Learning In the 21st Century

Learning in the 21st cent.

Our world has drastically changed in the past hundred years. Nowadays, everything is done differently, starting from the way we dress to the way we learn. Learning In the 21st century has become a completely new concept. The methods used to learn, the way in which knowledge is presented, the way in which students perceive knowledge, has all changed. Let us first try to understand what the 21st century exactly means.

The 21st Century is a new millennium, which has been created by advanced technology and innovation. These are the two key elements of our new century. In this century, our culture, skills, etc have all changed. Now some of the skills required include: critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, agility and adaptability skills, curiosity and imagination skills, assessing and analyzing information skills, innovative and entrepreneurial skills, and plenty more.

There are many methods schools can use to encourage advanced learning in their curriculum. Technology is crucial in this new century; therefore students are taught how to use different gadgets since the very beginning of schooling. Also, in schools, teachers usually give out homework that would require the student to use a computer. So by the time a child is in the eleventh or twelfth grade, he/she is extremely familiar with using a wide range of technology. In fact, teachers also become quite technologically savvy, as they incorporate technology in their lessons as well.

Looking at a few innovative curriculum based programs, one cannot ignore the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). This curriculum was innovated in the 19th century but still applies to the 21st century. For example, it offers a subject called The Theory of Knowledge, which requires student to think in a very practical way. It demands students to think about questions they would never find a definite answer to. It teaches students to think outside the box, which is similar to the entire concept of 21st century learning. Within the curriculum, students are allowed to take six subjects of their choice, including subjects such as sports science and computer science. They are required to pick one foreign language, which helps their students become more diverse and skilled.

Big History is another example of teaching and learning in the 21st century. Created by Prof. David Christian and funded by philanthropist Bill Gates, this interdisciplinary approach to education discusses the history of evolution from the ‘Big Bang’ to modern day complexities. The Big History Project is being currently piloted by 5 schools based out of Mumbai and Pune.

Europe has been the centre of changes in education and innovative policies on education. The latest being Finland’s complete educational reform to ensure their students are provided with the skills that will help them with their future jobs. Finland believes that normal educational programs equip their students with many skills, however not skills that are required for particular jobs. Finland thinks that with their new educational programme, they will be able to help their students attain jobs in the future. Also, they are going to be teaching in terms of topics and not subjects. For example, topics such as the European Union will be taught, which will consist of a mix of subjects, including economics, history, languages and geography. Their students will be far more superior to the students learning the old curriculum. Finland is a perfect example of what 21st century learning is all about!

With 21st century learning comes 21st century teaching and the new dynamic role that teachers play as facilitators to the whole learning system.

PROMISING EDUCATION HUBS

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Education is not a business; period. However, it undeniably has its own widespread market that is continuously and consistently expanding. An array of developments is being witnessed in this sector each day and opportunities are endless. Students are getting abundant options in terms of the field they wish to excel in. Gone are the days where everything revolved around the traditional Arts, Commerce and Science streams. India has taken several steps further by having a global approach welcoming and introducing uncountable courses to ensure that the coming generations make the best careers for themselves.

Amidst all of these developments, some new education institutions have been and are being set up around the country to introduce various streams and courses. These are not only beneficial for students but for several reputed international universities that wish to collaborate.

One such institution that was set up back in 2004 but gained recognition about four years ago is FLAME (Foundation For Liberal And Management Education) school in Pune. It is the first of its kind to introduce Liberal Arts studies in India. Liberal Education is probably one of the best learning opportunities that a student could receive as they get to study a potpourri of subjects under one roof, breaking the barriers of rote learning. FLAME has several undergraduate and postgraduate courses under Liberal Arts. Among the fairly new universities, there is Ashoka University in Delhi which was founded only a year ago and is established as a Haryana private university offering various UG and PG courses along with Liberal Arts.

The Times Group has taken another initiative in the field of Education by recently inaugurating Benett University in Noida, Delhi in partnership with Babson College, USA. It is currently in the structuring process and aims to include UG and PG courses in run of the mill streams like Engineering, Management and Media sooner along with Liberal Arts later.

Founded by Macquarie University professor, David Christain and funded by Bill Gates, The Big History Project is one such example of a philanthropic education program which is being currently induced in India. It talks about the evolution process right from the big bang up till date via a multidisciplinary approach of learning. It’s currently piloted by 5 Indian institutions based out Mumbai and Pune.

