of the world community.

Penguins & Netbooks – Budget Solutions For Education Birthed by Innovation!

One of my podcasting co-hosts, Mark Gura, and I have been intermittently discussing the $100+ laptop project for the last two years on our popular bi-weekly series. If you happen not to be familiar with the $100 laptop project; it has been spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte formerly of MIT. The importance of it is the way it has leveraged opened the tidal wave of adoption of open source software and forced computer manufacturers to develop low cost netbooks. This education-related project has truly transformed the computer industry and tech user expectations!

Background

Negraponte’s project is now called the One Laptop per Child project (OLPC) because the basic purpose is to provide low cost, durable laptop computers to the children of developing countries. The prototype of these laptops have gone through wide variations, and brought much criticism over the past few years and they are never meant to be the “does everything” computer.

These are basic models and yet quite revolutionary in several ways. For one, they are very small, have alternate power sources, such as hand powered, can be linked together to form an intranet (wireless broadband that can mesh network) and most of all do not suffer from what the founder dubs “Microsoft bloat.” In the dedicated efforts to keep the cost so very low, the software that is used is open source, which requires a much smaller installation footprint and hardware operation requirements.

The Original Prototype 2007 Details in Brief: Linux-based operating system, a dual-mode display, a 500MHz processor, 128MB of DRAM and 500MB of Flash memory. No hard drive, four USB ports and the wireless broadband that creates a mesh network.

Enter: Wider Public Adoption of Open Source Software!

In several episodes of the Teachers Podcast we discuss the merging of another one of my favorite technology trends with the OLPC phenomenon- open source development and software. Open source development occurs when groups of people openly share source code in the development of the programming languages, operating systems, or another application. The purpose is that the community will be able to test and work collaboratively world-wide on the project with many minds and perspectives available that might not otherwise be able to meet and work together. It truly is a community and thereby the content and the product remains “open” that is free for use. Very often a Creative Commons code license is used is to describe use and attribution of the software.

Probably the most famous current example is the operating system Linux (identified with by its mascot of the penguin aka Tux). Related to Linux which has scores of programmers working on it around the world, there are also other Linux-like operating systems available also including Apache, Ubantu, Linspire and more. For the education sector open source software has been way behind in adoption as schools have stayed mainstreamed primarily on pcs and small number on macs in the younger grades. However, having visited a few educational technology conferences the past two years I have seen a different trend finally being paid interest and the OLPC project could push it even much further again! Let me explain.

At ed tech conferences we have experienced hands-on demonstrations of Linux or Ubantu network labs which are “dumb terminals” hooked up to a server and all gaining internet access and applications from the server. This first-hand experience provides a point of entry for many teachers, ed tech specialists and school administrators who might have never otherwise considered these options. In these cases, participants see that there is no great loss in function with this configuration whereas the cost for this equipment is a small fraction of a conventional school lab. This is because of two obvious major factors 1), the hardware are not stand alone computers, and 2) the operating system is open source. Hardware costs and upgrade costs are also greatly reduced, as well as the fact that software licensing and upgrades are eliminated.

Open source software is no longer just for the tech heads. These platforms are point and click similar to most other programs. And there are thousands of open source programs freely available for us to meet business, education, graphic, music composition, media design, application needs to name just a few As some K-12 superintendents are bringing in open source networks (they call them Open Technologies) into their schools we are seeing the march of the penguins, pencils and laptops strut their stuff for education! At a time of increased scrutiny of school budgets and greater accountability, I expect that 2009-2010 will be a time when open source software, dumb terminals, as well as virtual terminals (to be discussed in an upcoming e-zine article) will be charging ahead at a double- or triple-time pace.

Update May 2009

The massive wave of netbooks (Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, and more) which have flooded the computer market in the last 16 months has been a welcome relief for consumer and school budgets alike! We have Dr Negroponte to thank for transforming the computing industry nearly single handedly by pushing his OLPC project to the forefront of the corporate table of competition. The details unfolded close on the heals of the progress of Negroponte was the Asus group and the release of the ee pc with Linux on board (originally).

Not just for tech people these were released in the standard grey and black colors, but also shocking pink and green, and white– we can see the market was broader than the standard computer industry had been addressing). Their product was enthusiastically received and so impacted the public marketplace that the major computer manufacturers had to respond – quickly. Now in June 2009 we have netbooks available from every major manufacturer available for under $500. The resulting smaller, much less expensive (roughly 77% reduction in price) and robust hardware selections we now see all around us in computer and office stores, is originally due to OLPC shake up of a sanguine, over priced system.

