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How to Get Chartered Engineering Licensure in the UK?

Chartered Engineering (CE or C.Eng.) is a nationally recognized professional degree that certifies the quality of the engineer residing in the UK and is awarded by the Engineering Council UK. Passing CE/C. Eng. is often needed to sign the engineering documents in the respective field and allow practising engineering within a certain geographical area. Moreover, this degree will boost the career of the engineer as the demand is very high and very few of them who attend the exam or interview pass.

Getting a C.Eng. degree in the UK is quite different from other countries. For example, engineers who want to get a PE degree in the USA needs to sit 8(4+4) hours of the exam in a single day. But the process in Great Britain is very troublesome which means CE/C. Eng. is for those who stick to it and are highly motivated and ambitious candidates.

Steps of Getting a CE Degree in the UK

  1. Experience/Training

To start your process to be a ‘Chartered Engineer’ enlisted by the Engineering Council in the UK you need to have three to four years of real engineering field experience called ‘Training’. This training is well structured and supervised by one of the listed Chartered Engineers of the institution. Please keep in mind, before attending the vigorous training process you need to pass your graduation.

  1. Two Reports

After successful completion of your training, you need to submit two well-written reports (certainly plagiarism-free) based on the training you did. These reports will be evaluated by two senior members of the organization who are closely related to your working area.

  1. Interview and Presentation

One fine morning you will be called to attend the ‘Question and Answer Session’. You will be interviewed by the experienced examiners who will evaluate you. On the same day, you need to present your work for around 15 minutes in front of the examiners. You need to answer a lot of related professional and technical questions by the examiners and you obviously have to get them all right. The presentation topic will be any ‘one’ from your previously written and submitted reports.

  1. Afternoon Reports

In the afternoon, the examinee needs to sit for a 3-hour long report writing the exam. The questions will be set by the examiners and not related to your work experience. You need to write two reports on two questions set by the examiners. One question will be related to a professional and another one is on a technical aspect. The answers shall be around 1500 words and you need to complete the exam within three hours.

After completing these vigorous and well-structured steps, if you pass you will be enlisted as a ‘Chartered Engineer’ in your respective field of study within the geographical area set by the institution.

How Your Love for Teaching Shows In Your Classroom

Teaching is just as much an affair about emotional & psychological classroom management as it is about pedagogical skill – something I’ve learned over the course of my long teaching experience.

I have been teaching as a secondary school teacher for some time now. About 18 years to be exact. And during the course of my classroom experience, I have taught more than 3500 adolescents. Students undergoing all the physical, emotional and psychological rigors of their developing biology. Hailing from both the affluent and impoverished areas of the Commonwealth. Human beings, in fact, who were (and are) destined for big things. To shape the socio-economic & political circumstances of their communities, no less.

 Because Love Yields a Response

Charged guns, who could sway either this way or that. Towards avenues either productive or those less so. Depending on who was available (at the opportune moment) to show them the way. A point that was strongly reinforced in a recent teaching skills article I read on my Xfinity Internet plan. A concept which we, as a society, cannot afford to lose sight of. Or become complacent about in the slightest degree.

This ‘who’ should be the teacher – and especially when no other reasonable guide is present.

But the toll exacted from this individual needs to be paid in love. In a potent and devoted form of affection that should form the bedrock of the entire tutoring enterprise. In a love that should show – to inspire change.

Because there really isn’t any other way to go about this mission. Yes, this word is not an exaggeration. A calling which requires a lot of patience. And patience is a virtue that can only be properly cultivated in the presence of true emotion. In the availability of feeling – which forms the crucial link between the participants in a classroom setting.

It is only then that any real instance of a two-way (teacher-student) learning process can start. Otherwise, the pupils’ future may be in jeopardy.

 The Teacher’s Role: Helping a ‘Useful Life’ Emerge

Because as a popular quotation from the Jurassic Park pop-cultural series goes, ‘Life will always find a way’. Though there is no guarantee of whether it will be a useful life or one that is a burden. Both to itself and to the people who come across it.

But this in no way means that any learner is less deserving of attention, warmth or sincere guidance. Because if we only favoured those deemed to be ‘intellectually superior’ early on, we would turn into tyrants. In the vein of the worst Platonic ideal possible, as history liberally relates.

No.

A teacher’s actual responsibility, in fact, lies in identifying the pupil who struggles. And then adopting liberating strategies that effectively resolve such hold-ups. Whoever said that teaching was just an exercise in throwing mere textbook-learned facts at a student audience lied! Because such a practice falls contrary to the entire ‘telos’ of this expedition. Which is to impart critical thinking and learning skills. And not encourage (horrifically) any framework of uninspired rote-learning.

Especially in today’s increasingly digital world is being an independent and creative thinker of upmost value to be fit for the challenges of tomorrow as educator Manuela Willbold analyses here: https://medium.com/@manuw1982/what-i-shouldve-learned-at-school-to-excel-today-14eba8245778

 Teachers Need to Come to Terms with Their Role

For this to happen, a teacher needs to fully understand the gravity of his (or her) task. His sensitivity can determine if a student responds to his instructions positively. While his breadth of knowledge & experience can prove definitive in making the learner respect him.