India has always been in support of collaboration with international universities for its own growth in the Education sector. This is evident from the fact that its own reputed IIT universities all over are associated with some of the best universities globally. Eg: IIT Bombay has majority of partnerships with colleges in Australia and Canada. The former includes universities such as Monash, Deakin, Swinburne, The University of Queensland etc. while the latter includes Carleton, Alberta, Waterloo, Ryerson, York etc. IIT Bhubhaneshwar has associated with colleges in the U.S. i.e. The University of Texas, U.K.- University of Edinburgh and Canada- University of Western Ontario. IIT Kanpur has partnered with the Melbourne School of Engineering and IIT along with universities in Finland and Norway. IIT Kharagpur too has signed MOUs with colleges in Singapore, Korea and France. These are just a few examples of IIT institutions across India. IIMs in India have also formed collaborations with universities abroad for eg. IIM Shillong has partnered with Hamburg Media School, Germany, IIM Bangalore with Singapore Management University, University of Exeter and Richard Ivey School of Business in UK etc. IIM Kolkata has associated with the University of Leeds, U.K.

The government has decided to take the plunge of exponentially increasing the number of IITs and IIMs across the nation. In last year’s budget itself, an announcement of setting up 6 new IIMs in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab,Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh was made. Along with that, it was also announced that 5 new IITs in Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala will be set up. In this year’s budget proposal, it has been announced that two more IIMs and one more IIT will be set up in Jammu Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka respectively. The Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad will also be converted into an IIT. This will take the number of IIMs to 20 and IITs to 23 in India.

Interview with Lucky Ali

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How would you describe your journey in the world of music so far?

In a nutshell, the field of music has been rather interesting to explore. I have always felt that communication through it (this medium) is great and satiating. Personally, I would say that my entire journey in Music has been rather rewarding as I have worked with some of the finest musicians.

What are the hurdles that a person aspiring to enter this field must be prepared for?

Honestly, my take on this is very simple. If you are looking out for success and stardom in music, then please do not opt for it; because you will be wiped out. However, if you are truly passionate about it and are looking for creating something of ‘quality’, then go for it. People truly appreciate the intensity of the music that one composes.

Do you think education qualifications or any kind of formal training are a must for budding musicians?

I would say that if you are serious about the work that you do, in this case about music, then it is always good to learn as it helps in the short and the long run. I was lucky enough as I did not have to undergo any kind of formal training. But, gaining knowledge in this field is extremely important. As an additional tip, just do what you love; and do it to make yourself happy, not to impress others.

Canada – The Animation Connection

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Canada is known for many things – it is one of the top ten most beautiful countries in the world, has some of the most spectacular ski resorts in the world, and the home to Niagara Falls! With all its natural beauty to inspire you, it is no wonder that some of the best works of animation and teaching schools for animation lie in this country.

Says Shireen Ardeshir, Sr. Consultant at Study Networks, “Animation is now becoming a popular degree choice as it can lead to a large number of careers, such as: advertising, web designing, video making, editing, games development, film industry, etc. and Canada has some of the best animation programs for students”. Vancouver Film School in Canada is amongst the top five best schools in the world for courses in animation. Other institutions for animation include the University of Victoria and Vancouver Institute of Media Arts.

Studies have shown that students who study animation in Canada have a higher level of imagination, creativity and sharpness Courses studied usually include the basics of designing and teaches students how to use industry standard software. Through the process students become more creative, skilled and better prepared for their future in this industry.

Aside from producing their own animated movies, a large part of all animations used in Hollywood are developed in Canada. Additionally, there are around 116 famous animators in Canada including, Jim Cliffe and Gary Mooney.

Shireen says, “Canada has a lot to offer Indian students, from providing a safe and nurturing environment to offering cutting edge technology when selecting a course like animation” . It is no wonder that Canada ranks among the top 5 education destinations for Indian students and is home to around 3 lakh international students.

Choosing The Right Curriculum

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At Study Networks, when assisting with a student’s career planning, we are often asked by students in (and parents of) the 10th standard which board or curriculum is best aligned to undertake studies overseas.

The answer isn’t quite simple because it depends on which curriculum suits the student best. To do this, you must understand the curriculum’s first both in India and abroad.

The Indian education system offers 3 main types of boards

  1. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE):
    The CBSE follows a national curriculum which allows people with transferable jobs to give their children continuity in education; after all, it started as an option for government employees with transferable jobs. There are a large number of CBSE Schools in India but they are predominantly in the northern states and there are limited options across the rest of India. As this board is directly governed by the Central government, most changes to education and education systems are first implemented in the CBSE schools.

