• Homeschooling with Technology

    Published on 04-02-2014 08:37 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Homeschooling with Technology,
    3. General Homeschooling
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    by Elfi Sanderson

    Years ago while attending an educational workshop on differentiating instruction, the speaker asked us to participate in a role-playing activity. Several participants were each given a small card listing an ailment. The speaker then announced, “The doctor’s office is open.” Each “patient” came forward to describe his/her problem to the “doctor,” who responded each time, “Take two aspirin and go to bed.”

    Initially there were looks of confusion and consternation, but as the activity continued, the point became crystal clear. No one would accept or continue to go to a doctor who prescribed the same treatment to all patients regardless of the symptoms they presented; yet in education “one size fits all” was readily accepted as the prevalent model in traditional classrooms of the day—and still remains so today for many of our gifted students.

    Now, after more than a century, the face of education is changing and morphing with online and blended learning at the forefront, providing us with opportunities to engage students in new and innovative ways. With these changes comes a renewed emphasis on the needs of the individual student and a more personalized approach to teaching and learning.

    What do we mean by “personalized learning?” In their recent publication, Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended, and Competency Education (2013) iNACOL offers the following definition:

    Personalized learning is tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests—including enabling student voice and choice in what, how, when and where they learn—to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.

    So, what does personalized learning look like in an online environment? At first glance, an online course may look rather flat and two-dimensional. Scratch the surface of a quality online course, and you will find a rich tapestry of personalized interactions among students and teachers.

    Going back to the medical analogy, an effective doctor uses many tools before rendering a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. The doctor puts together a profile of the patient, and based on that profile determines which treatment is most likely to be effective. Treatment options are discussed and ultimately,
    Published on 01-08-2014 04:05 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling with Technology,
    4. Homeschooling High School
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    by Chris Yust of Homeschool Programming

    The Myth of Outsourcing
    “Is there any future in computer programming? Aren’t all those jobs overseas now?” I smiled as an earnest young mother asked us this question at a recent convention. I’ve heard this question many times over the last few years and my answer is always a resounding “No!” Despite what most people believe, outsourcing has not killed the computer job market. Oh sure, some companies use overseas help in different areas, but a great many computer programming jobs are still around locally. It’s simply too difficult for most companies to manage the complex process of software creation over long distances.

    As a full-time software engineer, I have observed a lack of quality candidates at my own employer. Jobs often go unfilled for long periods of time because we simply can’t interview enough people who qualify. I get calls every month from recruiters who still have my 10-year old resume in their database from the last time I was looking for a job. Anecdotes aside, the statistics show that roughly 50% of all software outsourcing projects are failures, and those that do succeed offer only modest 25% cost savings. That’s a huge risk for minimal return!

    The Recession-Proof Job
    In this age of recession and a downturned economy, one of the booming job sectors is the computer industry! Where other companies are cutting staff or shrinking salaries, computer jobs have seen steady growth and salary increases. Is this trend expected to continue? You bet! ...
    by Published on 12-29-2013 02:51 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Homeschooling with Technology
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    I admin a few different homeschooling websites, and over twenty different social networks and I’ll admit, I was still skeptical when I heard about Facebook’s idea to incorporate hashtags into their search options. After all, isn’t it useless to have hashtags when everyone’s feeds are private?

    I quickly discovered that the answer to that is a big old fat “NO!!”.

    Why? Because there is SO much public information available on Facebook. And many homeschoolers might not even be aware of it. Facebook communities, pages, groups, public profiles. That’s where the hashtag feature comes in! Here are my thoughts on why homeschoolers should utilize the feature AND even hashtag things themselves....

    Quick and relative information

    There are innumerable websites related to homeschooling out there in cyber-land, but sometimes you don’t have the time to go searching through them all for the information you want. On the other hand, people are having conversations, in real-time, every minute on Facebook, and they are probably already talking about things you are curious about. Things like: #homeschoolcurriculum, #homeschoollaws, #homeschoolmath, #homeschoolhighschool. And clicking on one will take you to the most up-to-date and personalized info on that subject anywhere on the web!

    And finding that info
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