what is a wormhole?

Wormholes are solutions to the Einstein field equations for gravity that act as "tunnels," connecting points in space-time in such a way that the trip between the points through the wormhole could take much less time than the trip through normal space.

The first wormhole-like solutions were found by studying the mathematical solution for black holes. There it was found that the solution lent itself to an extension whose geometric interpretation was that of two copies of the black hole geometry connected by a "throat" (known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge). The throat is a dynamical object attached to the two holes that pinches off extremely quickly into a narrow link between them.

This analysis forces one to consider situations...where there is a net flux of lines of force through what topologists would call a handle of the multiply-connected space and what physicists might perhaps be excused for more vividly terming a ‘wormhole’.

John Wheeler in Annals of Physics

Note to Visitors

The content viewed in this blog is a collection of various articles & newsletters and is placed only for educational purpose.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Creative Teaching - by Kalam

Motivational Videos for Teachers

How Do You Make a Teacher Great?

Monday, November 28, 2011

September 5th

September 5 is Teacher’s Day in “India”. It is the birthday of second President of India and teacher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. When Dr. Radhakrishnan became the president of India in 1962, some of hisstudents and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate 5 September, his birthday. In reply, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as “Teachers Day”.

This is not a holiday in India. It is considered a “celebration” day, where teachers and students report to school as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by activities of celebration, thanking and remembrance. At some schools on this day, the responsibility of teaching is taken up by the senior students as an appreciation for their teachers.

Traditionally,people in India have given tremendous respect and honor to teachers. An old Indian saying (usually taught to children), ranks teacher in the third place, even before God: “‘Maata, Pitha, Guru, Daivam’”, meaning Mother, Father and Teacher is God.

There is a difference between the spiritual teacher and a material teacher. For spiritual teacher, who causes to remove all the illusions from the mind of his disciple and makes him feel the precence of God, there is another saying in the form of a couplet (doha), which goes, “Guru Govind doou khare kake lagon paai? Balihari guru aap ki Govind deeo batai,” Meaning “I am in a fix whom to salute first: the teacher or the God. I shall choose the teacher as he is the one who is instrumental in me knowing the God”. Further, a central piece in Hindu scripture reads “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshwaraha - Gurussaakshaath param brahma tasmai shree gurave namaha,” which translates as “The Guru (Teacher) is the Lord Brahma (the Creator), the Guru is the Lord Vishnu (the Preserver), the Guru is the Lord Shiva (the Destroyer). The Guru is the Supreme Brahman (Ultimate Reality) visible to our eyes. To that Guru we offer our salutations”

There were always some confusions between a spiritual teacher to a material teacher. But these two are not at the same level and one must make sure that how to treat them individually.

Teacher’s Day Celebration

All across the world, Teacher’s Day celebrations are undertaken to commemorate the teachers for their efforts. By having celebrations on Teacher’s Day we convey the message that we care for our teachers. Celebrating Teachers Day is recognition of the devotion with which teachers undertake the responsibility of educating a child.

Teacher’s Day is one of the occasion on which teachers are praised. On this day, school students dress up like their teachers and attend classes acting like their teachers. As the day passes the students perform the activities that are performed by the teachers. Sometimes the teachers also sit in the classes acting like students, reliving the time when they, themselves, were students. This goes a long way towards creating an understanding between the teachers and their students.

Apart from being the day when we give recognition to our teacher’s hard work, this day enables a healthy interaction between students and teachers. However simple the celebrations may be, they reflect the fact that we care for our teachers. So, we should never forget to celebrate this special day for our teachers. There are many ways of celebrating Teacher’s Day. So, how to celebrate Teachers’ Day is to be decided by you.

Teacher’s Day

Teachers have an influencing role in the life of a student. They are like beacons of light guiding us in the formative years of our life. A teacher moulds us and in the process shapes our future. What we learn from our teachers remains with us throughout our life giving us direction. But very often, we fail to show our appreciation and gratitude for their devotion. Teachers do need encouragement and support from the community to feel that their efforts are being recognized. Towards this end only,

Teacher’s Day is celebrated throughout the world. By celebrating National Teacher’s Day we thank our teachers for providing us their invaluable guidance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Theory and Research-based Principles of Learning

The following list presents the basic principles that underlie effective learning. These principles are distilled from research from a variety of disciplines. 

1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. 
  • Students come into our courses with knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes gained in other courses and through daily life. As students bring this knowledge to bear in our classrooms, it influences how they filter and interpret what they are learning. If students’ prior knowledge is robust and accurate and activated at the appropriate time, it provides a strong foundation for building new knowledge. However, when knowledge is inert, insufficient for the task, activated inappropriately, or inaccurate, it can interfere with or impede new learning. 

