Category Archives: Education

Posts about education in general.

Mind Map: A Tool in Conceptual Framework Development

It takes considerable time to figure out an appropriate conceptual framework for a study. The difficulty partly arises from a person’s unfamiliarity with the topic at hand. Hence, the following article on how to use the mind map can make the process of conceptual framework development easier.

One of the first things one should do when conducting meaningful research is to identify knowledge gaps in the selected topic. However, unless you make a thorough review of the literature, it is easier said than done. A comprehensive review of the literature is one where you can see clearly what aspects of the topic have not been studied yet.

How can you systematically undertake such a thorough review of the literature and identify where the gap exists?

Mind Map: A Literature Review Tool

Mind mapping the topic while reading the literature helps. Find a central issue, most sensibly the dependent variable, which is the focus of the research.

For example, a teacher may be interested in finding out why students in his or her class come to class late. Tardiness is not a unique phenomenon that the teacher can claim to be the first to identify. Some other teacher-researchers may have already looked into the problem in other places. Hence, a review of the literature of factors affecting tardiness can already be made.

It is possible, however, that the root cause of the problem in other places may not exist in the specific situation where the teacher carries out her tasks. Or, even after instituting new policies based on the review of factors affecting tardiness, the issue is not resolved. There may be a factor or set of factors that influence the students’ prompt arrival in class.

An example mind map may look like Figure 1 below where the central theme, tardiness, is the main topic. You may add the number of literature that supports particular predictor variables.

mind map
Figure 1. Mind map of factors affecting tardiness (click to enlarge).

The mind map shows that many studies have been done on the effect of predictor variables on tardiness. Further, among the predictor variables studied, several independent variables have been identified as significant predictors of tardiness. As not all of the predictor variables are accounted for in one study, there may be other variables at play which may have been left unstudied.

Example Conceptual Framework

For example, during a parent-teacher meeting, several parents raised the problem of internet overuse among their children. As an insight from the meeting, the teacher thought that internet use might be one of the reasons why pupils come to class late. Students tend to sleep late at night or early in the morning, playing online games.

From the mind map given in Figure 1, note that one of the factors identified is internet use as a predictor of sleep quality which in turn affects tardiness. Thus, a conceptual framework emphasizing the use of the internet plus two other significant predictors of tardiness may serve as study guide. Figure 2 shows the paradigm of such study. Internet use is highlighted as one of the independent variables.

Figure 2. Paradigm of a study on factors affecting tardiness.

The e-book on conceptual framework development featured in this site provides more detailed examples focused on other research topics.

References

Gemmill, E. L. and M. Peterson (2006). Technology use among college students: implications for student affairs professionals. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from https://tinyurl.com/y2cks6dk

Mizan, S. S. and D. G. Shendell (2011). Absence, extended absence, and repeat tardiness related to asthma status among elementary school children. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from https://tinyurl.com/y6rfl5l6

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (October 20, 2019). Mind Map: A Tool in Conceptual Framework Development [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/10/20/mind-map-a-tool-in-conceptual-framework-development/

Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners

I developed SimplyEducate.me, a research-oriented blog, to facilitate student learning taking advantage of easy online access to educational articles that I carefully created. After six years, the blog metamorphosed into a legitimate reference material that served students and teachers alike in many educational institutions worldwide. The articles were organized into e-books that helped generate funds to make the operation of the website sustainable.

The age of information revolutionized the way students learn. Learning is no longer confined to the four corners of the classroom. It is common knowledge that whenever students are faced with assignments to work on, chances are, students will surf the Internet (Rhoades et al., 2008) to get the information they want from over 1.8 billion websites in the world (Fowler, 2017).

However, not all of the materials published on the internet are curated. The article or write-up that the student finds in the first ten links may be presenting misleading information. An opinion given by the writer may be construed as fact by the reader (Graham and Metaxas, 2003). In particular, information from blogs may not always be reliable as many of these are strongly opinionated and can lack professionalism.

Source: xkcd.com

Blog as Reference Material

A popular article published in a blog may not necessarily provide factual information. But psychologists found that people may not go to lengths to verify the information they have just read, even lies.