    Some of the features of the CBSE curriculum include:

    • Allowing higher secondary students to pick and chooses subject combinations of their choice.
    • A skill based curriculum, primarily built on analytical and reasoning abilities contrary to memorizing subject matter.
    • A focus on co-scholastic skills where life skills and value based education is at the core.
  2. Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE):
    Often referred to as a board, the ICSE is a certification based exam. It is a private education body and not government aided. The ICSE too has a pan-India presence and provides consistency in curriculum for those in transferable jobs. The year 10 examination is referred to as the ICSE examination and the year 12 exam is referred to as the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination.

    Some of the features of the ICSE curriculum include:

    • A comprehensive curriculum which gives equal importance to all subjects
    • An emphasis on English and therefore a higher level of English proficiency among students
    • A project based learning style
    • Students are allowed to select streams of study (Commerce, Arts, Science) in their high school.
  3. State Boards:
    The State Boards are governed by each state in India and therefore almost 30 state boards exist. While the year 10 examination is referred to as the Senior Secondary examination (SSC), the year 12 examination is referred to as Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) or Pre-University (PU) and is often completed through the affiliated college system in India. Schools offering the State Board are usually government aided schools and therefore have an inclusive class structure with students from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.

    Some of the features of the State Board curriculum include:

    • A rote based education system
    • A state based syllabus and grading methodology where regional languages and culture is practiced.

In addition to the above mentioned curriculum, students now have the option of an international curriculum even after they finish their year 10 examinations. Contrary to popular belief that International Curriculum is just for those students who may be looking at sending their children abroad after their year 12 (high school), the appeal in the international curricula lies in providing a different way of learning i.e. essentially concept based learning and allowing the child to develop their strengths in non-traditional subjects as well. The two popular international curricula offered in India include the:

  1. International Baccalaureate (IB):
    This curriculum is gaining popularity among parents who want a different learning system for their children. However, due to the high cost of fees, this curriculum is currently limited to the elite.

    Some of the features of the IB curriculum include:

    • Critical and Independent thinking
    • Development of strong academic, social and emotional attributes
    • Consideration of both – local and international environments
  2. Cambridge Examinations (IGCSE/O Levels and A Levels):
    International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a globally accepted qualification and considered highly credible.

    Some of the features of the Cambridge curriculum include:

    • A wide range of subjects including non-mainstream subjects at that level including music and art design
    • Assessments are not restricted to traditional written papers and consist of a variety of tests
    • Most of the subjects offer an option between core curriculum and extended curriculum

So what are International Universities looking for?
University life is different from schooling and curriculums so International Universities are essentially looking for talented students who come from diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Just like our colleges and Universities have found a way to equate all curriculums for admission, International Universities also have their own conversion parameters of all curricula (including the State Boards!). Some of the best International Universities also provide an option for students who may not have performed their best in their year 12 to gain admission into their programs through a pathway program.

Importance of Internship

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The term “Internship” means getting trained and getting experience along with studies. Internship is meant to be “on the job training”, where undergraduates and fresher’s or employees get to learn new things during the training process thus gaining experience. Internship is that phase of time where you get to know what talents and skills you have inherited and what you are good at. The ultimate aim of an internship is to get experience and exposure to respective fields.

Internship plays a very crucial role in a student’s life. During that period students get to know how the business or corporate world actually works and how it operates. Internships are very different from jobs and employment because while on an internship, a student thinks of getting experience not salary but when it comes to jobs or employment it directly associates with income.

Internship is like a practice manual. For e.g. before playing any kind of outdoor games it is necessary to have practice so that the players don’t get tired easily and know the tactics of the game, in the same way Internships help students to get experience in the industry they’re trying to pursue for and also to get exposure of one’s thinking.

Today wherever we go for an interview the first question asked is “Do you have experience?” The best way to tackle this question is by gaining experience via internships when you are in college which also becomes a plus point for a fresher’s resume.

Internship is like a tryout for undergraduates. Before buying a car or a two-wheeler, we take a test-drive so that we are sure that the vehicle which we are purchasing is worth it. Internship helps us realize if the field we are interested in is worthwhile for us and also helps us avoid making mistakes. For example, if we are interested in one particular field but after doing an internship we realize we are not good at it, we can change our field before too much time is wasted and minimal damage is done.

Internship develops work habits for students which will ultimately lead to professionalism. It also creates motivation to students which will help them in their future. The experience of internship is totally different for students as it their first step towards achieving their goal in life.