2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. 
  • Students naturally make connections between pieces of knowledge. When those connections form knowledge structures that are accurately and meaningfully organized, students are better able to retrieve and apply their knowledge effectively and efficiently. In contrast, when knowledge is connected in inaccurate or random ways, students can fail to retrieve or apply it appropriately. 

3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn. 
  • As students enter college and gain greater autonomy over what, when, and how they study and learn, motivation plays a critical role in guiding the direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of the learning behaviors in which they engage. When students find positive value in a learning goal or activity, expect to successfully achieve a desired learning outcome, and perceive support from their environment, they are likely to be strongly motivated to learn. 

4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. 
  • Students must develop not only the component skills and knowledge necessary to perform complex tasks, they must also practice combining and integrating them to develop greater fluency and automaticity. Finally, students must learn when and how to apply the skills and knowledge they learn. As instructors, it is important that we develop conscious awareness of these elements of mastery so as to help our students learn more effectively. 

5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning. 
  • Learning and performance are best fostered when students engage in practice that focuses on a specific goal or criterion, targets an appropriate level of challenge, and is of sufficient quantity and frequency to meet the performance criteria. Practice must be coupled with feedback that explicitly communicates about some aspect(s) of students’ performance relative to specific target criteria, provides information to help students progress in meeting those criteria, and is given at a time and frequency that allows it to be useful. 

6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. 
  • Students are not only intellectual but also social and emotional beings, and they are still developing the full range of intellectual, social, and emotional skills. While we cannot control the developmental process, we can shape the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical aspects of classroom climate in developmentally appropriate ways. In fact, many studies have shown that the climate we create has implications for our students. A negative climate may impede learning and performance, but a positive climate can energize students’ learning.

7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. 
  • Learners may engage in a variety of metacognitive processes to monitor and control their learning—assessing the task at hand, evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses, planning their approach, applying and monitoring various strategies, and reflecting on the degree to which their current approach is working. Unfortunately, students tend not to engage in these processes naturally. When students develop the skills to engage these processes, they gain intellectual habits that not only improve their performance but also their effectiveness as learners.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Black Hole

Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe? And our universe may sit in another universe's black hole, equations predict. Like part of a cosmic Russian doll, our universe may be nested inside a black hole that is itself part of a larger universe. In turn, all the black holes found so far in our universe—from the microscopic to the super-massive may be doorways into alternate realities.

According to a mind-bending new theory, a black hole is actually a tunnel between universes—a type of wormhole. The matter the black hole attracts doesn't collapse into a single point, as has been predicted, but rather gushes out a "white hole" at the other end of the black one, the theory goes. (Related: "New Proof Unknown 'Structures' Tug at Our Universe.")

In a recent paper published in the journal Physics Letters B, Indiana University physicist Nikodem Poplawski presents new mathematical models of the spiraling motion of matter falling into a black hole. His equations suggest such wormholes are viable alternatives to the "space-time singularities" that Albert Einstein predicted to be at the centers of black holes. According to Einstein's equations for general relativity, singularities are created whenever matter in a given region gets too dense, as would happen at the ultradense heart of a black hole. Einstein's theory suggests singularities take up no space, are infinitely dense, and are infinitely hot—a concept supported by numerous lines of indirect evidence but still so outlandish that many scientists find it hard to accept.

If Poplawski is correct, they may no longer have to. According to the new equations, the matter black holes absorb and seemingly destroy is actually expelled and becomes the building blocks for galaxies, stars, and planets in another reality. (Related: "Dark Energy's Demise? New Theory Doesn't Use the Force.")

Wormholes Solve Big Bang Mystery?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Alan Kay: A powerful idea about teaching ideas

With all the intensity and brilliance he is known for, Alan Kay gives TEDsters a lesson in lessons. Kay has spent years envisioning better techniques for teaching kids. In this talk, after reminding us that "the world is not what it seems," he shows us how good programming can sharpen our picture. His unique software lets children learn by doing, but also learn by computing and by creating lessons themselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

VTC Training CD for C Programming

Author - Mark Virtue
  1. Introduction
  2. A Basic C Program
  3. Basic Elements of a C Program
  4. Conditional Code
  5. Loops
  6. Arrays
  7. Strings and Characters
  8. Advanced Operators
  9. The C Preprocessor
  10. Functions
  11. Structures
  12. The Compilation Process
  13. Basic Pointers
  14. Scope
  15. Dynamic Memory
  16. The Standard C Function Library
  17. Bitwise Operators
  18. Advanced Pointers
  19. Function Pointers

World Teachers' Day 2011 joint message

World Teachers Day 2011 – 5th October

Joint message

Theme: Teachers for Gender equality

Every year, on 5 October, the global community celebrates and honours the millions of men and women who devote their lives to organizing and facilitating learning for children and adults.

