Posts Tagged With: The Education Generation

Binary Groove – Gemini Nominated in 1995

This educational pilot computer show called “Binary Groove” aired in 1995 and was nominated for a Gemini Award. Enjoy the show and for more education stories, check out my book The Education Generation. As well, you would also be interested in Journalism Stories Collection. Both can be bought, plus many other books at:

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The Education Generation is Published

Discover everything you need to know about the world of education

Discover everything you need to know about the world of education

With lively articles on various topics concerning learning, The Education Generation has just been published by Donna Kakonge. It can be bought at It is a great resource for professors, students and anyone who has an interest in education.

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Does Online Education Pack on the Freshman 30?

Weight and Online Education – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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Distance education can be seen as quite a sedentary act. If you are sitting at the computer for hours on end, without any exercise…this could be something that could help someone put on weight. Even for people who go to a school that is not online, reports have shown that many young people are gaining 15 pounds from eating cafeteria food in their first year at college or university. What happens if you are studying by correspondence? Does online education pack on the freshman 30?

Many students who are young people and older people who chose to sit at their computer to take their courses lead busy lives. Many times their reasons for not physically going to college or university is because it is simply more convenient for them to study and to take classes from home. They have the advantage of being part of a social network with education at its focus. It is easier to squeeze in the time to do the lessons.

Many of us also know that as we spend a lot of time at home in front of the computer, it is much easier to reach the refrigerator, order a meal or take time to cook a meal. The urge to get hungry could happen often and there may be no one around to manage our eating habits. A student who studies from home could be eating just as badly as some of the food in the cafeterias on the campuses of colleges and universities all over North America. The virtual campus is accessible by a computer, plus a bag of Doritos to munch on while you are doing your homework. Doritos added with too many servings of Kraft Dinner, plus some french fries ordered at Swiss Chalet could end up doing more damage – if coupled with inactivity. At least the freshman student on a college or university campus gets the opportunity to walk around.

The question still remains unanswered though. Does online education pack on the freshman 30? At the end of the day and at the end of your semesters, that may be more a question of how active virtual students are in their lives when they are off the computer. Are they making time to go to the gym? Are they taking time to have broken so they can go on walks? Do they have children that are helping them keep fit by having to chase after them? Do they work in physically strenuous employment? Are they meeting with other online students to study the course material? Is the act of typing alone an exercise more physical than it is mental?

With these questions answered by each student who is studying over the Internet, it would be easier to determine if online students would actually gain more weight than students who actually have to get up and go to classes. I will attempt to use my own experience as an example.

When I was doing my undergraduate education, I lived a fair distance from the school. It would take about 40 minutes to walk there one way. Due to the fact that I did not have a lot of money when I was in school, I would walk to school to save on bus transportation costs. So I did receive exercise walking to and from school. This was different from when I was in my first year of university when I lived on campus. At this time, I avoided eating the cafeteria food and lived on Hickory Sticks and Skor bars in fear of gaining weight. I would walk through the tunnel system and spend as much time walking as I could. I also spent a lot of time in the first semester going out dancing at clubs in a city not far from the school.

In my second year though, and subsequent years, I would walk 80 minutes a day, plus work out at the school gym. This kept my weight down low. As well, when I was in graduate school, my weight was higher than it was in my first experience with higher education, however, I would still take time to exercise.

Studying online is similar to working many desk type jobs. Once I got into the world of work, I would spend a lot of time at the computer and exercise became less important to me. I have found over the years that a lack of exercise is one reason why I am not even close to the weight I was at during my school days. I would imagine that the same would happen to a student who was studying through distance education and lived a nonactive lifestyle. Perhaps it would be possible to gain more weight through the experience of a virtual classroom compared to studying on a campus.

OK, now it is time to discuss solutions to the potential of packing on the freshman 30 through a web course or program. Now that the problem has been presented, it would be important for anyone who is studying in a virtual classroom to also make sure they are doing physical exercise. It would also be important to make sure your food choices are healthy ones, because everyone has to eat – at least most of us. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, versus a bag of Doritos or Lays would be the first and obvious choice. Reducing one’s amount of coffee intake to a maximum of one a day would be ideal for your health. Coffee is known to stimulate all kinds of things such as diabetes. If you cannot dream of living without coffee, try tea instead. There are so many varieties out there, I am sure whether it is herbal tea or black tea, you would be sure to find one you like. As well, it is important to minimize the amount of meat you eat. It is always better in general and as a rule for even ruling out illnesses such as cancer that you try to choose fish and chicken over beef and pork.

I know these things are hard to do. I am hardly saying I am perfect at it myself even though I know what are the right things to do. Truly the key is exercise. If you can at least get a half hour walk in every day, and I mean on the weekends too, this would really help you to be healthier. If you do not enjoy walking, you can always choose an exercise that truly suits the kind of person you are. As long as you are keeping active…this is the key. This way you can prevent putting on the freshman 30 and continue to have the convenience of studying online.

