The “Keeping fit and healthy on campus” campaign

Using I.S in introducing an online health and fitness campaign to college students

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Movies and television shows portray the college life as one big party. Granted, there are many opportunities to have fun in college, but there are ways to ensure you live a healthy lifestyle even if the people around you are constantly hung over. There can be a temptation for many college students to fall into “party mode” when they get to school. While they may look like they are constantly having a blast, chances are good that their grades are dramatically suffering as a result. If you can achieve a balance between having a good time and being healthy, you can ensure that you will get the most out of your college experience.

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Apart from partying, the hours at college are tough and students are often finding themselves skipping meals, eating excessive amounts of fast foods and not exercising or at all. This often results in stress related issues and affects the overall performance of the student. With proper planning and motivation, students can actually enjoy their life as a college student and at the same time keep fit and healthy.

Table showing the percentage of 19-22 year olds who participated in insufficient or no physical activity. (South Africa)

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By introducing a ‘keeping fit and healthy on campus’ campaign, I believe we could eradicate the above addressed issue by providing students with an exercise plan which fits into their busy lifestyles and still allows them to enjoy their lives as a campus student. Bringing in students from Wits Medical School to assist with certain health issues which other students may have can be an added bonus to the campaign. This will give the medical students some exposure as to what they may encounter and at the same time; provide a service to other students on campus. The comments section below can be used to facilitate readers’ views on the campaign as well as keep readers aware of any events in the near future.

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References:

Contributed by: Waseem Ahmed Lalloo (553899)

Using devices to enhance the learning experience on a tertiary level

We are living in an era where technology has become an integrated part of everyday life. One would feel incapable of functioning without their smartphone or tablet on hand and this is an accepted feeling as the world has changed. Even classrooms are integrating the use of technology to enhance the learning experience.

A device is the hardware that runs the applications and software we all use as young adults/teenagers. According to an article, the use of hand held devices in class would help students adapt to real life situations as many careers involve the use of handheld devices and laptops. Given such devices might cause more distractions in the classroom for students at a school level but at a tertiary level it could be a different case.

In a tertiary institution, students are given a much greater workload compared to school so in order to cope with the greater workload students will have to be organized in their lives. With hand held devices organizing oneself is quick and much more convenient. The devices would have software (discussed in another post in this blog) that would help students keep track of deadlines and work to be done.

Devices in tertiary institutions will give students easy access to information needed at the touch of a screen using the university’s Wi-Fi connection if needed. Portable devices could be used in place of textbooks so students would only have to carry a tablet for example and a pen and writing pad as many devices can read e-books. Devices can be used to type up documents, do research via the web or e-books, check your email, entertainment as well as organizing yourself. These are all the features a student needs.

The device would support many information systems as it can connect to the Internet, it may contain social networking apps and forums that can keep you up to date and it could contain e-books. It would be an information hub that can execute almost any task related to tertiary work.

Another reason devices will enhance the learning experience is simply because the information will be showed to students on something very familiar to them, making the learning experience more enjoyable and less cumbersome. Although some educators are resisting the use of devices in a learning environment, shortly it will be implemented. In an article it suggests that just by changing the format in which the information is shown (from textbooks to slides on a device for example) students enjoyed the learning experience more. Mobile devices are still quite expensive but the benefits of having one certainly do outweigh the cost, as the device could serve as a companion that would make any student’s learning experience that much better.

References:

By: Cohen Naidoo- 673121

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The Best Educational Apps

More and more students are acquiring smartphones and tablets. This is not something to be worried about, because with the right apps smartphones could be seen as tool to get the best out of students. These are the best educational apps that you could use to unlock your potential:

Sparknotes

Sparknotes is a literary internet study guide with overviews on novels, poems and films. The app is available for Android and iOS and is popular among high school and varsity students. The app features 50 pre-installed study guides and many more can be viewed online, study guides can be downloaded for offline viewing. The app has quizzes on the literary piece to test you on the piece

sparknotes (1) sparknotes

Wolfram Alpha

It took 25 years of development for Stephan Wolfram to come up with this powerful computational knowledge engine .Wolfram Alpha answers questions by doing computations based on a huge collection of built in data, methods and algorithms. The app covers a wide range of domains from mathematics and physics to music and linguistics. The app has such a reach that parts of Wolfram Aplha are used in Apple’s Siri

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TED Talks:

Using TED talks in education is nothing new, and a section called TED-Ed has been created which is dedicated to making video lessons. TED-Ed allows teachers to create educational videos and use the TED platform to share lessons, build quizzes, discussion guides and other supporting materials in the lesson plan.