On this day, we renew our gratitude and appreciation for the efforts and dedication of teachers worldwide. It is also the time for all those of us who enjoy and benefit from teachers’ work – governments, parents, community leaders, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, employers, researchers and students – to seek to better understand their living and working conditions. Only by doing so will we be able to mobilize the necessary resources and engage in constructive dialogue in favour of teachers and teaching.

With this year’s theme, “Teachers for Gender equality”, we are reminded that in order to achieve Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals, the gender dimension of teaching in all educational systems must receive particular attention. Research has shown that “countries that have the lowest secondary enrolment rates among girls typically have the lowest proportions of female teachers in primary education” (UIS Global Education Digest, 2010). Knowing the impact of education on health and civic participation, to name just these two, we can easily understand the importance of a gender-balanced teaching force.

The global proportion of female primary teachers is 62%, while at the secondary level men make up 49% of the teaching force. Indeed, in most parts of the world, the share of male teachers increases as we move up the education ladder. Moreover, the perceived trend towards an overall feminization of the teaching profession – which has been linked to the lowering status of the profession in many countries (De Castro and Menezes, 2008) – is valid only for classroom teaching positions. When it comes to school leadership, institutional management positions and decision-making within ministries of education, the data once again indicate an imbalance in favour of men. Female teachers are also scarce in subjects such as science, mathematics and technology. Is it therefore surprising that data collected by organizations such as the Southern and Eastern Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) show that girls do less well in these subjects?

Teachers also have a critical role to play in the equity and quality of education systems. If qualified female teachers avoid postings in disadvantaged and rural areas for fear of not being able to find a partner or bring their husbands, how can we convince reluctant parents to send their girls to school? If effective male teachers leave the profession due to difficult working and living conditions, leaving behind an education system marked by low quality, repetition and drop-out (Mulkeen, 2010), how can school be relevant and a worthwhile investment for students and their parents?

The performance of educational systems is increasingly assessed through measurement of learning outcomes and learners’ achievements. The conclusion of these studies is clear “teachers matter”. At the same time, an expanding body of research explores boys’ underachievement in certain regions. Social stereotypes, differing teacher expectations of female and male learners, and physiological factors are among the reasons put forward for low learning outcomes among boys.

Finally, teachers are sometimes exposed to violence linked to their gender – for example in discordant urban neighbourhoods, in disaster and conflict situations, when they are asked or choose to teach about sensitive subjects, and when they legitimately try to claim their rights. Governments, communities and school administrators must find effective measures to protect all teachers against the threat of violence.

“Gender equality is a challenging concept…since it often requires [a] fundamental change in mindset” (IIEP newsletter Jan-April 2010). Efforts include: eliminating gender stereotypes in school textbooks and curricula, gender-responsive budgeting and gender training as an integral part of teacher training. If we are to eliminate the injustices and inequalities affecting our educational systems and societies – if we want to give equal opportunities to our sons and daughters to realize their full potential – we must devise policies and strategies that attract and motivate capable men and women to teach, while also protecting them. Teaching must once again be recognized as a ‘noble profession’ and elicit the respect it deserves.

On World Teachers’ Day 2011, we call on all governments and education partners to renew their commitment to put teachers at the centre of their educational agenda.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sample Lesson

Here's a lesson using the Jigsaw cooperative learning strategy:

Malinda Coons thoroughly enjoys teaching social studies to her third-grade students in San Diego. One of the topics she covers each year focuses on specific geographical regions of the United States, and she has prepared a unit on North American deserts. This year she's using the Jigsaw cooperative learning strategy as part of her lesson plan on the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest.

  • Presentation of content.Melinda's students are asked to read the chapter in the social studies textbook about the Sonoran Desert. Afterward, Malinda reads students the children's bookAround One Cactus: Owls, Bats and Leaping Ratsby Anthony D. Fredericks (a story about the animals that live around a Saguaro cactus—particularly nocturnal animals). Her students are excited about the strange and wonderful animals that live in the desert. Finally, Malinda shows a video about desert life that was filmed by a friend who lives in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Teamwork.Melinda divides her class into five separate groups of five students. Each member of a group is given a different assignment; for example, in the first group, Tyrone is responsible for researching the animals of the desert; Elena is charged with learning about the plant life of the desert; Ramon is responsible for checking out the climate of the Sonoran desert; Sarah is assigned the Native American cultures that live in the desert; and Clarice will read about important desert towns and cities.
  • Each person goes off to do her or his individual research. To help this process, each student also meets with students who have the identical assignment (one from each jigsaw group). For example, students assigned to the “Animals of the Desert” group meet as a team of specialists, gathering information, becoming experts on their topic, and rehearsing their presentations (this is an “expert” group).
  • After each student has completed her or his research, she or he comes back to the original jigsaw group. Each person presents a report to the group. For example, the “Animal Expert” (Tyrone) in each group teaches the other group members about desert animals. The “Climate Expert” (Ramon) shares what he has learned with the entire team. Each student in each group educates the whole group about her or his specialty. Each person in the group listens carefully to the information presented by a teammate, asking questions for clarification.
  • Individual assessment.Upon the completion of the cooperative learning activity, Malinda gives each student a quiz on the desert. Students know ahead of time the components of that quiz because they were the same components they studied in their cooperative learning groups (animals, plants, climate, Native American cultures, and towns and cities).
  • Team recognition.Every individual in the class makes significant achievement on the quiz. Malinda takes time to acknowledge the work and effort of all five teams in helping their individual members improve. The entire class is rewarded with an extra 15-minute recess period.

