A Complete Rethinking Of The Very Concept Of Education

Never before has American education been in as precarious a situation as it seems to be at present. For over ten years now we have seen many governors’ summits, and a host of commissions, committees, panels, unions, boards and business executives trying to warn citizens that American schools have become dysfunctional and are in dire need of repairs. And for over ten years the results of student performance have worsened despite the billions being spent to stop the downward trend. Perhaps the time has come to stop and try to examine the problem rationally. It is not the first time that American education has reached a threshold at which only radical solutions seem to be called for. This time, however, reformers are calling for a systemic reform, a complete rethinking of the very concept of education. As politicians, educators, academicians, psychologists, sociologists, and CEOs entered the fray, the well-intentioned movement became murky and increasingly chaotic. It soon became clear that the reformers truly intended a clean sweep of what education had meant to Americans.

The acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, the study and appreciation of great works by outstanding minds and artists, the acquisition of communication and mathematical skills, the objective search for scientific knowledge, the analysis and assimilation of ideas and ideals that enabled western civilization to serve as a beacon for the rest of the world, all of this was suddenly declared superficial, politically motivated, artificial, and unneeded. The new education was to turn from such academic trivia to preparing the new person for the 21st century, a person aware of the leading role that was to be played by the new technology which in some way will take care of all the other academic “frills” that had marked the progress of the old education, the education of the past.

The search for truth, which was at the heart of the traditional academy, was to be replaced by the promotion of the social and emotional growth of the individual while preparing him or her for the demands of the “real life.” As a result, a bevy of researchers and educators started scurrying around for a system that would accomplish this. A goldmine seemed to be struck when a group of sociologists and educators, with the assistance of politicians and business executives, came across a program that had been around for some time and that had close connections with Dewey’s “progressive education.” Known as Outcome Based Education, it called for a much greater emphasis on the affective dimension of the educational process at the expense of the old academic rigors. Basing itself on the conviction that it’s a disproven theory that children must first learn basic skills before engaging in more complex tasks, the stress was now to be placed on the “more complex tasks.”

The educational process was to move from concepts to facts rather than vice versa. This called for a complete revamping of teaching methods. Instead of the teacher being an authoritative figure in the front of the class, he or she was to be a “coach” or “facilitator” helping the class to discover knowledge in small groups working on one or more projects. Working together in groups would prepare students for the team approach used by industry. It would also “level the playing field” so that the disadvantaged would have the same opportunity as others in the learning process. This brings us to the two dominant mantras of the new education. One is that it must foster self-esteem; the other that “it takes a whole village to raise a child.” The first requires that students must acquire the attitudes, values, and feelings that would lead to a smooth, painless transition to the “real life,” as defined by experts; the second requires that the child’s entire community participate in defining his or her education. As for assessing the results, standardized tests are out for the most part. Whatever testing is done must be supplemented by portfolios containing a student’s work record that follows him or her throughout his or her schooling and beyond. In short, primary emphasis is place on the student’s ability to process information rather than to acquire and to retain knowledge of content material or a discipline.

The general movement is from academics to behavioralistic concerns, from the cognitive to the affective domain. The sharp contrast with “traditional education” is obvious without going into further detail. Since the results so far can only be called dismal, should we not mark time for a while to see where we are going? Should self-esteem be the ultimate goal of education? Should the “whole village” be involved in defining a child’s education? Should the idea of knowledge acquisition defer to the acquisition of skills for the new technology? Has the concept of education become so controversial that it calls for a new definition? The two great revolutions that shook the world, the French revolution of the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution of the 19th, tried in vain to redefine education. The passage of time inevitably justified a return to the time-tested concept of the educated person developed by the ancients and the European Renaissance. The latest example of this occurred shortly after World War II when the Soviet Union suddenly seemed to be outpacing us in the new technology with the launching of Sputnik in 1957. No less than the American commander-in-chief responsible for the defeat of Hitler agreed that rather than have American education turn to the wholesale training of technical experts, it should continue stressing the liberal arts and the development of well-rounded citizens. The payoff came with the fall of the Soviet empire. It has also come in the form of the amazing continuation of Americans winning more Nobel prizes than the rest of the world combined.