A landmark study by Hovland and Weiss (1951) noted that in time, people tend to disassociate the content and the source. A once “untrustworthy” material taken initially with skepticism is accepted. Lies are easily remembered than truths. Thus, internet-savvy educators need to institute safeguards to wean their students from “untrustworthy” sources of information.

Modern, information technology-oriented educators can enhance the learning quality of 21st-century learners by providing tips on how to discern factual from false information (Regoniel, 2017). Further, in response to the increasing popularity of the world wide web as a source of reliable information worthy of being cited as reference material, the educators themselves can produce well-written educational materials that their students can rely on.

I took this path and created my science blog as a venue to share my research knowledge and experience to students in the university as well as other places across the globe. I wrote short articles, averaging 400 to 600 words, based on a tedious synthesis of curated material found online. Guest authors, mainly academic, also joined and published similar articles.

The blog that I started as a hobby in October 2012 evolved into a legitimate source of reference material. Published articles got cited in international scientific journals, book chapters, books and e-books published by Springer, Proquest and ERIC. A short article titled “Conceptual framework: a step by step guide on how to make one” published in 2015, garnered 34 citations as of this writing.

The internet enabled people to access information at their fingertips. Science-related information that educates students and professionals no longer need to spend a fortune to answer one question that persists in their brain. Blogs can supply ready answers to hungry minds.

References

Fowler, D. (2017). How many websites are there in the world? Retrieved on January 18, 2019 from https://tekeye.uk/computing/how-many-websites-are-there.

Graham, L. and Metaxas, P. T. (2003). Of course it’s true; I saw it on the Internet!: critical thinking in the Internet era. Communications of the ACM, 46(5):70–75.

Hovland, C. I. and Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness.
Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(4):635–650.

Rhoades, E. B., Irani, T., Telg, R., and Myers, B. E. (2008). Internet as an information source: Attitudes and usage of students enrolled in a college of agriculture course. Journal of Agricultural Education,
49(2):108–117.

© 2019 September 26 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 26, 2019). Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/09/26/blog-as-reference-material-for-21st-century-learners/

Why Are English Language Proficiency Exams Important?

This article aims to describe the level of English proficiency in the Philippines and why it is important to change the curriculum based on global standards such as APTIS, TOEIC, IELTS and TOEFL. In order for you to understand it, please read on below.

In the essay, “Pliant like the Bamboo” by I.V. Mallari, Filipinos are said to have the gift of language. We are good communicators. We are hired abroad because of our ability to communicate in a multi-cultural environment. More than 14 million Filipinos were able to speak English, and we were recognized globally. However, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have improved their English literacy rate while our level of English proficiency is declining.

As a curriculum developer, it is necessary to have a preparatory year aside from the K+12 Basic Education Curriculum. The Preparatory Year must be based in the English Proficiency Exams such as TOEIC, TOEFL, APTIS, and IELTS because many of the countries in Europe, Middle East, and Asia are now changing their curriculum in English. For example, an international school in Thailand includes in their Transcript of Records the students’ TOEIC scores for the companies to choose the most qualified graduates and place them in the positions that they deserve.

The research conducted by President Melva Diamante of Southville Foreign University and the General Manager of Hopkins International Partners, Inc., Mr. Rex Wallen Tan found that the average English proficiency score of a Philippine college graduate is 630 based on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). This score is lower than the competency requirement for taxi drivers in Dubai. Given the scenario, the government is looking into revising the curriculum for college students to improve the quality of our graduates. CHED Chair Commissioner, Prospero De Vera pointed out the importance of taking more seriously the industry-academe-government partnership to address the trends worldwide.

But before we do the so-called curricular reforms in the Philippines, please try to reflect and answer the following questions:

1. How can schools and universities nationwide improve the level of English proficiency of the students to globally compete with other countries? 

2. Why should we adopt CEFR and TOEIC in the Philippines? Or can we have other tests like APTIS, TOEFL and IELTS, among others?

3. What major steps shall we make in order to achieve the language proficiency based on the global standards?

When I was in the Middle East, I was part of the Curriculum Development Committee that evaluated a proposal made by a prestigious university in Canada. Our committee was tasked to develop the English Curriculum for Preparatory Year based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The British Council, the Oxford University Press, the Educational Testing System (ETS), and the Cambridge University Press were our partners in the design and development of the English curriculum because our graduates are expected to study further in the United Kingdom and/or to work in multi-national companies like ARAMCO, SABIC, among others.

