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What Does It Mean to Create Knowledge?

What Does It Mean to Create Knowledge?

The process of adult learning in any classroom environment involves the acquisition of information, interaction with that information through assigned activities, and the creation of new knowledge. One of the primary purposes of adult education programs is to establish classroom conditions that are necessary for learning to take place. Throughout the process of learning knowledge creation is likely to occur as a product of this environment.

Adults acquire knowledge through informal and formal processes. Informal learning occurs through everyday activities, experiences, and also trial and error. An adult may acquire knowledge as they perform job-related tasks. Knowledge may also be developed through the process of critical thinking, which utilizes logic and reasoning. When adults seek specific knowledge that they believe they cannot acquire on their own they may choose a formal classroom learning environment.

Formal learning involves a structured process with established learning objectives and goals. A common goal of many classes is the completion of learning activities that demonstrate the learner’s progress in meeting specific course outcomes. An adult also does not automatically create knowledge by receiving and reviewing information that has been presented within the class assignments and course materials or by participating in assigned activities. The creation of knowledge is most likely to occur when the adult has taken information and interacted with it in a meaningful way.

Adults are self-directed learners by nature and come to the classroom with expectations about the learning process, along with prior experiences and existing knowledge. Adults also seek knowledge that is relevant to their lives and their particular needs and they will only work towards meeting those objectives if it is determined that the learning goals are aligned with their needs. Most colleges and universities acknowledge the adult’s need for relevant and meaningful knowledge and design courses and programs that will meet the needs and professional goals of working adults.

Knowledge creation within a formal classroom learning environment is the product of adults interacting with information. The information adults work with typically includes textbook reading, literature and scholarly articles, knowledge that they already possess, or any other sources that the adults seek throughout the duration of the class. Adult learners also interact with their instructors, other learners, and the classroom environment. These interactions include an exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge. An adult’s active involvement in the class forms the basis of adult learning and the process of knowledge creation.

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Towards Knowledge-Based Economic Communities in Africa

About half a century ago, African leaders established the Organization of African Unity partly to promote socio-economic structures aimed at improving the welfare of the citizens and general integration of the continent. But owing to decades of political tensions and weak economic infrastructures, the goals have not materialized.
The success of the single European currency, Euro, which has become very central to many recent transformations in Europe by offering more efficient means of transacting businesses and using the human and institutional capabilities of the continent to foster more prosperity has shown the power of integrated monetary system in a globalizing world. As the world moves towards knowledge-based economic structures and data societies, which comprise networks of individuals, firms and nations that are linked electronically and in mutually dependent global relationships, the power of a single African currency has become very important. A single African currency, if realized, would radically redefine Africa’s social, political and economic landscapes and position the continent on a solid footing to tackle the enormous challenges of the 21st century.
This plan is poised to offer an African market with no internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured. A single currency stands for an Africa of unity, integration and strength. However, there is a possibility of potential failure of a single currency if implemented haphazardly with enormous consequences to not only Africa’s image but also the member states’ economies and, ultimately, the citizens.
Irrespective of the challenges and opportunities, a single currency will not just solve Africa’s problems overnight and it would be a mistake to hedge all the future developments of this continent on this venture.
As the new chairman of the African Union, Libyan Muammar al-Gaddafi, goes to work towards realizing the United States of Africa (by the way, I prefer, Union of African States), it is important that we evaluate this project beyond politics and solidarity. While it is possible to be carried away by the success of Euro, it is imperative that African leaders understand that the EU has been cooperating for decades and it took many years to realize the single currency after the Treaty of Rome. Signed by six nations (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) on 25 March 1957, the Treaty created the European Economic Community (EEC) that provided the foundations for European unity based on the common values of peace, freedom, equality, the rule of law and democracy. Today, the EEC is the world’s largest free trade area.
An African equivalent of the Treaty of Rome is the Abuja Treaty signed on June 3, 1991. That Treaty created the African Economic Community (AEC). AEC provides the platforms for larger African market for negotiating favorable trading terms bilaterally and globally, boosting investment and economic diversifications. A larger market will support economies of scale, better market access and production efficiency through competition.
In addition, economically integrated Africa could provide stable exchange rate, increase cross-border trade with efficient banking clearing and payment systems. There will be more potentials for improved consumer welfare, stronger political and security ties in the continent. It promises to offer better fiscal and monetary cooperation among states with long-term macroeconomic stability.
Nonetheless, despite these potential benefits, the problems of poor transport and communication structures in Africa continue to limit more intra-regional and intra-continental trades among members. The incessant political tensions across the regions continue to affect the creation and expansion of trade. From South Africa to Nigeria, African nations continue to trade heavily with their ex-colonial rulers over African Union partners. As a result, many African products get to member states via Europe. For many of the fiscally undisciplined nations, a loss of national autonomy on macroeconomic policy could be challenging. Losing autonomy on currency devaluation and revaluation, fiscal and monetary policies on interest and exchange rates will present major worries across African capitals.
How this integration will play out is still not clear. Take for example, the Francophone Africa is considered an ‘undertrader’ despite the CFA franc zone having one of the most extensive monetary unions in the world. Projected data in case of doubling of trade (from integration) suggests that some of the five regional economic communities will have net welfare gains, while others will have losses. Yet, while the feasibility and desirability of a united African currency union could be debatable, the structure and dynamics of the globalizing world makes economic integration a necessity if the continent must survive global competition.
All the continent has to do is to approach the adoption of the single currency cautiously. African Union must work to strengthen the regional economic communities (REC) for better currency unions and financial integrations. This will involve transforming them, I suggest, into Knowledge Economic Communities (KEC) where knowledge will become the main factor of production with coherent trade shocks among member states. This means more funding for science education, better information networks and transportation systems, revamped innovation and entrepreneurial environment and vibrant democratic institutions. Afterwards, these KECs will converge to a single African economy of one currency to be managed by a continent-wide supranational central bank. A knowledge economic Africa with our vast resources will transform every aspect of modern commerce and industry and move millions out of poverty.

