Tag Archives: education

Why teachers drink

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HAPPY FRIDAY: What drives teachers to drink

IF you’ve ever taught kids before, you or your fellow teachers are likely to have come across something like this before. Some of these test answers indicate artistic minds at work or supreme logical thinking. There’s never a dull moment in the classroom, but many teachers use results like these as their excuse to drink. Enjoy!

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Exponential Times in the Information Age

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EXPONENTIAL TIMES: Extra! Extra! Etc. Etc.

I TREATED myself with a NAG (New Age Gaming) magazine the other day, which came with a glossy-ink-scented E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) supplement. The accompanying DVD was also largely dedicated to E3 and consisted of around two hundred game videos, trailers and GameTrailers.com awards.

I do not work for NAG nor do I sell their magazines. I was merely mesmerized by how far gaming has come in the last few years. We are certainly living in exponential times with the bacterial-like spread of information and new technologies.

Gone are the days of chalkboards and letter posting in the developed world. The sale and consumption of hard-copy books is fast dwindling at the hand of the Kindle and other eReaders. If Wikipedia were to be published as a book it would be over two million pages long. There are now even babies in the world named “Facebook.”

Exponential Times in Gaming
3D graphics has reached a point beyond comprehension five years ago. The number of gaming devices and vibrating motion controllers on the market this year can have one gleefully immersed 24/7 if you have the time. The exponential rate at which new game titles are being released has made the task of writing letters to Santa quite a meticulous one.

Exponential Times in Social Media
In 2007, one out of every eight U.S. couples met online. It is now estimated to be one in five. When television first entered our lives it took 13 years to reach a target audience of 50 million. Facebook took just two years to get the same number of people on board its platform.

Greater than the exponential development of technology, is the exponential availability of information. It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information that anyone living in the 18th century would have consumed in their entire lifetime. The amount of technical information available is more than double every two years.

Exponential Times in Education and Employment
This exponential growth of technology and information is changing the way children are educated. Students are now being prepared for jobs that don’t yet exist and being trained to use technologies that have not yet materialised. It has also been shown that students who are online tend to outperform those who receive more face-to-face education.

This is of course changing the way that people are employed globally. It is estimated that 95% of companies that are online today recruit people using LinkedIn; around the same percentage of businesses use social media for marketing purposes.

Exponential Times Year to Year
In 2008, more than 200 million cell phone calls were made every second. This has roughly tripled every 6 months since. In 2009, every minute or so, a day’s worth of video footage was uploaded to YouTube. In 2010, the number of Google searches completed every ten minutes could have powered Las Vegas for half an hour. This year there are roughly 80 million Farmville farmers versus the 1.5 million real farmers. The moment you’ve finished reading this, most of this information will be outdated.

Below are two of the videos where you can find this information as well as more and more and more…

Exponential Times in 2008

Exponential Times in 2011

New ABC Alphabet for Kids

ABC: The new alphabet for kids in the digital age

Learning the alphabet was fun. Singing the alphabet song has got to be one of the highlights of early life. When we started school many years ago, we had to learn the ABC. Kids still do, but the only thing that stayed the same is that A still stands for Apple!

Old School Alphabet

Old Alphabet ChartNew Alphabet for kids today

New Alphabet Chart

Related Post: Learn the National Anthem the ABC way

Master your Maths with Numberwise!

NUMBERWISE: Free online tool set to transform maths in SA

MATHEMATICS has advanced some wonderful things in this world. Grand architecture, engineering, modern medicine and astronomy would not be the same today without maths. Unfortunately this isn’t something that is generally taught at a school level; and at a university level, lecturers have the habit of telling students to forget everything they learnt at school.

