Tag Archive: Education


30+ texts, 100+ authors, professors, designers, 4000+ pages encyclopedia. This has been the journey of a noble cause initiated by Interactive Design Foundation (IDF). interactive design logo

What do they do?

IDF works as a team to provide free educational material to everyone and especially those who cannot afford education from premier colleges. IDF aims to share content for free which is communicated by the slogan  ‘Knowledge wants to be free’, embossed on the logo. Their content includes books, CDs, images, professional connections, workshops, conferences, wiki tools and another innovative component. That component is a ‘Knowledge Tour’.

Knowledge Tour

This tour has been planned to travel around the world to give away educational material for free. The tour is designed to use bikes for eco-friendly reasons and has set of other interesting tools to complete the expedition. Track more about the tour on http://www.interaction-design.org/

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With the current trending in the education space, words like exams, fear, depression, nervousness and tension have become synonymic in usage while referring to EXAMS. All this darkness arises during exams because the meaning and purpose of examination has diluted to a pre-requisite for a certification.

Intent to hold exams

The basic intent behind conducting examinations was to allow a student to self appraise and allow the tutor to use it as an evaluation tool. In the ancient time, examination was one of the tools used by a teacher to evaluate the students’ level of knowledge, skill sets and performance. However, in the current era, sadly, examination is the ONLY tool to evaluate a student.

It is time for teachers to expand their ways and means of assessing a student’s ability, skill, knowledge and attitude. With the rising need to approach an exam differently, students also have to re-orient themselves towards exams.

Exam fever at different temperature

The exam fever takes a different avatar depending on the importance of the exam in one’s life, extent of using the results as an evolutionary determinant and impact on one’s persona with a trepidation to disapproval.

For instance competitive exams like CAT, MAT, GATE and so on are screening tests or more of an elimination round for the assessors to pick the best from the crowd. However, each competitive exam will have its hidden criteria to select the right candidates for a given course or job.

Similarly, the main motive behind conducting term-wise exams in schools is to ensure that children and in sync with the pedagogy and are acquiring the necessary knowledge and aptitude required by their age. But now the purpose of conducting is not this anymore. Schools conduct more and more of these exams and tests to check their status of churning out more number of education board toppers.

With this we can infer that the true motive of holding exams is meant for progressive reasons. Hence, it is good to revisit our approach towards writing and preparing for exams.

Malnourished education in rural India

Few decades ago good quality of food and grains and nourishment to the children in backward areas of India were the attention seeking topics while planning the budget and five year plans. Government has shown progress in solving these issues and now it has new issues to tackle.

Education provided to children is inadequate. Though the number of rural children attending schools is on a rise, the quality that they receive is disappointing.

Rural education problems in India

Fewer committed teachers: The school’s administration and teacher’s work culture is not good enough for schools to attract committed teachers to rural schools. Multiple classes are consolidated in one room and the teacher teaches the same topic to all classes.

No proper textbooks and learning material: Government is making efforts to provide good material but it is poorly implemented. Children are not receiving enough aids for their intellectual growth.

Difficult choice between earning money and free education: Though government schools are available for free, it is difficult for people to below the poverty line to choose between engaging their children into an occupation for livelihood versus engaging them for futuristic benefits into a school.

What is the solution?

Parent network: Parents who can spare time can come and add to the teaching force. This network has to increase to generate better quality of content and teaching methodologies for the children from the rural areas.

Alumni network: Students who have made it big can contribute back by adopting one of handicapped schools as a visiting teacher. This instills interest in the children to meet this new person periodically. The person’s personal background would add value to their learning.

Teacher network: Teachers form different schools could work on a teacher exchange programme for a couple of months to share ideas, teaching aids, classroom feedback and so on.

Solutions mentioned above have taken the aid of networking. It simply expands the world, which otherwise limits us from exposure.

HAPPY TEACHING

When do you see the need of planning finances as an ENGINEER?

