Tag: World View

Classroom and MethodologiesEnglish and TechnologyLearning and Skills DevelopmentMultimediaTopics

Schools and the proper use of technology

M.Sc. Maria A. Mora

The issue of digital citizenship has become a relevant topic to discuss at school. Should it be a subject in our schools? Who is in charge of teaching all the elements involved in the responsibility of using technology, parents or teacher? Are we aware of the risks that technology involves for learners?

Problems such as cyber-bullying, time spent on social media, plagiarism, and inappropriate use of technology or disclosure of information are some of the issues teachers have to deal with in modern classrooms, and it seems as if they were always one step behind all this ordeal.

Schools trying to avoid further problems have found a solution on forbidding the use of tablets, cell phones and other kinds of technology in the classrooms, along with the use of social media, blogs and any other type of communication on the web.

On the other hand, there are schools which are promoting the use of technology, teaching their children and teenagers how to use technology responsibly, ethically, and safely. First of all, they include the instruction of digital citizenship as part of other subjects. In some cases, students have to sign an agreement where they will accept the responsible use of digital devices, networks, and software for educational purposes and activities. Learners have to agree on keeping personal information and others, private, showing respect on social media, giving credit to others for their work, and reporting immediately any improper use of technology. Such measures are ruled and regulated in schools by organizations like the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). They have found the need to make an alliance with schools and parent to inform and protect young ones from unawareness and inexperience of the effect and consequences when surfing the net.

In addition to these agreements, teachers can look for pages online to instruct their students on how to make healthy choices online, the same way they would for their health. One of the best places to start is Common Sense Media where they offer eBooks and printable digital citizenship curriculum for grades K-12. These resources provide a printable scope and sequence that allow teachers to prepare students for engaging in a digital space.

Furthermore, institutions must involve parents in this process of technological education to seek that before-mentioned wellness beyond the school premises. The search for such knowledge turns out to be quite a challenge for schools, parents, and instructors, since technology is always in motion, and one can never be well trained in the use of an application when another appears. Then, agreements, programs, and curriculums to instruct on digital citizenship have to go under revision to cover every angle once more.

Institutions need to implement efforts and commitments on behalf of every part involved once the technology is integrated into the learning process, incorporating classes on digital citizenship. The main principles to promote and develop a healthy digital culture in our classrooms are transparency and trust. Blocking pages and the internet itself is not the solution anymore, but empowering students with the right element, and trusting them to make the right decisions regardless of the supervision they may have.

Business and ManagementCulture & DestinationsMust ReadTopicsWorld View

Keiser University, transforming Leaders in Central America

Published in La Prensa Grafica,, El Salvador

October 17, 2016

Mathew Anderson, President of Keiser University Latin American Campus, motivates parents to inherit quality education to their children by choosing Keiser.

The Latin American Campus located in San Marcos, Carazo, Nicaragua has become a regional reference in higher education, especially because it offers Central American students an integrated education based on a North American model. One of the major impacts this prestigious institution has is the fostering of the English language not only in its curriculum but also as a tool that they have to master in all their aspects of life, and a key to the business world.

According to Mathew Anderson, English is the fastest growing language in the world, making it the language of business and bringing prosperity to the countries in the region.  “93% of our graduates get a job, and whenever I travel, I receive requests from business people looking for our alumni due to the fact that they have studied a four-year major in a North American university and speak English rendering them into potential assets”, said Anderson.

LEADERS WHO IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY

Keiser University has the mission of preparing the Central American future leaders who impact and change the environment where they perform. “Our main influence in the region is that we create leaders, people who work hard, are bilingual, and adapt to business scenarios”, indicated the university authority.

Likewise, Mathew Anderson stated that the quality of education of its graduates is characterized by innovation, hard work, and a high degree of work ethics leading them to give back to the community and to their countries of origin. Keiser University provides financial aid to those Central American citizens who cannot afford to enroll but show strong leadership skills, and strive for the best.

In addition to employing faculty with Master’s Degrees from prestigious U.S. Universities, Keiser University excels at offering an integral student life support in a safe campus and convenient location.

