Benefits of Engaging in Physical Education and Sport Activities

Engaging in natural health remedies such as physical education and sport activites are encouraged by health and nutrition experts today. The increasing number of health risks and conditions that are experienced by most people today, young or old, create concern about the impact of lifestyle and diet factors to increasing those risk factors. If you wanted to adapt a change in lifestyle, make sure to learn how you can incorporate those activities in your daily life and experience their benefits.

What is Physical Education?

Physical education is a form of instruction that focus on promoting activities that involve physical development and enhance an individual’s overall well being. This is one reason why physical education is an integral part in a school’s curriculum, especially for grade school to high school students. This is the time wherein the physical body is undergoing development and engaging in activities such as dance, sports, gymnastics, and calisthenics, among other PE classes are highly encouraged.

Aside from those physical activities, games can also become part of physical education and sport classes. The idea is to stimulate play behavior to develop physical fitness and skills. Although physical education has been largely associated with the modern society, it actually has a long history that dates back to the times of ancient Greece.

Teaching Physical Education

The ability for children to benefit from physical education and sport classes depend largely on the teaching methods employed. This is why PE teachers need a certain level of qualification before they are allowed to teach this subject. A baccalaureate degree is the most basic requirement for PE teachers and some could even have concentration studies in the area of human behavior and biology.

Aside from teaching physical education and sport in schools, there is also a large demand for PE instructors in other sectors. This is partly due to the recent surge in health and fitness awareness with the need to stay active being considered as one of the healthy yet natural alternatives to combating common diseases and health risks.

Sport Activities

Although sports is viewed today as a competitive activity, it can also be practiced for leisure and fitness purposes. There are various level of sports activities that one can engage in such as amateur, leisure, and professional sports.

Sports classes are also held in schools to encourage students to participate actively for physical stimulation. After all, sports is not only fun and competitive, but it also teaches one the importance of taking care of your body and well being in terms of physical self-discipline. There are several sports activities that one can choose from such that it is easier to commit yourself into this activity, depending on what you enjoy doing most. Some of the most popular sports today include basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, to name a few.

Benefits

To encourage your kids to engage in physical education and sport activities, here are some of the rewards for doing so:

• Depending on the type of sport, it can encourage social behaviors and improve one’s ability to work with a team.

• It boosts your endurance and fitness level such that you stay healthier for longer.

• It teaches one self-discipline to adapt a healthy lifestyle and take good care of one’s body.

• It promotes physical development and acquire essential physical skills.

Online Education – Do You Want To Return To School?

In our rapidly changing global world, millions of students are currently taking college-level online (distance education) classes. Private and public universities in the United States and abroad are offering Certificate, Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral degree programs over the Internet to adult learners. From Ivy League to Community Colleges, an increasing number of students can log on to their classes from home, work or while commuting by bus and train. Adult learners frequently juggle a myriad of responsibilities including raising children, career, and care giving for senior parents. Formerly, a university of interest may have been out of reach geographically. Presently, an employee located in the United States can register for classes taught half way around the world. Non-traditional venues outside of the more traditional classroom offer viable opportunities for continuing one’s education.

Adult learners make up the largest demographic of post-secondary institutions in the United States. For this student group, the benefits of online academic programs are:

o To update current skill sets

o To learn new skill sets

o To earn an undergraduate or graduate level degree

o The fulfillment of academic requirements necessary for a current job or promotion

o To change careers

o The satisfaction of certification or licensure requirements

o Personal and spiritual growth and development

Not for the faint of heart, success in distance education academic programs requires high levels of stamina, discipline, and motivation. A good candidate must be computer literate, possess the ability to read massive amounts of material in short-time frames, have good writing and communication skills, hold high expectations for good grades, enjoy applying critical thinking and commit a minimum of 15 hours per week per course (be prepared to allocate more, if necessary).

