6 Key Factors to Improve Education

The key factors that are most likely to improve learning outcomes.

  • Learners taking ownership and having a choice in what they learn and how.
  • Differentiated and individualized learning
  • Formative, constructive, personalized, and focused assessment
  • Small-group learning experiences
  • Opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning and to develop other noncognitive skills that help them learn how to learn.
  • Flexible, collaborative tools to help teachers and learners incorporate these key factors and improve learning outcomes.


Top Ten IT Jobs! And How to Learn the Skills to do them!

  • No. 10: Software Architect (Senior Software Engineer) – Median Base Salary: $130,000
    • Skills
      • Communication
        • Interpersonal
        • Writing
          • Write Design Specifications and Technical Requirements
        • Team
          • Provide Code Reviews to the Team and Management
        • Presentation
      • Telecommunication
        • Network
      • Design and Programming Skills
        • Java and Java EE EJB 3/Spring, JSPs, Servlets, HTML, CSS, JQUERY, JavaScript, JDBC, C++ in a UNIX, XML, SQL
        • Agile Processes
        • Develop test cases, test plans, and expected results.
      • Marketing
      • Economics
      • Physics
      • Project Management
  • No. 9: UX Designer (User Interface) – Median Base Salary: $91,800
    • Skills
      • CommunicationWorking with business teams (across multiple partners) to determine UX needs and creating designs that meet them. As a UX Design Manager, you’ll be assessing the programs, business needs and market landscape, and owning the creative oversight required to distill these into design requirements
        Translating concepts and ideas into wireframes, workflow diagrams, customer journey maps and visual designs
        Effectively communicating, championing and defending user experience and design directions to business teams & executives using prototypes, visual communications, and narrative vision
        Leading user research, testing, and focus groups for strategic programs
        Championing user experience and design best practices to stakeholders throughout the Verizon Wireless organization. Bring design thinking to projects and act as a voice of UX innovation throughout the product development process.
        Being passionate about digital & mobile products and technology. The right person for this job lives and breathes digital & mobile experiences and has an amazing grasp on market trends and a vision for how these new products and technology designs will transform Big Data solutions 2-5 years into the future.
        Bachelor’s degree or eqivalent in Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, Information Design, Visual Design or related field; accelerated degree preferred
        Experience as a UI Designer, Interaction Designer, Creative Director, Lead UX Strategist or similar
        A portfolio that demonstrates superior creative thinking and problem solving skills
        Understanding of the agency process, design process, and project management for design engagements
        Experience working across cross-functional teams (including UX and technical development/engineering, product management, marketing, executive management), with working knowledge of software development, product design, usability engineering, and quality assurance
        Attention to detail and craftsmanship
        Proven success driving programs in a matrixed environment
        Exceptional communication & presentation skills, including involvement with executive-level communications
        Excellent organization skills with proven ability to manage multiple concurrent projects and to adjust to frequent changes and project priorities.
        Ability to make a strong first impression, active listening skills, the ability to win respect and influence others, politically savvy
        Desired Skills/Experience:
        Experience in a product design or creative/strategy role within a large corporate environment
        Experience designing next-generation software/hardware platforms (TV, tablets, touch-screen, wearables and other consumer electronics.)
        Experience managing and/or collaborating with creative talent and creative agencies
        Experience with rapid prototyping in an Agile/Scrum environment.
        Prior Big Data Platform or Advertising Platform interaction or design experience preferred.
  • No. 8: QA Manager
    • Median Base Salary: $85,000
    • monitor the overall software testing process and make sure new products work before being released to the public.
  • No. 7: Software Development Manager
    • Median Base Salary: $135,000
    • This is a managerial position, which garners a higher pay grade.
    • the job requires a high degree of education, deep technical skills and several years of software experience.
  • No. 6: Analytics Manager
    • Median Base Salary: $105,000
    • Similar to the demand for data scientists, analytic managers are crucial to companies that require someone to analyze and make conclusions (about the) data.
  • No. 5: Software Engineer
    • Median Base Salary: $95,000
    • Write Code
  • No. 4: Project Manager
    • Median Base Salary: $106,680
    • this job title has cracked the top 10 both years demonstrates it continues to be one of the hottest jobs on the market.
  • No. 3: Mobile Developer
    • Median Base Salary: $90,000
    • Companies across all industries all have mobile apps — or plans to create one — and they are hiring plenty of mobile developers to create and support them, Dobroski said. Despite this trend, he added it is not surprising that the number of job openings for mobile developers is not higher. Mobile developer ranked in the top three for tech jobs on Glassdoor’s list, but overall it was No. 5 for best jobs.
  • No. 2: Solutions Architect
    • Median Base Salary: $119,500
    • The job title may be a mystery to some job seekers, but a solutions architect is an integral position in a company that handles business decisions related to software creation and performance, Dobroski said, adding, a solutions architect is a problem solver, and has a mix of both business and technical skills. Solutions architects often work closely with clients to hear feedback on their company’s product, and then provide any solutions needed based on the feedback.
    • Solutions architects also ranked No. 3 among the best jobs in all categories, as well, on the overall Glassdoor list. “It’s a top job because of the high number of job openings, the hefty average salary and plenty of career opportunities,” said Dobroski.
  • No. 1: Data Scientist
    • Median Base Salary: $116,840
    • Data scientist has ruled as one of the hottest jobs for years, coming in at No. 9 on Glassdoor’s 25 Best Jobs in America list last year, Dobroski said. He pointed to the high demand for these types of jobs, as well as high salaries and great career opportunities, as contributing to the top rating on Glassdoor’s list.
    • Not only did data scientists capture the No. 1 slot among tech jobs, but it also held the same rank for all jobs. “It isn’t a big surprise to see data scientist at No. 1 this year because it’s one of the hottest and fastest growing jobs we’re seeing right now,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist. “Since all companies have an online presence these days, they all need people who know how to manage and store data that helps them make better business decisions, compared to years ago when businesses didn’t have data management at their fingertips to review and analyze to help them drive business forward. I expect this to continue to be a hot job for several years to come, too.”