In a new study recently published by two professors with impressive credentials, we even find the incredible thesis that the entire substructure supporting the current educational reforms is based on faulty and unsubstantiated research and statistics. The study challenges the notion that American schools are failing and are inferior to European schools. The authors ask how Americans could possibly have escaped the conclusion that education in this country is in a deplorable state. The authors then proceed to present statistics supporting their conclusions. Even granting that their handling of the statistics has been seriously questioned, the main thesis is still valid. Does the success of American education over the last two centuries justify the sudden storm of criticism directed at our schools? The call for a complete overhaul and “reinvention” must certainly be approached with great care. Such a radical approach may well affect not only the general direction but the basic philosophy of an educational system that has given our country the leadership in almost every area of human endeavor. We thus come to the basic question that must be asked. What should be the basic purpose of American education? Is it to prepare for adult life, and, if so, what do we want adult life to consist of? Or is it to fulfill the promise contained in our Declaration of Independence: the guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Could it be the ancient adage of Know Thyself? A Renaissance sage considered virtue the only constant in mortal affairs because she alone “can make blessed those who embrace her and wretched those who forsake her.” He defined virtue as the capacity “to feel rightly about God, and act rightly among men.” Given the recent interest in the teaching of character, should virtue be education’s primary goal? Can any or all of these be summarized in the concept of wisdom? And don’t most or all of them fall in the category of what has been considered “academics” since the days of Plato and Socrates?

It is essential that we measure what progress has been made before proceeding. We therefore respectfully urge the leaders of future Summits to use their influence to make certain that the radical programs being thrust upon schools in an attempt to “reinvent” education nationally be carefully reexamined. Schools have already been overburdened by the intrusion of social services, health services, special interest groups and the attempt to make them all-purpose community centers. We must not blur the distinction between “schooling” and “education.” Any Summit that does not take into account the opinions of those parents, taxpayers, and citizens who are rightfully skeptical of what has transpired in the last ten years of the reform efforts is bound to create further tensions and misunderstandings that could lead to the crippling of the American school.

Should I Use a VGA Splitter or DVI Splitter for Video Signal Input and Output?

Technology enhancements in video signal transmission has ensured analogue and digital signals are transmitted using different devices, for instance there are several types of video splitters on the market to select from for video duplication.

The decision must be canvassed thoroughly before buying a VGA or DVI video splitter. Therefore let’s outline what VGA and DVI are, as well as the timeline they were both released.

Video Graphics Adaptor (VGA) technology has been available since 1987 thanks to IBM for development of this analogue video display technology that went onto become a standard used when referring to analogue video display standards.

VGA hardware and the software enable the data processed to become graphical data that can be displayed on a display monitor. The actual resolution for VGA is set at 640 x 480 pixels in display resolution for width and height respectively. However VGA display resolution has been enhanced with higher video resolutions such as SVGA, XGA and UXGA et al. In addition, the majority of manufacturers and resellers still refer to a VGA splitter as ‘VGA Splitter’, even though VGA has higher analogue video resolutions available, such as mentioned early like SVGA, XGA and UXGA.

VGA can carry only analogue video signals thus if you require audio as well, a separate audio connection is required. There are numerous VGA splitters that have audio capabilities built-in to the VGA splitter, for instance several Smart View devices have models available with an audio stereo 3.5mm socket for each video connection.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is a newer technology that was released in 1999 by Digital Design Working Group. DVI superseded VGA, and as the name implies, DVI is uncompressed digital video data that is displayed on monitors and projector screens via DVI connectors. There are three main DVI connector types available on the market each with a specific pin arrangement interface, for example DVI-I, DVI-D and DVI-A. Moreover the three DVI connectors support certain video formats, for example:

• DVI-I is integrated video both analogue and digital signal support

• DVI-A is analogue video signal support

• DVI-D is digital video signal support

The key feature about DVI is its compatible with VGA. The two video interfaces work well with one another when an adaptor is utilised.

DVI has two methods available to stream the video signal between devices, which is known as Single link and Dual link. DVI single link maximum resolution is up to 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) @ 60 Hz, while DVI dual link can produce much higher resolution, but depends on several factors, such as cable copper bandwidth limitations, DVI source limitations, and DVI sync limitations. Additionally DVI supports hot plugging meaning it can be connected and disconnected without powering down the system. However VGA isn’t suitable for hot plugging hence requires the system be shut down first before connection of VGA cables.

In the early days of DVI it was envisaged that DVI would become the recognised standard for digital format. However, DVI was mainly used with computer display monitors and not so much with household TV scenarios.

DVI can stream digital video very well however it can’t transfer audio signals. To enable audio on a DVI splitter you’ll require digital audio capability built-in to the devices with separate audio connections. Furthermore, the release of High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) technology that can transmit uncompressed digital video and digital audio signals together has ensured HDMI quickly became the popular choice for digital video output to display panels.