In 2016, I went to Asia. I was encouraged by my dissertation adviser to go to Thailand to immerse and personally experience the educational milieu in Asia. Now, Thailand is working hard to increase its language proficiency. My students were familiar with the TOEIC exam because it was integrated into their English curriculum. They are required to take it every semester so that they could have higher TOEIC scores. Their real TOEIC scores in the final year of their degree programs are shown in their Transcript of Records.

My immersion with multi-national companies made me realize that there is a need to adopt the CEFR. It is essential in measuring the level of proficiency among our graduates and employees. However, taking the CEFR and developing a curriculum based on it is not an easy task. The Philippine Government and the Commission on Higher Education must conscientiously implement the National English Roadmap to make it successful. However, there will be challenges. Here are some:

1. Planning & Budgetary Requirements. The budget for laboratory equipment, classroom security devices, computers, and internet connections must be included in Strategic Planning.

2. Facilities and Equipment. There is a need for reliable WiFi and internet connection. Each classroom must be equipped with a computer, LCD, or smartboard.

3. Curriculum & Assessment. There is a need to decongest the curriculum (if possible, adopt the Oxford, Cambridge, Pearson, & British Council curriculum, including books and instructional materials). There is also a need to device authentic assessment tools to determine the level of proficiency-based on the CEFR. In some cases, curriculum developers mirror/mimic the APTIS, TOEIC, IELTS, TOEFL, and English Cambridge Exam to expose the students.

4. Admission Requirements & Graduates Quality Standards. The selection process must be valid and reliable. In most countries, they use English proficiency exams such as APTIS, TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

5. Teachers’ Training. There is a need to train teachers and curriculum developers for this kind of curriculum, along with language specialists.

6. Mindset & Attitude. Many will be skeptics about the adoption of the CEFR, but ASEAN countries have adopted it to address the issues in globalizing Higher Education.  

If our neighboring countries have already adopted the use of English proficiency exams and CEFR, the Filipinos who are pliant like the bamboo must be willing to accept the changes. It is not only about English proficiency. It is finding the right graduates for the right jobs and positions.

References:

  1. Cabigon, Mike. (November 14, 2015). State of English in PH: Should we be concerned? Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/90293/state-of-English-in-ph-should-we-be-concerned.
  2. Domingo, Katrina (February 9, 2018). PH lacks English standard ahead of BPO shift to artificial intelligence. Retrieved from (https://news.abs- cbn.com/business/02/08/18/ph-lacks-english-standard-ahead-of-bpo-shift-  to-artificial-intelligence.
  3. Morallo, Audrey (February 8, 2018). Filipino graduates’ English skills lower than target for cab drivers in Dubai, study says. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/08/1785840/filipino-graduates-english-skills-lower-target-cab-drivers-dubai-studysays#yaAZ1LCyLWjZxmmb.99
Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (September 13, 2019). Why Are English Language Proficiency Exams Important? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/09/13/why-are-english-language-proficiency-exams-important/

Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information

What is scientific information unless read and understood by a higher number of people and applied to their lives? This article describes the power of science blogs as an offshoot of the internet, disruptive technology that changed people’s lives since its introduction in 1990.

Open Science Blog on Research Findings

Open science blogs are potent media that can aid scientists in disseminating their findings. With a little but working knowledge of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, one can readily upload his or her thoughts, opinions, perspectives, or even data for discussion on a particular topic of interest.

Using blogs, a knowledgeable science writer can translate scientific findings into a form that a layperson can understand. Evidence-based perspectives influence how people think and act. Discoveries present interesting information that people can use for their specific purposes.

Consequently, more author exposure is possible with the ease by which one can self-publish articles worthy in a science blog as references. Putnam (2011) noted that science blogs promote quick dissemination of research, increases cooperation, and potentially makes the author’s research stronger.

Blogs offer opportunities to disseminate scientific information fast. There is no need to wait in the long queue of traditional scientific publishing, even the open access ones. Thus, the cost of publication is small, but the gains in learning something new or groundbreaking is high.

A caricature on blogs.

Peer-review Process

Meanwhile, some people criticize the science blog’s authenticity as these are not peer-reviewed. Peer review ensures production of quality articles (see post on the benefits of peer-review). But readers take care of this concern, through their comments. Some may even be authorities in their respective fields.