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Evernote

This app is designed for taking down notes; notes are anything from text to audio recordings or even snapshots.  With Evernote you can stay organized by allowing you to have separate notebooks and tags to connect several notes. It’s also possible to share notes between devices and peers and with internet connection your notes can be synced on all your devices.

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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SparkNotes

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.sparknotes.sparknotes&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImFpci5jb20uc3Bhcmtub3Rlcy5zcGFya25vdGVzIl0.

http://www.sparknotes.com/about/

http://www.wolframalpha.com/about.html

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wolfram.android.alpha&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS53b2xmcmFtLmFuZHJvaWQuYWxwaGEiXQ

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ted.android&feature=top-free

http://www.ted.com/pages/about

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evernote&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5ldmVybm90ZSJd

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evernote

http://edudemic.com/2012/12/the-20-best-educational-apps-and-web-tools-of-the-year/

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/03/the-updated-classroom-improving-student-writing-with-tablet-and-smartphone-apps/

http://thenextweb.com/apps/2012/12/27/12-of-the-best-educational-apps-of-2012/

Contributed by: Tshisikhawe Nemukula 675971

IT in education and/or training

How important is technology in education?

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The role of technology in the field of education is included as a part of the curriculum, as an instructional delivery system, as a means of aiding instructions and also as a tool to enhance the entire learning process.

Research has shown, that students learn best when they are engaged. Through the use of technology students can become active participants as opposed to passive ones where they simply receive instructions or information.

You can read more about this at:  http://www.education.com/reference/article/how-does-technology-facilitate-learning/.html

 Overall Advantage Of Technology In Education

Technology allows distance learning

The greatest impact of technology in the field of education is its ability to help several people learn simultaneously from different locations. Learners are not required to gather at a specific time or place in order to learn and receive instructions and information. All one needs is a computer connected to a modem (or with a CD drive); these tools can literally deliver a ‘classroom’ in the homes and offices of people.

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  • Technology helps lower training costs and increases productivity
  • Increasing the reach of quality education and improvement in distance education concept
  • Easy availability
  • Computers stimulate young minds by making learning fun. The Internet allows students to explore whole new worlds in real time. There hardly a subject which can’t benefit from the resources available on the web.
  • Would create a more paperless environment which in turn would save paper and resources needed to produce paper.

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Read more here at : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5482070_information-technology-helps-education.html

Advantages of lecture videos:

  •  Learn at your desired pace
  •  Get information about the subject that is updated more frequently
  • You have sufficient time and opportunity to look for other related material on the Internet and elsewhere.

References :

http://www.ehow.com/list_6364456_advantages-information-technology-education.html

http://www.ehow.com/about_5552402_information-technology-education.html

How to store information efficiently as a student

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As a student you are constantly on the move, lectures, studying, tests and the general run around of varsity life makes it impossible to keep track of all your information that you need.

The way you store your information is directly linked to the types of devices you own, these devices include smart phones, tablets, laptops, pc’s, external hard drives, memory sticks and less commonly used devices. Given that a student needs their time to be spent on studying and progressing academically, we need to find a way for student to keep their information on the go and accessible whenever the need arise.

Now this can be seen as quite a simple solution, you simply put your information on a external hard drive or memory stick and just carry it with you where ever you go, unfortunately problems arise from the beginning: what if you lose your storage device, what if you find no device that can be used to view your information, what if your storage device mal functions, what if your storage device storage capabilities is too limited. As we can see this is far from a simple solution, but today there’s a smart application for people who want to store smart, dropbox.

Dropbox is a free storage cloud service that lets you take your information anywhere you go.

The advantages of dropbox are astounding, some of the most important include:

  • 2GB of free storage
  • The application is available on pc’s/laptops, smart phones and tablets
  • Allows synchronisation between different devices
  • The dropbox service is free and secure
  • The application works even when you device is offline.
  • Take your files with you where ever you go
  • Dropbox saves time and money and is by far the most efficient way to store information as a student. I recommend buying a memory stick of no more than 4 GB as a back-up; this system will serve any student as the best way to store information and will give you an advantage over others that use traditional systems.

dropbox

Useful links

http://joviawebstudio.com/index_ee.php/blog/the_benefits_of_dropbox/

http://gizmodo.com/5984698/10-tricks-to-make-yourself-a-dropbox-master

http://www.techmarking.com/computers/the-advantages-of-dropbox-cloud-storage?

References

www.dropbox.com/features

www.onsecrethunt.com(file pic)

Contributed by: Byron Govender

Interactive calendar and time management application for both students and staff.

