Monday, October 29, 2012

Most Educated Nations of the World

Most Educated Nations of the World
Presented By:

College graduation rates continued to improve around the world during the recession, according to a recent international economic study. In more developed countries, the percentage of adults with the equivalent of a college degree rose to more than 30% in 2010. In the United States, it was more than 40%, which is among the highest percentages in the world.

However, improvements in higher education are harder to achieve in these countries. More developed economies have had the most educated populations for some time. While these countries have steadily increased education rates, the increases have been modest compared to developing economies. At just above 1%, the U.S. has had one of the smallest annual growth rates for higher education since 1997. In Poland, an emerging market, the annualized rate was 7.2% from 1997 to 2010.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Education at a Glance 2012 report calculated the proportion of residents with a college or college equivalent degree in the group’s 34 member nations and other major economies. Based on the report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 countries with the highest proportion of adults with a college degree.
The majority of countries that spend the most on education have the most educated populations. As in previous years, the best educated countries tend to spend the most on tertiary education as a percentage of gross domestic product. The United States and Canada, among the most educated countries, spend the first and third most respectively.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., OECD’s Chief Media Officer Matthias Rumpf explained that educational funding appears to have a strong relationship to how many residents pursue higher education. Private spending on educational institutions relative to public expenditure is much larger in the countries with the highest rates of college-equivalent education. Among the countries with the highest proportion of residents with a tertiary education, a disproportionate amount of spending comes from private sources, including tuition and donations. The OECD average proportion of private spending is 16%. In the U.S., 28% of funding comes from private sources. In South Korea, another country in the top 10, it is more than 40%.
Having more education helped people all over the world stay employed during the recession, according to the OECD. Between 2008 and 2010, unemployment rates among developed nations jumped from 8.8% to 12.5% for people with less than a high school education, and from 4.9% to 7.6% for people with only a high school education. For those with the equivalent of a college degree or more, the jobless rate went from 3.3% to just 4.7%.
Among the 10 countries with the highest proportion of educated adults, unemployment rates for those with a college equivalent ranged from 2.8% in Australia to 5.4% in the Canada. In each country, the rate remained lower than that country’s national average.
The OECD provided information on the percentage of residents aged 25 to 64 with a tertiary education for each of its 34 member countries, as well as for eight other nations. 2010 statistics on educational attainment, graduation rates, GDP per capita and unemployment rates also were provided by the OECD. The latest figures covering country-level education expenditure are from 2009.

Read more: The Most Educated Countries in the World - 24/7 Wall St.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

America’s Neglected Geniuses

America’s Neglected Geniuses
Presented By: Please Include Attribution to Bachelor's Degree Online With This Graphic

Harvard was missing something. Surrounded by peers at the annual Latino Ivy League Conference in Ithaca last November, Daniel J. Artiga ’15 came to this realization: As students active in the Latino community described the resources provided on their respective campuses, he had little to add. “Yale spoke, Brown spoke, they all had something great to say,” he remembers. But then it was Harvard’s turn. “The other delegates and I mentioned how it would be awkward beforehand, because we didn’t have a lot to say,” recalled Artiga, vice president of the Latino Men’s Collective. “But it didn’t hit me until I was actually sitting in a room listening to other students bragging about how well their Latino community is treated—and how ours is, I feel, neglected.”

Harvard prides itself on being at the vanguard of new inquiry. Yet when it comes to the study and support of the nation’s—and higher education’s—fastest-growing demographic, some students and professors believe that Harvard is falling behind.