The Internet and the World Wide Web provide the critical technology platform for distance education. University technological and operational infrastructures (including hardware, software and transmission) provide the additional cornerstones to the technology platform needed to execute distance education programs. The delivery of academic content may be accomplished in several formats. The more traditional venues are correspondence courses, videos, audio-cassettes, CD-ROMS, and broadcasts via television and radio. Modern formats include synchronous and/or asynchronous education content distribution channels. Synchronous delivery refers to real-time interaction between instructor and student i.e., two-way video-conferences, whiteboards, chat rooms, telephone software (ex. Skype), and mobile technology devices. Asynchronous interaction does not involve real time communication. Instead, interaction between instructor and student is accomplished through the use of e-mail, DVDs, and the traditional education delivery formats.

As a student, you will need a desktop or laptop computer, an Internet Service provider, a cell phone, software (i.e., word processor, financial spreadsheet, calendar and Power Point), a backup storage disk drive (nothing can make your heart drop faster than losing a body of work that you’ve diligently developed), a headset with microphone for virtual team discussions and the traditional school supplies. Optional technology may include memory upgrades, scanners, digital scanners, and fax machines.

Ten Tips For The Successful Online Student:

o Have a credit card or debit card ready for downloading e-books and other required course reading materials.

o Maintain a list of more than one bookstore in the event that a required textbook is sold out. It’s always a good idea to obtain a list of the required textbooks midway through the term and order in advance for the following term.

o Do not be shy about asking for help if needed. I cannot stress enough the importance of communicating openly with your professor or instructor about course material that you may not understand. Online academic programs tend to move rapidly and course content that you do not understand will most likely cause problems down the road resulting in frustration and possibly, lower grades.

o Seek out a tutor. If there are areas that you know need strengthening, even before the class begins, have a tutor on stand-by. Also, the telephone number of a computer specialist should be in your rolodex.

o Time management will be critical. Keep a planner. Read your syllabus as soon as it becomes available and plan accordingly.

o Uphold your responsibilities as a virtual team member. Your contributions will directly impact the team grade.

o Exercise. Long hours at the computer can cause strain on the neck, shoulder, arm and back muscles, not to mention the hands. Remember to periodically stretch and tone.

o Eat a healthy diet. Keep good healthy recipes handy. Hydrate. Avoid heavy snacking on calorie-laden food and instead eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Avoid white flour and choose high fiber grains.

o See your doctor. A healthy body feeds a healthy mind.

o Stay in contact with your Academic Advisor to be sure that you are satisfying the requirements needed to complete your degree.

In the Fall term of 2006, 3.5 million students representing 20% of all U.S. higher education students, took at least one online course (2007. The Sloan Consortium). It is projected that distance education will continue to grow in popularity domestically and internationally. The most commonly offered online academic programs are Business, Computer Science and Engineering, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Nursing, and Public Health. Whether you select a community college, public institution, private institution or Ivy League university, enjoy the learning experience.

© 2007-2008 Jeanna Foy-Stanley

Higher Education in India – Its Drawbacks and Suggestion For Reforms

Today the world is of science, new inventions and competitions to excel over the other. We can be proud to be a part of our great country but the world has shrunk today to a common platform on the basis of higher education and learning. Everybody has to be ready to receive and contribute towards new ideas, thoughts and systems. To gain the benefits of modern society and compete with the outside world, it is necessary that youth of our country get higher education. More and more avenues of higher education are provided to them at affordable prices and in all locations so that all round development in personality of the complete society takes place. Rather now it is the duty of each individual to ask for higher studies and be broadminded.

During the last few years, universities have increased manifold to impart higher education through various colleges all over the country. Liberal grants have been sanctioned by University Grants Commission. Many colleges have emerged in the private sector also to provide higher education. In different big cities and towns, massive infrastructure of buildings has come – up which is supposed to be the centre of higher learning. However, theses centres have started converting into hot beds of political intrigues. They were expected to radiate learning, discipline, sense of responsibility towards the nation, but they seem to be breathing violence, indiscipline, strikes, political groupism and even vandalism. The House of worship and learning has turned into the House of Satan. The youth is turning unpatriotic. The students take admission in these universities for the sake of just qualification instead of developing self-reliance, confidence and a sense of duty with planned career.

