Educational Problem Solving

Abstract

This article introduces the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site, describing competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

Introduction

The aim of this article is to introduce to the world the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article is addressed to those readers who may have an educational problem bogging them and who may therefore be looking for a way out of their predicament. The reader may be a parent, child, or student.

It is a common fact of life that we all have problems and that we are often frustrated or we tend to lash out because of our inability to find accessible and reliable information about our problems. This specialist site fills this need – as our pragmatic friend for solving our educational problems.

To be of the greatest use to people a problem solving site must combine pragmatic discussions of their personal or professional problem with merchant products that provide more detailed information. Typically, the web site will provide free information in the form of news, articles, and advice, which direct the visitor on what to do to solve her problems. Complementing this, the web site will also provide merchant products which discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving her problem. This means that the most effective, visitor-oriented problem-solving site will be an information-packed commercial site – and so is the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site and its specialist sites.

The approach that we have adopted below is to describe competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features.

Competitive Offerings

The following are the top educational sites on the Internet, along with their offerings.

US Department of Education. It defines the US education policy and provides information on financial aid, educational research and statistics, grants and contracts, and teaching and learning resources.

Educational Testing Service. It provides a range of test resources.

FunBrain.com. It provides educational games for K-8 kids.

PrimaryGames.com. It provides fun learning tools and games for kids.

GEM. It provides educational resources such as lesson plans and other teaching and learning resources.

Education World. It provides advice on lesson plans, professional development, and technology integration.

NASA Education Enterprise. It provides educational materials and information relating to space exploration.

Spartacus Educational. It is a British online encyclopedia that focuses on historical topics.

Department for Education and Skills. It is a UK government department site that offers information and advice on various educational and skills topics.

Times Educational Supplement. It offers teaching news, teaching & educational resources, and active forums to help UK teachers.
All these sites are useful in the domains that they cover. Their main limitations are as follows:

1. They tend to cover only a very narrow segment of the educational market.
2. They do not take as their starting point the daily educational needs of the typical family.
3. They lack a problem focus; i.e., they do not formulate the typical learning and educational problems that pupils, students, and parents face on a daily basis.
4. As a result of the preceding point, the solutions offered are not as incisive (i.e. as problem-centred) as they could be.
5. They do not offer merchant products that deepen the visitor’s understanding of her problem and of the consequent solutions.

The educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site addresses these problems by targeting a multiplicity of market segments, adopting a customer profile that fits the typical education-pursuing family, considering the specific needs or problems that this family may face, offering incisive (problem-centred) solutions to the various problems, and offering a range of merchant products that deepen the visitor’s appreciation of her problems and of the solutions that are applicable to them.

Customer Profile

The customer profile or target visitor characteristics of the educational solutions module is the same as for all specialist sites of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The site has been designed to meet the needs of visitors who have an educational problem bogging them. It is designed for both males and females, even though it is often convenient to refer to just one sex when writing.

This visitor uses search engines to research information about her personal or professional problem, with the intention of finding solutions to it. The visitor is serious about solving her problem and is therefore willing to buy products that help her to achieve her mission, provided that she can find reliable and honest information about relevant products so that she can make an informed decision about which ones to acquire. This information will help her to apply her finances economically, and hence avoid wasting money.

The visitor will want a money-back guarantee so that if a product does not live up to expectations or if she were misled into buying a product she can get a refund. Such a guarantee absolves her of purchase risks.

The visitor is intelligent (without necessarily being a genius), educated (without necessarily being a PhD), computer literate (without necessarily being a computer guru), and money-minded (without necessarily being a freebie hunter or an unemployed person). This of course does not mean that freebie hunters or unemployed persons cannot gain a thing from the site. To the contrary, there is a great deal of free information on the site. Just that it is hard to see how anyone can gain the full benefits of the site without buying products.

The visitor wants high quality information products (usually in digital form) and wants to pay the cheapest price for these (without paying so much emphasis on price that she compromises quality). The visitor also wants free bonus offers that are attached to the purchased goods.

