Tag Archives: Education

Education is the Key

I was happy to read on Geeks today that community member Steve has obtained his GED. I’ve often talked in the past about how important an education is. These days, you cannot get any type of job if you’re over 18 years old and don’t possess a high school diploma or GED. There are college graduates who hold a Bachelor’s degree competing for the same entry-level positions that everyone else is hoping to land.

The economy sucks, plain and simple. People who have had job security for many years are suddenly finding themselves at the front of the proverbial unemployment line. These are hard working people who have many years’ worth of experience doing whatever it is they do. Yet, they’re out there pounding the pavement because their company – and job – has dried up.

Having an education is more critical now than ever. Even if you feel you aren’t the “school type”, I urge you to go. Get a degree. Research what jobs are hiring in your area, and focus on that. Look at what types of jobs are trending in the country you live in, and build on that (and your talents!). Whatever you do – stay in school, or get your GED.

Congratulations, Steve! Our whole community is proud of you.

The team in our downloads center have come up with some excellent deals on programs for Windows today! Make sure you check back daily to see what they’ve uncovered next!

Stretch Yourself

It’s time to stand up and stretch. Get out of those chairs. Come on – you can do it. Stand up, and reach your arms above your head as high as they will go. Now bend over, and attempt to touch the ground (don’t worry, I can’t quite do that, either). Hold your arms out to your sides and stretch them wide. Heck, why not even twist a little to each side, much like a tree swaying in the breeze.

You have now successfully stretched out your body… but have you stretched your mind? I just stumped some of you, didn’t I? You thought for a second “what the heck, there are no exercises for that!”.

Ah, but that is where you would be wrong, my friends. Every time you read something, you stretch your mind. Every time you think a decision through, you stretch your mind. Every time you look at something through someone else’s eyes, you stretch your mind. Every tiny spec of information you absorb… you get the picture.

Many times, we don’t even realize that we have stretched our minds. We are so rushed through our day that much of what we have seen and done hasn’t even sunk in or made an impression by the time we pass out at night. It’s often much later, when a situation arises that forces us to recall certain pieces of information, when we realize “oh. wow. I knew that/learned that/remember that”. We forget to take the time to stop and marvel at everything that is out there, waiting for us to feast our brain on.

Spread your wings, little birds. Fly beyond your own nests and find those juicy little morsels that will feed and stretch your mind and soul.

Multipoint Gaming

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Team MultiPoint Web, three brothers from Oregon (Jimmy, Mark and Luke Dickinson), recently won the US Imagine Cup Finals and are now preparing to go to Cairo to compete in the WW Finals for Software Design.

The team also entered the MultiPoint Education Award sponsored by Unlimited Potential. Their solution is a web portal that allows for teachers and students around the world access a searchable database of MultiPoint applications in multiple languages.

Every child around the world should be entitled to a primary education, but many are not receiving a full primary education or even a partial primary education. They have many gaps where people still fail to obtain a full primary education. This is due to a lack of funding, training, materials, and manpower to provide a primary education.

In addition to being able to upload and share new MultiPoint applications, the portal also allows teachers the ability to customize game learning content, and generate reports assessing their students. The solution utilizes the Microsoft MultiPoint SDK, Silverlight, and PopFly technologies.

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Such is the Life of a Geek

If you watch my live stream, you may think that my life is pretty boring most days. I mean – I just sit at a computer day in and day out. However, you don’t realize how entertaining my days actually are! I spend hours a day reading through different websites, blogs and forums. I stretch my mind, and tickle my imagination. I love to learn new things as much (if not more) as I do helping others. By reading things that all of you send me, I am opening my world to encompass things I may have otherwise missed out on. I appreciate every link and suggestion you send, so keep them coming! In the meantime, are you reading what’s being put online in our community? There are some things I think you may just find entertaining, interesting and even educational.

Can Homeschooling Provide More Opportunities?

I recently raised the question on my blog: “Is Internet better than traditional schooling?”. So many of you have sent in your thoughts on this matter, than I’ve done a follow up post called Is Traditional School a Must?, as well as Jonathan’s Reasons in Favor of Homeschooling. I’ve also received the following email from Colin, who has been Homeschooled for his entire school life. He wanted to share with us what the experience has been like from his perspective.