Cooperative learning can be a teaching tool that helps you have a positive impact on your students' comprehension of important information. In fact, it might well be one of the most flexible and powerful strategies you can use.

Teaching with Cooperative Learning

The effective use of cooperative learning in the classroom is often built upon a four-step process. Consider the following four elements as you begin to design and implement cooperative learning into your teaching routines:

Presentation of content
In Lesson Methodologies ,I talked about the ways in which you can present information to your students. These instructional activities must be done prior to any cooperative learning activity. Cooperative learning is not a self-instruction model, but rather a way for students to “mess around” with previously presented material. In short, cooperative learning comes after you've taught something to your students.

This is the time—after you've taught the new material—when students are engaged in a cooperative learning activity. The cooperative learning strategy (Jigsaw, STAD, Think-pair-share, Numbered heads) is selected and explained to the entire class. Students are divided into various teams (using the criteria previously explained) and provided sufficient time to complete their assigned duties.

Individual assessment
In cooperative learning, the objective is not the production of a single set of correct answers for the entire group but rather the development and enhancement of each member's achievement. Although members of the team work together to master information, each individual member must be assessed in relation to her or his mastery of the content. In short, everybody is tested in line with her or his achievement potential.

Team recognition
It's most appropriate to recognize and celebrate the efforts of the team as a whole. It's equally important to celebrate the efforts of the team to assist individual members in learning a specific body of knowledge. These ceremonies can be either public or private. Teachers have rewarded teams with an extra recess, a “homework pass,” a snack, a certificate or award, or some other appropriate reward. In many cases, the reward can be as simple as a classroom cheer or extended series of high fives.


The ultimate aim of education is to produce lifelong, independent learners. An essential component of autonomous learning is the ability to assess one's own progress and deficiencies. Student self-assessment should be incorporated into every evaluation process.

Its specific form may vary with the developmental level of the student, but the very youngest students can begin to examine and evaluate their own behavior and accomplishments.Instead of grading all assignments, allow students to correct some themselves. You may choose to randomly collect these and check for accuracy.

Share the specific evaluation criteria (or rubric) students should employ in assessing various tasks or assignments.Provide them with criteria check sheets (or have the class generate them) that specify exactly what constitutes a good product.Provide models of successful products, answers, or performances. These might be tacked to the bulletin board, in a display case, or on videotape.

It is best to share the model before students begin the project. For creative activities, avoid encouraging students to simply copy someone else's product. It is helpful to lead students through an evaluation of the outstanding model, using the evaluation criteria to demonstrate why the model is an exemplar. To minimize peer pressure or harassment, it is generally best to use a previous student's work for the model rather than a current student's.

Attempt to schedule individual sessions to discuss a student's progress. Have the student evaluate his or her own performance. Encourage the student to apply specific criteria in making the self-assessment.

"Independence, creativity, and self-reliance are all facilitated when self-criticism and self-evaluation are basic and evaluation by others is of secondary importance." – Carl Rogers

Portfolio Assessment Guide

One form of authentic assessment being widely adapted in schools today is portfolio assessment. Diane Hart defines a portfolio as "a container that holds evidence of an individual's skills, ideas, interests, and accomplishments." The ultimate aim in the use of portfolios is to develop independent, self-directed learners. Long-term portfolios provide a more accurate picture of students' specific achievements and progress and the areas of needed attention.

Portfolios make it easier to develop grading schemes that emphasize assessing individual student growth rather than competition with other students. As self-evaluation is an integral part of portfolio assessment, a highly competitive climate will prove counterproductive. Students will be reluctant to focus upon their deficiencies if they believe it will put them at a disadvantage in the competition for the top grades. Often portfolios are used to supplement, not replace, traditional assessment procedures.