“Spanish was spoken in many parts of what’s now the United States long before English was spoken,” says Professor David Carrasco, a Professor of Latin American Studies at the Divinity School with a joint appointment in Anthropology. Carrasco is Mexican-American and has been studying and teaching about Latinos and Latin America for years. A friendly, intense man with a jovial voice that switches effortlessly from English to Spanish as students stop by his office, he says that some histories of our nation just don’t get taught.
“We’re not trying to say this here because we want to raise up the ethnicity of Spanish speakers,” he clarifies. “It’s just a historical fact.”
Latinos are part of the nation’s past. They are part of Harvard’s past, too. They are a vibrant and undeniable part of its present. And the Latino population is growing. Fast.
Research on this swelling demographic and its impact is expanding at a rate similar to the population’s growth. And for good reason: The 2011 U.S. Census Bureau reports that the Hispanic population has almost doubled in size over the past decade. The nation’s largest ethnic minority, it accounts for 16.7 percent of the population—a number expected to reach 30 percent by 2050. And Latino students make up 11.2 percent of admitted students for the class of 2016.
Many of Harvard’s peer institutions offer either specific programs for scholarship of Latinos or cultural centers for their students. Students at Yale can go to La Casa Cultural, a cultural center founded in 1977. Stanford’s El Centro Chicano was established in 1978. Studying at Cornell? Minor in the Latino Studies Program.
Harvard has no equivalent.
“I’m struggling to find the resources and opportunities to explore my culture,” says Victor M. Flores Jr. ’13, who has been involved with College Latino student groups since he was a freshman. “There are still groups of color on campus that feel like learning about their culture and their communities and their history, and it’s difficult to access,” he says.
Efforts to bring such resources to Harvard, including attempts to create a center where students can have access to researchers and resources related to the Latino experience, stretch back approximately 40 years. This past April, Michael J. Trejo, a joint Kennedy and Business School student and the president and co-founder of the Harvard Latino Student Alliance (HLSA), published an op-ed in The Crimson, once again bringing demands for a Latino Studies Center to the fore.
Beyond drawing attention to the need for a more focused Latino Studies program, Trejo’s op-ed revitalized discussion of a student demographic that, while expanding, is—according to many of its members—talked about too little.
Visions for such a center at Harvard range from a social space where Latino student groups can meet and hold events, to a center or institute for scholarship and research opportunities, to a program of academic study within the College. The most cohesive plans embrace them all: a physical space where students and scholars can meet to discuss and disperse funds for the research and study of Latinos, accompanied by curricular offerings for College students.
Resistance to establishing a Latino Cultural Center is in keeping with Harvard’s long-standing policy on how it chooses to support ethnic and cultural student groups. With the exception of the Harvard University Native American Program, a University-funded office and space dedicated to supporting and educating about Harvard’s Native American community, no cultural student groups on campus have University-allocated centers. While this is true, many advocates of Latino Studies and of a Latino Studies Center laud the work done by the Department of African and African American studies, and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute, as models for what such resources might look like.
With the expansion of the Committee on Ethnic Studies—which, through curricular offerings and collaboration with student groups, offers support for those interested in the study of Latinos both in and outside the classroom—students and professors believe that Harvard is heading in the right direction.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags

Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags
Compiled By:

I heart Twitter. If you haven’t yet, follow @edudemic to keep up with what we’re doing, working on, and seeing (like last night’s tech event with GDGT in downtown Boston!). Twitter has become a massive hit in education and it’s too big to ignore. So that’s why we helped assemble the 2012 A-Z Guide To Twitter Hashtags. It’s been an invaluable resource for educators around the world.
But that’s a very lengthy list. Lucky for you, our friends at Online College Courses repurposed our lengthy list and made it a whole lot less, well, difficult. The following visualization should be a handy resource for any teacher looking to make the dive into Twitter. Trust me, it’s a bit daunting but worth taking the plunge. Just don’t be surprised if you become an addict!

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

English-Attack! Thailand 42-51% Special Discount

Logo of Groupon
Logo of Groupon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Interactive and entertaining learning tools like video booster, photo vocab and practice game with scores, levels and badges 
  • Effective learning concept based on cognitive neuroscience which focuses on immersion and motivation 
  • Online access anywhere, at student’s own pace
  • Taught by a team with 11 years of experience
  • Make new friends worldwide in English learners community

The Deal

Fine Print
  • Registration period: October 19 – November 19, 2012
  • Max. 1 Groupon per person
  • May purchase multiple as gifts
  • Courses must be completed within 6 months or 12 months the date of registration
  • For customers aged 13 and above only
  • Groupon(s) are non-exchangeable and non-combinable with other non-Groupon promotions
  • Valid online at 
  • For enquiries, email

How to Redeem

  • After purchasing your Groupon, visit from October 19 – November 22, 2012
  • Redeem your online course by entering your Groupon security code into the ‘Promo’ field

Course contents:
  • Video Booster
  • Photo Vocab
  • Practice Games
  • For more details, view this video:
The English Attack is an interactive online course using innovative pedagogical approach in English teaching based on cognitive neuroscience or ways the human brain adopts new knowledge. Such virtual learning uses entertaining learning tools such as the video booster which offers interactive lessons, photo vocab which is a visual dictionary and other practice games. Besides that, users gain the opportunity of making new friends from an international community while participating in healthy competition in terms of scores, levels and badge earned from games. The English Attack is taught by an expert team with 11 years of experience. Furthermore, students are free to learn at their own pace from the comforts of their home.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Can Claiming Bankruptcy Discharge Student Loan Debt?

