Technology and Education - I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is struggling to get her son to read. It got me thinking. The truth is that hardly anyone, adults or children, has time to sit down and read these days. Of course people do MAKE time to watch American Idol, or Lost or CSI or whatever other empty TV show. Yes, sorry, I mean this. These are 3 examples but there are many more. I am talking about TV programs that either show the worst possible side of human beings or that give people a completely distorted version of reality. If I watched the local news, I would never come out of the house. People overseas have called me to ask if I was OK after hearing some news on their local TV... Across an ocean, thousands of miles away. What is the point of that?

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So yes, it is a shame that people don't read much because I do believe that there are a lot less mediocre books than mediocre TV shows. But here we are, that's the reality and there is no doubt that children respond a lot better to TV and iPods than a good old bunch of pages. Note that it might have to do with the fact that most parents who want peace and quiet at home have a tendency to just sit their kids in front of the box from a very early age... You can't blame the little darlings.

So let's make the most of this situation. Ultimately, why do we want kids to read? Just for the skill or for the content of what they read? Past a certain age, it has to be for the content. The actual skill should be drilled early on and if you have teenagers who can't read, that's another problem and not the topic of this article.

A couple of years ago, I was given an iPod. I had never wanted one because I don't listen to music much and I couldn't imagine myself walking around with my earphones jamming to my songs. But then I was introduced around the same time to audio books. Wow! What a discovery! My iPod follows me everywhere. I hardly ever watch TV and whenever I am doing something that doesn't require a high level of concentration, like cooking, ironing, cleaning the house, sorting out mail, etc, I just put the iPod on and I just "read". I mean I am listening really, but as I am not prepared to make the time to actually sit and read. I just kill two birds with one stone. I have "read" dozens of books in the last couple of years and have learnt so much! It has been the best education of my life. I have grown in ways I didn't think were possible.

Now I am sure that your kids have an MP3 player of some description. Have you thought about looking into audio books for them. Or simply some audio files that they can have in their iPod and that they would listen to. Have a mix of some music and some educational stuff. Do the same yourself: when you are driving somewhere, let the whole family listen to your favorite audio books, have a discussion about what is said. Get your kids into it from an early age.

The same applies to TV. Yes, there are a lot of useless programs on TV in my opinion, but there are also good ones, that actually bring knowledge. Some kids' programs are very educational and then you have the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, etc. Instead of quietening your kids with mindless cartoons, try a Discovery program on sea life. Don't get me wrong, I love cartoons too, every now and then. Some are better than others. But there has to be variety. Children, like all people, respond to what they are given. If you feed them violence from an early age, they'll enjoy it because it will have become the norm for them and they will want more. If you feed them knowledge, instruction, education from an early age, they will want more of that.

Games consoles are the same. They have games that require some thinking and others that consist of shooting, or racing or pretending you are playing sport. If the weather is good enough to go outside and you like soccer or football or baseball, go and play it, do the real thing. If it is too cold or rainy and you are stuck inside, pick a game that will teach you something, about finances for instance or managing your future, or building a business. There are games like that.

Computer use also needs to be taught to kids early. Mastering Microsoft office is a must. Get them to write their journal on the computer for instance, get them to play around with PowerPoint when they have school projects, show them Publisher, etc. All these are essential skills. The Internet is also a great source of good or bad and you have to pick and choose. There are a lot of interactive sites for kids that can be great. 

All the communities are good too if they are used for a reasonable amount of time per day. It is very easy to get carried away on the net and spend hours literally wasting time. But there are also a lot of things to be learned. even just the technical aspects of using a computer. Teach your kids to be wise on the net: for instance, make sure they select what pictures they put in their profile and teach them about the kind of image they want to project. They can also learn about advertising themselves or an event on one of those communities. It can teach them about marketing at an early age.