I’ve been Homeschooled my whole life and haven’t regretted it a bit.

I found that a community college is a great place to go if you’re a high school-level student who Homeschools. I know community college is still “traditional” schooling, but I really wanted to learn about audio engineering, and it was something I simply could not learn at home. So, my parents and I found that there were classes at the local community college that I could take while still being high school age.

People had told me that I should take a class at a local high school, but that would have required that I become a full-time student. Community college was the answer, as it didn’t require me to become a student full-time just to take one class. I didn’t even have to have a high school diploma yet in order to take a few classes.

Also, like the person who wrote the email you posted, I’ve been told many times I won’t “make it” in the World, or get a good job. With the extra time gained by Homeschooling, I’ve learned about computers and music, which led to the interest in audio engineering. With community college, I was able to learn how to record, and have met professional engineers (which may land me future jobs & contacts with people in the record business).

Community college is great for kids like me who want to take a course that is unable to be taught at home, but who don’t want to resort to being a full-time high school student at a traditional school.

Homeschooling, as well as community college, have paid off tremendously. I’m on my way to work with a major recording engineer in a couple of weeks at a studio, and I don’t know if I would be doing the same had I attended a public school. I am really grateful that my parents chose to Homeschool me.

Why Should You Homeschool?

Wow, I can’t get over how many responses I’ve received to the Homeschooling video I uploaded the other day. I’ve heard from students, parents and even educators as to why or why not Homeschooling is a good idea. I receive the following email (with a top 5!) from Jonathan B as to why he is in favor of educating your child at home.

  1. Freedom of Choice – I like Homeschooling for the simple reason that it gives parents more choice in how their children are educated. Obviously, there are some courses that are required by law to be taken, but it seems to me outside of that a parent can structure what a child learns. If they want a more religious-based education, then so be it. Being a Libertarian, I’m always excited by things where people are given choices, not forced to swallow something, hook, line and sinker.
  2. Freedom of Speed – Since the average public or private school is kept with in the confines of daily lesson plans, I like that a child can graduate from high school through Homeschooling at whatever pace they choose. Again, it all boils down to what the child and parent chooses to do, and what their capabilities are. They can go beyond the daily lessons or stay within those confines. Again the freedom of choice is something that I really like.
  3. Broadening an Education – I believe there is room for more alternative education in Homeschooling. Who doesn’t like the idea of being able to plan things such as field trips that broaden a child’s young mind with experiences – and ultimately, knowledge – that helps them in other aspects of life.
  4. Success – I would cite some of the success stories of Homeschooling, considering the fact that there are several Homeschoolers who participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee almost yearly. For us sports fans, a well-known and successful Homeschooler is Tim Tebow, the quarterback for the University of Florida Gators. Tim was allowed by Florida law to play for Nease High School, even though he was a Homeschooler.
  5. Not as Anti-Social as some People Think – One of the prevalent stigmas is that children being Homeschooled are thought to be less socially stimulated than the children who are educated in public or private schools. For the most part, this in my estimation would be rather inaccurate. Lets not stigmatize the whole institution of Homeschooling, as many children in the U.S. do their Homeschooling with their peers, go on field trips, and even in some cases play sports in local high schools or community-based cooperatives.

To close, I like the options and freedom that come with homeschooling. I prefer to educate my future children as I would see fit. And I am sure the average, blue-collar mom and dad, if able too, would love to have some say, if not total say, in their child’s or children’s education without throwing them into the U.S. education system. I believe that homeschooling can be an instrument of personal and individual freedom.

Is Traditional School a ‘Must’?

Earlier tonight, I uploaded a video where I discussed the advantages of homeschooling, and the K12 program in particular. The response has been overwhelming in a very short time. For instance, my assistant Kat homeschooled her daughter last year for a semester. She researched tons of different programs, and ended up creating her own. You see, homeschooling using an accredited course is quite expensive. Her daughter returned to public school this year to attend 8th grade. However, they’ve been looking and researching ways to homeschool again through high school. K12 offers her a perfect way to do so! Kat was really excited by this, knowing this is a great program and something she can afford.