So not an easy, or very clear cut, job description.

The idea of a ‘job description’, in fact, is misleading in this context. And what’s more, it can actually be dangerous. Because when a teacher starts to think of his profession as a job, travesty results.

The aim of the entire tutoring franchise, after all, is to critically reform a budding generation. In a manner which corrects the mistakes – both thought & practice-orientated – of a former. Because this is the only way in which any progress is possible. And a community made to move forward in a positive trajectory.

In my opinion, acting on this approach is in many ways the exclusive domain of the teacher. The individual, who in some overtly patriarchal cultures, is still often referred to as a ‘spiritual parent’.

The (ideally) professional who can serve as the reference point for learners to gain a healthy appreciation of the world. In as rational and empirically sound a way as possible. So that their overall success in the entire exercise of ‘living’ becomes a given.

 A Show of Affection (Read: Understanding) Destabilizes

But enough with my musings on this subject. I’d also like to give you (my reader) some practical wisdom to ‘play around with’. A method which can prove very handy for you as a teacher. And especially when you’re hard at work on a particularly rough learner. Who may not be responding to the more mind-geared tactics in your teaching arsenal!

In my experience, I’ve come to find that the most outwardly misbehaving students are the ones most ‘domestically challenged’.

Let me open this point up a bit.

These are the learners who may not be receiving their rightful dose of affection at home. From the parents who should have known better. Or those who may not be available in the first place, due to some misfortune. Because of which the child may be lacking in some necessary emotional input.

 The Sheer Power of Actually Listening

Now as a teacher (and by all familial means, a ‘stranger’), you obviously can’t replicate a parent’s devotion. Nor should you attempt to. But you can do something that is just as profound & acceptable. And this is to deconstruct the concept further.

Affection, as deeper introspection will tell, is only partly concerned with physical expression. With hugs and kisses from mummy & daddy, at the drop of a hat. It is, more importantly, centred on understanding.

Understanding, in turn, is all about listening with a completely receptive mind. When such a communication link is open, it allows the pressured learner to vent. And in the manner of a hot steam ejection, to ‘let go’ of the issues that hurt.

Such an approach also helps to build respect – which I like to call my student ‘destabilization’ routine. Only I take care to never let them learn about it. For fear that my toolkit would be less full.

Interestingly, I recently evaded an attempt by one of my clever students to understand my secret. A particularly ‘sharp one’ who had been using his Xfinity double play deal to get me to rat out! But I managed to outwit him. With the offering of a McDonalds strawberry sundae to ‘chill things out’; as they call it nowadays.

The Role of Technology in Teaching

John Dewey rightly quoted, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

Adapting to the changes with the evolving time develops us into someone better and brighter than we were yesterday. The transformation from apes to humans, bullock carts to cars, Stone Age to modern age, barter system to monetary system, human race has adapted and chiseled it always to become the epitome of perfection. Our never ending struggle to strive for becoming advanced and better, informed and wiser everyday can never end. The lust to have a better life helps us in evolving.

Just like everything else the education system couldn’t stay untouched and unaffected with the changing times. The modern era has introduced a hint of technology in the educational sector. These days we have endless ways through which we can impart knowledge to the coming generations. Accommodating the power of technology in the classrooms means imparting knowledge and information which is more readily absorbed.

How does technology help in imparting knowledge more effectively and efficiently?

Times have come to change the definition of education. With every second child being internet savvy you just cannot refrain them from using it. Technology has become the need of the time. A technological device has the power to bring the look and feel of the practical world inside the classroom. Need of the hour is to adopt and adapt the modern ways to educate.

Technology not only promotes the love of reading but integrates other parts to it by adding videos, images, live channels, fresh statistics, real time results, and experiences, all in one place. Practical and live examples work better with students of all age. Make them explore the world sitting inside the classroom.

It accelerates learning and creates more engagement, making children motivated learners

Technology helps turn the lessons from boring to the best of its kind. With the help of graphics, sounds, projectors and computers, children better advocate the lessons being taught to them. From Mathematics, English, Science to Social Studies every concept becomes way more interesting and informative when delivered with the help of any sort of gadget.

By entwining technology in every part of the education system, the work becomes a play for the teachers and fun for students. The one who imparts knowledge does it more happily and effectively giving practical examples and the students too inter-relate themselves to it. Deploying mobile phones, laptops, and tablets makes everyone more involved and active.

You can welcome the universe to your classroom with technology

With the new high-tech advanced technology gain access to the VR (Virtual Reality) approach. Combining it perfectly with the traditional values, the newly developed learning experience creates endless new opportunities for the learners.

It enables you to offer immersive learning as a teacher

Is the next chapter you are planning to teach to your class going to be about the universe and planets, galaxy or the millions of stars around us?

Then, with the access to technology give them a real-life experience as a great educator.  Within no time let them feel like astronauts, pilots, scientists or even the stars of the galaxy! Milky Way can be understood a lot better that way.