Technology is full of riches. It has to be used wisely and kids have to be shown - ASAP - the positive, educational ways they can use it so that they will ask for more. Don't blame violent TV or games, worthless TV shows etc for children's lack of interest in school. Take your part of responsibility: you are the ones to decide what your kids do or don't. Then work with what you have got and use this great tool that we call technology to your advantage.
Computers and Educational Videos - Danger Versus Control - We live in a dangerous society and, in some ways, computers and the Internet have made it even more dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that some educational experts have recently called for a moratorium on using computers in early childhood and elementary programs. Although this may seem an extreme reaction, by some, to the challenges posed by this technology, others are calling for a return to more traditional means of instructing young children.

There is no doubt that computers are reshaping all our lives in profound and unexpected ways, are becoming a part of our every-day life, and cannot be ignored. But, rather than focus on the potential hazards of computers in the classroom, and demand we stop using them with young children, why not use them in more appropriate ways, such as a delivery mechanism for educational DVDs and videos? Use of educational DVDs and videos allow the teacher to hand-select the topics to which their students are exposed and more easily incorporate both the educational content and necessary computer skills into their lesson plans. By delivering the educational DVDs via computer, the teacher can also ensure that the students' need for computer literacy is addressed at the appropriate age level.

The key issue here is control. If you leave a young child to their own devices to search the Internet and absorb whatever information they may stumble across, you lose all control of what they may be learning, both good and bad. Educational DVDs and videos, on the other hand, allow you to control what the young child sees and learns, and if delivered via computer, still offer the exposure to the technology, also a required skill in today's society.

It is important to remember that computers are simply tools - just like books, pencils, or the television. And, just like any other tool, they can be misused or can be used in developmentally appropriate ways to benefit our children. A great deal of research has been done that indicates there are certain positive effects of technology on early childhood learning but we must continue to treat computers as a supplement. 

We must take steps to ensure they do not replace the other important early childhood activities and materials, such as imaginative exploration, books, dramatic play, blocks, sand, water, art, etc. Rather than issue a ban on computers, educators and parents should make sure they are used to develop cognitive and social skills, as well as literacy, by controlling the content to which young learners are exposed.
Leaning and Educational Toys - Studies have shown that young children exposed to early stimulation of the learning process will gain an advantage throughout their school years with better cognition, learning ability and a joy for learning to last a lifetime. And with today's line of learning/educational toys, gaining a head start in brain power has never been easier or so much fun.

The Numerical Advantage.

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Learning/educational toys that focus on numbers are a great learning tool to stimulate the child's ability to compute and reason, and better prepare them for the mathematical aspects of life. Toys such as clocks, bingo cards, and counting games prepare the child to calculate and gives them a running head start to tell time, exchange money and learn their math tables. When choosing a numerical-orientated toy, be sure the product is geared for the age of your child. Toddlers prefer large, colorful pieces and easy to master formulas, so be sure that you have not set the bar too high that might frustrate them. The child must gain a sense of masterly skill to make the learning time enjoyable and keep their interest level high.

Linguistic Skills.
Literacy is the window to the world with a lifetime of comprehension and understanding of language. However, it is essential for young children to grasp the use and recognition of their written language as early as possible to avoid stumbling blocks when they reach school age. Early understanding of language opens the door to better communication, reading and writing skills and enables the child to effectively express himself. 

Companies such as Leap Frog, Fat Brain Toys and The Land of Nod offer plenty of learning/educational toys that will take your child through rapid retention of the alphabet to the construction of sentences and phrases. Language is a vital element to a child's early development and should never be left to an educational institution alone. Interacted language toys will give your little one the verbal advantage he needs from home.

Science and Art Skills.
Not to be overlooked is the disciple of the arts and sciences, and no child is too young to gain early exposure. The arts and sciences open a child's mind to discovery, invention and personal creativity that will bring him a lifelong confidence in his ability to be innovated and think outside of the box. This skill is critical to problem solving, discipline and may even prompt a desire to learn a musical instrument or express himself through painting. 