The visitor is self-reliant and can cope on her own by reading, digesting, and applying advice about her problem until she solves it or discovers that she needs help from a professional, at which point her acquired knowledge will help her to reduce her consulting fees. As a result of the knowledge gained, the visitor will be able to assess consultants in order to avoid incompetent or fraudulent ones.

Problem-Centred Solutions

Our free solutions are organised in the form of pragmatic articles that are written by top experts. Each article addresses a specific daily problem, but does not go into detail. It explains the problem and tells the visitor what she must do to solve her problem. However, it does not tell the visitor how she must solve it – this is too much for an article. To find out about the how, the visitor must buy a product (usually an e-book or e-book set) that goes into greater depth.

The set of educational articles that we have chosen, to provide initial solution to a visitor’s problem are as follows:

Signs of a Gifted Child – Informs parents on how to identify whether or not their children are gifted.

Essential Parenting Lessons for Enriching Your Child’s Education – Teaches parents how to enhance their child’s education.

Using Positive Affirmations to Be a Better Student – Teaches students how to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.

They Are Just Afraid of Writing – Teaches writing skills to students

How Can Parents Encourage Their Children to Read? – Shows parents how they can improve their children’s reading skills.

Test Preparation Tutoring – Discusses the topic of tutoring students to prepare for tests or exams.

Test Taking Strategies – Discusses various strategies for taking and passing tests or exams

Playing and Winning the Scholarship Game – Describes how to win scholarships.

How to Get a Scholarship to a UK University – Describes how to win scholarships to a UK university.

Saving Money for College – Instructs students on how they can save money in preparation for college.

Student Loans: When Your Educational Dreams Can’t Compete with the Cost – Explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

Education Loans Can Fund a Higher Degree to Boost Your Career – Also explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

The Secret to US Department of Education Loans – Teaches students how to get a US DoE loan to finance their higher education.

Student Loan Consolidation – Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More – Explains to graduates how to make use of loan consolidation to reduce their student loan repayments.

Higher Education: Finding the Right College for You – Explains to students how to find the right college or university for their higher education studies.

Mobile Learning – An Alternative Worth Considering – Explains the concept of mobile learning and its place in education.

Online Degrees – Is Online Education Right for You? – Analyses the merits of online learning as compared to traditional learning.

An Online College Education Overview – Reviews the whole concept of online learning.

Finding the Right Quotation for Your Paper or Speech Online – Shows writers and speakers how to find the right quotation to use in their writings or speeches.

Collaboration: An Important Leadership Development Skill – Explores the useful concept of collaboration and its role in leadership development.

At the end of each article is a list of merchant products that supplement the article’s content. A link is also included for accessing the educational product catalogue.

Target Markets and Product Offerings

Now let us turn to the target markets and their associated product offerings. We have positioned the segments to address the various needs of a visitor over a period of time, and at any given time a customer may belong to one or more of the market segments. There are three general classes of products offered: ClickBank products, Google products, and eBay products. Google and eBay products are presented on each page of the site. ClickBank products are grouped into product categories that match the target markets. These categories and their markets are as follows.

Children and Parenting. This consists of visitors who want parenting solutions for improving their children’s upbringing. Their needs are met through the Children and Parenting section of the educational product catalogue.

Difficult Admissions. This consists of visitors who want to learn how to get admission into top universities. Their needs are met through the Difficult Admissions section of the educational product catalogue.

Esoteric Needs. This consists of visitors with unusual needs. Their needs are met through the Esoteric Needs section of the educational product catalogue.

Financial Aid. This consists of visitors looking for scholarships, grants, or loans. Their needs are met through the Financial Aid section of the educational product catalogue.

Leadership Skills. This consists of visitors looking to develop their leadership skills. Their needs are met through the Leadership Skills section of the educational product catalogue.

Learning. This consists of visitors who want to improve their learning ability. Their needs are met through the Learning section of the educational product catalogue.

Mental Speed. This consists of visitors who want to explode their mental speed. Their needs are met through the Mental Speed section of the educational product catalogue.

