Learn@NUS

The NUS Education and Learning Blog

Month: July 2017

9 To Do’s Before you Study Abroad

Have you always dreamt of studying abroad? It’s a transformative experience to study in a foreign university. You’ll be struck by a new city, new people, and new friends. Amazing opportunities await you when you fly overseas exchange. Importantly though, you should not forget that life in a foreign land comes with its own set of challenges. There are certain preparations you must take to assure a safe and hassle-free journey. Here’s 8 vital tips you should know while planning to study abroad.

  1. Check out eligibility criteria

Before you make any preparation, check out the eligibility criteria of the foreign university. Conduct a comparative study on multiple institutions to broaden your possibilities. Follow their reputation, rankings, courses offered and notable alumni. Go through the regulations needed for applying to college. Some of the foreign universities have made it mandatory for applicants to submit teachers’ recommendations during the application. If your chosen universities also want the same, you have to make arrangements accordingly.

  1. Look for scholarships

Along with admission criteria, you should check scholarship eligibility for foreign students. Studying in international universities is always an expensive affair. Thus, it’s great if you stand eligible for scholarship opportunities.

  1. Follow social media groups

There are groups for everything on social media. So, chances are high that there will be Facebook groups for students of your selected universities. Join the group and ask for suggestions to secure a successful admission in your chosen foreign university.

  1. Start making preparations for the required paperwork

Passport and student visa are the two most indispensable documents when you are traveling abroad. If you have a friend or relative already studying abroad in the same city or university, ask him or her about the required documents.

  1. Get your immunizations

You should inform your family physician about your plans to study abroad. Tell them about the place and climate. Such details will help them to devise any precautionary health measures to take care of while living abroad. Most importantly, your doctor will remind you of the necessary vaccinations or immunizations to take for a safe stay.

  1. Read about the foreign culture

You must be respectful of the culture of a foreign city. Read articles on the lifestyle and customs in that city. You should know all restrictions beforehand to ensure you don’t break any law or hurt the cultural sentiments of the locals unknowingly.

  1. Try to learn the language beforehand

It’s always smart to learn the local language of the place you’ll be living. It’s not possible to perfect the dialect like a pro in just a few months but at least try to comprehend the basics. This point is especially important if English is not the official language of the foreign city.

  1. Get tickets 3 months in advance

One of the best ways to save money on studying abroad is through the flight fare. Do not book your tickets at the 11th hour. It’s better to start looking for tickets 3 month in advance. Ticket prices are at their lowest if booked 90 days prior to the travel date.

  1. Sort out your banking

You must also make sure to inform your bank in advance. You have to get a VISA debit card to draw money from foreign ATMs. If you debit card does not hold VISA status, get it done from your bank as soon as possible.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Four Technologies that are Transforming Singapore’s Education Industry

The education sector is transforming – with technology advancements to aid teaching, and an increasingly digital world. New technologies are constantly being developed to help schools meet the needs of ever-more-diverse student populations. Digital devices, software, and learning platforms offer pathways to tailor education to each student’s interests and motivations, personal preferences, strengths and weaknesses. Schools are using digital devices such as laptops and tablets to quickly, and easily connect students to a vast array of resources and subject-matter experts. Students are using digital technologies to connect with other students across the globe to engage in self-directed learning in areas of personal interest and expertise.

Educational technology is the use of technology to improve education. It is a systematic, iterative process for designing instruction or training used to improve performance.

There are several reasons to embrace educational technology:

  1. Integrating technology into the classroom is a channel to reach diversity in learning styles. Used correctly, it can help prepare students for their future careers, which will include the use of wireless technology.
  2. Collaborative technology gives students the ability to interact with their classmates in a different way, and access a global network of peers and educators. Students are able to access the biggest repository of information at a click of a button, and get support from external providers to help with assignment writing.
  3. Technology helps the teachers prepare students for the real world environment. As we become increasingly more technology-dependent, being technically savvy will become a qualification, not something that makes you stand out. Integrating technology in education also helps students stay engaged. Students will be more engaged by learning using tools they are used to.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some EdTech companies to be on the lookout for in 2017.

MindSumo

MindSumo helps college students develop problem-solving, communications, and creative thinking skills by allowing them to solve real-world corporate challenges. They do this through their online platform which makes it possible to address challenges and apply knowledge whilst earning money for college.

