Union

At the intersect between education and technology

  • How has Cloud Computing revolutionized our lives

    The word “Cloud” came into existence seven years ago when people were migrating over to a digitalized age. The cloud technology or commonly known asRead More

    Learn More
  • Technology is reshaping education

    The evolution that is technology is the most transformative, revolutionary invention that mankind has brought to fruition. Practically every industry is being given a remodelRead More

    Learn More

How has Cloud Computing revolutionized our lives

The word “Cloud” came into existence seven years ago when people were migrating over to a digitalized age. The cloud technology or commonly known as cloud computing is a bunch of Internet-based computing solutions and services.

This has spawned countless online academies, offering courses such as Xero courses that offers cloud accounting, to cloud development courses that can help expand and improve on the available technology.

The biggest key point about cloud computing is that it is not bound to our computers, laptops or other computing devices instead it is handled by huge data centers that requires its own premises. Cloud computing services are accessed easily by web browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc on desktop pcs, laptops, tablets and even.

With the host of providers abound, cloud computing applications are situated at different geographical locations around the world in order to serve their customers with ease and security. Their main objective is to provide reliability and consistency in services so as to breakdown the percentage data or website failure. It has come to theknowledge of the cloud computing service providers that every user has different requirements. For this reason, providers have to be flexible in delivering such services where user enjoys the services with minimum data or service related issues. Enterprise service consumers with global operations have requirement of faster response time, and thus saves a lot of time by distributing workload requests to multiple cloud servers situated at different locations at the same time.

There are some of the best features that need to be highlighted:-

  • Capacity is flexible – Cloud computing services are the most flexible service that can be turned on or off anytime and in any situation. For instance, if you have arecently launched e-commerce website and want to reduce the traffic, you can switch to multiple servers for better performance and avoidcrashing of website or data at peak time.
  • Cost-effectiveness of cloud services – Cloud computing gives you handy options to reduce the cost of storing data as you need not buy other equipment or develop separate infrastructure.
  • Speed availability – It is interesting to know that cloud computing has ahigh-end bandwidth that makes it easy for consumers to handle a large amount of data.

Many organizations are trying to establish cloud technology as their platform and giving their employees exposure to latest technology and helping them to work efficiently. Cloud computing services give employees the ability to work independently anywhere, any time which is an integral part of increasing productivity. Using cloud services it is easy to work in a collaborative manner so as to reduce the travel time or pausing the processes of the business. Consistency in data, minimal chances of data loss by a power failure, natural disaster, and other issues that give a big to our organization can be controlled by using cloud technology.

Nowadays, hosting services, data sharing, researchers and many others use cloud-based services. It is predicted that this technology will gradually replace all other forms of technology and will make the things far better and much more efficient.

Technology is reshaping education

The evolution that is technology is the most transformative, revolutionary invention that mankind has brought to fruition. Practically every industry is being given a remodel in the wake of this digitized era. One of the most important industries in the world that is being affected is education. Technology and education are evolving together. The mainstream way in which individuals learn will always have the same core values, but the focuses are already changing – and will continue to do so as time goes on. The way that individuals learn is not due to change any time soon – we will continue to learn from great educators. In saying this, the tools that generations to come will engage with to learn almost definitely will change. It is the way of the modern world – humanity is reliant (for the most part) on technological maintenance and advancement.

The impact that technology is having on the world is not limited to western society either. It is a global impact, and as such even countries with limited means are finding their education sectors being challenged and shifted to establish a move tech-driven approach to learning.

In the past, students’ parents were denied control over currency transfers, making even simple transfers difficult. For parents that have children attending school overseas, this can make things especially difficult. Seemingly simple school products like writing utensils and textbooks can become difficult for some families to get in a timely fashion. As technology in education is making waves all over the world, the issue of international money transfer Australia is beginning to remedy itself – with new systems being introduced that eliminate the waiting periods and delays in responses for international financial transfers.

Classrooms were once environments rich with tradition, but the changing advancements of the planet as we know it ensures that even the most traditional environments are changing, shifting focus to align themselves with the direction that the world is moving in. Textbooks are being replaced by PDF versions and eBooks. Blackboards are being replaced with PowerPoint slideshows. Rather than letters home, students and their families receive email updates from the education institutions at which they learn. For technology to have lasting impact in the education industry, those in the driving seats must have the understanding that they should be offering not only technology itself, but the concepts, values, and tools that work with technology and in alignment with the values at the core of the education industry.

Technology in education has proven to bring students together, rather than drive them apart – a concern that was sparked when technology began to make its way into classrooms and campuses all over the world. Weaving technology and education together will continue to become increasingly easier as the millennials of tomorrow’s generation (and all those that follow) climb the ladder and become the decision-makers in the field of education. As technological advancement continues to propel itself forward, it is practically impossible to know definitively how far technology will have expanded, even as little as ten years from now. What is certain, however, is that technology will not dissipate…much like the invention of electricity, technology is here to stay.

HR management at the heart of every company

Human resource management is literally the department at the heart of every company and institution’s core. Industries thrive on challenges and bumps in the road to success, but more importantly, they function more successfully and wholly when the people that work at the company are content and happy. Of course, keeping the peace and maintaining a harmonious work environment can be a tumultuous task, particularly if the institution or company in question is quite large. Educational institutions are some of the largest locations in the world, and the individuals that function as the professors, tutors, and dean (among the countless other individuals that are responsible in some way or another for the way that the institution runs) are vitally important to the longevity of the campus in question.