Maths is not everyone’s forte and many South Africans have children who are battling with the subject at school. With trials looming, it may be wise for educators and learners alike to look to the wonderful web for some help with their maths homework.

mathsNumberwise is one such service that has proved to be a very successful tool in teaching learners to master maths basics and improve their mathematical abilities. The Numberwise program was originally written by Durbanite Trevor Lagerwall for his youngest son, Ross, who was struggling with maths at school. After completing the Numberwise course, said son achieved 100% for First Year Maths at UKZN, has re-written the Numberwise program, and is currently studying Computer Science. Trevor’s eldest son, Brett, achieved 100% for second year maths with the help of Numberwise.

For the past five years, Numberwise has been used in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The results have been so positive that the Numberwise course now forms a module of the Civil Engineering Program at DUT.

Trevor Lagerwall illustrates the recent success of Numberwise at DUT: “Despite having just passed matric maths and been accepted into civil engineering, the average mark of students coming into DUT is 30%. Yet all those who complete the Numberwise course pass with 90% or more. Even more encouraging is that there has been a 25% improvement in maths marks at first year level”, says Lagerwall.

The Numberwise website describes how maths is layered and requires mastering the basics before being able to advance in the subject. In the five weeks that Numberwise has been available online, it has registered over 1 000 students from schools in Pietermaritzburg, Pretoria, East London and Namibia, and has even reached as far as Bolivia and Australia.

Numberwise is freely available for anyone to use and encourages educators to enlist their learners and monitor their progress. Learners are then encouraged to do a maths Assessment Test, and all completed work is recorded on the Numberwise server. This allows learners to compare their maths results and times with classmates or anyone else making use of the program. Peer competition not only encourages learners to perform better but soon there will be a chance to win prizes too.

“We have used these last five years to polish Numberwise into the interactive web-based program that it is today, says Lagerwall. Knowing that Numberwise works, it’s a no-brainer that all learners at school ought to do the Numberwise course. We believe that it will make a huge difference in maths in South Africa. Plus it is a fun way to learn one’s tables & bonds (addition & subtraction).”

To use Numberwise requires registering for free as an administrator and downloading the Numberwise program, which is less than two megabytes. Teachers or parents are then encouraged to register and enlist their students or children. Once the software is installed, users are ready to start their Numberwise journey. The maths website offers user-friendly, step-by-step support on how to get Numberwise up and running on your home or work PC. Learners can also use Numberwise at home and teachers can monitor their progress remotely.

Lagerwall explains: “Even though they will be registered at school, learners can do the course either at school or at home. However, the teacher (as the administrator) can still monitor their progress, print reports and certificates and so on, all via the website.”

Numberwise is entirely free for all to use but is currently looking for sponsorship. “Once we have sufficient numbers we are hoping to attract a sponsor, in part to monetise the project but also to sponsor stunning prizes that will drive the use of Numberwise”, says Lagerwall. Numberwise.com can handle multiple sponsors at a school, provincial, national or global level.

To see Numberwise in action, maths courses are held every Friday between 10am and 4pm at the Indumiso campus of DUT in Pietermaritzburg, where students do around 200 000 calculations. The goal is not only to prove that Numberwise really works, but to spread awareness of its free availability to all schools and educators country-wide.

“My hope is that all schools register all their learners and incorporate the Numberwise Course as part of their curriculum, says Lagerwall. Since every child in the world needs to learn their tables and bonds, our vision is that they do this using Numberwise, which we hope to grow first here in South Africa.”

For any questions regarding Numberwise, or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor of this project, you can contact Trevor Lagerwall on 084 568 2461 or 031 767 3247; or email him at trevor@numberwise.com

Incentive to work

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A NEW WORLD: Where technology replaces servitude

HOW many people do you know that live for their job? Who can’t wait to get to work and don’t give a fig about how much money they earn from it? Probably not very many. The sad reality is that the majority of people work to live rather than the other way round. We obviously need the money to survive.

The idea of a moneyless society is hard to imagine because we have never experienced such a thing. So, theoretically-speaking, if such a society did exist, what incentive would people have to work and do jobs that are not particularly pleasant? The short answer is that, ultimately, they wouldn’t have to; technology and machines would do most of the work for us.