5 Ways Technology Can and Should Be used to Improve Education

Technology has always been a powerful tool in learning.

The earliest learning technology, writing, transformed learning from just the memorization of stories told by a few near by elders, to the study of many different ideas from many different people and from many different times.  Schools become places where written documents could be gathered, stored, cataloged, and taught.  Particularly because many of the oldest documents had to be handled with great care, access was strictly controlled.  So, learners had to travel to one of these schools in order to study these texts.

The next development in learning technology was the printing press and mass publishing.  Together they transformed learning from the controlled study of just a few ideas and just a few people, to the study of current events and ideas from a vast range of thinkers.  Ideas could now be reproduced and distributed to vast audiences.  Learners could access orders of magnitude more information.  Schools were no longer the only place books could be stored.  Individuals could create their own libraries and learning started to become much more personalized.

The domestication of the electron and the subsequent development of the Computer and the Internet has led us to today. Today information is available in virtually unlimited quantities and (because of the huge bandwidth available) from many different media.  No longer are there just a few publishers publishing static texts.  Today everyone is a publisher.  And we are updating those text at the speed of light.

The ability to seek new learning and acquire new skills brings personal growth to populations that have never had such capability.  In addition to just plain text, which was the learning source for the last number of centuries, we now have video, audio, and interactive media.

Today’s learning technology has birthed a learning environment where access to personalize learning tools can help all learning reach incredible new levels.

Finally, the more the community buys-in to this type of learning environment, the more the community will realize the benefits of improved learning experiences.

Here are five suggestions on how technology should be use to ensure learners have access to high-quality educational experiences.