Now -a-days, we find that there is over-crowding in the classes of higher education also. The ratio of teachers as compared to pupils is very low and the teachers don’t have any personal feelings with the students. And thus higher education is examination ridden. Easy and shortcut methods are being adopted to achieve success. The students are getting fascinated to all things except books. The dependence on the Examinations only is the main cause of deterioration in our education system. No real or practical knowledge is gained by the students. There is a big gap between the practical life and education in colleges. Going to colleges seems to be a place of enjoyment in paradise for the students. However, their rosy dreams are shattered when they come out of colleges and enter the actual life. They have to return disappointed when they search for a service from door to door. It is due to purely technical education given to them.

The system of imparting higher education should be such that after completing education in college, the youth should not be dependent solely on service, but must be able to start some independent small scale industry or business on his own. Vocationalisation of education is the need of the hour. More and more technical and vocational institutions need to be started where training modules in practical aspects of career must be compulsory. Every effort should be made to inspire the students with noble and innovative ideas. It should be compulsory for students to appear in psychological tests. This will enable the students to choose subjects and careers of their own choice. In this way, the students can plan their careers from the very beginning. Just after their schooling, they would be able to decide the career which they wish or are interested in pursuing.

For more success in higher education, it is required that instead of lengthy examinations at a stretch, the due importance should be given to intelligence tests, personal interview and class room works at regular intervals. The development of clean character towards prosperity of nation is another important aim of higher education. The aspects of these higher studies must develop lessons of national integration as well as international integration and unity more effectively.

A great stress needs to be given for establishing good libraries in our colleges and universities. Students should be encouraged to make free use of them under the able guidance of teachers free of cost. More discussions and arguments on varied topics can impart more knowledge and information than more lecturing and completing the course. Equally important are the laboratories with latest equipments and items. To test the learning of books, students need to have good laboratories. An experiment is an unending quest of learning and knowledge on a permanent basis. The institutions providing higher education should be made temples of the modern age.

9 Imperative Benefits of Digital Education Platforms

What Is A Digital Education Platform?

A digital learning platform is a software ecosystem with tools that gives learners, teachers, parents and administrators access to common communication tools, information, and resources, not only within the school but outside it as well. When used correctly, it can significantly minimize expenditure on IT and administration, reduce teacher workload, and enhance learning and teaching experience.

For years, printed textbooks have been used, but today some companies have made the intensive efforts to shift from print study materials to digital tools in the form of digital educational platforms. With this change, content has become more interactive and engaging, and the advantages are obvious.

It includes tailored learning technologies ingrained around a digital textbook and can be personalized by faculty to fulfill the requirements of the specific class. They can be easily used on any device and usually involve problems, games, and quizzes to keep students interested and engaged in the topic. Not only these platforms are economical for students to get it, but, when compared to lugging around books, they’re extremely convenient to use online.

Digital Education: An Adaptable Approach

One of the biggest benefits of digital learning is its power to bring the classroom to life with ample of features that benefit not only students but also teachers.

Not only do these platforms work well with students in mastering the content, but they also prepare students with the technical knowledge and skills required for future courses and jobs. The innovative technology and personalized learning integrated into these platforms have lots of benefits.

The 9 Imperative Benefits Of Digital Learning Platforms

These platforms are growing continuously across a wide range of educational institutions, from primary wings to universities. Here are 9 benefits which cannot be overlooked-

1. Improved organization of communication and information

It can assist a school to make sure every student, parent, teacher, and administrator gets access to the information they need, and when they need it.

2. More parental involvement

Using it, parents can get better informed about their child’s progress and school news, and eventually, the learner gets more support at home to continue their learning.

3. More opportunities for personal learning

Using these platforms leads to a higher range of learning resources, and so can both support and motivate independent learners.

4. Improving quality and variety of educational resources

Online education platforms let teachers the opportunity to supplement or replace the textbook with a different range of learning and teaching resources, both in the classroom and online.

5. Bigger opportunities for interaction and collaboration

Collaboration between schools and teachers to merge expertise and resources, and better collaboration between learners, are a few of the most remarkable benefits of making use of this platform.

6. Taking advantage of teachers’ time to attain positive results

Digital education platforms provide several benefits for administrators and teachers by automating several tasks that they need to do regularly. Consequently, schools get more time to focus on their core activity- teaching.