Where with books students cannot actually feel and see anything beyond the imprinted words, but with VR-technology being adapted in schools, you and your students can explore something beyond the books. This remarkably accentuates the feeling of delivering a project and likewise for students it becomes way more imaginative, engaging, and illustrative. The episode is retained by the students, securing its own space in their minds. Visually things become a memory for a lifetime and you can immerse yourself in what you have heard and seen.

Students can be taught the skills required in the real world

This will keep your students in the forefront and ahead of others. In the journey from a student life to a professional life, one needs to be taught how to build the skills required in real life. At a very young age when students are taught to become well versed with technology they become prepared and think about situations more analytically.

The earlier children are made familiar with mobile technologies the better they become using it in the future to adapt themselves to the working environment. How else does it contribute to the future of our world? Our children show

  • Increased engagement
  • Ease of learning
  • A better response to efficient teaching
  • A better understanding of concepts and theories
  • More interest as it breaks the monotony, makes learning marvelous!
  • New ways of learning
Witness the journey from rote learning to real learning

There are children who love reading books and there are others who till the end of their student life do not get the concept the theories, subjects and topics they learn in their classroom, troubling themselves every day to understand even the most basic of concepts. Some of the children spend their lives rote learning all the information of subjects taught, with just the aim of memorizing them for test to get good grades.

Some children crave practical examples to understand things better and the others need to be approached creatively for making them get a hang of things. Here, technology comes to the rescue! By roping in technology and its advanced teaching forms the students can get access to innumerable e-books, videos, news, softwares, online researches and data to get the best knowledge of things immediately. This wider scope of learning enables real learning, not just memorization.

When the sky becomes the limit

Books will only provide knowledge about what is imprinted in them. They encapsulate the information which was given once and the students keep reading the same content throughout the year. With classrooms being equipped with the latest learning tools and technologies or simply allowing them to access such, students can access a whole compilation of research on a theory or topic, where books only allow limited content. The internet makes a wide spectrum of information more accessible in less time.

The contemporary education system and learning environment must not devoid the students and teachers from accessing the various opportunities to learn. With the integration of technology in classrooms there will be a much larger scope and room for learning and enriched classroom experiences.

If you want to make your child smarter and sharper with the changing times do send your child into a school that offers various facilities, all infused in one. Do refer to websites like Private School Review and Public School Review that only displays the names of the schools that they have personally screened, in and out.

Impact of Education Technology on Students’ Achievements

Some of today’s technologies have a great influence on the educational process and systems and help to enhance the learning. We are living in a technological era and in each and every field we can see the influence of technology and how it has led to great developments.

Education was limited by some boundaries like gender or age, but after the influence of technology it has changed all orthodox mentality and helped to spread education all over the world. Now after the invention of new technology and new devices education is not only limited to the classroom or university. People can get an education and qualify through online learning too.

Such new trends have changed the value of education and helped to spread the power of education without setting any kind of limitation and boundaries. After the use of educational technology, there was a drastic change in student’s academic performance and their achievements.

Technology supports confidence

The main thing that a student needs to do well in their academic performance is confidence. In the past, there weren’t many resources available and students had to depend on teachers and their resources mainly. But with this modern education technology, we have so many applications and so many online resources which help students to collect more information and to study better.

When they get seminar project assignments they can refer through the internet and they can collect information which boosts the confidence of the students. They can use technological devices for seminar presentation which will help them to score good grades and they can improve their academic performance rapidly and confidently. They can share their information with their friends too through many technical communication channels. Using technology in education has therefore clearly enhanced their performance and confidence.

Technological skills are needed

When students acquire basic technological skills at the beginning of their academic career it will make them experts throughout their course of study. As we know we are now living in the 21st century where technology plays a key role and is itself a part of the learning process.

In the future, even more experts in technology will be required, because societies and businesses have to compete with each other in this field, which will affect so many other areas of future life as we will depend on technology and its fundamental use increasingly.

If you don’t know how to use and operate technological devices most employers will not consider you as you’re lacking those skills and qualifications so acquiring computer and technological skills is very important. Therefore, our educational institutions will have to prepare our generations for a future life with the help of technology.

Technology encourages creativity

As we all know everyone is born with some talents. So, schools are a vital element which will identify the talent and will encourage students towards their creative thoughts. If a student is talented in writing, drawing or has innovative thoughts, the teachers should use it and encourage that child and be a role model to other children.

Teachers could build blogs or websites with them through which they can share their thoughts, ideas and demonstrate their innovative and creative skills. Teachers should encourage each and every single student to post something. It should be treated as the platform for creative thoughts and skills.

Once they get positive feedback from their teacher or their friends it will encourage them to post more. And it will help to encourage other students too. So, technology will be a helping hand in encouraging student’s thoughts and developing their talents. It enables them to learn, grow and explore their strengths and talents.  

Technology changes education                                     

There is no doubt that technology has brought a drastic change in the field of education. It really helps to enhance our educational system and offer more quality and custom-made education to students. It has not only helped students but also helped teachers to make their teaching more interesting and attractive.