Remember, portfolios should be developed by the students, not the teacher. Students should have freedom in selecting items to include in their portfolios. It is advantageous to make the whole portfolio process a collaborative teacher-student effort, with the teacher becoming more of a consultant to the student. The teacher functions more as a coach than a director. Any item that provides evidence of a student's achievement and growth can be included in a portfolio. Commonly used items include:

Examples of written work Journals and logs Standardized inventories Videotapes of student performances Audiotapes of presentations Mind maps and notes Group reports Tests and quizzes Charts, graphs Lists of books read Questionnaire results Peer reviews Self-evaluations

Each item in the portfolio should be dated to facilitate the evaluation of progress through the year.

Typically, teachers hold periodic individual conferences with their students to review their portfolios. During this interview it is important to listen to the students' assessments of the items in their portfolio. The focus of the discussion should be upon the products included in the portfolio. The teacher and student work together to set a limited number of objectives for future work. Strive to achieve a dialogue, not a lecture.

Much of the value of portfolios derives from the students' reflection on which items are worth including in their portfolios.

The portfolios may be kept in folders, file boxes, assigned drawers, or other appropriate containers.

Whatever the storage container, it must be readily accessible to the students.

Portfolios are especially helpful at parent conferences. Help the parent examine the portfolio, pointing out evidence of progress and areas of needed improvement.

Be patient. Portfolios are a new concept to most students and parents. There is a learning curve involved in adapting to the process. Experiment to determine what works and feel free to modify as needed.

In some schools students' portfolios are made available to their teachers the following year to aid in diagnosis. A few schools are experimenting with the development of a permanent portfolio that follows the students throughout their total school experience. (This would be separate from their cumulative record folder.) Upon graduation the students would keep their portfolios.

Develop your own teaching portfolio as a means of facilitating your professional development. It also can prove invaluable in tenure assessments and future job searches. Your professional portfolio might include videotapes of successful classes, curriculum materials you have developed, course syllabi, sample lesson plans, professional development goals and objectives, workshop classes attended, publications written, student evaluations, awards, certificates, professional affiliations, principal's and supervisor's evaluations, and your teaching philosophy.

A large three-ring binder is a practical way to organize your portfolio. Use tabs to indicate the various categories. You might occasionally share your portfolio with students to model the processes you are urging them to follow.

Hart, D. (1994).Authentic Assessment: A Handbook for Educators. Menlo Park, CA; Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.

Excerpted fromClassroom Teacher's Survival Guide.

Performance Assessment

Performance assessments require students to demonstrate mastery of a skill or procedure by performing it. Performance assessment has long been a part of the curriculum in certain courses. Directly evaluating a student's sewing, welding, dancing, typing, piano playing, or woodworking is not a new concept. Direct assessments have the advantage of greater validity as the objective being assessed is observed directly. Indirect measures, such as a paper-and-pencil test on cooking a souffle, may not accurately predict how well a person would perform baking a real souffle.

Performance assessments are more useful in assessing complex skills and high-level understanding. Though not new, the trend toward including live performances and products in educational assessment schemes has grown in recent years. The growing interest in performance or authentic assessments is largely a reaction to the limitations and disparities of paper-pencil tests.

The specific events or activities to be assessed are content specific and emerge from the course objectives. The tasks may be very brief or long and complex. The performance tasks may be completed individually or in groups.

Problem-solving tasks related to real-world problems are often used in performance assessments. They may be embedded in a simulated or case study scenario.

Some schools have adapted a "rite of passage" experience, often required for graduation (Hart, 1994). These might consist of mastery exhibits, oral presentations, a resume, essays, products, artwork, and role plays.

Any performance task can also be evaluated by peers. It is essential to provide a checklist with the evaluative criteria listed with some form of rating scale for each criterion.

Hart, D. (1994).Authentic Assessment: A Handbook for Educators. Menlo Park, CA; Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.

Authentic Assessment

In 1935, the distinguished educator Ralph Tyler proposed an "enlarged concept of student evaluation," encompassing other approaches besides tests and quizzes. He urged teachers to sample learning by collecting products of their efforts throughout the year. That practice has evolved into what is today termed "authentic assessment," which encompasses a range of approaches including portfolio assessment, journals and logs, products, videotapes of performances, and projects.