7. Smoothing the progress of strategic leadership and teaching management

With the assistance of modern digital learning platforms, the education sector can get benefitted from faster and clearer communication among all the people involved in education.

8. Enhanced management of student attendance and behavior

They have been found to aid schools’ efforts for improving student attendance and encourage positive behavior.

9. Developing the school identity and community

These platforms assist increase school democracy and offer their students a voice, usually leading to a persuasive sense of school community.

E-learning platform technology is ever-developing today: it’s now faster, more secure, and convenient to use, and it easily gets integrated with other third-party systems in order to create a much more comprehensive studying environment students.

Digital Education: An Access to a Modern World

Today, they are more likely to play an increasingly crucial role as more and more schools and teachers want to develop their use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in different areas. By providing communication channels, educational course and tools and school management systems, the best education platforms offer students and teachers a single and quick gateway to using technology inside as well as outside the classroom.

Challenges in Introducing Value Education at Higher Education in India

Value Education is the much debated and discussed subject in the plethora of education in India. Of course it is true that the main purpose of any education will go with Value orientation. More concentration on Value education has been given at the primary and secondary level of school education than in higher education in India. Values could be effectively imparted to the young minds rather than to the matured ones. It may be the important reason for this prime importance given at the school level. There are so many modules designed with the help of agencies like NCERT and others for effectively imparting the value education to the school students. In this context, many innovative educational practices are being identified by the experts. Good number of experiments and studies are being conducted in the recent days on the effectiveness of teaching value education at school level. Some schools have very innovative and radical course designs to impart the values.

Effective teaching practices in imparting value education ranges from story telling, exhibitions, skits, one act play and group discussions to various other formats. New methods have been evolved by educationists to create an effective learning sphere. The usage of electronic gadgets also gains importance in the teaching-learning practices of value education. But at the higher education level, due to various reasons, the importance given to value education is not as much as it is given at the school level. The curriculum and the teaching methods also could be subjected to scrutiny. It is true that colleges are meant for a kind of specialization in some field of education. But in the Indian social context, the youth require direction and counseling at this stage. They have been exposed to various challenges at this stage which demands the intervention of educationists for his/her betterment. His/her character building also strengthens at this juncture. Students’ perception on various life factors and events are getting shaped at this stage. On the whole they evolve their own philosophy of life. Their sensitivity and knowledge are getting direction at this stage. Hence, an effective value orientation becomes inevitable to the students of colleges. Keeping this requirement in mind, States like Tamilnadu introduced a compulsory paper/course on value education to undergraduate students of all colleges in the State under the choice based credit system. Though this kind of effort is made with the good intention of imparting values to the youth, many limitations in bringing out the expected outcome could be identified.

The problem mainly begins with the definition of values. Defining the term ‘value’ poses a challenge to all scholars. The term value is loaded with varieties of meaning. Each meaning reflects its own philosophical position. Generally the term value is spontaneously associated with religious values. It is believed by many Indians that values are nothing but the religious and spiritual guiding principles of life. Hence, it is supposed that the path is already been laid for the life journey. But in the context of modernity and modernism there rises a fundamental question of whether value education is required at all in a modern state. There are those who argue that modern life is based on science and technology, and both are value neutral. They view that the values are bugbear held out by people living in the past, glued to outdated religious principles that have no relevance to the 21st century. At this point, there is also another group of modernist who propagate the necessity of value education at learning centres in order to safe guard the democratic state and its values. The values they wish to cultivate are modern secular values such as honesty, respect to other, equality, collectivity, democracy, respecting the human rights, sharing equal space in the public sphere and so on. These values are considered as the products of enlightenment period. Hence, four positions could be arrived at on the basis of the above understanding. The are:

1. There are religious values which are very much essential for every one and must be included in the curriculum.

2. The religious values should not find place in the educational system. They may operate at the private sphere.

3. There are non-religious secular values and they must find space in the education.

4. There is no need for teaching value education in the academics because they cannot be cultivated through formal learning and such value cultivation will make the individual biased.

In consequence to these positions, following questions arouse.