When the teacher uses technology in their curriculum or classroom naturally students get a chance to show their talent and this motivates them to improve their academic performance. It reduces students’ stress because they have many other ways to collect pieces of information and are more in charge of it.

Many educational applications are developed to help students and teachers. When the teacher uses technological devices, it helps to enhance the teaching process and students get clear knowledge about the subject. Students can watch the lectures online on YouTube. They can search about a particular subject and find information which will help to increase their knowledge.

Our future generations are truly lucky as they will have access to all kinds of technological facilities. They will be technological experts and use it naturally. There is no doubt that education technology can make a big difference and if used effectively by professionals and students it will lead to many advances in the future.

Author-bio:

Myself Diane Harms. I have been in this writing field for some years. Custom essay writing service is really helpful to improve your reading and also writing habits, it really encourages new writers and also students to get the positive effect on reading.

How to prepare for English tests with popular free language-learning apps

English certainly is THE top language spoken worldwide, no doubt. In most countries it is mandatory to learn it and to be tested.

If you are considering to study in an English-speaking country, you will be required to pass an English language skill test beforehand so the university or college make sure that your English proficiency is to their standards. Additionally, you need to meet the language requirements of the UK Border Agency if you require a student visa and most native English employers are more likely to employ international staff with good English language skills.

What’s tested?

There are several English language standard tests like the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or the Cambridge ESOL, but they all mainly focus on four language aspects:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

How to prepare?

There are many ways to prepare for these tests such as attending English classes, reading test books and going through old tests. However, much more fun while learning the English language and vocabulary offer some of the hottest language-learning apps out there right now.

Based on the number of downloads on Google Play here is a selection of the 4 most popular free language-learning apps. See how they can help you with preparing for your English exams.

  1. Duolingo

This language-learning app has been downloaded a whooping 100.000.000 times on Google Play! That’s more than any other language app out there at the moment. In this video you saw that its use is super easy and fun. The exercises are short, you can set yourself targets and you’ll receive daily learning reminders and in-app rewards when progressing with your learning. It covers all four areas by:

  • Reading: Letting you read words and sentences in your native language and English
  • Writing: Letting you write words and sentences in your native language and English when translating them
  • Listening: Giving you audio recordings of English words and sentences
  • Speaking: Asking you to verbally repeat these audio recorded words and sentences in English and translating into English verbally

You can have your initial English language level assessed by doing a test in the beginning. The app will then guide you from level to level to improve your English skills until you have reached your target level and fluency. Certainly an all-in-one tool!

  1. Rosetta Stone

Lagging behind Duolingo with 5.000.000 downloads via Google Play this app has been around for over 10 years now and it prides itself with a true language immersion factor, claiming to teach you a new language like you’ve learned your mother-tongue. In the demo video you saw that it mainly works through daily speech and language exercises via online forums, chats and activities with speech recognition. It’s much more speech-based and focuses on the verbal communication aspect mainly. Therefore, it mainly covers three areas of English learning:

  • Reading: with its online exercises and stories you are challenged to read in English.
  • Listening: by talking to others in English your listening and comprehension skills are improved.
  • Speaking: having to communicate in English with your tutor or learning community challenges you to converse verbally and the speech recognition technology applied in its activities supports your pronunciation.

This app mainly focuses on spoken language learning therefore, writing is not so much supported. However, for English exams this is a vital ability as you can’t get the grammar and spellings wrong. So, mainly use this for verbal preparation.

  1. Drops

 

As the name suggests this app mainly focuses on drop-feeding you new vocabulary in English within topics of your choice. Its current 1.000.000 downloads on Google show that it is popular maybe because of its simplicity – 5 minutes a day are said to help you expand your English vocabulary and improve your English language skills. Thinking about preparations for your English exams though this app can only cover two aspects out of four:

  • Reading: you read mainly nouns, verbs and adjectives in English as it’s very word-based learning
  • Listening: You hear the English words being pronounced when reading them.

You would definitely need other resources beside using this app to pass your English test, but it surely offers fun and easy-to-use English language exercises if you ever get bored.

  1. Beelinguapp

This “newbee” is proving to be increasingly popular with 1.000.000 downloads through Google. As you saw in the intro video it mainly focuses on teaching English through stories for all sorts of readers and interests. Stories of your choice are being read in your native language and English and you can repeat sentences or have them read out slower so you can practise using the target vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. However, it doesn’t offer speech recognition technology so you’re your only judge. Therefore, it mainly focuses on two out of four language learning areas:

  • Reading: you read the text in English and your native language accompanied by audio recordings
  • Listening: you hear the text in English being read and can practise pronunciation and vocabulary.

Writing and speaking fall short in the use of this app unless you’re so disciplined that you repeat the stories verbally and do additional write-ups about them. But if you love to read then this will certainly offer you an enjoyable alternative to boring textbooks.

Hopefully this brief overview offered you some useful ideas and tips on how to utilise what some of these free language learning apps deliver and how you can combine elements in order to be 100% English-proficient to pass any English test. Good luck!