A related wave of adoption is also continuing in spring 2009, and that is Open source, from Open Office.org to Linux, has seen very good year so far. Not only are we seeing more ads for these products in mainstream publications, but lay people (non-techies) are asking, requesting, and using them. What does this mean for Microsoft? Will there actually be a backlash against steep upgrade prices? We have talked about frustration for years, but is the time here for it to have a significant impact? These are exciting times for the voice of the people!

The Connection

As more and more people catch the vision of netbook and realize they don’t need high-end computers for all student classrooms and instead they could even provide computers to go home with children; it will be open source software penguins leading that march as well. It’s been a long day coming for our educational system to see that this is a much more economically way to serve the teachers and students and thereby be able to serve ALL of them.

An important aside- very much worth the read and exploration- Negroponte is so open source he is now publishing a wiki where he is openly displaying the technical production notes, tech requirements, software, participating countries, photos of the prototypes and much more (see: www.laptop.org ). Bringing such tools into the hands of multitudes of schools and students around the world, near and far, can really change who the voices will be, and who will be in the global conversations in just a few months and in our global political future.

Providing such a tool and entry to the outside world for not just students, but also for their families, for that is part of the purpose, can build a growing wave of social change through many forms of literacy and understanding. When the walls of Equity and Access are broken down in even in these small ways, the opportunities are many for people to rise in to new possibilities. Penguins, open source, education and $100 laptop have much empowering potential for the children of the world, adults and nations.

The Benefits of Music Technology in Schools

1. Music technology helps to improve the understanding of musical theory

“You can use it [Logic Pro] to teach students pretty much any topic especially the use of dynamics, in a hands on practical way”. J Clarke BDA, Head of Music.

The plug-in and automation features in Logic Pro and most music software, enable students to understand classical terms such as crescendo and diminuendo on an interactive platform. Automation tools also give a level of interaction during the process, as they are able to control the dynamics according to each section and instrument. Plug – in controls such as attack, release, sustain and decay help students to visually interact with terms such as staccato, legato and accent; all essential tools when creating a highly expressive composition.

2. Develops performing, composing and arranging skills through an integrated approach

“It can enable them [students] to access compositional and arrangement techniques in a creative way from a young age”. M Barbe, MBP Head of Music.

When composing a song using an acoustic instrument, it can be challenging to write parts of the composition, plus arrange different sections – without an understanding of compositional structure and the ability to play a musical instrument. Using software solutions such as GarageBand, students are able to substitute these requirements through access to a world of instrumental loops and samples, whereby students may listen, cut and paste various samples to begin to build their own composition. The software allows students to use the interface as a canvas for their creations; to visually manipulate melody, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre.

3. Discovers hidden talents within the classroom

“I think the main benefit of using music technology in a classroom is the fact that students get exposure to unlimited resources and possibilities to use as a platform for their creativity”. L Neckles SHHS, Head of Music.

You never know how good you are until you are tested. Music technology is a medium whereby students may uncover skills they did not know they had. The use of music software such as Soundation4Education, allows a student to think critically, independent choices and cognitive judgments in the music production process. Presenting a range of musical opportunities provides the prospect of raising self-esteem, increasing motivational levels of a student and enabling them to use their creative skills for a career in the industry.

4. Music technology can further the boundaries of music and enrich music lessons for pupils and teachers, alike

“… The opportunity to learn a music is a basic human right which should be available equally to children attending schools”. John Brockhouse, Author, Getting better all the time: using music technology for learners with special needs. Australian Journal of Music Education

Children from early years through to the musically inept, gifted and disabled are able to have access to music through technology. Musical performance on a traditional instrument is often solely dependent on the users skill. Yet with technology equipment such as drum pads, synthesizers and electro acoustic instruments, illustrious samples and mind-blowing sounds can be played by the tap of a finger or click of a button. Assistive Music technology devices such as Band in a Box or Soundbeam, can be utilised in ways to engage physically challenged students to experience music performance as part of a group; but they also help to retain the students interest in music education. Without the access technology offers, higher education in music can remain closed to physically and mentally disabled pupils.

5. Music Technology enables students to extend their learning and creativity outside the classroom

“The use of music technology software aids to remove certain barriers to learning for students. It doesn’t matter if you are able to play an instrument or not, nor does it depend on your musical ability”. S Wagstaff, SBI Head of Music

Music technology is a fairly new skill, especially for primary school students. With the likes of Soundation4Education, students are able to access music production software outside of the classroom without having to afford the costly price of music production software. Today, online music software is significantly cheaper compared to the cost of purchasing musical instruments and music lessons in the long term. Through access to the Internet, students may develop music production skills by watching the vast array of tutorials from music producers from the comfort of their bedroom.