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The Easy Way to Renew Your Ohio Cosmetology License

The Easy Way to Renew Your Ohio Cosmetology License

Cosmetology, hair designer, esthetician and manicurist licenses expire on January 31st of odd years (2013, 2015, etc.). There are severe penalties for practicing cosmetology with an expired license, so you don’t want to let your license lapse. Follow these steps to make sure you renew your license on time.

Continuing Education: The Ohio State Board of Cosmetology requires licensees to take 8 hours of continuing education. The Board pre-approves providers and courses. The type of course you need to take depends upon your specialty. For example, hair designers must take courses about hair, estheticians must take classes about skin care, manicurists must take courses about nail care, etc. An exception to this rule is that the Board does allow you to take approved business courses. The good news is that you can earn these CE hours through an in-person or an online class. Approved providers and courses are listed on the Board’s website. The site allows you to limit your search results to internet courses only if those are of interest to you. Some online providers offer their courses through affiliates, so you might find the same approved course available on different websites.

Online License Renewal: After you complete your 8 hours of continuing education, you need to visit the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology’s website to renew your license online. Before you do, make sure you have your username and password, a valid email address, and a credit or debit card available. Although you are not required to renew your license online, the Board highly recommends it. Online renewals are easier to process, which means you will get your license in half the time it would take if you mailed your renewal information to the Board.

Tips to Remember

Consider taking your continuing education and renewing your license during the December prior to the January 31st expiration date. This will help you avoid the last-minute rush during the last couple of weeks of January.

If you received your initial license during the two years before the upcoming license renewal date, you do not have to take cosmetology CE to renew your license. For example, if you received your license in May 2011, you do not need to CE to renew your license prior to the January 31, 2013 renewal date.

If you have more than one personal license, you must fulfill the continuing education requirements for each specialty. For example, if you are an esthetician and a nail tech, you will need to take 8 hours of CE for your esthetician license and 8 hours of CE for your nail tech license.

You are required to pay a late fee to renew your license after the January 31st deadline.