Top 5 London universities offering virtual tours

Coming to London to study soon? Nervous? Worried? Confused? – keep calm and read this guide about the best virtual tours of London universities, their campus and accommodation! If your chosen university is not amongst the top here then

  1. Read this guide anyway as it might give you useful info about student life in London
  2. Check with your prospective university to see if they’re currently working on creating fabulous virtual tours
  3. Maybe consider studying at one of our top 5!

What’s a virtual tour?

Fortunately, we live in a day and age where we don’t physically have to get to places to experience them – magic right? Erm, that’s technology for us. Thanks to Google and co. many institutions can now offer their visitors a tour of their facilities online. This is filmed with a 360˚ camera in order to give you the full immersive picture – as if you’re there.

How can I find my university’s virtual tour?

It still appears to be an emerging trend for UK universities or colleges to offer virtual tours and many don’t make it easy for their homepage visitors to immediately spot them. However, the good news is that UCAS has compiled a list of all the UK universities offering virtual tours and they even provide a direct link to them – amazing! (in case you’re interested in checking out American universities and colleges have a look at https://www.youvisit.com/collegesearch – these Americans are so stylish and ahead of the game!)

The 5 London universities offering top virtual tours

  1. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Applause, applause! The LSE has got it so right – from the moment you enter their virtual tour here http://www.lse.ac.uk/virtualopenday/ you feel IN there! It’s not just a virtual tour, taking you through the different facilities – it’s so much more! You are virtually at their open day and can click on any area such as “Life at the LSE” and swoosh, you’re beamed to a site that shows student interviews, webinars, student video diaries and lots more vital information about anything you’d want to know as a new student. It doesn’t get better than that in comparison to others, at least in the UK so far, and that’s why LSE, you totally deserve the #1 spot!

  1. UCL, Institute of Education (IOE)

Now, you think I might be slightly biased as I used to study here, but that was way before virtual tours were on the cards. What the IOE executes brilliantly is first of all their landing page: https://www.pan3sixty.co.uk/virtual_tours/institute_of_education/campus/ – it’s all there in one place! No confusion, no fuss. You have a menu at the top of four different tours of: the area, the campus, teaching spaces and facilities. When you click on one area you’ll get another menu to show you different places or buildings like “the main building” etc. And what’s really a fantastic feature here is that with every tour you get a little written summary. It’s not as extensive as the LSE’s tours, but it offers an easy and fast way to get a first impression. Heads up, competing with the LSE is tough and being second is a great achievement!

  1. Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

Similar to the landing page of the IOE, it’s all accessible here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/virtualtours/ and at first sight more appealing. PLUS: the layout is very user-friendly as a campus and London map are available for reference when choosing the virtual tours of each building. This is a fantastic feature especially if you’ve never been to London. What’s also easy on the eye (and mouse/fingers) is that each tour rotates automatically. However, you can’t navigate any further than that so it’s one 360˚ view per room. The main reason why QMUL is in third place is the lack of information about the facilities, which is so useful and important as seen with our #1 and #2 universities.  Don’t give up – there’s always room for improvement!

  1. London South Bank University (LSBU)

What the LSBU also offers, like our other candidates, is a comprehensive landing page with an overview of all the tours in one place: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/virtual-tours. This is a great starting point as you’ll already get a feel of the size of the university – and it’s big! You can choose virtual tours of their campus buildings, accommodation rooms, learning facilities, social hubs, labs and studios so lots of insight as well as info before you go into the tours. Sounds all great, right? Yes, BUT: the reason they’re #4 is that the tours are a bit like Google Earth: you see what the environment really looks like, but the navigation isn’t that smooth and there’s no information during the tours with regards to the buildings/facilities and things worth knowing for new students. Keep it up LSBU – there’s certainly potential there.

  1. University of the Arts London (UAL)

When you open the website to the UAL’s virtual tours here via this link https://www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/facilities/virtual-tours-ual#1 you’ll immediately see why they’re last – come on, you’re all about arts! Why so boring? No inviting graphics or pictures, no play, no fun here (and someone forgot to tidy up before the guests came)! BUT: the tours of all facilities are accessible in one place and easy to navigate through. For every building you get a separate tour with a menu of the different facilities. No information about each of the tours or buildings, however, it has to be said that there are lots of them and you at least get a good idea of where you’ll be spending a lot of time soon and the dimensions. How about investing more in the graphic design? Surely, you’ve got all the creativity at your disposal. But being last doesn’t necessarily mean being least.

What about the other London colleges and universities?

Ok ok, after having had a look at some other’s “virtual tours”, if you can call them that, it has to be said that they’re trying. Some of them have a YouTube channel with useful videos about student life, the different courses and interviews with staff. If you want to have a look go to:

https://youtu.be/wb7wGW9b7rU?list=PL0EdKd9GP9-jILCwsixF6bf9aOEy7A28z

Finally, I want to mention that Goldsmiths University of London and the University of Westminster ask the visitor to their virtual tour page to register beforehand. For prospective students this may make sense, but for anyone just simply interested in them it’s not great. That’s why their tours haven’t been taken into consideration here, shame.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some virtual tours listed here and even better if they helped you in some way. All I can say is: if you still don’t know more about your uni or college then you really have to show up! Good luck!