To illustrate this situation, see the lengthy comments on Canadian microbiologist Rosie Redfield’s critic in her science blog of a NASA finding. Colleagues responded to the post and gave their confirmation or criticism of the ideas presented in the article. The blog’s author, as well as other readers, responded or reacted to the critic’s concern. No conventional scientific journal can feature this kind of interaction between people.

Carsten Könneker, lead researcher and science communication expert of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany noted that “Blogging is only one digital format for science communication. Scientists who don’t make use of any of these formats are missing out on immense opportunities” (Brown and Woolston, 2018).

Finally, this blog allows me to present my ideas and share my experiences not only to my students but students from all over the world. The feeling of satisfaction from readers who find my articles helpful is immeasurable. At times, I write articles about my research findings. In effect, this blog functions as a science blog.

Science blogs, therefore, are powerful media to share scientific information. Join the community of science bloggers. Write your thoughts here.

Brown, E. and Woolston, C. (2018). Why science blogging still matters. Retrieved on January 19, 2019 from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01414-6.

References

Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 65(4).

© 2019 June 1 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (June 1, 2019). Science Blogs: a way to disseminate scientific information [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/06/01/science-blogs/

Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper

Academic writing skills need time and effort to hone. But how would you develop your skills to write like a seasoned scientist? As a university professor, I found the following five tips useful in writing articles and long academic papers easy, fast, and professional looking. Read on to find out.

Ten Tips in Developing Academic Writing Skills

1. Use technological aids

The age of information brings with it lots of technological aids useful in writing academic papers. Just minding the underlined words in your paragraph and reading the suggestions offered by MS Word using its spelling and grammar function can help improve your academic writing skills. Take time to correct your spelling and grammar using the tips, and definitely, you will deliver a better paragraph.

While I am confident that I can write and express myself well in English, I once subscribed in Grammarly to improve my grammar. My once too busy schedule and a change in routine at home prevented me from writing regularly and making full use of the app. Hence, I stopped using it.

However, knowing that my blog, this website, gains more traffic with each blog I write and realizing that additional income significantly supplements my regular job, I resolved to post articles once again frequently. I re-subscribed in Grammarly to help me compose my articles better yet. Pieces that are virtually free of errors get ranked well and gain more views. I believe it is a good investment for a blogger like me.

2. Use Free Sources of Literature

Google Scholar is an excellent aid to help develop academic writing skills. It is an indispensable online, freely accessible search engine that lets you browse digital copies of articles related to your research interests.

Decades back, I have a hard time looking for related literature and judge whether a topic is worth pursuing. Google Scholar makes it easy as it archives articles from scientific journals. Just read the metadata and decide whether it suits your theme. You may read my previous post titled How to Start a Review of Literature and see how to make full use of the search engine.

If you cannot afford the price of the article you are interested in, you may use free online sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), CORE, Science Open, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), among others. Open access articles allow you to read the essential contents of the scientific paper like the methodology. Hence, you can improve your academic writing skills by citing relevant scientific articles.

3. Use Statistics in Your Write-up

The use of numbers in your write-up makes it more interesting. Summarizing them in the form of tables, graphs, or infographic even make information much more enjoyable. According to an infographic by MDG Advertising, articles with relevant images get 94% more views (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Infographic on the impact of relevant images in articles.

4. Look for Mentors to Hone Your Academic Writing Skills

Finding a good mentor to give you feedback on your write-ups helps a lot. Have constant interaction with a colleague who has a keen eye in spotting spelling, grammatical problems, or even your logic.

Asking people to comment on your paper makes peer review a critical process in developing your academic writing skills. Even small but significant punctuation errors reflect on the accuracy and reliability of your article. Common mistakes like the use of colons, semi-colons, and the correct written form of “et al.” say a lot about you as an academic writer.

5. Maintain a Habit of Writing

Practice makes perfect. You cannot perfect your trade with just a few essays here and there. Develop your writing style and establish a habit of writing.

Allocate specific time frames to write, and do it whether you are inspired to write or not. It will help if you know when is the best time to write. I usually allocate two hours to write an article. But I noticed an article written in 30 minutes gained a lot of views!

Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing your writing preference relieves you of mental blocks. Make sure that you can do your writing without interruption on those times to avoid breaking your flow of thought.

Recognizing the time when you can best compose an article makes the task easy to do. For sure, with constant practice, your academic writing skills will gradually improve through time.

To summarize everything and I recap, remember the five tips I have just described. I know these tips helped me write high traffic articles in Simplyeducate.me. The tips also enabled me to write books which took a lot of time to produce.

Do you have more tips in mind that works for you? Please share in the comments below.

© 2019 May 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (May 25, 2019). Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/05/25/academic-writing-skills/

If the world is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter?

As climate change raises our planet’s temperatures, warming has affected winters more quickly than summers. However, when temperatures drop below zero, many people, including US President Donald Trump , asks: “If the Earth is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter?”

The answer lies in the difference between the local weather state and the climate in general.

Climate Defined and An Analogy

Climate refers to how the atmosphere behaves over a long period, while the weather describes what happens in a much shorter time frame. In a certain way, climate can be considered as the sum of long periods of the weather.

Or, if we use an analogy: the weather represents the amount of money you have in your pocket today, while the weather is your net worth. A billionaire who forgot his wallet one day is not poor, just as a person in poverty does not become rich if he suddenly makes an unexpected profit of a few hundred dollars. The important thing is what happens in the long term.

The Earth is Getting Warmer

Even if one day you are colder than usual, the whole planet is more often hotter than the historical average.

For example, in December 2017 there was a period in which the weather was unusually cold in several regions of the United States; they had temperatures between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius colder than normal, but the world in general had conditions 0.5 degrees warmer than the average during 1979 to 2000.

Climatologists expect the world to warm, on average, by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius more by the end of the century – depending on how fast greenhouse gas emissions rise – but this is not forecast to mean the end of winter. There will still be historically minimum levels of temperatures, only that they will be increasingly spaced.

According to a study published in 2009 , the United States had almost the same amount of historical maximums as temperature lows during the 1950s, but by the 2000s it had twice the maximums than historical lows. There were still waves of cold, but they were becoming much less frequent.

Cold Surges Due to Polar Vortex

Some of the recent cold surges have occurred because of a climatic phenomenon called the polar vortex, referring to circular wind bands near the poles. There is increasing evidence suggesting that the polar vortex is appearing more frequently outside the Arctic region, due to changes in the current as a result of the warming of the atmosphere. These changes allow the icy air to escape from the Arctic and swoop down to the south.

Some politicians in the world have already tried to use cold waves to argue that global warming is not such. US President Donald Trump is accustomed to showing his skepticism about climate change on Twitter, and has published comments on “climate change” or “global warming” more than a hundred times since 2011. Before becoming president, he said the change in climate was a hoax and claimed that the idea had been perpetuated by the Chinese.

In 2018, he retracted his comment, saying: “I do not think it’s a hoax. Yes, I think there’s probably a difference, but I do not know if it’s caused by humanity.”

Hundreds of scientific organizations indicate that human activities are mainly responsible for global warming.

Cite this article as: marvelloussuraj (April 9, 2019). If the world is getting warmer, why is it so cold in winter? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/04/09/if-the-world-is-getting-warmer-why-is-it-so-cold-in-winter/

Great Ways to Present Your Data

Reporting the findings of a study is often thought of as the final step in program analytics. People that view data presentation as of lesser importance misinterpret it. People that are interested in data-driven discovery and transformation should prioritize data presentation and take advantage of solutions such as stale slideshows and Powerpoint presentations. No matter how sophisticated and streamlined a display is, it doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t address the right audience. The following are incredible tips for overcoming the barriers of data presentation and becoming more effective at reporting data-driven findings.

Words

Visualization may not leave adequate space for words, but data presenters can still use images to sell their story. However, that doesn’t make words less useful; instead, data presenters should think of it as meaning that every word counts and ensure no word goes to waste. Even without a room for wording, data presenters can use wording techniques to make their presentations unique. You should start by making headings and titles less generic, and instead, use that front page for highlighting the key points. Like other storytelling processes, data-driven storytelling can be done in many ways, but the only difference is that no audience needs a surprising ending. Of course, the viewers want to get the facts they paid for before the end of a story.