1. Whether value education should find place in the educational system?

2. If it is required, then what sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum?

3. What is the importance to be given to the religious values which are primarily developed on the basis of scriptures?

4. Can modern values alone are sufficient enough or is there any possibility of blending the values of modernity with religious values?

5. If religious values are to be given importance in the curriculum, which religion will find prime place? If there are contradictory propagation on a single virtue by two religions, then how are they to be handled?

6. Similarly religions differ on the practices also. Right from eating patterns, dress mode, marriage systems, war tactics, killing, punishments to various other aspects, religions differ on their outlook. In this situation, what sort of perceptions need to be taught?

Besides these questions, another billion dollar question would be raised on the methodology of effectively imparting those values. Then again as it is mentioned earlier, the school education can very well include this education easily because the system itself is advantageous for it to accommodate. But at the college level, the system finds it very difficult to work out. So this study could analyse the theoretical problems relating to the identification of values to be included in the curriculum at the one side and the problem of effective designing of the curriculum and imparting those values on the other side.

II

The necessity for imparting values to the students of all levels has been felt by everyone. The world today is facing unprecedented socio-political and economic challenges. Problems of life are becoming increasingly intense and complex. Traditional values are decentered. ‘An environment of strife pervades all countries and broken homes have become common. An insatiable hunger for money and power, leads most of people to tension and absence of peace of mind and all kinds of physical and mental ailments have become common place” 1. In the present day context of frequent and often violent social upheavals, we have to look at the problem of restlessness of the youth, their frustration born out of futility of their search for meaning of life and the purpose for which they are living, often leading to evil and wickedness. This calls for a new approach to, and a new vision of education. It is obviously felt that the present educational system promotes rat race and keep the student community in a sense of insecurity. Educational institutions have become the pressure cookers building pressures in the minds of youth. Also a loft sided educational pattern which insists on instrumental and technical rationality for the successful life in terms of gaining money and power has invaded the educational system of India. The person who is deemed to be unfit for this survival race becomes disqualified and ineligible to live in this market economy based life. The spate of industrialization and economic growth in developed nations has brought about a perceptible change in this scenario. And developing countries including India are feeling the ripple effects of this development. Values earlier considered essential by all societies have been eroded and have given way to unethical practices around the globe. Where honesty and integrity were loved and appreciated, greed, corruption and red tapism have come in, bringing in their wake, unethical responses which have pervaded all walks of life and are thwarting efforts of a few enlightened individuals to promote value based society.2 Hence, implementation of well structured education is the only solution available with all states. With growing divisive forces, narrow parochialism, separatist tendencies on the one hand and considerable fall in moral, social, ethical and national values both in personal and public life on the other, the need for promoting effective programmes of value orientation in education has assumed great urgency. Development of human values through education is now routinely seen as a task of national importance. Value education though supposes to be the part and parcel of the regular education, due to the market influences, it could not be so. Hence, it has become an inevitable need to include an exclusive curriculum for value education at all levels.

Now the next question would be about the nature of value education. What sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum is the prime problem in the introduction of value education. This problem surfaces because we can find varieties of values prescribed on the basis of various scriptures and theories. Sometimes they are contradictory to each other. This issue has been thoroughly discussed earlier. But the solution to the problem of the nature of value education is primarily dependent on the social conditions that prevail in the state. There need not be an imported value educational pattern to be prescribed in India. The burning social issues would demand the required value education. Though India is considered to be the land of divinity and wisdom, the modern value system throws challenges to the ancient value pattern. Right from the Gurkula pattern to the varna ashrama values, all values are under scrutiny by modern rationality. Hence, the relevance of the golden values prescribed by the then society is questionable in the present situation. On the other hand, the so called modern values which have been listed earlier also subjected to criticism by philosophers like post modernists. They question the very nature of the rationality of the enlightenment period. Because critics of modernity strongly declare that the modern rationality is the reason for the deterioration of human concern in the world and they paved the way for inhuman killing and escalation of values. The reason of the modernism is considered as the root of power politics which leads to inhuman behaviour of the power system, according to them. Hence the modern values like democracy, civil rights, environmental ethics, professional ethics, discipline and all such values are found useless in bringing harmony in the society. The values like discipline, tolerance, peace bears the negative connotation in this context. Hence, what sort of modern values are to be included in the curriculum is a challenge thrown towards the educationists. At one side the fanatic and fundamentalist features of religious values and on the other side the modern values based on the market economy and other factors are to be excluded and a well balanced curriculum with genuine worthy values suitable to the society has to be identified and included in the educational system. In this context, it becomes obvious that there cannot be any universal pattern of values to be prescribed in the system. When a suitable blend of religious and modern values is to be done, the designing of such course demands an unbiased, scrupulous, intelligent approach on the part of the academician who designs such course. Thus the spiritual values of sensitizing the youth for happy world and rational values for a just world are very much required. Religious values can be taken but not with the label of any particular religion, democratic values are to be included but not with its dogmatic inhuman approach. Thus there need a perfect blend of both. This is the real challenge thrown to the Indian academicians.