Telephone Exchange

Possibly deceased telephone exchange operators

If we look back at history we can already see a gradual progression of human labour being replaced by machine automation. Several occupations have become obsolete due to their replacement by machines. Candle makers, elevator doormen, telephone exchange operators are a few jobs that no longer require human labour or are no longer relevant to society.

We therefore have a right to fear machines, for human employment is in direct competition with technological development. However, this creates a serious clash which proves the falseness of the monetary-based labour system.

Employment is necessary to survive in a money-based system. However, given the fundamental priority of profit by industry, people through time will be continually laid off and replaced by machines. If, on the other hand, we didn’t need to work to earn a living, we would then more readily embrace the idea that machines free people rather than putting them out of a job. After all, freeing people to live their lives without servitude is the point of technology itself.

Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery

This replacement of human labour by machines is not only possible, but inevitable. And with the pace that new technologies are being developed, specifically that of nano-technology, it is not difficult to foresee the phasing out of up to 90% of all human occupations. Machines today are even capable of performing complex medical procedures — often with higher success rates than humans.

Furthermore, if money was taken out of the picture, a large portion of current day occupations would no longer have any basis to exist because they would no longer be relevant. Anything associated with the management of money, advertising, along with the legal system itself would have no basis to exist in a resource-based economy.

If money was no longer needed to survive and people were given free and easy access to the necessities of life, a great majority of the crimes that are committed today would never occur. Contrary to propaganda, it is largely environmental conditioning that lures people into criminal and violent behaviou­r.

According to this view, man-made laws are attempts to deal with recurring problems that people do not know how to solve properly. It is a sad reality that in most countries today, more resources are devoted to prisons and police rather than alleviating poverty, which is known to be one of the majo­r contributors and factors behind crimes committed.

EDUCATION
Given the above, perhaps we need to view machines more positively and think of them as an extension of human performance rather than as hunks of metal that might put us out of a job. We also need to understand that if people have easy and free access to the necessities of life they would behave very differently.

Education

Eager young minds of today

We are taught to support the monetary system, not only by working to earn money, but by believing that a monetary system produces incentive. However, the simple truth is that if money were taken out of the picture people’s incentives would be very different.

New incentives would emerge that perhaps weren’t there before. If all our needs were met we might take more interest in space and the stars, environmental conservation and helping to educate our fellow human being.

Education is paramount in such a society. Today education produces people for specialised jobs rather than teaching them about the world. Instead, it needs to create generalists — critical thinkers with extensive worldviews.

Most people today don’t know a lot about a lot of different subjects because the structure of our educational systems. You would never get people to go to war if they were educated this way, nor would they give a fig about doing the unthinkable to make a quick buck.

You can read the other parts to this series below:

Zeitgeist Moving Forward: Your life, your world

A world without money

IMAGINE: A society without money, laws, unemployment, pollution, crime and unnecessary human suffering …

John Lennon — the man behind the timeless classic ‘Imagine.’

John Lennon — the man behind the timeless classic ‘Imagine.’

I HAD my music player on shuffle mode the other day when it randomly came across the great sounds of John Lennon of The Beatles and played Imagine. There is possibly one verse missing from Lennon’s timeless classic, that being: “Imagine there was no monetary system, it’s a little hard to do. No hunger, greed or crime, humankind living as one.” I’m no lyricist, but I think trying to imagine a world where money doesn’t exist should be an important part of such a song.

For those of you who are not familiar with the great sounds of Lennon, he was basically trying to encourage people to realise that capitalist society is comprised of a series of complex systems that shape our beliefs and values and determine our behaviour. He then encourages us to use a little imagination and envision a world where such systems do not exist. Wise man was Lennon.