Authentic assessments have many potential benefits. Diane Hart, in her excellent introduction toAuthentic Assessment: A Handbook for Educators, suggested the following benefits:
  1. Students assume an active role in the assessment process. This shift in emphasis may result in reduced test anxiety and enhanced self-esteem.
  2. Authentic assessment can be successfully used with students of varying cultural backgrounds, learning styles, and academic ability.
  3. Tasks used in authentic assessment are more interesting and reflective of students' daily lives.
  4. Ultimately, a more positive attitude toward school and learning may evolve.
  5. Authentic assessment promotes a more student-centered approach to teaching.
  6. Teachers assume a larger role in the assessment process than through traditional testing programs. This involvement is more likely to assure the evaluation process reflects course goals and objectives.
  7. Authentic assessment provides valuable information to the teacher on student progress as well as the success of instruction.
  8. Parents will more readily understand authentic assessments than the abstract percentiles, grade equivalents, and other measures of standardized tests.
Authentic assessments are new to most students. They may be suspicious at first; years of conditioning with paper-pencil tests, searching for the single right answer, are not easily undone. Authentic assessments require a new way of perceiving learning and evaluation. The role of the teacher also changes. Specific assignments or tasks to be evaluated and the assessment criteria need to be clearly identified at the start. It may be best to begin on a small scale. Introduce authentic assessments in one area (for example, on homework assignments) and progress in small steps as students adapt.

Develop a record-keeping system that works for you. Try to keep it simple, allowing students to do as much of the work as feasible.


By Lana Becker and Kent N. Schneider, East Tennessee State University

Principles of Accounting has the reputation of being a "hard and boring" course. It is difficult to motivate students to invest the time and effort necessary to succeed in the course. To meet this challenge, we have assembled a list of eight simple rules for keeping students focused and motivated. These rules are not original, and they aren't just for those of us who teach accounting classes. Indeed, most of these time-honored suggestions apply to any course students find hard and boring, and we think that makes them broadly applicable.

Rule 1: Emphasize the most critical concepts continuously. Reiterate these concepts in lectures and assignments throughout the course. Include questions relating to these critical subjects on every exam, thus rewarding students for learning, retaining, and, hopefully, applying this knowledge in a variety of contexts.

Rule 2: Provide students with a "visual aid" when possible to explain abstract concepts. A significant proportion of today's students are visual learners. For these students, a simple diagram or flowchart truly can be more valuable than a thousand words in a text or a lecture.

Rule 3: Rely on logic when applicable. Point out to students which information is merely "fact" that must be memorized and which course material is based upon "logic." Show students how to employ logical thinking to learn and retain new information. For example, in the double-entry bookkeeping system, "debits" equal "credits," and debit entries cause assets to increase. These are "facts" or features of the system; they are not based on logic. However, once the student accepts the system, logic can be used to operate within the system. Continuing the example, if debit entries increase assets, it is logical that credit entries will cause assets to decrease.

Rule 4: Use in-class activities to reinforce newly presented material. After a new concept or subject has been presented via text reading, lecture, or class discussion, allow the students to put the concept into action by completing an in-class assignment. These assignments can be short, but they must be developed to ensure that the students understand the critical concepts underlying the new material. Typically, the most learning takes place when the students are permitted to work in small groups, to refer to their text and notes, and to ask questions of the instructor while completing the assignment. If these in-class assignments are part of the course grading scheme, class attendance also improves.

Rule 5: Help students create a "link" when teaching something new. If the student can "link" the new material to something already learned, the odds of learning the new material are greatly increased. Examples of possible links include: prior material learned in this course (e.g., the critical concepts described in Rule 1), material learned in prerequisite courses, and "real-life" experiences of the students outside the classroom.

Rule 6: Recognize the importance of vocabulary in a course. Students often struggle with new vocabulary in many courses, especially introductory ones. To succeed in these courses, students must become comfortable with the new terminology. As subjects are presented, new and/or confusing terms should be identified and introduced to the students. Present "real-world" definitions and alternative terminology, in addition to textbook definitions. One way to help students assimilate the course vocabulary is to create a "living" glossary on the instructor's website where new terminology is added, explained, and illustrated throughout the course.

Rule 7: Treat students with respect. Patronizing behavior may be expected in primary school teachers, and :drill sergeant" strategies may be effective in military book camps. However, most college student will not respond well to these techniques. Give students their dignity, and they will give you their best efforts.

Rule 8: Hold students to a high standard. If students are not required to maintain a specified level of learning and performance, only the most highly motivated students will devote the time and effort necessary to learn. In contrast, maintaining high standards not only will motivate student learning, it will also be the source of student feelings of accomplishment when those standards are met.

Each of these rules can help motivate even the most lethargic student, but Rule 7 and 8 are the most important. If students are not treated with respect and held to a high standard, scrupulously following the first six rules will have much less impact and might end up being an exercise in futility.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Standards for Good Teaching

You and I and a couple million other people have all been in schools for a number of years, and we all have some pretty good ideas about the qualities we feel are important for good teaching. Not surprising, several agencies and organizations have looked into the characteristics of good teachers. One of those is the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC).

The INTASC establishes guidelines for preparing, licensing, and certifying educators. Among other things, they promote 10 standards that should be part of every teacher's classroom practice or personality (after some principles I have listed articles that address the specific topics):

Principle 1
The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.