Become a Numbers Artist

It involves more than the use of numbers and logic to figure out how to present data-driven discoveries. Research has shown that speaking to both the heart and head of the audiences can persuade them to change their mind and take action. Though numbers are effective at presenting quantifiable information, data presenters might need some forms of grounding or humanizing data when communicating how things impact the lives of their target audience. Sometimes data presenters can achieve this by attaching an image that relates to their topic next to the chart or graph.

Color

The use of colors is one of the useful storytelling and data visualization tools. The eyes of the target audience are attracted to color, so data presenters should use colors that drive the eyeballs towards the key aspects when telling stories. Data presenters can use various colors such as grey or brown to de-emphasis anything that isn’t essential at that point.

Don’t Be Stuck to the Past

At least half of the target audience is likely to use their mobile devices to read business analytics. You can present reports as if they are intended to bound into a book or printed. However, the habit has become unnecessary today because it tends to prevent actual readers from engagement. Ideas such as leaving blank pages and carrying over old things are no longer useful. Bloating reports of a data-driven discovery can be an effective way to leave insights unexploited and findings ignored.

Start at the End

Though it alludes to the above, starting at the end deserves its unique heading. Data presentation experts recommend flipping the script to the order in which data presenters report their findings. That means students and any other presenters should consider re-arranging their ways of communicating their reports.

People that have come through academia are indoctrinated with the culture that says they should explain their message, discuss the findings that people have discovered, and give their background. However, starting at the end fails the color consideration test option because it doesn’t consider things from their viewpoint and describe them in a way the target audience can understand.

Therefore, data presenters should start with the findings, conclusions, and action items to ensure the target audience understands the results clearly. It also gives data presenters a chance to report their findings in a way that other people will understand and remember.

Everything discussed above including words and colors and speaking to the hearts and heads of the target audience as well as becoming a number artists impacts the way people report their data-driven discoveries.

Cite this article as: KevinDevoto (April 9, 2019). Great Ways to Present Your Data [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/04/09/great-ways-to-present-your-data/

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education: An Urgent Need to Change the Curriculum

This article justifies the urgent need to change the curriculum in the Philippines given the rapid pace of development in artificial intelligence and robotics in education. Read on to appreciate what robots can do in education and why there is a need to change the curriculum.

In 2017, my student in the Diploma in Teaching Course in Thailand gave me the idea how fast the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world, particularly in the field of education. “Robots are coming our way! They are already here and might replace us – teachers in a very short period of time,” he said.

In Thailand, the use of artificial intelligence and robotics in education has been intensified as it pushes forward to digital economy era or the so-called, “The Age of Automation.” Yes, almost everything can be done with the use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)!

With the rapid expansion of technology and digital applications, we have now the robotic nurses and surgeons. We also have automated vehicles or driverless cars. There is also a translation app and a device that will automatically translate your utterances and be able to converse with foreigners in real time.

If we have robotic nurses, surgeons and translators, can we also have robotic teachers? What can AI and robotics do in the field of education?

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education

1. Assessment

With softwares and apps available in the market, you can easily assess the performance of students. The use of Moodle, Edmodo, Google Classroom, and Schoology, among others can help you a lot in assessing students’ performance. Paper and pencil tests can easily be constructed in the Learning Management System. All you have to do is encode the questions, set the correct answer, and upload it. On the other hand, your students receive the test and answer it. Then, their scores will be displayed on their screens and on your screen as the subject teacher.

For written responses like essays, you can easily check and mark their papers even if you have a lot of students. You can also give immediate feedback whether their papers are plagiarized or have errors in grammar, spelling and mechanics.

There are also grammar and vocabulary games that would help determine your students’ level of proficiency. Proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC are in digital form. You can do a test preparation online or even take the actual test online in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

2. Personalization and Differentiation

In many Asian countries, large classes are evident. With 40 – 60 students, it is hard to treat students one by one and give them immediate feedback.

Nowadays, there are robots that can read the facial expressions of students whether they find the lessons difficult or not. Robots can also distinguish which students must be given extra lessons or a simplified explanation of the lesson.

You can also check class attendance through QR codes. If a student does not belong to your class, the app can give you information about the student’s classroom, subject and teacher. A notification is also sent to the parents if their children are present or not. All students’ records are in the dashboard so that the advisers can easily monitor their students’ over-all performance.