Robots are a kid’s best friend? Tech and young children – a good match?

We live in a day and age where technology moves into our lives in many places. From voice command devices like Alexa that allow us to organise things on the go to tablets or smartphones which help us deal with most aspects of our lives. Is it really far-fetched that a robot could one day be a teacher, childminder or even a friend?

How strong relationships are formed

Creating a strong connection and relationship appears to be of utmost importance during the early stages of development. If we are neglected and hardly interact with our own kind we develop severe depressions, cognitive inabilities and anti-social behaviours as René Spitz, a student of Sigmund Freud, found in children growing up in children’s homes without someone they had a close relationship with.

Source: Pinterest

A key experiment showing how vital forming a bond is was conducted by Harlow & Zimmerman in 1959. Monkeys were separated from their mothers and put into cages with unreal “surrogate mothers”. One model mother was made out of wire with an attached bottle, while the other was coated with cloth, but without a bottle. The monkeys chose the cloth mother over the wire mother, even though she did not offer food.

The findings paint a clear picture of the importance of physical affection, love and care which led Bowlby to develop his attachment theory, claiming attachment to be an intrinsic need for an emotional bond with one’s carer, extending beyond the need to be fed.

Our relationships with technology

Nowadays, people lead very busy lives working long hours or traveling for work. Often parents struggle to find enough time for their young children and with more and more childcare options many families hardly spend much time together. Instead, increasingly more time is spent with technological gadgets.

Taking a closer look at what children can already do with technology such as learning apps and programs that also schools use, it’s clear that what a tutor or a parent can do could also be done by a tablet or computer. And let’s be honest here: it’s convenient and easy to just let them watch or play something on the smartphone assuming they’re learning something at the same time.

What are children learning with apps?

If you want to learn more about the educational value of such learning apps you can visit https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ to check their reviews. Melissa Callaghan also researches the quality of children’s learning apps and comes to the verdict that many children under the age of five struggle to navigate through and complete tasks without adult support. So, at least for now children still need an adult to guide them and extend the learning that a technical device can offer.

For more detailed information on early literacy apps and their quality for young readers check this article http://littlebookfairy.com/top-literacy-apps/

Could a robot take an adult’s place one day?

Now, we all know films like “A.I.” or “Robot and Frank” where humans and robots try to develop relationships and oftentimes the question of whether this is possible is left open to interpretation. However, in “Robot and Frank” the robot helps Frank and that creates a bond between them. But would it be possible for a young child to form an attachment with a machine?

Let’s look at Singapore where robotic aides to teachers in kindergartens were being trialled back in 2016. Over seven months two humanoid robots, Pepper and Nao, were part of the teaching team at two Singapore preschools.


Findings of robots in a kindergarten

Classroom teachers found that the robots particularly helped shyer children to interact more with their

Robots in classrooms in Singapore featured in FT article

peers and the robots. They also supported their learning as the students were so intrigued by their new friends that they wanted to play with them all the time. The robots would assist with checking the right amount of money was paid in the role-play shop or ask them questions about stories they read. According to their teachers the kindergarteners loved asking the robots questions and involving them in their play.

But there are sceptics in the field of research of robotics. Sherry Turkle, a professor of social psychology at MIT, was quoted by the FT questioning: “Why are we working so hard to set up a relationship that can only be ‘as if’? The robot can never be in an authentic relationship. Why should we normalise what is false and in the realm of [a] pretend relationship from the start?”

Possibilities

Going back to the experiments with the “wire mothers” for the monkeys in Harlow & Zimmerman’s research, we saw that what really mattered wasn’t food but comfort. So maybe, if robots were not as machine-like, but cosier to touch or cuddle a physical and psychological bond could be formed.

There are already robot pets available and they apparently sell well with older people who are looking for a companion.  If kids grew up with such pets in their house, it would be interesting to see how their relationships would develop. So, the question is not whether robots will become our children’s friends in the future, but rather how such friendships will develop and affect all of us and whether they can come close to a bond between humans.

How a CFA and ACCA certificate makes you more employable

Beside the university degree and work experience, employers are more and more interested in extra credentials on a candidate’s CV.

Is it worth investing in additional education to be more employable in the financial industry?

Let’s try to answer this question by reviewing and comparing two of the most popular professional training routes: CFA and ACCA.

1. Scope

The first criterion that will determine your decision is the breadth of the knowledge delivered by these competing programs. In general, ACCA is considered to have a broad scope whereas CFA provides a narrow specialisation.

With CFA, you will learn:

  • Ethical and professional standards
  • Quantitative methods
  • Economics
  • Financial reporting and analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Equity investments
  • Fixed income securities
  • Derivative instruments
  • Alternative investments
  • Portfolio management and wealth planning.