Can Claiming Bankruptcy Discharge Student Loan Debt?

When Oquendo, a resident of Kissimmee, Fla., left her job as a photographer at Walt Disney World after she developed carpal tunnel syndrome, she decided she would go back to school "to better" herself. She heard about Full Sail University, a Florida-based, for-profit college specializing in the entertainment industry with many courses online. Oquendo enrolled, hoping to learn about new photo technology and design programs like Photoshop.
To pay for it, Oquendo took out a private student loan. A few years later at age 46, she's $33,000 in debt with no degree. She's struggling to make payments since she also has fibromyalgia, is on disability and is unable to work as much as she'd like.
"I wish I just could go back and undo everything," Oquendo said. "Knowing then what I know now, I would have never taken out the student loan."
Oquendo had to stop taking classes when her own health deteriorated. At the same time, her husband was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease and needed a liver transplant.
If she could file bankruptcy to erase the private student loan debt she owes to Sallie Mae, she would. But because of a 2005 reform law, private student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, except in extremely rare cases. Oquendo isn't alone. Today, 2.9 million Americans have private student loan debt, owing about $150 billion and representing 15 percent of all student debt.
Congress Created A ’Special Circle Of Bankruptcy Hell’
Pauline Abernathy, vice president of the Institute For College Access and Success, said a majority of students who graduate from for-profit colleges today have some private student loan debt, but even if bankruptcy were an option, it wouldn’t necessarily be an easy way out.
“Going into bankruptcy is not something anyone likes to do or wants to do, it's not something that anyone does lightly,” Abernathy said.
In 2007-08, around the same time as Oquendo attempted to pursue a degree, almost half of all students at four-year, for-profit schools had private student loans. Student loan debt nationally topped $1 trillion in 2012, more than credit cards, car loans or any other type of consumer debt.
"It's a special circle of bankruptcy hell reserved for dads who avoid child support and tax evaders," said Rich Williams, higher education advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Student borrowers who pursued an education and ended up struggling in the economy are stuck, he said. “No student ever thinks they're going to be the one not to find a job or be crippled by a health incident and wind up facing bankruptcy,” Williams said, adding that most students don't even know there's a difference in how student loans are treated concerning bankruptcy.
It wasn't always like this. Congress changed the law in 2005 in a broad bankruptcy reform package ushered through by Republicans.
The bankruptcy exemption for private student loans was part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). When reached by HuffPost, Grassley’s office insisted the rising cost of tuition is the real issue.
“As far as bankruptcy policy,” said Jill Kozeny, communications director for Grassley’s office, “the vast majority of student loans are federal loans, and private loans typically make up a similarly small percentage of debt for the students who take them. So even if waiving financial obligations was an appropriate response to student indebtedness, doing so in this case would have little impact on the overall student loan debt problem.”
Federal loans do account for 85 percent of the student loan market, and are also not eligible for discharge in bankruptcy. However, federal student loans have income-based repayment options and carry interest rates far lower than private student loans. Federal and state government programs also offer loan forgiveness for people who enter into certain public service programs.
"We don't believe there is a rationale for it other than the banks lobbied for it," Abernathy said. "There's no reason why private student loans should be treated differently than gambling debt," when it comes to bankruptcy eligibility.
Thecongressional record reveals little open discussion about private student loan changes leading up to passage of the legislation.
The Obama Administration Weighs In, Reports Call For Reform
recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education said Congress should consider revisiting the bankruptcy exemption for private student loans.