The new computer desktops don’t have VGA connections available on most systems. Usually there are DVI or DisplayPort connections instead. The DisplayPort digital interface superseded DVI in 2006 however you still see DVI utilised. Occasionally Information Communication Technology (ICT) hardware staff may be required to mix-and-match connections with adapters, for instance, if a machine has a VGA socket but the display monitor has a DVI connector, an adapter can be utilised since DVI is backward compatible. Note: the signal will still be VGA quality that is transmitted unless a dedicated electrical VGA to DVI converter is used.

When selecting a DVI or VGA splitter ensure you check the specifications for the product, for example resolution supported, frequency rate, the display video type supported, connection types for interface input/output, power adaptor required, switching off/on functions, built-in amplifier booster and whether incorporated with audio socket or not.

The most common video splitter is the type ‘one input video source to two outputs video’ destination. However there are numerous configurations to select from for video input and output setups. Another type of splitter is called a ‘video matrix’ that can have two or more video inputs and two or more video outputs. This can be handy for multiple sources that can be switched on/off to achieve the desired video output display. Each video splitter will suit a particular scenario for video presentation so choose wisely. In addition, several brand video splitters can be cascaded, such as Smart View.

To maintain the integrity of the video signal high quality VGA cables with ferrite filters should be interconnected with the devices. If the installer decides to skimp on the cost of VGA cables for the installation signal degradation can lead to problems such as ghosting and pixelation.

There are DVI splitters and DVI boosters with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) incorporated into the devices. Authorised digital video content is only allowed to be transmitted and received between HDCP devices while VGA analogue signals aren’t restricted with this security protocol. Some users have reported interconnection issues when using HDCP enabled devices, such as handshaking connection problems and continuity in live video streaming.

If you have the newest high-definition display monitors you should consider HDMI splitters as well. VGA can be problematic when outputting video signals to large panel screens like Plasma TV, LED widescreen TV and OLED TVs. Especially video quality degradation issues and pixelation problems may occur when VGA is the source to high-definition products.

VGA splitters have generally been more popular with computer display monitors over the years than DVI. The cost for a VGA splitter is usually less than its equivalent DVI product. Furthermore with the popularity of the superior HDMI technology integrated into high-definition TVs and notebooks has ensured DVI splitters are less common. With most people selecting a HDMI splitter for their digital video and audio solutions over the less-features of DVI.

Finally, you should consider several pivotal factors for your decision, such as the quality of the video resolution broadcasted you require, and whether it’s digital, or analogue equipment utilised in your setup. Furthermore check the product specifications before purchase, and consider if you require audio as well for the video broadcast? Moreover if you implement a VGA splitter or DVI splitter choose one with a booster built-in to the device. The costs should be secondary to ensure you’re satisfied with your ultimate decision.

Special Training For Brain Development Of Kids

Many researchers have proven the fact that functioning of brain cells of infants is twice active as adult’s brain. Neurons are the brain cells that connect together and power of neuron have the potential of a PC. Connectivity of neurons decides the smartness or intelligence of individuals. In human, brain development and the learning ability of an individual is 50% in the first four years of age. The nerves of individuals are reduced as they grow up and this is why the 1000 trillion nerves present in an 8 months baby are reduced to 500 trillion as it grows up. A child that has given more opportunities to explore will be much smart.

A majority of children, more than 90% of them use their left brain, but the imperative fact to remember is the right brain must also be utilized. Education system present in almost all the schools is designed to develop or use the left brain. Right brain is never the less significant because it is responsible for creativity, arts, feeling, imagination, visualizing, daydreaming, rhythm, holistic thinking and many others. Hence it is equally important to develop both side of brain. It is also most important to take steps to keep both the brain much active, by keeping them to perform analytically on an equal basis. It is the responsibility of parents to give activities to their children that ensures the involvement of both brain. If both brain used by children it is probable to enhance their learning power and they can also increase their brain power. If brain development programs are offered to children they can make most of the program and develop their skills to give work to both side of brain and remains high in intelligence level. Development of brain in human beings is based on the degree of how much it is used. If it is left unused there are more probabilities for individuals to lose as brain works on the basis of use it or lose it.

To ensure the progressive brain development in children, it is the role of parents to introduce their children with a reputable brain development program. Most of the experts suggest step by step educational program to the children which is systemic and efficient. Nowadays it is very simple to find out a lot of schools which not only gives importance to academic program, but they also boost the creativity of children through their extracurricular activities. It is probable to search internet and get hold of relevant schools that present with a variety of activities to stimulate the brain and encourage the development of children. A total development program to stimulate mental activity of children is also found out in the online sites and parents can try out these activities with their children while they are at home. Getting education from a school that implements total development program is much beneficial. Search for such schools and secure admission to enhance the future of the children and boosts in brain development.