 

Business and ManagementMust ReadQuick TipsTopicsWorld View

Millennials and Talent Management Today!

By Academic Committee

The new trend in companies now geared towards the 21st century focuses on technology and globalization. Millennials, today’s leaders, with easy access to the global market, and native to technological surroundings transform Startups to billion dollar companies overnight leaving their competitive advantage to Talent and Creativity.

Whereas, CEO’s are now enforced to redefine their recruitment process within the four pillars of Talent Management considering as a starting point the Millennial’s way of thinking, use of technology, and globalization.

I. The Recruitment process:

The recruitment process is the first step where changes need to occur. Before, CEO’s through Human Resources office scouted people that would perfectly match the position requirements. In today’s global market, the focus is on talent and adaptability. In the modern globalized economy, companies weigh employee’s ability to acquire new knowledge and collaborate. Also, gaining experience and developing individuals’ skill-sets becomes essential.  Employers would now prefer to have energetic, malleable workforces who can learn on the job and help one another to innovate and create new solutions.

II. Learning Development

Today’s candidates are not looking for a career inside a company; they are looking for an experience. This immense change in the status quo of what people wanted at their workplace comes from the changes needs directly connecting to the economy. Thus agile workforce is required.

Millennials’ inherent values and life skills set imply hands-on the job and learning by doing. So, development of learning is shifting towards business leaders who progressively identify the lack of competence as a dominant obstacle to the implementation of their company’s strategies; thus, ensuring the need for creating opportunities and space for learning.

Millennials’ creative workforce considers of high added value the emphasis on continuous learning to the point that when they are not learning, they leave organizations. The key lies in creating conditions for learning to happen as part of their development aligned to the recruitment process and meeting the needs of the changing economy and its workforce.

III.    Periodical Check-ins

Annual Reviews are a thing of the past; today proved ineffective and inefficient in fostering high performance.  According to talent managers, Annual Reviews do not promote employee engagement or talent. Instead, valuing a year full of work and noticing changes that would require follow-ups until a new year comes and which results directly connects to compensation derives in demotivating collaborators. Millennials whose mindsets focuses towards learning and gaining experience that fosters talent and creativity need immediate input hence constant check-ins lead to direct real-time improvements.

Also, lifelong learning is the key to adjust performance through coaching and skills development rather than just evaluations. Today, Millennials value instant feedback given after direct performance if it is active and constructive. They feel the need to be geared towards their responsibilities and progress within the roles and duties they perform; hence their results drive the companies’ culture and employee’s engagement as they feel valued and take part of the system and for those that need improvement creating a support system that helps them grow. If leaders provide constant feedback on performance they are also building future leaders, coaches, and mentors who drive the economy and their responsibilities to fulfillment fostering teamwork; as a result creating new leaders. Also, instant check-ins goes hand in hand with clear objectives and results since they bring transparency and efficacy to the job performed which Millennials highly value.

IV. Career Development and Compensation

Unlike the traditional idea of career development which meant reaching the next step in the corporate ladder, the 21st Century economy places great importance on providing opportunities and support to middle-level operations to advance and create development opportunities for employees to meet the rapidly changing needs of the company. Talent Managers should focus on three primary drivers- purpose, autonomy, and mastery- to meet Millennials mindsets expectations for development.  Ideally, employers should create opportunities for young, talented, creative minds to experience different functions, roles, and markets for them to gain experience and build adaptability to change in employees; from now on, creating a more stable job opportunity to the collaborator. This career development opportunity leads to a change in view and although Millennials are ambitious and strive for financial success, they also prefer a collaborative work culture environment and value transparency.

Millennials focus on collaboration and equality and draw towards projects that connect their strengths and abilities leading to career fulfillment since social networks are their essence, they expect an open culture without barriers of any levels; subsequently, they also favor leaders who create opportunities for training and development.