Principle 2
The teacher understands how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social, and personal development.

Principle 3
The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.

Principle 4
The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.

Principle 5
The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Principle 6
The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

Principal 7
The teacher plans instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.

Principle 8
The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.

Principle 9
The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.

Principle 10
The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.

It's important to point out that your effectiveness as a teacher depends on much more than your knowledge of one or more subjects. In fact, your success will be driven by characteristics and dynamics that are as much a part of who you are as they are of your classroom behavior.

Conversations with hundreds of teachers around the country indicate that good teachers are effective because they assume five interrelated roles:
  • You as a person
  • Student orientation
  • Task orientation
  • Classroom management
  • Lifelong learning
I invite you to consider these roles in terms of your own personality dynamics as well as in terms of your reasons for becoming a teacher.

Your Secret Weapon: Wait Time

Listen in on many classrooms at all levels, and you'll probably hear teachers asking question after question.With so many questions coming at them, students have little time to think. Looking at it another way: the more questions that are asked, the less thinking occurs. 

Classroom observations reveal that teachers typically wait less than 1 second for students to respond to a question. Teachers often conclude that students don't know the answer to a question if they don't respond quickly. And when they do respond, they usually use knowledge-level responses.

Classroom observations also reveal that if a student manages to get a response in, most teachers tend to ask another question within an average time span of 9⁄10 of a second!

A Most Interesting Solution

Is this a problem? Yes! But here's an interesting solution: increase the time between asking a question and having students respond to that question from the typical 1 second to 5 seconds. This is known as wait time. Believe it or not, this simple act produces significant and profound changes in the classroom, including:
  • The length of student responses increases 400 to 800 percent.
  • The number of unsolicited but appropriate responses increases.
  • Failure to respond decreases.
  • Student confidence increases.
  • Students ask more questions.
Student achievement increases significantly.Here's a tip: when you ask a question, don't preface it with a student's name, for example, “Marsha, what are some of the reasons why Leonardo da Vinci is considered a genius?” As soon as you say one student's name, all the other brains in the room immediately shut down. Often, the other students will be saying to themselves,We don't have to think now because Marsha is going to answer the question.

Instead, ask the question, wait, and then ask for a response. Interestingly, you'll discover a heightened level of involvement. Everyone has to think about a response because nobody knows who will be called on to respond. And, the responses you receive will be considerably better and there will be more group thinking.

Like Good Coffee, You Need Percolation Time

Wait time provides students time to percolate a question down through their brain cells and create an appropriate response. After you ask a question, let it percolate in students' heads for a while. And after a student responds, let the response percolate as well. Believe me, you'll wind up with a much better brew in your classroom.

Adding wait time to your teaching repertoire will, perhaps more than any other teaching strategy, have the greatest impact on student performance. However, it's only fair to tell you that it looks simpler than it is. It may be for you, as it has always been for me, one of the greatest teaching challenges you will ever face simply because teachers are uncomfortable with classroom silence. We tend to abhor it, often believing that learning can't really be going on in a quiet classroom. But with practice, you'll begin to see the incredible benefits of wait time!

Break the Ice

The first day of class is usually spent in part by getting acquainted and establishing goals. Icebreakers are techniques used at the first session to reduce tension and anxiety, and also to immediately involve the class in the course. Use an icebreaker because you want to, not as a time filler or because teaching guides say one should be used. Listed below are several examples of icebreakers.

  • INTRODUCE MYSELF. Participants introduce themselves and tell why they are there. Variations: Participants tell where they first heard about the class, how they became interested in the subject, their occupations, home town, favorite television program, or the best book they have read in the last year.
  • INTRODUCE ANOTHER. Divide the class into pairs. Each person talks about him/herself to the other, sometimes with specific instructions to share a certain piece of information. For example, "The one thing I am particularly proud of is..." After five minutes, the participants introduce the other person to the rest of the class.
  • CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS. Have students write down one or two adjectives describing themselves. Put these on a stick-on badge. Have class members find someone with similar or opposite adjectives and talk for five minutes with the other person.
  • I'VE DONE SOMETHING YOU HAVEN'T DONE. Have each person introduce themselves and then state something they have done that they think no one else in the class has done. If someone else has also done it, the student must state something else until he/she finds something that no one else has done.
  • FIND SOMEONE. Each person writes on a blank index card one to three statements, such as favorite color, interest, hobby, or vacations. Pass out cards so everyone gets someone else's card. Have that person find the person with their card and introduce themselves.
  • FAMOUS PERSON. People write a famous name on a piece of paper and pin it on someone else's back. Person tries to guess what name is pinned on his/her by asking others around the room yes or no questions. Variation: Use famous place instead of famous person.
  • MY NAME. People introduce themselves and tell what they know about why they have their name (their mother wanted to name me after her great aunt Helen who once climbed Pike's Peak in high heels, etc.). It could be the first, middle or nickname.
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL? Ask the students to write down words or phrases that describe their feelings on the first day of class. List the responses on the blackboard. Then ask them to write down what they think you as the teacher are feeling this first day of class. List them on the blackboard in a second column and note the parallels. Briefly comment on your feelings and then discuss the joint student/teacher responsibilities for learning in the course.
  • COMMON GROUND. This works best for small groups or for each small group sitting together as a team (4-6 learners). Give the group a specific time (perhaps 5 minutes) to write a list of everything they all have in common. Tell them to avoid the obvious ("we're all taking this course"). When time is up, ask each group how many items they have listed. For fun, ask them to announce some of the most interesting items.
  • ME TOO. This also works best for small groups or foe each small group sitting together as a team (4-6 learners). Everyone in the group gest 10 pennies/toothpicks/scrap of papers, etc. The first student states something he/she has done (e.g. water skiing). Everyone else who has done the same thing admits it and puts one penny in the middle of the table. Then the second person states something (e.g. I have eaten frogs' legs). Everyone who has done it puts another penny in the center. Continue until someone has run out of pennies.