With ACCA, you will learn:

  • Accounting in business
  • Management accounting
  • Financial accounting
  • Corporate and business law
  • Performance management
  • Taxation
  • Financial reporting
  • Audit and assurance
  • Financial management
  • Strategic business leadership
  • Strategic business reporting
  • Ethics and professional skills.

2. Difficulty

The difficulty of the programs can be assessed based on how many candidates pass the exams successfully. The average pass rate of the Knowledge and Skills ACCA exams in the first quarter of 2018 was 57% and the average pass rate of the Professional Essentials and Options ACCA exams was 41% according to their official data:

Check Results
The average pass rate of CFA exams during the same period is 43% according to the CFA Institute official website:

Check Rates
Based on the pass rate, CFA certainly appears more difficult to pass than ACCA.

The second criterion by which the level of difficulty can be measured is the type of subjects covered by each program. CFA covers far more quantitative subjects than ACCA and the latter has a wider range of subjects that require fewer quantitative skills compared to the CFA subjects. So, if you are not a numbers person, the CFA program will be a far more difficult option for you.

3. Time Required

Both CFA and ACCA allow for distance learning. On average, the total time for completion of the full program is from 3 to 4 years with both CFA and ACCA. However, there are differences in the length of the exams and time required for preparation. CFA exams tend to be longer and they require more time to prepare whereas ACCA exams are generally shorter and require less intensive preparation. An average duration of a CFA exam is 6 hours split across two sessions, and the average duration of an ACCA exam is only 3 hours. So, even though the total time of the program completion is the same, the intensity is very different.

4. Costs

In terms of costs, CFA accreditation is very close to ACCA. The latter will be more affordable if you register for exams early. The fee structure of the CFA program in 2018 is the following:

  • One-time enrolment fee: $450 (~ £346)
  • Level I exam registration fee: $650 – $1,380 (~ £500 – £1,062)
  • Level II exam registration fee: $650 – $1,380 (~ £500 – £1,062)
  • Level III exam registration fee: $650 – $1,380 (~£500 – £1,062)

So, the total cost of CFA is from $2,400 to $4,590 (~ £1,846 – £3,531) depending on how early you register:

Total Cost of CFA
The ACCA cost structure is quite different:

  • Initial registration: £79
  • Knowledge and applied skills exam (9 exams): £100 – £269
  • Essentials exam (3 exams): £125 – £298
  • Options exam (2 exams): £125 – £298

The total cost of ACCA is from £1,604 to £3,990 depending on how early you register:

Total Cost of ACCA

5. Employment Prospects and Benefits

CFA provides, on average, higher salaries than the ACCA qualification. However, the range of salaries varies greatly depending on the profession, country, company, work experience and previous education. On average, a CFA professional can be expected to earn more but there are more employers seeking ACCA professionals. According to Indeed.co.uk, there is the following distribution of salaries and job offers for each qualification:

ACCA

CFA

Salary Number of Job Offers Salary Number of Job Offers
£25,000 9,672 £40,000 571
£35,000 7,545 £50,000 472
£40,000 6,140 £55,000 371
£45,000 4,626 £60,000 282
£55,000 2,476 £70,000 146

 

So, unless you are looking for a job only in the finance industry, ACCA will provide more opportunities. However, if you are looking for a job in the financial industry, CFA will get you the job faster and with higher pay.

Summary

We compared CFA and ACCA programs based on several criteria, namely: Scope, difficulty, time, costs and employment opportunities. In terms of scope, ACCA covers a broader range of both quantitative and qualitative subjects whereas CFA is more specialised and focused on predominantly quantitative subjects. CFA exams tend to be more difficult than ACCA exams given the lower pass rates and more quantitative subjects to be learned.

It takes approximately the same amount of time to finish both programs but you will spend much more time both preparing and at CFA exams than ACCA exams, but the costs of both programs are quite competitive and comparable. In terms of employment opportunities in 2018, CFA will give you a higher paying job in the financial industry but ACCA will open more diverse opportunities in various industries albeit the main focus will be on accounting and audit.

If you are a professional in the financial or investment industry, CFA will most likely make you more employable in 2018, especially if you are based in the United States. If you are an accountant or an auditor, ACCA is the right route for you, especially if you are based in Europe.

Hopefully this analysis by Anne from online writing company 15 Writers helps you with your decision.

Other ways to boost your career Online courses to boost your career
 

Does getting a degree at university still pay off?

Technology continues to impact the ways in which we lead our lives and it doesn’t stop at education. Over the last years a trend has developed moving learning from happening in one place, like a university, to being accessible online.

Online learning is growing

Many educational institutions have begun to share their lectures on their own platforms for their students, but also on public platforms like Youtube or Coursera. Coursera was established in 2012 by two Stanford Computer Science professors, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, who put their courses online for anyone to take. This enabled them to give more learners access from all over the world. Now the world’s best universities offer courses, which can be short ones to gain certificates or even 3-year courses to get a degree. When you complete a course, you’ll receive a sharable electronic Course Certificate.