Likewise, parents can also keep track the progress of their children. There is a learning management system than can let parents monitor the performance of their children.

Thus, academic performance can easily be traced, monitored and evaluated by the teachers, students, and parents as well. Students are treated individually and able to excel in their academic pursuits.

3. Teaching and Learning

Robots are being developed as teaching assistants or real teachers. They can now deliver lectures like humans do! They can also give a lot of information and answer questions from the students.

In some cases, robots are used as instructional materials. For example, robotics are used in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classes to explain the concepts and processes involved.

robot
Robots can change the education landscape (Source: Designed by GraphicMama)

In a university that offers Technopreneurship Curriculum, both teachers and students can make their own robots, apps, or devices and sell them to interested individuals or companies. This kind of curriculum is getting popular in Korea and India, and hopefully in the Philippines.

Why Change the Curriculum

Anticipating automation and artificial intelligence in education, the curriculum must be changed. There is a need to train and retrain people to use new technologies that would require for new skills and competencies.

For example, schools around the world are now integrating the 21st Century skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration (4Cs) in their curricular programs. In this way, education is able to make people “humans.”

According to Jack Ma, “We can’t compete with robots in terms of knowledge. Teach people with soft skills such as teamwork, independent thinking, believing, and caring for others. These are the important skills that can distinguish us from robots”.

The kind of curriculum in the Philippines must change from content-driven into technology-driven curriculum coupled with skills and experiences. This means that  teachers must use technology (robots and AI) to facilitate the lesson; teach soft skills to students, and provide the students with the experiences in which they can create and innovate ideas through problem solving, research and development.

Now, let’s go back to the question raised by my student. Can robots replace us? Perhaps, they can take our jobs in the future. But are we going to allow this?

If our answer is “No”, then we  should use robots only as our tools to make things faster and easier for us. We need to equip ourselves with skills necessary to have a meaningful life – a kind of life that is stress-free and where we have more time to spend with our families and friends.

References:

1. Leesa-nguansuk, Suchit. (June 5, 2017). AI at 4.0 forefront. Retrieved from https://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/local-news/1262763/ai-at-4-0-forefront

2. Lynch, Matthew. (May, 5, 2018). Seven roles for artificial intelligence in education. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/7-roles-for-artificial-intelligence-in-education/

3. Lynch, Matthew. (March 26, 2017). Five reasons to teach robotics in schools. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/five-reasons-to-teach-robotics-in-schools/

4. Manns, Mark. (December 11, 2017). Artificial intelligence: opportunities, threats and future learning. Retrieved from https://bangkok.unesco.org/content/artificial-intelligence-opportunities-threats-and-future-learning

5. Marr, Bernard. (July 25, 2018). How is AI used in education – real world examples of today and a peek into the future. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/07/25/how-is-ai-used-in-education-real-world-examples-of-today-and-a-peek-into-the-future/#62ae6a62586e

6. Utermohlen, Karl. (April 12, 2018). Four ways AI is changing the education industry. Retrieved from https://towardsdatascience.com/4-ways-ai-is-changing-the-education-industry-b473c5d2c706

7. World Economic Forum. (February 1, 2018). The future of education according to Jack Ma, Trudeau, and Malala. Retrieved from https://english.cw.com.tw/article/

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (October 17, 2018). Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education: An Urgent Need to Change the Curriculum [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/10/17/artificial-intelligence-and-robotics-in-education/

Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include?

One of the doctor in educational administration students in my advanced statistics class once asked: “How do you choose the variables of the study? Which ones should be included in the research paradigm?”

This concern comes up when dealing with research problems involving several variables. Such studies employ multivariate analysis like multiple regression, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, among others. Many quantitative dissertation papers use these statistical tests. Therefore, the variables of the study need to be properly identified prior to data gathering.

Of course, to put everything in its proper context, the paradigm of the study appears in the later part of the formal research paper. Choosing the variables of a study requires a good understanding of the topic under investigation. A good understanding of the topic comes after a thorough review of related literature. However, you need to be clear beforehand on what issues or problems you want to investigate.

Thus, choosing the variables that will form part of the paradigm requires clear thesis statements.  Given that the graduate students’ pursue a doctoral degree in educational administration, they must look into issues or problems related to their specialization.