Conclusion

To conclude, music technology is the way to go. Music tech is a great way to teach composition, arranging and basic music theory to a whole class. Many schools have begun to adopt the benefits of technology as can be seen through programs such as Proclassic and level of IT capital invested in schools across London (£450m in 2013 according to Gov Today). However, there needs to be greater access for teacher CPD training in music tech, in order for schools to understand how to use the software not as an addition to the music curriculum, but to incorporate it as a tool to enable greater learning and understanding – and as a tool to facilitate greater access to music theory and performance capabilities.

Impact Of Modern Technology On Education

There is no doubt that modern technology has impacted in our life. It plays an important role in human life from various ways. It helps us to operate many critical and complex processes easily and effectively. Also in the education sector it impacted majorly and changes way of learning.

Computer Technology

In the education sector computers are revolutionary technology and you can’t avoid its importance in schools. It offers interactive audio visual media that allow rendering information to students via animation software and Power Point Presentation in an interactive manner. Visual effects have made learning more interesting for students.

Now days’ computer learning is a necessary part of education, so that students can gain basic knowledge of computer technology.

Internet Technology

The internet technology is providing huge information and it becomes a useful effective tool. Search engines are providing lots of information about any query. Various informative websites and web directories are providing wide knowledge. Internet is helping students to enhance their knowledge and gain some extra information too.

Internet and computer technology make distance learning simpler. Now, there is no need to be present in the classrooms, students can sit anywhere and learn. Internet also helps to submit assignment online that is now offered by number of colleges and universities.

The modern technology is not only helping us in education sector it also changing the world. Every where you can observe and sense the effect of technology. From traveling to communication everywhere technology is playing an important role and making human life trouble-free.

Considerations in Distance Education for the Medical Assistant Instructor

Medical Assistant distance education is emerging to meet the demands of a new generation of students in the twenty first century. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. Distance education, particularly in its most recent form, online education, is being integrated into even the most cautious and conservative of educational institutions. Yet the impact of these alternative forms of teaching and learning on students, faculty, and institutions has yet to be broadly or deeply studied. New models such as that at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School are immerging. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School is available at: http://www.medicalassistant.us

Distance education is not new, and can be traced as far back as the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christian churches, instructing them from a distance (even when he was under ‘house arrest’ in Rome). This was probably the first type of ‘correspondence course’, which was the only method of learning at a distance until the advent of the telephone. Today, distance education and in particular online medical assistant instruction calls upon an impressive range of technologies to enable medical assistant instructor and the medical assistant student who are separated by distance to communicate with each other either in real time (synchronous) or delayed time (asynchronous). Currently and asynchronous model used at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School to instruct medical assistant students. This has proven to be a very effective model however the medical assistant program is currently investigating the benefits of synchronous online medical assistant instruction and the benefits it may have for the medical assistant student.

Medical Assistant distance learning epitomizes the move away from institute based learning to a more direct, student centered approach. As a concept, distance learning has existed for over a century, notably in the form of paper based correspondence courses including the less formal correspondence education for medical assistants. Now however, distance education is depending increasingly upon technology for its success and technological innovations ensure that distance learning for the medical assistant continues to evolve and grow as a valid and potent force in all forms of education for the medical assistant.

The task of the medical assistant distance educator is therefore to obviate these problems as much as possible by mixing and matching techniques, creating and maintaining a stimulating environment, and offering opportunities for medical assistant students to communicate with each other and with the medical assistant teaching staff on a regular basis. The medical assistant educators will also need to change their traditional role as well. Many remote medical assistant students need a great deal of social support, and medical assistant distance educators may find themselves spending more time offering one-to-one tutorials and less time lecturing. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School at http://www.MedicalAssistant.us is leading today’s technology in medical assistant education.

When designing medical assistant educational systems and materials for medical assistant distance in delivery the medical assistant teacher must consider not only learning outcomes, but also centered requirements and technical constraints for the medical assistant. Also to be considered are the needs, characteristics, and individual differences of both the students, the teachers and future medical assistants.

Medical assistant distance education for the medical assistant then, should not be viewed as a means of reducing costs, but as an opportunity to raise standards. It is also about providing quality medical assistant learning opportunities for those who, for one reason or another, have previously been excluded from this basic human right. Medical Assistant distance education will quickly become the norm and not the exception for the twenty first century medical assistant. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. The St. Augustine Medical Assistant model can be reviewed at: www.medicalassistant.us.

Video Conferencing Technology and Education

This is the first in a series of articles focusing on video conferencing and education. Part 1: The Teaching Predicament primarily focuses on the dilemma that educational institutes around the world have been facing in terms of teaching.