So, is paying £ 9,250 per year in England still a good deal?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)  has recently published data that reveals how social backgrounds, choice of university and subject and exam results all impact future earnings. Their research shows that students from the richest households, who did the same subject at the same university, still earn around 10% more than their peers from less affluent backgrounds after 5 years from graduating. They could also show that students graduating at elite universities tend to have higher salaries and that studying medicine, economics or maths will also guarantee higher earnings compared to studying arts or social science subjects. These results show that getting a university degree doesn’t always pay off as it depends on all these factors, if you’ll actually earn the salary you desire. Looking at the cost for studying in England, which for UK and EU students could come up to “an average of at least £22,200  per year“, for international students even more, you’d really have to ask yourself: will this investment be worth it?

The pay gap can be significant

The IFS puts it into perspective: “Graduates from those universities (e.g. Cambridge or Oxford) have average earnings of around £40,000 per year for women and more than £50,000 per year for men five years after graduation. By contrast, graduates from the lowest earning institutions have average earnings below £20,000.” This clearly shows a significant gap and urges us to wonder whether paying off up to £50,000 in dept for getting a first or/and second university degree is really good value. As some graduates don’t find a job right away and struggle to make enough money to afford a good life, let alone pay back their loans. Take Poppy Hunt for example. She graduated in Fine Art from the University of the West of England and works as a customer services assistant for Sainsbury’s 39 hours a week, which makes it hard to build up the experience needed for her desired museum job and earning enough to pay back her student loan. Now, is the traditional model of studying at university still working in our favour?

What does the future hold?

Looking at these facts one really has to ask themselves what the best career options are. You don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful. If you have a passion for something you can monetize it especially in the online world. There are plenty of examples from internet entrepreneurs such as Russell Brunson, who made millions with online marketing, to Vloggers and Bloggers – you name it. The beauty of the internet is that it gives us quick and easy access to so much knowledge. Through platforms like Coursera or Udemy we can watch lectures and tutorials about everything imaginable. Also Virtual College offers over 300 interactive e-learning courses for a variety of professions even in collaboration with employers or universities. Their courses range from £12 – £300, depending on the length and content, and you’d be able to study from home, not having the extra cost of accommodation.  Many experts in their field now create their own courses too and often those will give you a hands-on learning experience just as if you’re working alongside them, being tutored one-to-one. Look at Fernando, CEO of ClickDo Ltd., and his expert courses on how to do SEO (search engine optimization) and digital marketing . And if you’re interested in putting the learned skills into practice you can even become a franchisee – almost like being an apprentice, but better as you’re your own boss and earning a full salary.

What’s the right thing to do?

The digital age has so many opportunities to offer and we should be open to more diverse ways of studying and learning, not just following traditional models. Do your maths and work out which path leads to the best outcome, taking into account the cost, time, predicted salaries and demand of your chosen profession. Weigh your options carefully before committing to anything and do your research to make sure the investment you make for your education will offer you the return you’re looking for. Choose the path that is most likely to get you where you want to be one day within your means.

Why GDPR matters in education

This week the new “General Data Protection Regulation” will come into effect all over the world, not just within the EU, and it will affect many organisations that use any kind of data of a “natural person” (subject). Who uses our data you ask? More entities than you think! What first comes to mind are companies like Amazon (shopping) or Facebook (social media), but really banks, hospitals and schools or universities use sensitive data that people provide about themselves.

Data breaches can happen anywhere

Recently Greenwich University was in the news for having been fined £120,000 by the information commissioner for a serious personal data breach of 19,500 students online. The data included names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and in some cases physical and mental health problems. The main issue causing the information to be leaked was that it was placed on a microsite for training purposes that hadn’t been secured and closed down afterwards.

This example clearly shows how easily sensitive data can be compromised even without the awareness of the organisation. Under the new law financial penalties for data breaches like this can cost organisations up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is greater. Greenwich University has paid their fine, but especially in the education sector budgets are often very tight and it would consequently mean that the school or university has to cut spending, which could obviously affect their students and staff. So, data protection comes at a high price in the future and many organisations have invested a lot of money in upgrading their online data protection systems.

We’re all in it

However, Barclays Bank have identified the weakest link in online fraud and identity theft as parents on social media, also known as “sharenting”. The bank points out how parents can reveal sensitive information of their children by posting “their place of birth, mother’s maiden name, schools, the names of pets, sports teams they support and photographs”. Such details could be used to access their credit cards or online accounts even later once their children are adults. And as social media giant Facebook has admitted to sharing their users’ data without their consent for political campaigns, data protection is more important than ever with GDPR hopefully improving and raising standards amongst all organisations, but also private people.

Ways forward

Educational institutions therefore not only hold a responsibility to ensure their own data is safe, but also to educate students, families and professionals about ways of protecting their own as well as others’ information in the online world. Google is already ahead of the game with their online course called Be Internet Awesome, which was developed in collaboration with online safety experts such as the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely. It focuses on key lessons like “Be Internet Smart: share with care” or “Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets” to help students navigate the online world safely.

GDPR comes into effect this Friday, but it’ll hopefully have a long-lasting impact on how we all deal with online data in the future, leading to new innovations in this field.

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