Getting an education

So. The list goes on. Accepted to the Universities of Helsinki, Oulu, Jyvaskyla, Tampere and Vaasa.




After visiting each of these Universities during the past winter and even haven spoken to a few programme coordinators, this was not an easy decision. The opportunity to study in Russia via the University of Helsinki’s Cross-Border University programme could not be passed up; it is where my choice lays.

Having the chance to have visited and sat down to classes throughout Chile, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, and in the US, Finland has hands down some of the most impressive facilities I have ever seen in this world. Easy to access professors complete the experience. It is no wonder that countries around the world, including here in Chile, are looking at Finland as a source of innovation when it comes to education.

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Although you simply can’t just cut and paste a system from one country to the next, as many factors come into practice. In Kentucky schools play an increasingly important role to the community. In an area where many students rely on the school system for their only two meals of the day, it is important to see that Education is not the only focus for School Districts. Not only this, but as the school system is often one of the largest employers in counties throughout Eastern Kentucky, by nature they have become a crucial resource to the region.

In terms of technology, Kentucky has taken an aggressive push in this direction in an effort to help students help themselves, with technologies such as interactive smart boards, and netbooks filling the classrooms. This year, thanks to the crumbling economy, many school districts have had the opportunity to grab a hold of grants they never could have had in the past. Good news right? But when you look at the numbers, statistics, and percentages that bring a school district to be eligible for many of these grants it is simply frightening to see the amount of poverty that exists.

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Having worked in one of these districts off and on for eight years the changes and improvements have been phenomenal, yet there is still a lot to get done. In this three person team we must take care of every aspect of the network; from maintenance of over a dozen servers, four hundred workstations and a thousand user accounts across three buildings, to physical cabling, switch/router configuration, personnel training, and procurement. As frustrating as it might be, on top of all this, there is a cultural challenge we face on a daily basis. To function and work in the modern world contact with technology is inevitable. We do our best to create a network that is safe for students, not only to meet CIPA standards as we know that apart from any legal risk any incident can implicate, there is a general fear of technology that we have to defeat. Big thanks to EdgeWave, who provides a great, easy to use, in-line content filtering solution by the name of iPrism. Granted parents can and will ask to remove their children from all network access, to which we legally have to comply with. In my opinion a child in this situation has been denied future opportunities. With Microsoft recently winning over the Kentucky department of Education with their Live services, there is a clear push for online learning. This is a step in the right direction, although it may be difficult to implement outside of the school day as a good portion of students still do not have Internet access at home (sorry I don’t have the numbers with me, but I’d say around 20% as of 2010). The unpredictability of existing connections and electricity in rural areas further complicates the issue (with outages often lasting up to and over a week during the winter).

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Here in rural Chile the situation isn’t any better, with funding limited even further. Although, government programmes are rewarding students who excel, and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has stepped in to provide community Internet access stations throughout the region.




Anyway, take it all lightly,just in an effort to add content to my blog 😛 .

feel free to comment.

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