Positive Affirmations. This consists of visitors who want to transform their negative dispositions into a positive mindset in order to improve their performance. Their needs are met through the Positive Affirmations section of the educational product catalogue.

Speaking. This consists of visitors looking to improve their speaking skills. Their needs are met through the Speaking section of the educational product catalogue.

Tests and Exams. This consists of visitors looking to master exam technique. Their needs are met through the Tests and Exams section of the educational product catalogue.

Writing. This consists of visitors looking to improve their writing skills. Their needs are met through the Writing section of the educational product catalogue.

Usability Considerations

Usability has been enhanced to make it easy for the visitor to find solutions to her problem, by following these steps:

1. The first thing the visitor sees are a set of articles whose titles represent the specific problem area they address. The articles are accessed from the Educational Problem Solving menu of the navigation bar to the left of the screen or from the Educational Problem Solving main page. By scanning these articles the visitor can identify whether or not her problem is covered. If not the visitor can check the educational product catalogue through the Product Catalogues menu of the same navigation bar, to see whether a product exists that answers her query. If she finds nothing she knows that her problem is not addressed. She can proceed to the Related Sites pages, which are accessible from the left navigation bar.

2. If the visitor finds an article that addresses her problem then she can begin to explore that; at the end of the article she will find products that discuss her problem more deeply. She can also access the educational product catalogue through an article page.

Conclusion

This article has introduced the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article has examined competitive offerings, the target customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability considerations. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

A A Agbormbai is the editor and webmaster of Personal and Professional Problem Solving – a web site that fills a vacuum on the Web. He has a PhD from Imperial College London and enjoys an interdisciplinary upbringing having worked or studied in aerospace engineering, information systems development, and management. The educational solutions module is one of many specialist sites of Personal and Professional Problem Solving.

Pursuing an Online Education

If you are interested in furthering your studies through the Internet, but are doubtful whether it is a good idea to pursue an online education, then you need to read this article. There are a few important advantages to pursuing your education online as compared to studying at a “bricks and mortar” college. It lessens the risk of your professors judging you by your race, appearance, and sexuality. It also negates the unfair advantages of being loud and aggressive in a common classroom, and it allows you to save a lot of money while still getting a quality education.

As pessimistic and cynical as this thought may seem, let us face the fact that teachers are human beings, too. And as human beings, they are subject to the varied influences that other people all over the world experience. This means that no matter how students would like to believe that their work speaks for themselves, the truth remains that their race, sexuality, and appearance are major factors that also shape the perceptions and initial judgments of their teachers.

When you take up an online education, the risks of this happening to you are practically eliminated. Studying online allows you to learn and work without fear of bias in any form whatsoever, and you will be glad of the opportunity to be judged solely on the work you submit.

If you remember your early school days in a traditional school, you will likely remember that oftentimes, the students with the loudest voices, or the most assertive personalities, were the students who succeeded the most. It is just human nature for teachers to notice these kind of students more than the quiet ones.

However, this scenario will disappear once you take up an online education. Studying online will require equal participation from all students, so you will have an equal chance of achieving success in your studies.

There are lots of students who find it difficult to express their thoughts and opinions using verbal communication. These students would also benefit greatly from an online education, because by using instant messaging and email as forms of communication, they would now be able to express their thoughts exactly as they mean it, and not have to suffer the difficulties of trying to express themselves verbally.

As a last but very significant advantage, think of the savings when you take up an online education as compared to enrolling in a traditional college or university. If you’re reading this, chances are you already have a computer at home with an Internet connection. If so, then you already have 95% of what you need to pursue your studies. You will no longer have to travel back and forth from school, or spend for board and lodging in a dormitory. You will be able to get all the study materials you need online.

Of course, these are only a few of the advantages that you get when you decide to pursue an education online, but hopefully, you get the idea. So register now for an online course and start learning!