"Without the ability to discharge their loans, borrowers have looked for other ways to handle their debt," CFPB director Richard Cordray said. "But many borrowers told us their lenders were unable or unwilling to modify or adjust repayment terms even in these tough times. And the borrowers feel they have little leverage to negotiate reduced loan payments with their lenders."
Cordray said the CFPB found that after the law was changed in 2005, private lenders continued to issue subprime student loans, and there was no cost savings to students. Today, with stricter lending rules and a tighter credit market, 90 percent of private loans require a cosigner, and those cosigners also are unable to discharge the debt.
"We try to be very careful about [what] we're saying about the bankruptcy issue," Cordray told The Huffington Post in July. "We looked to understand whether the assumptions Congress had in mind can be verified by data. What we have found was that we were unable to find strong evidence that it caused prices to decline."
Cordray added that if Congress concludes the 2005 changes to the bankruptcy law regarding private student loans did not accomplish what was intended, "it would prudent to consider whether they wish to modify the code.
One of the largest student loan companies backs bankruptcy reform as well.
Jack Remondi, chief operating officer of Sallie Mae, said in his testimony at a recent Senate banking subcommittee hearing his company supports allowing new federal and non-federal to be eligible for discharge. "Responsible lending standards, clear information and consistent laws are good for borrowers and lenders alike," he said.
Patricia Nash Christel, a spokesperson for Sallie Mae, explained to HuffPost it supports allowing borrowers who make a "good-faith effort to repay their student loans over a five-to-seven year period and still experience financial difficulty" to discharge them in bankruptcy.
But opposition remains.
Wells Fargo, another major player in the private student loan game, opposes changing the bankruptcy law. "Rather than encouraging bankruptcy as the primary repayment assistance tool, the CFPB report should have focused on expanding repayment tools and options for private loan lenders to be able to offer customers," said Erin Downs, assistant vice president of communications for Wells Fargo.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of that Senate banking subcommittee, would not comment for this article, but said at a the hearing he worried changing the bankruptcy law would create a hardship for private lenders and banks.
“I just find it fascinating that one of the first things that you would do as a consumer protection agency” is propose allowing private borrowers to seek bankruptcy protection, Corker said.
But Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of, believes reform would be beneficial to lenders and borrowers alike.
"The prospect of losing loans to bankruptcy discharge will force lenders to offer struggling borrowers more options for meaningful financial relief,” Kantrowitz wrote in a recent study on student loan trends. "It will also encourage lenders to adopt more rational credit underwriting criteria that will prevent borrowers from graduating with excessive debt."
Richard Durbin’s Quest To Reform The Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Law
For the past three sessions of Congress, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced legislation to remove the exemption on private student loans.
Durbin believes the law "treats students who face financial distress the same way as people who are trying to discharge child support debts, alimony, overdue taxes and criminal fines."
"This harsh treatment of students in the bankruptcy system was built on the false premise that students were more likely to 'abuse' the bankruptcy system," Durbin said in a statement. "Yet there is no evidence and has never been any evidence to support this assumption."
Yet, even after the CFPB report came out, Durbin told Bloomberg News his legislation was "going nowhere." Banks already had lined up against it, despite the lack of progress to get even a committee vote.
Downs warned that Wells Fargo and other lenders might raise interest rates on private student loans "to reflect additional risk."
But Williams said advocates are not seeking special treatment. "We're fighting for basic consumer protections," he said.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Videogames & learning, tesol italy nov 2009 from Ajarn Donald's English Language Services