As a student, though your parents may make major efforts to pay your college fees, you as a student would have to plan your finances. Right from paying for a paid seat in college vs a free seat to funding your fresher party ticket amount, your parents take care of it. The accepted culture in this aspect is ironical. When parents face this task of spending money, they crib yet pay for their children. Once it is paid somewhere a false ego of parents bloats and the act of paying for such merry gets justified. This note is for parents and students who want to state a difference and are ready to approach finances practically.

  1. Personal finances: Planning personal finances at college seems next to impossible. When we inspect into the money we spend on various things and prepare a log of it, we understand how much mismanagement of money takes place. Especially in urban India, youth are not introduced into the habit of recording expenses. However, inculcating this habit would prove purposeful and useful in your career days.
  2. Further education: The herd trend among engineers in India is that, after their engineering course, students either tend to pursue MS in a foreign country or get into a job. Irrespective of, whether you are following this trend or not, you need to plan your finances for further education which could masters in science, MBA or PhD as you proceed in life.
  3. Your future and Career: Most students who step out as engineers engage is different worlds and turn out to be something fascinating. Youth at this juncture are seeing dreams with eyes wide open. To fulfill these dreams you need to get into the habit of financial planning.
  4. Contingencies may manifest in any form. Sometimes they are harsh to handle. Spare some money aside to handle them boldly.

For your career, at a later time, you will feel that your world has expanded. You need more to survive. You opt to join a job to accomplish many personal aspirations as well as those coined with your family’s aspirations.

  1. Career learning: As you start your career, you would realize that the skill sets acquired at college are not enough for you to excel. With this realizations starts your second round of learning. This includes certification courses, management programmes and other professional courses. This again demands money.
  2. Living: In Indian culture children and parents are together irrespective of age. Now the trend has set in where girls and boys are building their mini forts by staying on their own to pursue their career in different cities. With this you become the owner of your life, which means you will have to pay for your living expenses like food, water, utilities, telephone and so on.
  3. Your family: One fine day you have to take complete responsibility of your family and that is the day you will be proud that this article prepared you to plan your finances. You family will demand your presence as well as your material assets. So watch out and preparing from today.

HAPPY FINANCIAL PLANNING!

A Journalist’s skill kit in 2013

Journalism has gone through a cosmetic surgery over the years, in terms of the skills required by a journalist. A diploma or degree in journalism is not enough for a person to have a strong career as a journalist.

Some obvious skills and acumen required by a journalist:

  • Writing
  • Investigation skills
  • Exploratory approach
  • Courage to present the truth
  • Speaking

Skills apart from those:

  • Design sense
  • Graphic designing
  • Programming
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Photography
  • Video editing
  • Social Media
  • Networking

 

College is a cool playground to implement your start up ideas. This will also be encouraged by the management. To start a business at college you need to identify a niche market, where you can sell a product or service. Once you identify the market, make a list of resources you require. Form a team with your seniors, peers or juniors. You could involve one of your professors as a mentor. Your customers could be students, tutors, management or parents.

  • IDEA 1: Stationery store – Start a stationery store at subsidized rates for colleges. Your college could be your first customer. Colleges require basic stationery items like pens, markers, chalk, notepads, papers and so on. Apart from that some electronic items like headphones, mouse, usb sticks could be added to your product catalogue for sale.
  • IDEA 2: Virtual learning – Colleges are hubs for learning. To develop a ecosystem to educate each other is always a challenge. Create a virtual learning support system for your college and involve other colleges eventually. Manage your college community and engage with other colleges to build an interactive and supportive ecosystem.
  • IDEA 3: Personal tutoring – Few students at college require personal attention which not be possible in a classroom. Professors and lecturers may not be accessible all the time for students. If you are good at a subject you can capitalize this opportunity. If you are a smart kid, help your peers and tutor them one-on-one. You could charge a nominal fee for spending your time with focused attention on the student.
  • IDEA 4: Sports education – Though college is centered on academic learning, sports will definitely be a part of the curriculum. Cricket, hockey, basketball or any other sport that rules your college could be a great source of income. Conduct innovative games and introduce new game methodologies for students to enjoy sports and apply them during tournaments. Coach your juniors and peers in college sports. Bring in seniors as sport mentors.
  • IDEA 5: Notes on my back: T-shirts are a common wear among youth. T-shirts with academic notes could be your unique selling proposition (USP). This will inculcate easy learning among students. Your t-shirt will have a new piece of information for your friends to learn and you will have other t-shirts to learn from. This could be a good learning methodology. You can sell to other colleges by customizing their logo on it.