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Is Journalism Education Becoming Obsolete due to Citizen Journalism?

Is Journalism Education Out Like Typewriters? – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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It seems as though anyone can pick up a video camera, a microphone and start a blog today and call themselves a journalist. What does this mean for journalism education?

Journalism education does not have a long history. Actually, the first journalists, such as Ernest Hemingway were not actually trained in journalism. Journalists like William Zinsser were not trained in journalism either. Journalism education is a fairly recent phenomenon especially in places such as Canada, where Carleton University was the first journalism school back in the 1940s. Before that, the newspaper men and women who delivered the current events were trained in other areas.

It seems as though things are coming back to those early days. The Internet is drastically changing the access that anyone can have to produce journalism. This is known as citizen journalism. Ordinary citizens are starting to pick up video cameras, a microphone, and start blogs, as well as posting information on YouTube to get their voices heard – just like journalists. In many ways this is a good thing, however – does it continue to make journalism education relevant?

I would argue that journalism education is still relevant. Many of the successful blogs that exist today are actually about mainstream news events. This shows that the mainstream news, filled with journalists that have graduated from such schools as Carleton University, Columbia University, Northwestern University and Ryerson University are still being put to good use by adding to the blogosphere. As well, because we still live in a paper-driven society where the credentials one has are extremely important in landing paid work, journalism education continues to be important for the purposes of people with interests in the media to find and keep a job. It is a reality that many people who have their own blogs do not make a lot of money from it. It is possible, although people like Matt Drudge of the Matt Drudge Report are more an exception rather than the rule.

The Internet can actually be used to help improve the level of journalism education. There is more information on the web about what journalism is about and understanding media – this information can be used by professors to make the classroom a more vibrant place.

When it comes to journalism education and getting a job in journalism, it is also important about the contacts you have. Going to a credible journalism school ensures that you will have access to people who can help you to find a job. This is something that will surely help journalism schools not to become obsolete.

When I look back on my own journalism education it was one of the best things I could have done. Most people that get into journalism do so because they want to write. Going to journalism school gave me the chance to do this and make my mistakes while I was in school so I could perform better in the job market. I received many opportunities while I was school, such as traveling to Germany, Belgium, and Holland and co-producing a documentary that is now in the library of the city where I went to school. Producing that documentary helped me to be involved with other documentary projects. Just being at the school started a long working relationship I had with the public broadcaster in my country where working there was like an education on to itself. Later, when I went back to school for a graduate degree, this is what helps me to know about journalism education today and to work in the field, as well as media in general. I teach at the college level and am able to continue working as a journalist to keep current in the field.

A journalism education is important, however, it is true that for anyone that has the talent they will do well in the field. Many times this talent can come through work experience that can be honed by doing citizen journalism work. Equipping yourself with a studio environment right in your home can make a difference in getting your name known and out there, making all the difference in the world when you do apply for a job in mainstream or even alternative media.

I teach at a number of schools and have taught at a number of schools in the past. I have seen great success coming out of the students I have taught. Success levels higher than what I have heard from people who did not go to journalism school. Even people that went to school, however, did not study journalism is still a viable option for breaking into the field. Many people do become successful this way too.

In conclusion, I would say that although citizen journalism, web-based journalism or Internet journalism is a huge phenomenon that is challenging the meaningfulness of mainstream media outlets, many mainstream media outlets are actually combating this situation by “jumping on the bandwagon.” Places such as CBS plans to have many of their programs go online so they take advantage of the power of the Internet. The real answer that journalism schools need to do to find a solution to the challenge of citizen journalism is to make sure they are offering courses and programs that answer to the power of the web. Their students must be prepared to work in the virtual world and prepare to potentially receive employment that is completely web-based. This is future, things will not change anytime soon.



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Most Interesting Campuses in Ontario

The University of Toronto is One of the Most Interesting Campuses in Ontario – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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Ontario has some of the most beautiful campuses in the country of Canada. Here is a quick description of some of them:

Queen’s University located in Kingston is a picturesque town with a campus that is charming. You can actually see the ivy growing on the university and it is relatively easy to maneuver your way around the campus.

The University of Toronto undoubtedly has one of the most beautiful campuses in Canada, and yes in Ontario too. Located in the centre of downtown Toronto, the Bata Shoe Museum is close by, plus the Royal Ontario Museum and the Textile Museum. There are great places to eat that surround the entire campus and some parts of it even have cobblestone.

York University’s campus is also beautiful and changing all the time. With its large quadrant that has a grassy knoll, plus a waterfall, it is huge space that has some elements of the old and the new. Just over to the south of the campus is Seneca College that also has many elements of a new design and is a building that displays its strength in understanding technology.