AdmitSee

AdmitSee has created the largest, searchable “admissions office filing cabinet.” Their database of college application materials puts peer-supplied data in the hands of students and empowers applicants to make better decisions about where to apply and how they can put their best foot forward in applying to colleges of their choice.

Codemonkey

CodeMonkey teaches “real-world coding and provides immediate feedback, which leads to skill progression.” They provide comprehensive online professional development for instructors. In addition, they can provide detailed lesson plans, automatic assessments, feedback, and grading. CodeMonkey’s key features enhance problem-solving, logic and creativity in students allowing students to learn in-demand skills through a highly intuitive and engaging experience.

StudySoup

StudySoup is an online marketplace for college students where they can upload notes and study guides to the StudySoup Marketplace. Anyone looking for study notes or content can then purchase the study materials – one earns income, the other gets a set of study notes to help them through their exams.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Should Good Attendance Be Rewarded in Singaporean Schools?

Schools adopted attendance records to discourage truancy, account for the students’ whereabouts, and monitor student attendance throughout the school period. The attendance records motivate students to attend class to avoid failing a class or repeating a school year. In turn, the enthusiastic students earn a decent education and former truants avoid detention and get to pass particular classes thus graduate. Furthermore, some schools have adopted a rewarding policy where they award students with perfect attendance records. These rewards motivate students to attend class. A majority of learners attend class to achieve different objectives namely learn new things, avoid penalties for missing class, and earn the attendance award. But should schools award good attendance? Learning benefits the students. Do they need external forces pushing them to attend class even though missing it affects their grades and their learning process?

Rewards are good because they act as motivators. A student getting an attendance award in addition to acquiring an education is motivated to attend more classes. More so, the award shines teaching in a positive light. The student will, therefore, aim at succeeding in class while attending all lectures. Such a scenario benefits a student who enjoys learning and who does not mind staying through an entire lecture to learn.

The rewards also push the students who do not enjoy learning, to attend class. Students who do not love learning may want to go to class to get perfect records and be acknowledged for such records. With time, such students may come across classes they enjoy, which will depict learning in a different perspective. The rewards will assist in giving students the incentive to learn new things and write custom essays. Eventually, such students will not only enjoy learning but will also improve their grades.

Rewarding good attendance will promote class attendance; but will it emphasize the importance of education? As mentioned, students attend class to achieve different objectives. Only a small percentage attends class to learn. Were it possible for students to sit for the examination and pass without attending class; they would. Does this mean that such rewards will negate the importance of learning? Yes and no. Some students only attend class to confirm attendance. They are physically in class, but their minds are not in it. Additionally, the rewards show students that the only benefit of going to class is to get the awards. Such a mentality makes students’ miss class since the only thing they will lose, according to them, is the award. The awards do not emphasize the importance of learning.

In light of this information, is rewarding good attendance necessary? There is a need to some extent. However, schools should do more to ensure that students attend class and benefit from it. Schools need to emphasize to students the importance of learning. They should also make the lessons more interactive and enjoyable. Moreover, students should choose the courses that are in line with their prospects instead of sitting through classes they do not like. Consequently, students with perfect attendance records will receive their awards while the other students get an education.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Budget Cutting Hacks for NUS Undergrads

Having a tough time to meet ends? That’s the story for a lot of NUS undergrads. From student loans to stationery, accommodation, Netflix downloads and weekend outings, there are a lot of things to take care of. A part-time job and your pocket-money are not always enough and you have to be mindful about serious money saving hacks. We wanna help with some serious money saving secrets for all college students:

Scholarships

One of the best ways to save on your college fees is to search for scholarships. If you are in financial trouble, write to your NUS department. You might be granted a bursary. Otherwise, there are several philanthropic organizations that award scholarships to needy and meritorious students.

Make use of your student ID

Your student ID card is a handy tool to grab discounts. From eateries to retail shops to fashion houses to electronic stores- there are many outlets that offer special discount to students. You just need to flash your ID card to enjoy a nice 5-10% savings.

Make a budget

This is one of the most important tips to save money for all students. You need to have an organized expense structure if you are struggling to save. Make a budget with a list of all expenses. Note how much you want or need to allot to each of these areas. There will be two separate lists – one for basic necessities and another for avoidable extras. Make a separate column where you will jot down how much you actually spent for all those items. At the end of the month, calculate the differences between your estimated expense and actual expense. Depending on your situation, you might have to cut down on some of the avoidable expenses.