This raises the question of why she is so set on homeschooling. Why are so many thousands of others turning to non-traditional means of education these days? In many cases, it’s not a matter of the public schools not being up to par. It has to do with the fact that the schools and teachers are limited in what they can teach, and for how long. There are strictures placed on kids who learn slowly – and ones who are much faster. There isn’t always an “accelerated” or “gifted” program available in smaller, rural communities.

So, we turn to non-traditional means. I’ve always been able to learn better and more outside of a classroom environment than in it. I know there are thousands and thousands of other kids who are the same way. I was forced to start thinking more about whether attending a traditional school is a must after receiving this email tonight from Om:

I am 18 years old, and I dropped out in grade 10. I have never been happier in my life. I now run my own business as a technical support guy – and am doing great! Since I started my business, I have been offered a job by an ISP and another computer repair company.

I have heard a thousand times from friends and family members that I “need” to go to school or I will end up with a bad job. Had I finished school, I wouldn’t have started my own business – and would not be living the almost perfect life (not to brag).

Now I’m not saying that traditional schooling is bad. I just think that is certainly isn’t for everyone. I also believe that traditional schooling needs a lot of redesigning. They’re still teaching the same basic courses that they did some 300 years ago. I think a class on how to run a computer would be more important that something like history or grade 12 math.

So my advice now to people is, instead of going to school and then figuring out what you want to do – figure out what you want to do, then go to school if you find it fits your needs.

What’s your thoughts on this? Is it imperative that kids attend a “traditional” school? If so, for how long? Do you believe that some non-traditional methods just may be even better for them in both the short term and in the long run? Let’s hear what you have to say!

Is the Internet Better than Traditional Schooling?

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I am not a parent at this point in time, other than to my dogs. If and when I do have kids, I will likely give serious consideration to homeschooling. I know for myself, I learned more outside of the classroom than I did inside of it. I was so frustrated in a lot of my classes, usually because I didn’t understand what was going on. Knowing there may be a different and/or better way gives me a lot of peace of mind.

I wouldn’t have changed a thing at that point in time. However, we didn’t have the resources that we do now. The Internet is more than just a library – it’s a treasure trove of experiences. People who come into our chat room learn things by watching things that we do. People learn because they want to learn. You never stop learning. You’re constantly in this state of taking in all this knowledge.

I’ve had this email sitting here in my Inbox for awhile, but I just haven’t had the time to devote to a proper video for it. It came from Robert, and was talking about how he had removed his high-school aged daughter from public schools, and enrolled her in K12 online.

K¹² is a curriculum developer and provider committed to excellence in education. It is our goal to provide any child with exceptional and meaningful curriculum and tools that allow him or her to maximize the potential for success in life, regardless of geographic, financial, or demographic circumstance.

There are many reasons why some students don’t thrive well in a traditional school setting: the classes they want may not be available, the classes move too slow or fast depending on the child’s level of learning, and even the fact that some kids have trouble in such a public and social setting. There are other reasons, all of which are listed on their website.

K12 is a curriculum-based academy. They are worldwide, and have both virtual schools and local private schools. Each child’s curriculum is individualized specifically for them, based on their own needs.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you feel your child just doesn’t “fit” within the public school system, or if they are struggling in any way, why not consider homeschooling? There are affordable programs out there, and very good ones, at that. K12 is one of the schools leading the way for others, and your child can get a quality education right from the comfort of your own home.

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The Top 5 Reasons I Volunteer

Geek!This is Justin Lewis’ submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I have been blessed with a reasonably comfortable life, and it disturbs me. I know that may be a rather odd statement, but it is the truth. Why have I been blessed with so much when there are those who have so little? This is the root of my desire to volunteer. I want to give back what I can to those who need it. In the event that I was to win the HP Magic Giveaway, I would donate three of the computers to the Sterling, Kansas chapter of Youth Friends. This is an after-school program which focuses on Pre-K through fifth grade students. Sterling is located in one of the poorest counties in the state of Kansas and thus, lacks the funds for technological advancement. At this point in time, there is no computer-based learning within the program. In a culture that is increasingly focused on technology, it is vital for these children to learn about and use computers. With that said, here are the five key reasons that I feel a need to volunteer.