  1. Technology should be used to personalize learning and give learners more choice over what and how they learn and at what pace, preparing them to organize and direct their own learning for the rest of their lives.
  2. Use the things we learned about our understanding of how people learn so we can apply the personal and contextual factors most impact their success.
  3. Apply understanding of what people need to know and the skills and competencies they need to acquire for success in life and productive work in the 21st century.
  4. Take advantage of availability of high quality interactive devices and applications to allow teachers to adapt assessments to the needs and abilities of individual learners and provide near real-time results.
  5. Technology has allowed us to rethink the design of physical learning spaces to accommodate new and expanded relationships among learners, teachers, peers, and mentors.

Micro-Credentials! The 21st Century Educational Goal!

Prior to the domestication of the electron, we had to go to “bricks and mortar” buildings and campuses to learn.

But, today, you don’t have to leave your desk to have virtually unlimited learning options available to you.

Unfortunately, our existing industrialized education monoliths continues to brainwash the business and professional communities that a traditional approach to credentialing is the only way.   Under this, Henry Ford Assembly line model, all similar learners ride an educational conveyer belt in which they all take the same series of classes and when a number of courses or units are accumulated, they get a stamp of endorsement called a certificate or diploma.  The amount of actually useful learning acquired on this 20 year assembly line varies greatly between learners.

There is no question a certificate or diploma is still relevant to today’s workforce.  Employers and customers want to know you have the skills to do the job.

However, the problem is that the certificates or diplomas are not personally detailed enough for any outside observer to optimally value that certificate or diploma.

Fortunately we have 21st Century tools to fix this very real problem  It is called “Micro-credentialing.”  Micro-credentialing means that a learner gets a series of “personalized” micro-credentials acknowledging an individual’s completion of work, whether it is a noncredit course, a seminar, or other professional learning and skill building.

UC San Diego workforce research analyst Dr. Josh Shapiro notes, “Degrees and certificates often do a poor job of communicating detailed information about graduates. Micro-credentials and badges, however, indicate specific knowledge and skills—impacting skill sets that industry is seeking in new hires.”

The tools available to us today can usher in a welcomed new learning era, in which the competency verification industry needs, can be more optimally met.  The tools available to us today, can easily and cheaply provide information to the community beyond what a transcript or diploma is able to convey.

We are living in a time when people need to possess a list of competencies that can be added to over time with a verifiable rubric to measure skill mastery, recognized and endorsed by industry and connected to our emerging online social media outlets like LinkedIn.

“Badges without taxonomies, without some shared understanding, without rubrics, are meaningless,” notes Matthew Pittinsky, an assistant research professor in the school of social and family dynamics at Arizona State University and founder of Parchment, a credentials-management company.

The notion of a student obtaining one large qualification rather than offer an array of micro-credentials (badges) is a relic of the past. From an employer’s point of view, the value of hiring a person with numerous mini-qualifications and a diploma provides a higher confidence in their investment as opposed to the risk involved in hiring a “blue chip” student from a brand name university.

UCSD Extension K-16 Programs have begun to implement a micro-credentialing program targeting students enrolled in our pre-collegiate programs. Their strategy seeks to refine the operational process involved in offering badges but also elevate these credentials from an informal acknowledgement to a professionally recognized measure of skills.

Of Course many people, particularly those entranced in the existing educational industrial monoliths, will dump all over this approach.  I understand that.  Confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning combine with these educational agents of the past to resist any other model.  But, that resistance will eventually wain as more and more 21st Century tools are deployed.

So, what are Micro-credentials:

  1. One skill at a time: Each micro-credential will focus on one competency and skill tied to a single rubric.
  2. Evidence to demonstrate skills: Students must demonstrate their competence by demonstrating and providing multiple examples of their work and to multiple assessors.
  3. Assessment and review: Each micro-credential will be reviewed, evaluated and endorsed by an advisory panel to ensure it is a reliable articulation of a specific skill.
  4. Connected to needed Community skills: Each micro-credential must be linked to needed community skills.