These are just a few of the hundreds of icebreakers. Be creative and design your own variations. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different approaches, and above all, have fun and start that most important first day of class on the right foot!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tesla Generator

Nikola Tesla, born in 10th July 1856 was a single in the greatest mechanical and electrical engineer from the early 19th century. His perform and invention revolutionized the area of electromagnetism by generating new ideas and generation in alternating present-day electric electrical power process, poly-phase process of electric energy distribution,alternating current motor and so on.

Among all of Tesla's earlier invention, one that really sparks our imagination may be the Tesla Generator. Nikola Tesla generator design can also be generally known as the Tesla coil. The coil was envisioned by Tesla back again in 1891 to build substantial voltage, high present-day and substantial frequency alternating latest electrical power.

The generator core designed was used by Tesla to conduct experiment
inside the spot of electrical lighting, x-ray, phosphorescence, large frequency alternating existing and the most controversial of all, study on transmission of electrical energy with out wires.

Tesla incorporates a theory that energy may be transmitted to your masses devoid of the use of electrical power cables by using his invention. His concept really led to the development with the Wardenclyffe Towerspine in 1901. The tower was located in Prolonged Island, New York and experienced the financial backing of your Wall Road mogul, J.P. Morgan.

Even So, J.P. Morgan made the decision to stop his choice when he find out which the vitality transmitted in the tower could not be metered for fiscal achieve. The Wardenclyffe Tower was hardly ever completed.

A.C Generator


A typical AC generator consists of a stationary stator and a rotor mounted within the stator (see below: Typical AC Generator). The stator contains a specific number of coils, each with a specific number of windings. Similarly, the rotor consists of a http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifspecific number of field poles, each with a specific number of windings. In addition to the rotor and stator, a generator has a collector assembly (usually consisting of collector slip rings, brushes, and brush holders). DC flows from the exciter, through the negative brush and slip ring, to the rotor field poles. The return path to the exciter is through the positive brush and slip ring.

Typical AC Generator

Rotor - The rotor contains magnetic fields which are established and fed by the exciter. When the rotor is rotated, AC is induced in the stator. The changing polarity of the rotor produces the alternating characteristics of the current. The generated voltage is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field, the number of coils (and number of windings of each coil), and the speed at which the rotor turns.

Stator - The frame assembly is the main component of the stator. Insulated windings (or coils) are placed in slots near an air gap in the stator core. There is a fixed relationship between the unit’s number of phases and the way the coils are connected. The stator in a four-wire, three-phase unit has three sets of armature coils which are spaced 120 electrical degrees apart. One end of each coil is connected to a common neutral terminal. The other end of each coil is connected to separate terminals. Conductors attached to the four terminals carry the current to the system’s switchgear and on to the load.

Collector slip rings -
Slip rings are usually made of nonferrous metal (brass, bronze or copper); iron or steel is sometimes used. Slip rings usually do not require much servicing. The wearing of grooves or ridges in the slip rings is retarded by designing the machine with limited end-play and by staggering the brushes. Surfaces of the slip rings should be bright and smooth, polishing can be performed with fine sandpaper and honing stone. Electrolytic action can occur at slip ring surfaces producing formation of verdigris. Verdigris is a greenish coating that forms on nonferrous metals. Electrolytic deterioration can be prevented by reversing the polarity of the slip rings once or twice a year. The stator of the three-wire, three-phase unit also has three sets of armature coils spaced 120 electrical degrees apart. The ends of the coils are connected together in a delta configuration. Conductors are attached to the three connecting points.

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