After the identification of these values, they need to be inculcated not to be informed to the students. Mostly listing the values is done very easily, but imparting them effectively requires genuine spirit and innovative educational practices. In the Vedic period, the gurukula system prevailed in which the student has to thoroughly undergo a pattern life with the guru shishya hierarchy. Whatever the guru declares are the values of life. But in the modern context, which is supposed to be the democratic sphere, a sense of equality and freedom has to prevail the learning situation. Also the values identified cannot be preached on the basis of the religious faiths. So the teacher has to find effective working module to internalize the values in the minds of the youth. The teachers’ understanding about the values prescribed and his/her commitment in imparting them also play a crucial role here. How to sensitize the teacher before carrying the values to the students is also a challenge to the educationists. The value education class room, if it is dealt with full seriousness and sincerity would be very interesting and challenging sphere for students and teachers. At times they need to sail at the same level with the students. The hierarchy may get disappeared. Value education demands a total responsibility from the teachers. They become more accountable. On the other side, a teacher who is committed to a set of values would always like to preach and impose them on the young minds. That extreme should also to be avoided with a balance of mind. Value education cannot be done by just delivering lectures and screening films. It requires a strong interaction between the students and the society. A lot could be experimented at this sphere. For which the supreme value ‘integrity’ is expected from the educator.

It is observed that many modules of teaching values have been designed and tested. Some are seemed to be very effective. In Tamilnadu, especially in aided colleges, with all good intention the government has introduced the value education as a compulsory scheme at the undergraduate level. But each university has its own syllabus for the same. The scrutiny of those syllabi also reveals a lot of variations in conceiving the value education. In some universities, some religion based institutions are given the responsibility of designing and even carrying out the course. Similarly the teachers who have not been exposed to any such type of training in value education are given the responsibility of teaching values. The introduction of value education for all under graduate courses is done at the cost of a core paper of that course. The teachers who have been handling their hardcore subject papers had to meet the shortage of workload due to this programme and to solve this problem, they have been entrusted with the job of teaching value education paper. This is done with the aim of avoiding the workload problem of existing teachers. The most valuable and sensitive part of education has been made like a mechanical dogmatic part. At this juncture, the fate of value education at the college level could be imagined. How to solve this issue is again a challenge to the educationists of Tamilnadu. The same fate could be observed in many other states of India. Hence, two important problems surfaces here, one at the syllabus level and the other at the teaching level. As it is discussed earlier the syllabus could be designed by way of paying attention to all aspects but imparting the same requires not only innovative teaching methods, but also innovative training method of the educators. It is as good as training the driver to drive the car; the teacher needs to be trained in imparting the values. The technical education employs teachers with sound knowledge in the subject, similarly it is essential to have teachers with sound mind and creative teaching skill to teach value education. Value education is definitely not to be dealt with compartmentalization but it should be taken as a part of the whole educational system. As Nietzsche puts it, the society requires masters to create and impart values, not the slaves who accept all the values imposed on them without any critical understanding.

If education fails to impart necessary values to its citizens, it will definitely have a telling effect on the society. All efforts to bring just and peace in the world will become futile if proper value education is not imparted.

Notes:

1. Kireet Joshi, Philosophy of Value Oriented Education Theory and Practice, ICPR

Publications, New Delhi,p.217.

2. Ibid., p.218.