For those who can’t afford to go through a regular course, at a regular college, yet want to pursue education and gain a degree, distant education is perfect choice! Distance education is also referred to as ‘education by correspondence’. Distance education in India is governed by Distance Education Council (DEC). 

Who chooses distance education?

Everyone cannot afford to join a regular college due to time constraints, family obligations, gender discrimination or lack of monetary support. For such people India has many courses to offer through distance education. Sometimes for various other reasons a student drops out of a regular college. Such discontinuation could be renewed by a distance course.

What should be my approach when I choose a correspondence course?

This is more challenging than a regular course. In a regular course, students get the support of  tutors all the time, engaged in various college affiliated networks to share knowledge and also have the support of placement cells.

In a correspondence course our five senses have to be open to draw information from any where and everywhere. Typically, students are supported with study material, counselors, contact classes and online help. These elements are very basic for a student to groom into an industry person. To gain all that a regular student receives, try to adopt the following:

  • Read more books, apart from your study material.
  • Engage with a mentor who can connect you with the upcoming trends, pertinent to your course.
  • Chalk out a plan to explore new things for each subject.
  • Join networks that talk about your course topics
  • Create or join a group of like minded people who are pursuing your course. Exchange thoughts, ideas and knowledge with each other.
  • Participate in contests and fests at a college close to your locality.

Share this article with your friends who are facing trouble, while pursuing a correspondence course. All the best folks!

Here is a link to colleges in India that offer distance education: http://www.indiastudycenter.com/univ/distance-education.asp

Make up and Maths – Beauty with Brains

Beauty with brains (BWB) is a rare combination. People who are characterized as BWB can be accessed only on cloud 9. Beauty with brains in other words is someone who has the ability to groom and present themselves as well their intellectual abilities.

Makeup and Maths is not a common combination found among people. But, but, but, it is found in people with an achiever’s DNA. One simple example with which we all connect with is the movie “LEGALLY BLONDE“. Reese Witherspoon, a blonde proves her mettl by getting into Harvard Law School to get her boyfriend back.

Is it possible for all geeks to be glamorous and the gorgeous to be brainy. There is no rule that denies this from happening.

Let go of your inhibitions. 

For Geeks: Use all your intellectual ability to understand and be aesthetic. Meet more people who are inclined to groom. Make it a habit. Block some time in your calendar for the SPA! Study beauty, cosmetics and diet as maths, physics and chemistry.

For Gorgeous: Use your detailing and organizing skills to understand a science concept. Problem solving involves creativity. Creativity is something most design oriented people have. Use it for a different reason. Get smart!

Does a COLLEGE DEGREE define me?

Before we elaborate on this topic to understand whether or not a college degree can define a person, let us understand the purpose of both ‘a college‘ and ‘a degree‘.

A college as an educational institution has been established to impart specialized knowledge and skills and to educate the students in a holistically, to excel in a stream of study. A degree is further used to certify the level of skill sets and knowledge a student has acquired during the course duration in a college. The question to be answered here is, ” does the purpose to study in a college and acquire a degree, sustain even today?”.

Candidates who are prospective employees in an industry are evaluated by the degree they carry on paper and not what the person is really capable of. To beat this inefficient evaluation method, recruiters are constantly on an innovation spree trying to realize ‘THE CANDIDATE’ for their company.

Here is how the evolution took place.

  • Employment Exchange
  • Newspaper ads – Interview – Placement
  • Referrals – Certificationscreening – Interview – Placement
  • Online recruitment portal screening – Recruitment drives – Interview – Placement
  • Social media recruitment screening – Interview – Placement
  • Online & Offline Networking – Engaging with potential candidates – Being proactive for screening – Inviting candidates (Interview) – Placement

We can also see a parallel trend evolving which is – catching them young. Recruitment firms are now in a neck tight competition to engage with students and strike a relationship for a long term association. In India this trend is interestingly upside-down. We all know the potential is at the Bottom of the Pyramid but industry and institutions, who are pretty much the organized sector, are  not attempting to reach the potential from bottom. Catch them younger to beat the heat.