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My Greatest Productivity Breakthrough in Years!

My Greatest Productivity Breakthrough in Years!

I imagine your life is a lot like many things to do and not enough time to do them! This seems to be the curse of our technological age. We have great tools for improving efficiency, but we are also expected to be infinitely more productive.

As you know, most of the time, I write about improving education for our students. But today, I want to share something specifically for you as a parent and/or educator. Like me, I’m sure you are under a lot of pressure to get things done. Recently, however, I stumbled across my greatest productivity breakthrough in ages! It is a practice that is so flexible it will work for anyone: working parents, stay-at-home parents, teachers, administrators, and any other type of job.

THE LAST TWO MONTHS HAVE BEEN MY MOST PRODUCTIVE EVER!

I’ve never had a time in my life when I have felt less overwhelmed or gotten more done. Not only is this a major accomplishment, I had some specific constraints:

1. I was out of the office for six of the first nine weeks of the year. Most of this travel was for business, which is exceptionally exhausting and frenzied.

2. SOARA� is growing rapidly. This is a good “problem” to have, but there are more demands on my time than ever before!

3. I have two lively and lovely (yet VERY high-maintenance) children with ADHD.

WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE?

Perhaps you’ve already heard of the block-buster system, Getting Things Done (GTD). I heard about it for years. A good friend of mine even owns a large firm in the Netherlands, teaching people how to be more productive with GTD principles. (He’s the Dutch “GTD King!”)

However, I never paid much attention. I’ve always been a very organized person. I’ve read hundreds of books and articles on the topic of organization.

They all say the same thing.

I had even attempted a few elements of GTD before, but I didn’t take to them very well. I now realize that I was missing the most important element of the whole process…

I was not keeping an appropriate written record of *all* of my commitments (a.k.a. “to-do” items).

How is this possible?

I AM THE MASTER “TO-DO LIST” MAKER!

Or, so I thought.

David Allen, author of GTD, describes *anything* we have to do as an “open loop,” no matter how big or small. His description made me think of a fish hook; a type of loop that would cause a serious snag. In this case, Allen explains that open loops cause serious snags in our attention. These attention snags build and eventually, cause a feeling of overwhelm and dread. They are a constant strain on our mental bandwidth.

The brain cannot categorize these loops. It does not distinguish between a “big” loop or a “small” loop. To our brain, every open loop feels like a large, looming task. Something as simple as “stop by the dry-cleaners” has the same impact on our mental bandwidth as “clean out the entire house.”

COLLECTING ALL OF THE OPEN LOOPS

Allen suggests that we capture *all* of our open loops in writing. I was used to having a weekly to-do list of 10-15 items. When done correctly, however, Allen says that most people will have over 150 open loops on their list.

Egads!

I always avoided writing down little, mundane tasks. They seemed too insignificant to put in writing. Perhaps I was afraid of becoming more overwhelmed with a bigger list. It turns out, the opposite is true. Without a system to capture those tasks, they would swirl around in my head. They would pop into my attention at the most inconvenient times. I never realized what a drain they were on my consciousness, my energy, or my productivity.

FOR EXAMPLE…

I have a drawer in my bedroom filled with VHS tapes I will never use again. Every time I walked past that dresser, I would think “I should really clean that out,” and my stomach would sink ever-so-slightly. It bothered me, but I was never conscious of it. I certainly never thought to write it down. Just as soon as I thought about it, I thought I was forgetting it. I now realize that it was compounding with all of the other “I shoulds…” I would think of throughout the day. B-I-G M-E-N-T-A-L D-R-A-I-N!

As soon as I added this task to my list, I have *not once* thought about those tapes when passing that dresser. I still haven’t cleaned them out, but I enjoy the fact that they are NOT bothering me anymore. I must have been waiting to write this article, just to maintain a specific example of the power that writing everything down can have!

Allen recommends investing a few hours in creating this list. I followed his recommendation and walked all around my house, recording every open loop I noticed. Then, I went through my office and my email to capture everything possible.