Try to save money on internet plans

Some broadband provider offers special student deals at discounted rates. Otherwise, you can go for 1-2 year extended contracts to grab rebates. Make sure to get a comparative study on multiple broadband companies to find the most competitive rates.

Look for free VPN services

NUS students often opt for VPN services to access geo-restricted content for their research. Many VPN services are actually free. Some of the most credible VPNs extend the free service with no limitations on time and data. The best free VPN providers also assure support for both desktops and mobile phones.

Use campus facilities

Try to use campus facilities as much as possible to save money. For example, if you are planning to join a gym, use the gym at your campus instead. Gym membership at NUS is free. Money saving is all about being a smart, organized and mindful about your expenses.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Primary education is a Fundamental Human Right

Primary education is the most fundamental form of education. It provides the foundation and lays the ground work for not only more advanced levels of education, but also basic participation in and contribution to, the modern world. Primary education is a right of every child and it is the responsibility of the state and parents to ensure that every child is provided with a satisfactory level of education. Primary education creates opportunities and opens doors as well as allowing new generations to break free of chronic and inter-generational poverty. Any state sanctioned welfare system should prioritise universal primary education.

Every child, irrespective of the socio-economic background of their parents, should have the opportunity to complete a full course of education. In order to be competitive in the modern would, children must be prepared from an early age.

In order to help develop well-rounded individuals, education systems need to address a multitude of different disciplines. Fundamentally, primary education needs to address basic mathematics, word formation and rudimentary english, general ethics and social norms and an introduction to the sciences. Initially, students will be assessed by observation. As they progress through primary school, assessments begin to become more formal. In the latter half of primary school, students will often encounter in-class tests and may even be required to submit an assignment. Primary education teaches discipline and helps to develop individuals who appreciate the importance of adhering to a routine.

Most students successfully complete primary education between the ages of 10 and 13 years. However, some nations are in educational crisis. Nations such as Pakistan have literacy rates as low as 57% and little is being done to rectify this. Seemingly poverty is the most common reason for poor education. Often parents cannot afford school fees and other associated costs. In some cases, entire communities may lack the resources to run a properly functioning school. Lack of education is also often attributable to geographical isolation.

Often female students are prevented from receiving an education, in spite of their males peers receiving an education. This is generally the result of cultural values and can be hard to reconcile from a western perspective. Young girls are often kept away from school to help with domestic duties and childcare. It is important that nations make a concerted effort to reduce the gap between male and female students.

As has been explored in the preceding discussion, primary education is an essential right of every child. It serves as the foundation for further education and determines the extent of an individuals prospects. There are many factors which may serves as potential impediments to equal opportunity of education and governments need to make policy which is specifically targeted at combating and compensating the adverse affects of these impediment. Education has the ability to disrupt generations of chronic poverty and policy makers need to take heed of this fact.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Learn@NUS Top Tips for Composing a Quality Essay – Part 2

Writing an essay may be simple, and many people (especially students) focus on simply answering the question and making the word count. Read our top tips to take your essays to the next level and write consistently impressive essays.

  1. Read other essays.

Reading a variety of essays can help you develop and build on your own essay-writing style. Try to read a range of other essays, including those of your peers and of academics. As you read other essays, treat them as things to be tested, challenged, and questioned. Be critical and assess what you like about them, and what you dislike about them. Try to extract the argument from the essay and assess if the points are good, and what can be improved.

  1. Plan your essay

As you gather resources for your essays, your thoughts should flow. Think about how you would string this information together in a cohesive flow. At this point you can further organize your thoughts into an outline format that can help to gather your thoughts and the argument of the essay as a whole. Think of it as an opportunity to brainstorm what you know about the topic. It can help you map out the structure of your essay and prioritise the points you want to develop and the evidence you are going to use. It is important not to get into too much detail – writing keywords and phrases are the best solution.

  1. Spend effort in your introduction

Condense what you’re trying to say into a short introduction. Your first few sentences should be an ‘Elevator Pitch’ style summary of what the essay topic is on and why readers should be interested in it. Your introduction for your essay should sell the idea of it to a reader, leaving them wanting to read the essay in question.

  1. Conclude with a strong statement

The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences that reinforces the point you have brought up in your introduction, and link everything together.

  1. Proofread your essays and ensure that it flows well.

Check the order of your paragraphs and ensure that your strongest points and ensure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. On the other hand, remove sentences that do not add value to your essay. Finally, check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Writing an essay and making the most of these tips require time. If you are short on time, perhaps buying an essay could be an option for you.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

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