  • 1. VIDEOGAMESThe Learning Revolution Implications for EFL TESOL Italy Conference November 2009
  • 2. Who are we? Media and videogame experts. Co-founders of the first fully entertainment-focused TEFL companyNBC Vivendi GamesUniversal Interactive CNNI Play Apple Sierra on-line
  • 3. Video GamesA Planetary Success
  • 4. The World’s Fastest-Growing Entertainment Segment $55 billion in annual retail sales 100m + games consoles sold every year 600m console games will be sold this year 55 million people play online games
  • 5. More importantly, videogames are now…Colonizing the familyliving room…..and impacting totallynew areas of our lives.
  • 6. New trends: social Network Games A single Facebook game can attract 60m + users/ month
  • 7. New trends: iPhone Games20,000 new games titles published in just 16 months
  • 8. WHY are videogames so popular?
  • 9. BECAUSE our brains like videogames!
  • 10. 7 things we know about how our brains learn 1. Meaning is more important than information 2. Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning 3. Intelligence is a function of experience 4. The brain is social 5. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stress 6. The more stimulation, the more likely long- term memory is created 7. Movement locks in lessons learned
  • 11. How do videogames apply this?
  • 12. Meaning is more important than information Powerful, level-based Goal-driven Mario Kart / Nintendo scenarios Assasin’s Creed / Ubisoft Immediate feedback Brain Academy / Nintendo
  • 13. Emotion is the gatekeeper to learning Call of Duty 4 / Activision • Identification with in-game characters • Music, graphics, cinematics
  • 14. Intelligence is a function of experiencePattern Recognition Learn by doing Civilization / 2K Games Swat 4 / Vivendi Games
  • 15. The brain is social Team-based quest Multiplayer interactions toWorld of Warcraft / Blizzard build social skills Sims Online / Electronic Arts
  • 16. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by stressChallenge for status among Continuous encouragement friends Bejeweled 2 (Web) / PopCapWord Challenge (FaceBook) / Playfish
  • 17. The more stimulation, the more likely long- term memory is created Picture / Word association Brain Academy (WII) / NintendoAssembly model memorization Tetris Mania (Mobile) / Electronic Arts
  • 18. Movement locks in lessons learnedMotion detection Sensor-based controller WII / NintendoProject Natal / Microsoft
  • 19. Two approaches to learning The CONTENT to be learned: Facts – Principles – Information - SkillsTraditional “School” Approach The Games Approach Content is subordinated The Content is main focus to “something else,” and of the learning taught via this “something else.”
  • 20. So how do we exploit the learning potential of videogames?
  • 21. Earliest computer-aided instructionDrill- and curriculum-based; ’60’s – ’80’s• PLATO• Wicat
  • 22. The 1970’s: a vision of computer-assisted, entertainment-oriented learning The Apple II: the first truly personal computerSpace Invaders: the first mass-market breakthrough arcade games success
  • 23. ‘80’s- ‘90’s: Edutainment becomes a new educational movement and an industry
  • 24. Early “Edutainment” GamesAcademic Focus Entertainment Focus Construction Focus
  • 25. Yet… ultimately, the “edutainment” approach failed. Learning Game Game LearningGood educational games are first and foremost good games. The educational aspect should be the end-result of the gameplay, not the genesis of it.
  • 26. Today’s “learning games” are games first; and the approach is workingThe top-selling videogame in Europe of 2007
  • 27. Originally developed as a recruitment tool; now one of the best-sellingcombat game franchises.
  • 28. The second-best-selling videogame in both Europe and the U.S. in 2008
  • 29. New trends bringing Education and Videogames closer to each other
  • 30. • Dyscalculia : Number Shark Games as therapy for•• Dyslexia : Word Shark learning disabilities Working Memory Deficiency: JungleMemory Jungle Memory working memory disorders dyslexia dyscalculia
  • 31. QUEST TO LEARNA New York City publicschool focused ongame-based learning,just opened this Fall.Set up by a non-profitgroup, the Institute ofPlay, with help from theMacArthur Foundation.
  • 33. OK, so the potential for EFL must be limitless. What’s being done?
  • 34. EFL Games : Basic Approaches Hangmans CrosswordsWordfindersMemory-type games Word Scrambles Wordbuilders
  • 35. Limitations of basic EFL games No meaningful context Goal orientation is not obvious Very basic graphics, often no sound  lack of emotion Reinforcement and reward are absent No or very rudimentary level design
  • 36. More evolved approaches English VilllageSecond Life English British Council Avatar Languages
  • 37. WizWorld Online: learn English through fantasy role-playing online gaming (8World, China) game was created by Videogames celebrity Rick Goodman who developed the best-selling games Age of Empires and Empire Earth.
  • 38. Carnegie Mellon / Nokia in India The university has spent the last 6 years designing educational games for mobilephones that are relevant to the culture of rural India, and the study is currently being rolled out to 800 children across 40 villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • 39. Decorate!: vocabulary building via interior decorating commands in English (Sprk, Sweden) are experimenting with games not originally created for to nevertheless provide meaningfulcontext and opportunities for purposeful communication. New games identified every week by great EFL bloggers like Russel Stannard, Nik Peachy, and Larry Ferazzo.
  • 40. So where do we go from here?
  • 41. The current generation of young people is the first that works, plays, thinks and learns differently than their parents did. What we call “technology,” they call “life.”
  • 42.  They are highly intelligent but easily bored…. They are gamers, networkers and communicators…. They need to understand “the big picture” to be motivated… …and they LEARN BY DOING
  • 43. For every one of them,English is the international language of opportunity.
  • 44. Our challenge Will we just start using new technologies, like videogames, to do what we have always done, just a little different, a little better?Or can we embrace games, online video, mobile phones and social networks in a way that really changes how we think about learning?
  • 45. Our challenge Can new technologies change not just the way we teach, but…  the way we interact with learners?  how learners interact with each other?  how learners can start to teach other learners?  what about self-analysis, self- movitation, self-testing?
  • 46. Our challenge
  • 47. Our challengeAt the heart of any educational journey is a teacher. And for great teachers, technology is just another tool to unlock a piece of knowledge. Games can help do this, and, increasingly, they will.
  • 48. Coming soon at
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