The Benefits of Music Education to Children

Introduction

Music is a very powerful subject – It has been used since the Greek times for healing, communication, relaxation and for enjoyment. Even before birth we are aware of our mother’s heartbeat and during infancy are relaxed by the song of a lullaby. Every day everybody hears some form of musical pitch or rhythm and it can even be found in nature such as how birds communicate through a song-like speech.

Music is such a powerful force, it creates deep emotions in humans – it is played at weddings for happiness, in horror films and during war for fear and at home for happiness and because of this lends itself to relaxation, stress relief and health therapy – and the connection between music, body, and soul has even been shown to improve physical and mental health.

Skills such as working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, calmer attitudes, imagination, discipline, study skills and invention are learnt and improved through the study of music and by focusing on the fact that young children are mostly highly receptive to pitch and rhythm – one of the main ways a child learns its language – that we can drive education in music to children to help them with benefits ranging success in society and in life.

“We believe the skills the arts teach -creative thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking, teamwork and communications – are precisely the tools the workforce of tomorrow will need. If we don’t encourage students to master these skills through quality arts instruction today, how can we ever expect them to succeed in their highly competitive business careers tomorrow?”

-Richard Gurin

Chief Executive Officer, Binney and Smith, maker of Crayola crayons

Music is a part of our society and a part of all communities – every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to developing greed and a selfish attitude, provides bridges across different cultures that lead to a respect of other races at an early age.

Music has a great value to our economy – it creates jobs, increase’s tax base, boosts tourism and spurs growth in related businesses. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace such as teamwork skills and discipline – during musical performances all members must work together to create the sounds they wish to achieve and for this regular practice is also required. Music favors working and ‘doing’ as opposed to observing, and these are the ethics employers are looking for.

Because of music’s ability to relax, calm and heal, and its optimal platform for emotions, the involvement with music helps to carve brighter attitudes – more optimism towards the future, less TV and non productive activities, low use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs and desire to develop individual abilities.

Music requires study skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills and as these are learnt and developed they expand the student’s abilities in other academic areas and help them become better students. – Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation. — College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College

Entrance Examination Board, 2001.

The discipline of music, particularly through participation in ensembles, helps students learn to work effectively in the school environment without resorting to violent or inappropriate behavior – According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as “disruptive” (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as “disruptive.” — Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992..

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music in the brain. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music or those who play an instrument do better in school than those who don’t. Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain.

It can be shown that some measures of a child’s intelligence are increased with music instruction – a connection between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things) helps people to visualize and imagine solutions. This helps people to solve problems creatively and is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for solving mathematical problems and even general daily tasks.

“The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.” — Ratey John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.

Along with mental development music study can support the brains physical development – it has been indicated that musical training physically develops the parts of the brain known to be involved with processing language and reasoning, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Memory can be improved through the linking of familiar songs with objects just as linking images can – past memories and emotions can be triggered by audio.

“Why arts in education? Why education at all? The purpose of education is not simply to inform but to enrich and enlighten, to provide insights into life as it has been led and as it may be led. No element of the curriculum is better suited to that task than arts education.”

-David Kearns

Now retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation

Ideally we want our children to experience “success” throughout life itself. The benefits may be psychological, spiritual and physical and with the challenge of making life meaningful and fulfilled and to reach a higher state of development by participating in music we develop self expression which in turn leads to self esteem – ultimately helping us to succeed at these challenges.

“Casals says music fills him with the wonder of life and the ‘incredible marvel’ of being a human. Ives says it expands his mind and challenges him to be a true individual. Bernstein says it is enriching and ennobling. To me, that sounds like a good cause for making music an integral part of every child’s education. Studying music and the arts elevates children’s education, expands students’ horizons, and teaches them to appreciate the wonder of life.”
— U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, July 1999.

Conclusion

Music is a powerful tool and as seen can dramatically improve and enrich everybody. It makes sense to push music education and to allow young generations to gain these wonderful benefits – higher intelligence through increased creative thinking, problem solving and physically stronger brains, a higher perception of life including better attitudes, strong desires to achieve and fulfil and higher self esteem, better developed discipline, study skills, concentration, communication and team skills which transfer from education through to career and a better understanding of communities and society