Millennials now connected to the world through technology; they embrace cultural diversity and change as essential to their environment.  The creation of culturally diverse leadership teams and workforces with divergent backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas enables collaboration, inclusion and ensures equipped leaders for future challenges.  Lastly, considering that new challenges lie ahead, a succession of employees is essential to the fulfillment of positions with great talents, creativity, and better-equipped life skills. Such replacements can fulfill the needs throughout the organization connected to the economy, and its global trends requiring an immediate change in the Talent Management process where Millennials are taking over.

References

Haak, Tom. “10 Talent Management Trends for 2016 | HR Trend Institute.” HR Trend Institute. HR Trend Institute, 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

Martin, Jean. “How to Keep Your Top Talent.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School, May 2010. Web. Aug. 2016.

Learning and Skills DevelopmentWorld View

Assessment for Learning with the Global Scale of English

by Mike Mayor, Pearson Education

How much is too much?
Everyone, it seems, has a view on testing – good or bad. Noam Chomsky, the eminent linguist, has entered the debate on standardized testing claiming that testing is being turned into something “extremely harmful”: It’s turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank. Not into doing things that are valuable and important. But can testing itself be inherently good or bad? Even if we acknowledge that some tests or systems are broken, do the naysayers truly believe that a world without any assessment would be a better place to learn? Is it not possible to identify the positive impact of testing and create an assessment system that ensures teachers and learners are “doing things that are valuable and important”?

All testing is not the same
We can all dredge up examples from our past of tests and exams that have scarred us for life. Mine was the practical paper in Art at aged 16. Topic: canals. I still can’t look at a lock gate without feeling sick! And many of us have failed exams in subjects that we have later gone on to master. I failed French at school, and went on to obtain a degree in the subject. So how valid were those tests?

Although they were both a snapshot of my proficiency at that moment, the way the results were dealt with had vastly different impacts. The Art exam went off to be marked and I got a grade. End of story. I never saw the artistic output of my efforts again, had no feedback on my performance (other than the grade) and, honestly, never gave it another thought until I started writing this article! The French test, on the other hand, was graded by my form teacher and handed back to me with annotations and feedback. We went through it together (I think he was almost as shocked as I was) and used it as the basis for follow-up work. This was in the 1970’s and no one was yet speaking about Assessment for Learning. But, as with all great practices, it was something that teachers were doing even before the terminology was coined.

To take another example – what about health tests? They let us know how we are doing, physically, and enable us to modify behavior if the results are not what we – or the doctor – want to see. We don’t get the results of a medical test and then simply throw them away, we work through them with the medical professionals to see what can be done.

Why should educational test results be any different? The test shouldn’t necessarily be the end of the process – it could be the means to a more “valuable and important” outcome; the start of an informed discussion about what the learner should do next.

Helping English language learners answer the question – am I making progress?
What started as a research initiative to look at the measurement of language proficiency and how this can be used to inform and motivate – rather than just “test” – has blossomed into a completely new learning and teaching ecosystem. The Global Scale of English ecosystem is made up of four parts – the scale itself, a set of Learning Objectives or ‘can do’ statements that describe exactly what a learner can do at each point on the scale, course materials and assessment tools. Unlike some other frameworks that measure English proficiency in broad bands, the Global Scale of English identifies what a learner can do at each point on a scale from 10 – 90, across each of the four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. It’s been psychometrically aligned to the CEFR so teachers familiar with the CEFR system will find it easy to navigate.

The Learning Objectives are central to the ecosystem in that they provide context for teachers and learners, describing exactly what it means to be at a level of proficiency in English in terms of what a learner can do. For example,
At 15 in reading a leaner ‘can read and understand simple prices.’ (Below A1 on CEFR)
At 26 in listening a learner ‘can understand basic questions about people’s likes and dislikes’ (A1 CEFR)
At 37 in speaking a learner ‘can make simple, direct comparisons between two people or things using common adjectives.’ (CEFR A2+)
At 62 in writing a learner ‘can systematically develop an argument giving the reasons for or against a point of view.’ (CEFR B2)

Having a granular scale means that proficiency can be measured more accurately, progress can be demonstrated more regularly and formative assessment can be used to plan future learning. Rather like those discussions with my French teacher, the Global Scale of English learning objectives facilitate meaningful discussion.

