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Category: General Education

9th
Jul 2012

Kiwibank Says No to Free Online Education for New Zealand Kids

And Special Needs Kids in New Zealand will need to wait for someone other than Kiwibank.

Making approaches to other business with proposals of one kind or another, is part of daily business for many companies, and sometimes those approaches bear fruit, other times they don’t – and that is all just part of business.

However when you approach an organisation, and attempt to open a discussion, with someone that is supposedly qualified to occupy a reasonably senior position of responsibility within the organisation, and then they refuse to return your calls, instead palming you off to a junior – that has to resort to out-and-out lies and blatant falsehoods as their excuse not to extend the most basic of courtesies – is simply appalling.

As a person that works in field of online education, I believe this is yet one more example of how we are continuing to producing generations of “dumbed-down” kids that have an inability to think for themselves, and certainly not creatively. It also demonstrates how relying on supposed educational qualifications – rather than common sense, is actually hurting business opportunity and inhibiting commercial growth, not only here in New Zealand, but many other countries too.

Being a Director of Zane Education – the owner of currently the largest fully subtitled educational video library currently available online – it is simply not commercially feasible for us to focus on an education market as small as that in New Zealand. However as a father – and a New Zealand citizen, I would love to be able to provide our Visual Learning resources to schools, students and special needs kids in New Zealand at no cost, so as to benefit them.

Being a person that likes to think outside the square, it had occurred to me that one of the most obvious choices available to me, was to team up with a bank so they could provide those resources to schools around New Zealand – and in doing so they would be seen to actively support education in a meaningful way. After all many banks have identified the youth and education markets as an important way of targeting young savers and future new customers. Currently those New Zealand banks attempting to build their brand in the education market are providing little more than lip-service, offering children free plastic piggy banks and providing minimalist advice about financial literacy – all of which may appear great, but is really doing little more than scratching the surface.
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4th
Apr 2012

The Power of Music in Education

Using Music to Improve & Motivate our Children’s Education

My memories of the only time that music ever made an appearance in my education involve a class of ten year old boys standing around a piano and being asked to learn a song that I had never ever heard of before. Worse still I had never ever been informed what singing in tune involved, and as a result I recall standing there wondering why the sound of my own voice did not seem to quite fit in with those of my classmates. This was neither a pleasant introduction to learning music, nor an experience that allowed music to become a meaningful part of my education.

Looking back forty years later I feel utterly robbed of what music could have become in my life, and the paths it could have led me down. And bearing that I now play two or three different instruments with varying degrees of success, simply for the sheer enjoyment and relaxation it brings me, it is one of the few areas of any regret that I have in my life.

However as I have come to understand and appreciate in recent years, music has far more to offer us then simply joy and relaxation – and that is particularly the case when it comes to our children and their education. To our children it can make the difference between not only enjoying and motivating their education, but also the pleasure and effectiveness of the learning process itself. (more…)


27th
Mar 2012

Motivating Children to Learn

 

What Can We Do To Motivate Our Children’s Interest in their Education?

I have just completed a period of research into the education market in India and was extremely impressed about just how motivated such a large percentage of both children, and their parents, are towards their own education and learning.

My research revealed two interesting facts.

A recent research survey in the last 12 months indicated that parents across 16 of the largest cities in India, saw education and learning being such important that the monthly expenditure on their children’s education ranked just second on their list of spending priorities. Only their monthly spend on Groceries and food shopping came ahead of their child’s education. In most Western countries, the monthly spend on education would be considerably less important.

Then I discovered that approximately 20 million students in India have a private tutor even though they attend school on a full-time basis. That number equates to just under half of all the children studying at school in the United States. 

So what is it that motivates children in India to take such and interest in their own education.

In an effort to find out more about this I have spoken to many people in India. They have explained that both children and their parents realise that education is the only way that they can hope to fight their way out of poverty.

Many also explained that because of the sheer number of people in the country the competition to get into the better schools and universities was fierce, and to succeed students really did have to achieve their best.

Others explained to me this motivation towards education was simply part of their cultural beliefs and their approach to life in the same way that the respect children have for their elders is so different to that in many countries in the West.

I suspect that there is another factor too. With the exception of periods like the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and maybe also the years during World Wars I and II, most countries in the West have never really ever experienced times of real hardship, or oppression. As a result we have bred generations of people that have a reasonably “soft” life. It is well known that hardship and adversity bring out the best in a person’s nature, yet for most of us since the 1960’s life has become easier and easier.

We now live in a generation were the range of social security and support facilities provided act as a “safety net” for those that are unemployed, or don’t want to work. Loans and credit is made available to virtually everyone by the banks, whether people can afford to repay it or not. In many ways the recent generations have never had it so good. In fact many would suggest that today’s students and children expect the world to come to them, rather than having to go out and earn whatever they want. Many students expect success to be handed to them on a plate rather than having to earn it.

So with this air of “expectancy” being part of many children’s lives, is it any wonder that few place any importance on learning and their own education.
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20th
Sep 2010

Questioning standards. Don’t ask me why, ask me why not?

Occasionally I have a deep and meaningful thought (my wife often suggests that miracles do indeed happen … every so often) and it really did get me wondering about what and how we teach our children.

I love to play the guitar and on the anniversary of Jimi Hendrix death this question got me thinking.

Why is Jimi generally held in such high regard (not that I am qualified to ask that question)?

Imagine you teach guitar and a kid walks in that is playing a left-handed guitar upside down. Most guitar players have picked up bad habits that the teacher will want to get rid of and sort out before moving on to bigger and better things. But this was one of the things that Jimi was renown for, and that many will suggest gave him his unique sound. (more…)


13th
Sep 2010

Learning Using Online Video …or A Spoonful of Sugar..

A spoonful or sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down…and so on. Who remembers that song?

If you do, you don’t need to own up to it …….. because of course it comes from the very popular Mary Poppins movie from years ago, and if you do remember, the chances are that you are nearly as much an antique as me.

Anyway the reason I’m asking is because I meet so many people that have not even considered for one minute using online educational video to help teach their children, and they virtually all have similar questions like “so what’s it like?” or “How effective is it?”.

And I generally start my reply by using that line “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” …… and here’s why! (more…)