Over the recent years, visual communication as an effective tool to enhance delivery of education has gained a lot of traction. Educational institutes are constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining consistency and quality of teaching over geographically dispersed branches. For instance, will a student enrolled in an undergraduate business studies program at a top tier American university experience the same teaching quality in the Middle East or Europe? The answer to this question will most likely be ‘not quite’. Although there are a number of variables at play here but the most fundamental challenge is access to the same quality of instructors across geographical regions. Geographical regions can typify different branches in the same city, across cities, countries and continents. Maintaining teaching standards across continents is even a bigger challenge given the social, cultural and ethnic divides.

A traditional approach to somewhat alleviate the problem is to fly in faculty periodically to conduct workshops. However, this can prove to be very costly and cumbersome. Technology has an answer for this common and age-old problem. Although video conferencing solutions have been around since the 1980s, they’ve never been so affordable and accessible as they are today. Visual communication technology has advanced leaps and bounds making it highly immersive and interactive. More importantly, the bandwidth and the infrastructure that is required to support a truly interactive video conference is ever more affordable and ubiquitous now. This makes videoconferencing a viable and practical learning tool for the classroom. Truly interactive visual communication can add a level of teaching consistency across multiple institutes.

Full HD 1080p video, 360-degree audio combined with interactive whiteboards and multiple cameras provide the next best thing to being physically present in a classroom. Video conferencing technology has truly reinvented how teachers and students interaction. From sharing lecture notes and feedback to carrying out assignments and group work, a video conference setup in a classroom knows no geographical boundaries. The selection of video conferencing equipment however may appear to be daunting initially with the sheer amount of options available. I personally prefer Panasonic Video Conferencing.

Panasonic is a manufacturer of state-of-the-art Video Conferencing equipment. Their Visual Communication technology combines full 1080i video coupled with advanced compression algorithms connecting you with colleagues and experts around the world on standard broadband connections. 360° HD Full Duplex Audio with echo cancellation technology combined with stunning video provides a truly immersive and collaborative video conference.

How Technology Is Improving Education

These changes have been more profound with the development of technology. Just like other sectors of the society, technology has impacted the education sector. The impact has majorly bordered on the positive. An example of technological impact in the education sector has reared itself in the case of Maths online. This is an Internet application that allows people to undertake mathematical exercises.

The case of Maths online is just but one of the numerous ways that technology is transforming the educational landscape. This digital phenomenon has widened its tentacles to all the other fields of the education sector in varied ways.

How technology is improving education

Many educational institutions have opened themselves to the idea of technology. Such schools have realised that technology is key in improving the delivery of education services. As such, technology has positively affected various strategies in the classroom. These include:

Demonstration and simulation

In the past, sandpits and cardboard boxes were the first thing that came to mind when talking about simulation. These teaching aids have been replaced with technological products, which have readily earned the approval of teachers. This has been evident in the case of Maths online where learners interact with graphical teaching aids like graphs, bar charts and videos among others.

Learners have developed an affinity for SMART boards and computers because these materials help them to understand various concepts. Imathsn the normal classroom setting, such concepts would sound gibberish to these consumers of education. Technology has simplified the process of demonstrating certain concepts to students. Without technology, students have a hard time grasping these concepts physically. Concepts that were hitherto invisible to the real eye have become clearly conceivable to students thanks to the digital components.

Assessment

Teachers have benefited from the existence of technology since they can assess the progress of their students easier. A case in point is Maths online, which enables teachers to analyse the progress of learners and correct them when they are going wrong. The application has step-by-step instructions that enhance real-time assessment. This has accorded teachers with the chance to correct learners instantly. Moreover, they can intervene in the welfare of struggling learners and help them to improve on their grasp of concepts. The fact that teachers can assess students owes credence to technology. Efficient assessment of students has enabled teachers to tailor their teaching strategies in line with their students’ educational needs.

Epistemic games and e-books

Technology has also assisted the education sector with efficient learning materials in the shape of epistemic games and learning materials. This has had the desired effect of unlocking the immense potential in various learners. Such learning materials allow people to share and store information. The learners are only too happy to interact with these digital learning materials. This is because they are spared from their usual heavy luggage consisting of numerous text books. This is reflective of Maths online, where students only need an Internet connection and a computer. Other than that, there is no need to carry loads of mathematical learning materials. There is no doubt that e-books have provided the education sector with a spark of innovativeness. Learners no longer have to miss out on great opportunities such as, visualizations, models or simulations.

Global learning

The benefits of technology in the educational sector have also manifested themselves through global learning. Here, learners have been able to exchange ideas with their fellow learners from other countries. Also, technology has enhanced language lessons by enabling people from different cultural backgrounds to learn about each other’s language. This has been possible thanks to the existence of videoconferencing. This technology has enhanced social interaction while allowing learners to gain exposure to other people’s cultures. Thanks to language exchange, global learning has become simplified. Learners need not make trips to other countries to learn a particular language.