Filling in the gaps in the CEFR
The work to develop the Global Scale of English (GSE) builds upon the research carried out by Brian North and the Council of Europe in creating the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). In developing the scale, we have created new learning objectives which extend the existing CEFR Can Do statements in both number and range, providing information to support a far more granular definition of language proficiency across all four skills. When proficiency is measured on a more granular scale, it is easier to demonstrate small amounts of progress. Yes, a learner may still be B1 for several years (according to the CEFR), but on GSE, they have 16 points of incremental proficiency to be measured against (43 – 58) – so progress within a CEFR level can be demonstrated.

The CEFR has good coverage of Can Do statements for Speaking but less so for the other three skills. And almost two thirds of the Can Do statements cover A2-B2, with little at the lower and higher levels. The new GSE Learning Objectives serve to fill those gaps in the CEFR, enabling progress to be measured equally across the four skills. GSE also identifies a level “below A1” (from 10-21), meaning that it is now possible to assess beginners using the GSE Learning Objectives.

Anyone who’s tried to learn another language will know that one of the most difficult challenges is staying on track. Seeing real progress in the skills you’ve been working at, step-by-step, is hugely motivating, whether the goal is working towards a high-stakes test or becoming more confident in English for social reasons. Our research indicates that learners find it empowering to see their progress as it happens and that assessment across all four skills facilitates a more informed discussion with their teachers. For teachers of English, the GSE ecosystem offers the detail required to create learner focused syllabuses and courses that reflect learner needs and expectations that can be measured in a meaningful way.

Participants at the ELT Journal debate were pretty vocal in their objections to testing – but the focus was on testing as we know it today. Testing might be harmful in some contexts – but this doesn’t mean that the process of assessing is necessarily harmful. In his IATEFL presentation on Why teachers should love testing, Jeremy Harmer ended with a rallying cry to teachers to do something about the current state of assessment. “Testing is crucial to what we do. Even if you don’t like it, it’s not going away.” His conclusion? “It’s up to you!” To which I would add “You are not alone! Some of us working in assessment genuinely have the learner’s best interests at heart.”

This article appeared in the July edition of Modern English Teacher www.modernenglishteacher.com

TopicsTourism and Hospitality

Economic Impact of Tourism on Nicaragua

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism, promotes sustainable growth for the sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Together with its research partner, Oxford Economics, WTTC produces annual research that shows Travel & Tourism to be one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting over 276 million jobs and generating 9.8% of global GDP in 2014.

Travel and tourism play a critical role in the economic activity in most countries around the world, and this has never been more true than in Nicaragua.  According to the WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2015 report on Nicaragua, the tourism industry generated 87,000 jobs directly in 2014 (3.5% of total employment) and this is forecast to fall by 2.8% in 2015 to 84,500 (3.3% of total employment). This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

By 2025, travel and  tourism will account for 76,000 jobs directly, a decrease of 1.1% pa over the next ten years.

The same report shows that in terms of GDP, domestic travel spending generated 60.6% of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2014 compared with 39.4% for visitor exports (ie foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts).Domestic travel spending is expectedto grow by 4.8% in 2015 and rise by 4.2% in 2025. Visitor exports are expected to grow by 3.2% in 2015 and rise by 6.7%  in 2025.

The Boston Globe reported that these growth stats are making Nicaragua one of the world’s top ten emerging destinations. In a recent publication, the journal wrote “Industry experts are calling Nicaragua the hottest destination in Central America, and one of its best bargains…The political climate has long settled down and the country is throwing out the welcome mat to foreign visitors, investing in infrastructure and facilities.”

The outlook for travel and tourism in 2016 looks very promising too. The Nicaraguan government keeps on creating incentives for tourism development, particularly, and a more favorable climate for investment in general. Therefore, as more and more companies invest in the country, not only tourist on vacation, it becomes necessary to invest in new infrastructure and human resources, which also means the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the whole country to move towards a better future.

Sources.
https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/…/nicaragua2015.pdf

http://www.elportonverde.com/2015/01/02/2015-travel/