By the time I was done, I filled three pages! My new Action List includes *everything,* from the prescriptions I have to pick up tomorrow to ideas I might not address for another three years. In other words, everything my brain dreams up or for which it feels responsible. Since I only have one brain, I keep personal and professional commitments on ONE list.

THE RESULT?

I have been completely and utterly AMAZED to experience the transformation of creating this master list! I review it every week and make decisions about what I will cover the following week. (This weekly review is another, completely essential step in making GTD work.)

I don’t have words to describe how mentally freeing it is to get everything out of my head. My brain takes much comfort in knowing that it no longer has to track every open loop. As a result, I am sleeping better. I am working faster. I am…

Getting Things Done!

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Relevant Communication Replaces Static Rituals

Religions may regard themselves as forward thinking, with thought focused on an imminent immortality or a secure afterworld, however, this thinking is locked into time. By-standers notice that religions looking so far forward have a tendency to live in the past. Those religions are paid attention to about as well as flight attendants going through safety features on an airplane. But religion still has a job to do and it can be a practical guide to society when grounded on honest education and information.
One definition of religion from the New Webster’s Expanded Dictionary is; an acknowledgement of our obligation to God. In other words, it isn’t an acknowledgment of an obligation to static rituals and codes and creeds already outgrown by humanity.
Religion will continue to play an important role in life as it triggers advanced concepts of God and creation. But, communication of an advanced concept of God must be pertinent. Physical and psychological barriers are then broken through the proper use of applied knowledge, improving the very way human consciousness filters the world. It is important that religions recognize and participate in the now, today, otherwise the religion will no longer be recognized.
Although there is no one religion perfect and complete, it doesn’t mean religion is irrelevant. Religionists who staunchly battle the imaginary dilemma of a dying religion, by acknowledging an obligation to person, place, or thing, actually contribute to its death. However, to the contemporary thinker, religion is not going to die. Even in this new era of globalization there is evidence of religions acknowledging God, recognizing one another, and accommodating the interests of others.
Religion is relevant as discovery and understanding are given relevant manifestation. As our obligation to Truth, Life, and Love is honored, human consciousness transforms and accepts a practical forward mindedness living in the now.

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Digital Inclusion – How the Accessibility of Online Courses Might Help

Digital Inclusion – How the Accessibility of Online Courses Might Help

A recent BBC report entitled ‘Your country needs you connected’ sheds fresh light on the number of people in the UK who are digitally excluded. According to Jane Wakefield, whilst the popularity of Twitter and Facebook are growing, ’17 million Britons have never been online’. Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, is at the forefront of getting the outsiders online – so how can online certificate degree courses help her cause.

According to the report, Lane Fox is primarily concerned with targeting the six million poorest in the country, in order to break the correlation between social and digital exclusion. This is regarded as a particularly tough job by Bill Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute. He asks, “How do you get people to experience a technology that they are predisposed not to be interested in?”

This is a valid problem, and one that I think will be solved, naturally by the growing dependency on e-Learning and online technologies to solve the increasing demand for further education courses. Yet equally, there undoubtedly needs an increase in accessibility for online courses beyond paid higher education institutions in order to minimize the risk of deterrence even further.

This calls for all types of business and services to offer easy and relevant online schemes. A move that has already been made by the Department for Work and Pensions, who’s job search site has, according to Wakefield, ‘averaged a pretty impressive one million searches per day’. Such schemes are causing more of those who may not be connected at home to visit their local online centres – a trend that is no doubt stimulated by the need of many to increase their job searching zeal.

This report come at a time when in the US, Barack Obama has unveiled an initiative funding of $12 million to be given to community colleges across the country. In order to increase the degree and certificate completion rate by 50 percent, he is also calling to make a number of distance learning courses free to anybody using open content.

I can see such a method being incorporated to Lane Fox plans in the UK (or, at least, I hope it will be). Offering free mini-courses ‘to help you find a job online’ or ‘to help you fill in your tax return online’ all seem logical – and if they are seen as a way of saving money – then the benefits of digital inclusion will be all the more evident.