I firmly believe that we are a product of our environment. Our behaviour, ideologies and interactions are almost entirely based on the society we are born into, the experiences we have and the media we are exposed to. In other words, our customs, behaviours, and values are by-products of our culture.

No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learnt behaviour patterns – picked up from the society in which we live – Zeitgeist Addendum

This society has evolved over millions of years to incorporate various systems of control. Today we are bound by systems of law, education, transportation, religion and, most significantly, the monetary system. We take it for granted that these systems are there and find it difficult to imagine living any other way.

In reality, it is these systems that hinder our imaginations, freedoms and human ingenuity. But, we are now entering a new stage of human awareness — a stage which understands that several of these systems are outdated and are in need of serious reform if humankind is to prosper and live as one. And no system is more outdated than our monetary system.

Can you imagine what life would be like if money didn’t exist? Imagine there were no possessions; nothing to kill or die for. Let’s paint a little picture:

An Obsolete Monetary System
money gone forever, because it is no longer relevantThe money-based system evolved centuries ago as a device to control human behaviour in an environment with limited resources. Back then scarcity was something very real, but now we have the technology to produce and harvest an abundance of resources.

Today money is used to regulate the economy, and to say that things have gone a little pear-shaped is an understatement. In truth, all of the world’s economic systems (socialism, communism, fascism, etc.) perpetuate social stratification, elitism, nationalism, and racism, and are primarily based on economic disparity. In other words, so long as a social system uses money or barter, people and nations will seek to maintain the economic competitive edge.

As a result of the imperialistic spread of money-based systems, inequality today is greater than it has ever been. This is because our current monetary system is not capable of providing a high standard of living for ever­yone, nor can it ensure the protection of the environment because the major motive is profit.

Similarly, our outmoded political and economic systems are unable to apply the real benefits of today’s innovative technology to achieve the greatest good for all people, and to overcome inequality. Our technology is racing forward, yet our social designs have remained relatively static. In other words, cultural change has not kept pace with technological change. To make matters worse, science and technology today have been diverted from achieving the greatest good for reasons of self-interest and monetary gain.

The Earth is still the same place; it is just the rules of the game that are obsolete and create strife, deprivation and cause unnecessary human suffering …

So, what’s the solution? Should we simply burn all our decorated notes with a similar vigour as the bra-burning feminists of the sixties? This may be a little drastic, but let’s picture a world where money didn’t exist.

(The following is based on the aims and proposals of The Venus Project — an organisation that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change):

A resource-based economy
To better understand the meaning of a resource-based economy, consider this: if all the money in the world were destroyed, as long as topsoil, factories and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we choose to build and fulfill any human need.

This is because it is not money that people need; rather, it is free access to the necessities of life. In a resource-based economy, money would be irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources and the manufacturing and distribution of products.

Simply stated, a resource-based economy would utilise existing resources rather than money, and would provide an equitable me­thod of distributing these in the most efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other form of debt or servitude.

Abundant Mother EarthThe Earth is abundant with plentiful resources. Today, our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counterproductive to our survival. Modern society has access to highly advanced technologies and can make available food, clothing, housing, medical care, a relevant educational system, and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy such as
geothermal, solar, wind and tidal power.

When education and resources are made available to all people at no cost, there would be no limit to the human potential. Although it is difficult to imagine, even the wealthiest person today would be far better off in a resource-based society.

Today, the middle classes live better than kings of times past. In a resource-based economy everyone would live better than the wealthiest of today …

In such a society, the measure of success would be based on the fulfilment of one’s individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power. Know that it is now possible to have everyone enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities that a prosperous civilization can provide. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology. The choice is ours to make. We no longer need to imagine.

• This article was inspired by the documentary film Zeitgeist Addendum. To learn more about The Venus Project or to become a part of the movement visit: www.thezeitgeistmovement.com and www.thevenusproject.com

You can read the other two parts to this series below:
Part 3: Incentive to work
Part 1: The power of the planet
Evolve: A response by Wogan May