One of the lesser known universities in Toronto, however ones that are extremely interesting include Humber College and Guelph-Humber University. These institutions which are joined actually resemble the Pearson airport that is not too far away. At Guelph-Humber they have a wall that is filled with leaves and foliage right in the atrium. It is absolutely gorgeous for anyone who has the opportunity to see it.

Ryerson University, on the other hand, is like a modern village in the heart of downtown Toronto. With so much going on around it, it is amazing to think the students there actually get an opportunity to get any studying done. With its proximity to the Eaton Centre, as well as great restaurants, jewelry stores and a newly formed square close to the Hard Rock Café, there is so much going on there that it would be hard for a student looking to take a break to be bored.

Another interesting campus is Centennial College at Pape and Mortimer in Toronto that used to be the old teacher’s college. That school also used to be the location where the world famous “Degrassi Junior High” series was filmed. If you look at the show, as well as look at aspects of the school – you can easily identify some of the classrooms and location scenes from the show.

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Education Blogs and Discussion Forums

Education Blogs and Discussion Forums are Everywhere – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Education blogs are showing up everywhere and one has to be careful where they are getting their information from.

There are some education blogs that are not extremely informative and include information from people who do not have any knowledge on the topic. Make sure that if you are consulting with an education blog, it comes from a reliable source.

Many times the best way to do this is to go with suggestions from people that you know. Along with education blogs, there are those education discussion forums that are reputable and those that are not. The Chronicle of Higher Education is one discussion forum that carries a lot of weight in the education sphere and is extremely informative.

What are some of the advantages of being part of an education blog or discussion forum? It gives you the opportunity to dialogue with people who are like-minded. You can meet many people and if you are in a situation of looking for work in academia, this could be a wonderful avenue to increase your social networks.

Another advantage to being part of education blogs and discussion forums is that you receive the opportunity to find out what are some of the “hot” topics people in the field are discussing. This will also help you during interviews if you are in the midst of the academic job hunt.

Even for people who already have work in academia, education blogs and discussion forums can be useful. They can help to keep you up to date on some of the things that are being discussed in the field. This could even help to provide lecture material or to promote discussions in your classroom or in your board meetings.

For whatever reason, you are using education blogs or discussion forums, if you choose them wisely, you cannot go wrong.

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Technology in the Classroom

Technology is in the Classroom – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There is no way to escape it. Technology is making a big splash in education. It will be coming to a classroom near you if it is not there already.

Many classrooms are going digital by replacing old chalkboards with electronic podiums that teachers and professors can use, as well as the students when they are doing presentations.

At the click of some buttons, electronic screens can be lowered, projectors can be turned on and PowerPoint presentations of lesson plans can be displayed to the whole class. Many of these electronic podiums also have the capacity to show VCR tapes, DVDs, play audio from the Internet, hook up a laptop and hook up a video camera. Gone are the days of the slide projectors and green, black or white chalkboards that are still in some classrooms.

This technology is making it possible for all kinds of wonderful things to happen in the classroom. Many schools also have a system called Blackboard where it is possible to post previous lesson notes to students, register the grades, create discussion forums, perform podcasts and audio assignments. Things are a lot different for students nowadays than they were when many of us who may teach was at school. Things are a lot different than they were for many of us who are paying for our children to go to school.

The advances in technology will not stop. There will be much more in the making as changes are happening all the time. Many people in schools are looking forward to the day when every classroom has access to computers for the students. Some people who teach do not like this idea because computers can sometimes be a disruptive element in the classroom. With the advent of Facebook, MySpace, MSN Messenger and other social networking sites, some students spend more time communicating with their friends online than actually listening to what is going on in class. Somehow a balance between the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the classroom will be struck.


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Back to School Part III

Donna Kakonge Ends Her Series on Students Preparing to Go Back to School – Photo Courtesy of

Back To School Part III - August 31, 2010

Going Back to School? This ends the three-part series in going back to school for students of all ages. If you have not checked out Part I and Part II – you can find them on this magazine. Here are the tips for Part III:

  1. Make sure you sleep! It is extremely important to sleep and rest while you are in school. This will help to keep your stress level down and make it possible for you to concentrate on your studies.
  2. Keep your personal drama to a minimum. Things come up. Everyone knows this. Try to keep out of any personal drama around you in your family, as well as any personal drama happening at school. You are at school to study – really in essence not to do anything else.
  3. Keep out of the bars and avoid smoking – easier said than done, trust me I know. You will be much better off to lay off the alcohol completely and avoid smoking to deal with your stress while in school. Many of these bad habits are formed while you are in school. An entire dissertation could be written on this topic. Avoid becoming a statistic.
  4. Try not to miss classes. Try to go to all of your classes. It is important that you go and your professor will respect you for it. If there is a good reason why you must miss a class, let your professor know with as much notice as possible.
  5. Do not forget to enjoy yourself. Going to school will contain some of the fondest memories of your life. Enjoy it and be successful.

For more information about school and education matters – please check out The Education Generation at

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