In view of the foregoing, a doctor of education degree prepares individuals to serve as leaders in schools or colleges, or work for school districts or government organizations. Doctor of education holders usually do research for policy making purposes. Hence, exploration of educational administration topics precedes any research activity.

Variables of the Study

Research titles reflect the variables of the study. For example, the following issues or problems on educational administration may be looked into by graduate students of educational administration:

  1. Efficacy of peer supervision,
  2. Factors affecting the impact of professional development programs on teachers’ performance,
  3. Factors affecting students’ self-efficacy in elementary education,
  4. Classroom factors affecting students’ academic achievement, and
  5. Factors affecting the effective integration of information technology in the classroom.

The above titles expressly state or imply the variables of the study. Specifically, in the specific order given above, the variables considered include:

  1. peer supervision or arrangements where peers work together for mutual benefit;
  2. professional development programs, teachers’ performance;
  3. factors affecting students’ self-efficacy such as performance experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, imaginal experience, and physical and emotional states (Bandura, 1988), students’ self efficacy;
  4. classroom factors, students’ achievement; and
  5. factors affecting the use of information technology, effectiveness of information technology.

Meanwhile, for statistical tests to be properly applied, the variables must be measurable. The variables belong to any of the four types of variables namely nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

Finally, an illustrated example hammers the idea in. The following paradigm demonstrates the relationship of variables in the study on students’ self-efficacy:

variables of the study
Factors affecting self-efficacy [Source: LaRocca (2017)].

Finally, I believe that practice makes perfect. Try to work on the other four examples to test your understanding.

References

Bandura, A. (1988). Organisational applications of social cognitive theory. Australian Journal of management, 13(2), 275-302.

LaRocca, B. (2017). Self-efficacy tookit. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from https://www.transformingeducation.org/self-efficacy-toolkit/

© 2018 September 24 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 24, 2018). Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/09/24/variables-of-the-study/



Why undertake a literature review?

A literature review related to the topic chosen by researchers occupies an entire section of a thesis. Why undertake a thorough literature review? This article explains why.

The conduct of research requires a literature review. The review enables you, as a researcher, to get a good grasp of the topic at hand. Hence, to make the review useful in building up the conceptual framework of the thesis,  visiting libraries would be a good idea. Read the latest scientific journals relevant to the academic discipline where you belong. You may also surf the internet to read full scientific articles for free, especially with the preponderance of open access journals. You may also find Google Scholar very useful in finding related literature. Further, useful sources of information include government websites, particularly those that offer statistical data.

Reinventing the Wheel

Reviewing the literature prevents the duplication of previous work done on the topic identified.  Thus, literature review saves money, time and effort. It prevents the “reinvention of the wheel.” This idiomatic expression means that doing something that others have already done is a waste of time.

Landmark Papers: Most Cited

Researchers consider some research publications with high regard. These publications are referred to as landmark papers. Landmark, must-read, papers have become popular among researchers as sensible sources of information. Usually well-known authority figures in the field author these publications.

However, the popularity of a paper does not necessarily mean that the arguments, hypothesis or theories presented by that author eludes correction. Contemporary researchers, armed with new insights from evidences gathered through meticulous research or experimentation, can debunk the philosophies advanced by an authority figure and render them as myth.

literature-review
Aristotle says it so.

Theories from well-known personalities can always be challenged as new information comes in. For example, Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual figures of western history, proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Of course, he missed counting the teeth to verify his statement.  Until… somebody challenged the idea by just suggesting “Let’s count.” A simple experiment ended the idea from a well-known figure.

Point of Saturation of the Literature Review

Familiarity with the research or investigation made by other researchers enables you to understand the issue at hand better. Upon reading a substantial number of research studies, there comes a point where no further new information could be gained. If you have experienced this, you have reached the point of saturation. Thus, you can confidently say that you have read enough scientific papers related to the topic.

In conclusion, the literature review sheds light on what has been done so far about the research topic. It reveals “gaps” that warrant further investigation. Good research practice presents this “gap” in knowledge in the introduction of the study. Statement of objectives or statements of the problem to address that gap follow. Hence, a follow-up study produces new information.

© 2018 August 19 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (August 22, 2018). Why undertake a literature review? [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/08/22/why-undertake-a-literature-review/