I am an American.

I have been blessed with a wonderful democratic system and I should take the responsibility that accompanies it. We live in a country where the people are in charge and the people can make a difference. Only through experience can we gain awareness, and only through awareness can we elicit change. We must change, because the wars of this generation will be those of social inequality and poverty, not gold or territory.

I am a Psychologist.

This means that I have a passion for others and thus want to spend time and interact with people. What better way to do this than through service? On a personal level, I get fulfillment from these interactions. I want to be the one to directly help others. I want to be an advocate for the less fortunate and the forgotten. The only way to do this is to seek out injustice in the dark and desperate places of the earth. I must intentionally search and learn of the problems in the world, because evil is not always front-page news. Even as I type this people go hungry, children are sold into slavery, and parents wither and die from preventable diseases. Once I’ve been exposed to the injustice, there is no way that I can stand idly by and listen to their cries.

I am Human.

We are communal by nature, and thus we must take care of the community of which we are a part. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, stated that he who is not in community should beware being alone. By design humanity is supposed to live together and help one another. Why should I have excess when there are those with none?

I am a Christian.

Biblically, we are called to be servants. Christ commanded his people to love God with all our hearts and love each other as He has loved us. “29: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30: ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31: The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 29-31 ESV.

I am a Teacher.

There is no greater feeling than to know that the lives of others have been changed and shaped by my actions. I have a deep desire to pass on my knowledge, experience, and perspective to the next generation. There is no better way to teach love, compassion, and helpfulness than through demonstrating just that.

Top Five Tips on Relieving Homework Stress

Geek!This is Blake Mcginnis’ submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Throughout my educational career I have witnessed many people fail classes simply because they do not do their homework. Sadly it happens all the time. This just sickens me because there are many simple ways to prevent this failure.

Are you someone who struggles with homework and needs a few helpful tips? If so, I believe you have come to the right place. Here are my top five tips on relieving homework stress:

  1. Get organized! I would have to say this is by far the most important tip on getting homework completed, or anything else for that matter. Organization allows you to focus, relax and get more things done. If you have an unorganized working area, room or even lifestyle, it can be nearly impossible to do any type of task. I would recommend carrying some sort of planner every day. That way you will be able to keep track of your assignments and try not to fall behind on anything.
  2. Make daily schedules. Making schedules is also a big part of relieving homework stress. A schedule will keep you organized and consistent on completing any type of task needed to be done. I would recommend making a schedule either every night or every morning, that way you have a clear picture of the events that are going to take place on that day. This will not only keep you on your toes, but it will make your day run much more smoothly. Also, make sure you get plenty of rest at night. Getting a lot of rest will dramatically affect how you feel the next day. This may take some getting used to at first, but over time you will see the benefits of having a schedule.
  3. Pay attention. In school, I have gotten homework for many reasons. Usually it was to review what the Instructor taught us in class. If you pay close attention while the Instructor is teaching, you will be able to complete your homework with absolute ease. If you have a hard time remembering things like I do, I would advise you to take some notes. I have heard some positive things about the Pulse Smartpen by Livescribe. Who knows, maybe that is something you might be interested in, to help you exceed in school.
  4. Study. I am sure you have been advised by your parents and teachers to study – many times – and never did. But, if you stop and think about it, you should! If you study for just a short time every day, you would be surprised by how much more things you remember from that particular subject. Then the homework, tests and pop quizzes become a lot easier because you will remember the studied topic.
  5. Be responsible. Yeah, I know I am not your mom, but when it comes to relieving homework stress you should always be responsible. By being responsible, I mean that if you miss a day of school, you should always get the assignments completed that you missed. Just because you are sick for a day or two does not mean that you can just not do the work that was given. Usually if it’s something really serious teachers will negotiate the due date to give you more time to complete the assignment.

How do you handle your homework stress? Please leave some comments, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!