When selecting the science and art related learning/educational toys, sample a few artistic outlets and let the child decide what he is most comfortable with. This may be puzzle boards, flash cards or an interactive art shop with clay or paint sets. And when your child develops an early interest in art, be sure to encourage him and realize that there is no right and wrong. Art is a unique form of self expression where a blue elephant is just as valid as a gray one.
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An insurance premium is the amount of money that an individual or business must pay for an insurance policy. The insurance premium is income for the insurance company, once it is earned, and also represents a liability in that the insurer must provide coverage for claims being made against the policy.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Insurance Premium'

The price of an insurance premium for a given insurance policy can vary and depends on a variety of factors. Among those factors are the type of insurance coverage, the likelihood of a claim being made, the area where the policyholder lives or operates a business, the behavior of the person or business being covered, and the amount of competition that the insurer faces. For example, the likelihood of a claim being made against a teenage driver living in an urban area may be higher or lower compared to a teenage driver in a suburban area. In general, the greater the risk associated with a policy, the more expensive the insurance policy will be.

Policyholders may choose from a number of options for paying their insurance premiums. Some insurers allow the policyholder to pay the insurance premium in installments, such as monthly or semi-annual payments, or may require the policyholder to pay the total amount before coverage starts.

Insurance premiums may increase after the policy period ends. The insurer may increase the premium if claims were made during the previous period, if the risk associated with offering a particular type of insurance increases, or if the cost of providing coverage increases.

Insurers use the insurance premium to cover the liabilities associated with the policies they underwrite. They may also invest the premium in order to generate higher returns and offset some of the costs of providing the insurance coverage, which can help an insurer keep prices competitive. Insurers will invest the premiums in assets with varying levels of liquidity and return, but they are required to maintain a certain level of liquidity. State insurance regulators set the amount of liquid assets required to ensure insurers can pay claims.

Actuaries, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Insurance Premium Prices

Generally, insurance companies employ professionals known as actuaries to determine risk levels and premium prices for a given insurance policy. The emergence of sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence is fundamentally changing how insurance is priced and sold, and there is an active debate happening between those who say algorithms will replace human actuaries in the future and those who contend the increasing use of algorithms will require greater participation of human actuaries and send the profession into a "next level."
Some Advantages and Disadvantages for injection molding - Injection Molding is one of the most favorable ways when it comes to molding plastic, but is it really the best way? Here are some advantages and disadvantages to injection plastic molding.

Advantages of Injection Molding

There are several advantages when using injection molding over other plastic molding process.  It allows plastic-molding companies to be able to produce more complex products in different shapes and designs that otherwise would be to difficult or impossible to make the cost of the product would be considerable higher as well. With the injection molding process molding companies will be able to mass produce parts and create the product at the same time. Injection molding creates a high production out put while having a low labor cost and it is an easy process to repeat. Injection molding allows for workload to be cut down there isn’t much to do after the molding process, because the product is essentially finished.

It also helps to save resources for plastic molding companies, because the company will be able to recycle material or any unused molding plastic or scraps. Those items can be melted down and reground for possible future use, therefore the company has very little wasted material.  Another advantage to injection molding is the flexible design and the wide range of materials that can be used. Not only can injection molding help save a plastic molding company money and time it also allows for mass production in a more efficient way, that way productivity may increase, but there are still some minor disadvantages to injection molding.

Disadvantages of Injection Molding

Even though there are a lot of advantages to injection molding there still are some minor disadvantages when it comes to this process. The main disadvantage to injection molding is the cost of the machines, for an injection molding machines, the cost could be anywhere from $5000 to $50,000 the size of the machine could fit in a 1 car garage. For a newer machine it could range from $375,00 to $400,000 if you are a well-established company then there is no problem, but for those start up companies this could be a set back.

The designs will have to be created before any process may begin, this could put production behind schedule or cost more money for the company. There are also some limitations to what types of designs can be made with this process. Though there are some minor disadvantages, the main concern is the cost of the injection molding machine, the process could possible be a set back for certain companies who don’t have a set of rule to follow, lastly there are some limitations as to what may be designed when using the injection molding process.

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