In some courses it is compulsory to do an internship; courses like C.A and M.B.B.S have a compulsory time period internship for students. These students who intern are usually not paid but there are some who pay undergraduates during the internship which becomes their pocket money.

Now government has also started internship program plans for students to help them learn and get work experience, so now students have greater opportunities for internships. Government internship programs such as: Maharashtra CM’s Internship Program 2015 and Internship Program- Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission.

How To Select The Best University?

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The most important thing in a student’s life is getting admission in one of the ‘best’ universities, which fulfills the requirements of education of the student. Education has become the prime and foremost focus of a human. It has become a necessity in today’s world. When we were small, our parents were the ones who selected the apt educational institutions for us but as we grew up, we have been choosing the university or college according to our interest. We have grown up listening to, “NO EDUCATION, NO EMPLOYMENT” which has made us particular about getting good education and a job, irrespective of the satisfaction that job may give us. But now, this thinking has changed. Today, not only the students, but parents also have become aware of various worthy Institutions. Due to the growth and development of technology, information of various Institutions is available on a click.

While selecting a University, students should keep certain priorities in mind such as Ranking, Global Recognition, Accommodation, Fee criteria, etc. Before selecting the university, the student should browse if that university is providing that particular course or subject which he or she is interested in.  Search for the brochure of that institution or get information about it through various sources which will help in choosing the best alternative out of the rest.

Ranking becomes the first impression when it comes to a university or college i.e. where the university or college stands among other universities and colleges in the world. There are some institutions which do not provide all the courses but do provide some specific ones which they are well known for and because of this prestige and reputation, they have gained global recognition. Thus, ranking plays a supreme role.

The fee criteria goes hand in hand with ranking. If the ranking of the college and university is high and the fees are also high, then it becomes a hindrance, as not all the students can afford to take admission in institutions having skyrocketed fee requirements. The fee structure plays a major role.

Accommodation also is an important factor while selecting colleges and universities. Every student wants to take admission in one of the highly ranked institutions, but this is not possible as not all students stay in metropolitan and big cities. There are students who live in small towns and districts; for them it becomes difficult. Hence, accommodation is a predominant factor as well.

The class facilities are also crucial. Students should be comfortable with the surrounding environment, which will increase their learning standards. Along with class facilities, the size of the university matters. There are students who are not only good at studies, but also at extracurricular activities such as sports, fine arts, dance, drama, etc. For students who are good at sports, the campus size becomes an important decision factor. Thus, class facility and size of the institution have great significance.

Another important thing to look forward to is the university’s faculty, because they know your strengths and weaknesses and help you evolve. A professor not only teaches and explains but guides and counsels students. Thus, the faculty becomes an utmost priority for students.

The information given above is important, but at the end of the day, the student is the one who is going to choose the college and university. However, it is advisable to graduate from a university which benefits your career in future and may also help you with getting employment opportunities. An ingenious search for universities, institutions and colleges leads to the final career outcome, which will lead to our social security and satisfaction that we get after all the hard work. Thus, students should choose their educational institution very wisely.

Career Planning

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People often confuse career planning with an aptitude test. Today’s students and young adults are exposed to many choices that finally make up his / her education, training and skills set. Not only is learning completed from traditional areas like schools, but also from family, peers, technology and lifestyles. It is therefore important to understand aptitude and skills as well as interests and backgrounds in order to develop a holistic career path for students.

In some cases students opt for an aptitude test to help them understand fairly quickly what their aptitude and academic strengths might be. Students now have multiple options of appearing for these tests – through school, at a test centre or in the comfort of their home through online tests.

However, it is important to use an aptitude test as a guideline but also work with interests and personalities as these two aspects also play a very important role in the entire career planning process.

A good career counselor plays a very important role in this process as they are able to take all these aspects into consideration and work in managing the students and parents expectations in creating the career path.

Open Days – A great new way to get a peek at your prospective University!

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Monash University is one of Australia’s leading Universities located in the beautiful city of Melbourne. It is home to over 65,000 students and is extremely popular with Indian students as well.

Monash University recently brought the concept of their Open days to India and held them in New Delhi and Mumbai.

So, what is an Open Day? It’s really your chance to interact with faculty representative (unlike University representatives who you would usually meet at an education / study abroad fair and guide you on the University) and get to know more about your course. In one of the first of its kind in India, Monash University brought down eight of their faculty representatives including Engineering, IT, Business, Arts, Sciences, Art Design and Architecture. Shireen Ardeshir, Sr. Consultant at Study Networks who attended the event said that “such programs benefit students and parents tremendously as where else would you get a preview into your future student life in such detail”.