University life is a stressful and time consuming time in your life where time management is absolutely essential. As a university student at the University of the Witwatersrand I, like all students at the varsity have been exposed to the wonderful benefits of SAKAI. An interactive calendar and online resource centre for all students.  In my article I will be looking at all the benefits of SAKAI and how it helps the average university student if it was installed in all tertiary institutions.

SAKAI is an online calendar and resource application designed to make university life stress free and ultimately a paperless environment. It is beneficial to both student and staff and is the ultimate university tool. The features included in sakai for university staff and course co-ordinators are:

  • Ability to create a virtual classroom and provide students with sufficient resources to cope with university.
  • Ability to create and edit online tutorials.
  • Ability to create online tests and set a sufficient time limit for the students.
  • Ability to keep students up to date with the virtual notice board.

Students use this application primarily to keep up with tutorial work and online quizzes but it is used for much more than just that. Students have ample resources at their disposal on sakai, from online lecture resources, lecture slides and even additional readings, sakai is designed to make student life a little bit easier.

From a time management point of view, sakai is very beneficial to students. The ability to sync all notifications on sakai into your student email account is really beneficial to all students as time management is done for you, all thanks to the virtual environment created by sakai.

The time management features  include keeping up with date times and venues, tutorial times and venues and even lecture times and venues. SAKAI is the most interactive and helpful tool and is strongly recommended for all universities to incorporate as an E-learning tool.

The user interface is easy to navigate and is very user friendly, new users will find it easier to use and learn to use than most other calendar applications on the market.

References:

  1. http://its.pomona.edu/services/instructional/sakai/sakai-student-quickstart/
  2. https://elearn.wits.ac.za/home/
  3. http://wiki.fluidproject.org/login.action?os_destination=%2Fdisplay%2F~michelled

Electronic Textbooks

University students cope with enough stress as it is, with lots of late nights that rob us of rest and relaxation. The last thing we need is to suffer from back pains due to carrying heavy textbooks. According to an ergonomics study[i], heavy backpacks can severely impact the spine, which causes muscle strain and pain in the spinal joints.

The solution? Joining the rapidly advancing technological world, by using a single device such as a tablet, to store all textbooks in electronic form. This means that students will have all their work, notes, books and textbooks on a single device, which they utilize in lectures, make notes and highlight directly onto resources using a stylus pen.

Many additional advantages arise, such as:

  • Environmental benefits – as deforestation can significantly be reduced, by cutting down the amount of paper required
  • A reduction in textbook prices, as there would be no printing and paper involved in the manufacturing costs. Another advantage is that students will not “forget” certain text books at home, as they only have to carry one device around the whole day.
  • The device only weighs approximately 662g[ii], which counters the issue or carrying heavy backpacks.
  • You can store thousands of e-books on your device, opposed to fitting hardcopies on a shelf in your dormitory room
  • Once buying an electronic book, you have access to it immediately.

Our generation, is so technologically involved, from smartphone usage to social network communicating, the most efficient way to learn would  be to integrate our lifestyle with education. Traditional methods of teaching have become boring[iii] and it is tedious for students who do all their work on laptops and tablets, to have to transfer information from printed textbooks and would prefer  a hands on approach which is more interactive and conducive to their tech savvy daily activities.

I believe that electronic textbooks will definitely enhance the learning experience and efficiency of working at a tertiary level.

By Lisa Moodley. 777303.

[i]  http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/backpacks-and-back-pain-children

[iii] http://jessicazavarello.edublogs.org/files/2010/07/EDU-520.pdf

When coming across a word you don’t understand, double click the word for an immediate dictionary definition, or the option to highlight it, or even add a note.
You can either skip directly to a page numebr or chapter, or you can “turn the page” by swiping your finger across the screen.
Using a stylus pen, you can make notes directly to pages of your textbook, in your own handwriting which is easy to interpret and fast to carry through.
All your books, resources, and textbooks will be stored in an interactive library, which automatically bookmarks your books.
All your books, resources, and textbooks will be stored in an interactive library, which automatically bookmarks your books.

All your books, resources, and textbooks will be stored in an interactive library, which automatically bookmarks your books.

Using a stylus pen, you can make notes directly to pages of your textbook, in your own handwriting which is easy to interpret and fast to carry through.

Using a stylus pen, you can make notes directly to pages of your textbook, in your own handwriting which is easy to interpret and fast to carry through.

You can either skip directly to a page numebr or chapter, or you can "turn the page" by swiping your finger across the screen.

You can either skip directly to a page numebr or chapter, or you can “turn the page” by swiping your finger across the screen.

When coming across a word you don't understand, double click the word for an immediate dictionary defvinition, or the option to highlight it, or even add a note.

When coming across a word you don’t understand, double click the word for an immediate dictionary defvinition, or the option to highlight it, or even add a note.