Why is this not happening?

This is not happening because the labour force at the bottom are large, huge in magnitude and number. This is impeding efforts to reach and make them a part of the organized sector. What is the way to make it happen? The answer to it is, ” COLLABORATION OF INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT AND ABODES OF EDUCATION FOR SKILL ENHANCEMENT AND ATTITUDINAL SHIFTS”

When such a congregation is possible with smart execution, India will deliver anything and everything with finesse and perfection and build a new age.

Does a College Degree define me?

The answer to this questions still remains abstract. After engaging with the thoughts above, a person might be influenced to say ” A college degree does not define me.” It definitely can’t define or judge a person, but it should be considered as a valuable and authentic instrument to understand the potential of a candidate. Again, people who use a College Degree as the only instrument to evaluate will encounter fallacies in their judgement. It could be used as one of the parameters to understand the abilities and anticipate potential of a candidate.

For students who are scrambling to get a degree may find this thought process useful.

CAT – Common Admission Test for most premier MBA colleges in India has evolved from an unknown exam to the only exam most students are getting coached for. CAT is the most talked about exam among final year students in India. It promises a cozy job and other great career prospects. If you pass through the exam, you will see a white cat and if couldn’t get through you would say I saw the black cat, most Indians believe in this!

Where is all this leading to? You must be thinking we know enough about CAT by now. It has sections like quant, verbal, data interpretation, logical reasoning and so on. Geeks who are good at maths, verbal and reasoning will reach the next round of selection affairs. Most of all, to make our lives miserable and difficult they also have this amazing feature called  “NEGATIVE MARKING”. Hey and there is more to it, CAT exam organizers realized in 2009 that students have got tech savvy and hence they introduced a computer integrated exam. How easy can it get to crack CAT?!!!??

Most of us feel like this. But, some of us feel like this….

Let me dissect CAT and understand it.

You won’t find any thing organic after dissecting this type of CAT. All you will find is YOUR ATTITUDE and YOUR INNER SELF. You must be thinking why did this take the turn of philosophy. From now on, this can be titled as “CAT PHILOSOPHY”.

What exactly happens if you accomplish to pass through all three rounds of the b-schools. You sit in the classrooms of the most premier institutes in India  for two long years. Work your ass offff and realize that you will be placed in a comfortable job. Most of them for who this happens, are treated as a different ilk. How can these few people make it happen? It is their attitude of confronting and solving problems. People like this, just love problems. They don’t run away from problems, they don’t procrastinate to solve  problems. They just do it.

Further dissection and diagnosis

Why are these guys paid so much? Do they have such extraordinary skills that I don’t have? The answer is no. You may have skills better than the guys who graduate out of premier b-schools, but not have the right attitude. This attitude is what the b-schools and companies look for while recruiting them.

QUANT: This section is all about math. You definitely will need to have a decent understanding about numbers and math. The word ‘DECENT’ can be defined as mastering your 10th grade and 11th grade math chapters. Then comes application. So what you have to practice is not when you start preparing for CAT. What you have to start with is, application of these mastered math concepts and hence show your ability to solve problems.

VERBAL:  If you know good literature, grammar and English then you will get through this section. Wrong again.

Test yourself. How well can you communicate or present your thoughts with simple English and with good grammar. Can you comprehend, interpret and analyze a passage in few minutes. If you can then you can crack this section.

DI & DS: With limited data can you draw inferences and understand what the problem is? This is a mindset we have to develop as a prelude to solving Math.

Smart coaching centers advise students to get a feel of this section before any other section.

LOGICAL REASONING: The phrase speaks for itself. You think you have common sense then apply it. If you don’t have it, then develop it, to bypass this section.

A small attempt to give my readers a reality check about one’s self.