There are many questions that must be asked and addressed when HR representatives are brought into an educational institution, particularly if that institution is built on a foundation that has housed cracks and pitfalls outside of the realm of the ordinary and expected. But when a HR department functions wholly and successfully, even the toughest of kinks can be worked out. HR representatives are vitally important to healthy work environments – including universities – and so generating interest for potential students to be studying HR courses and degrees is in continuous demand. Individuals can choose from a variety of available programmes, including the HR Management Master’s Programme. The HR programmes are pillars of successful education, effectively turning students from eager learners into practiced team managers.

Throughout the duration of these kinds of qualifications, individuals learn how to construct strong teams and maintain coveted roles in whichever organisation they may end up operating within. Developing skills and qualifications that are required to be able to take on challenges from all angles, including ethical, economic, and environmental challenges. With the majority of courses being available online these days, it has never been easier to obtain a degree that can help one to make a difference in a company and thus, a difference in the lives of many. HR management qualifications are among the most important educational programmes in the world – without HR departments, harmony and ease within a company’s inner workings is not always easy, not to mention smooth.

Human Resources representatives are renowned for owning and wearing various different hats, but their primary goal is to assist whichever company they are in alignment with, in ensuring the longevity and safety of that company’s most invaluable asset… The people. The cores of the industry and the functions that a company or institution’s employees operate in accordance to, require in-depth understanding and a consistent approach to keep them running as smoothly as possible. Universities are “people enterprises”, and the way in which the individuals that work at said universities interact with one another and work together ultimately reflects on the university. HR professionals are one of the most important keys in play in regard to the long-term success of the institutions at which they operate.

The importance of GPA post-university

Many students have been in a classroom when an external client attends to give a presentation about their corporation or job. These jobs are considered the cream of the crop for the student who receives it. Frequently, the job is presented as a dream job that can catapult a career for whomever receives it. The problem is that these jobs or internship positions are never given to students with a below A or less an 80 average, much like being awarded scholarships. Therefore, the issue becomes, how to land a great job with an average GPA?

There is the option to hand in a resume or CV anyway and hope for the best. However, there is a 99% chance of that resume being filed away and forgotten. A more proactive route is to have the company take notice. Grades are the indicator that a student has certain set of skills, but there are other ways to showcase one’s talent or skills through their accomplishments. Even something as simple as throwing a party might land an events student into the industry. Find what you are able to do that goes well with the company’s vision and pitch it to the company to get their attention.

There are many employees who have landed their job simply by wowing their employers – through daring resumes or simply by creating a product or service and sending it their way. Many corporations understand that there may be extenuating life factors that result in lower grades, but it is not a reflection of creativity or drive, which is something that is highly sought after, especially in a world of consumerism where the new gets left behind and the fresh crazy ideas are received with celebration.

Another option to consider could be a volunteering opportunity. For example; if archaeology is the field that is desired, volunteering in the local archaeology society as well as at the local school lab can develop and lead to contacts in the field. These contacts likely having their ear to the ground with what is going on in the desired field and have the connections with hiring people. Another reason volunteering is important is this will enable someone to work full time and volunteer, showing an employer that they can manage two jobs at once, regardless of what their transcripts indicate.

Landing a great job with an average GPA does not have to be hard, nor should it be a situation filled with intimidation. It is essential to remember that many entrepreneurs did not attend school and are highly successful. But, they did have to work hard. In addition, the person across the table in an interview may also have had average grades. Be prepared to prove why you deserve the job and why your transcripts may not reflect your hard work, dream jobs are within your reach.

E-Learning: Education of the Future?

Traditional teaching methods are quickly becoming outpaced by e-learning and what this means for students is that they face a whole new set of challenges. These arise from the sheer variety of learning systems that can be found as well as the different types of learners that exist.

Some students’ preferences may reside in ILT (instructor-led training) while on the other hand, some may find that self-learning through technology has more to offer than traditional learning methods.

As information technology continues to surge forward, the brand new industry built around e-learning appears to yield more value and push the limits of what can be achieved.

Content is becoming more accessible, artificial intelligence is bringing about drastic changes and these days, there are even services that deal in writing custom essays for those looking for the easy way out of doing their assignments. As like everything else, the wide world of e-learning is a double edged sword.

Here are some of the more positive benefits that e-learning has to offer:

Varying types of content

With e-learning, learnersare able to bask in multisensory experiences and gain knowledge via multimedia, whether through videos, educational games, audio books or online courses.

Since there are a variety of different types of learners, a live classroom environment may not be the best solution for everyone. With e-learning, learners have more choices and can make the most out of their learning experience by finding and harnessing the learning style that best suits them. Through the use of multimedia, entertainment can also be brought into the process of learning.

Flexibility and accessibility

E-learners are able to learn at their own time and at their own pace, enhancing convenience.

They can access their content through a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop computer. These learners do not need to be tied down to a specific location and are able to learn remotely. This can also inculcate the habit of lifelong learning.

For learners who are also working, on a training program or are always on a tight schedule, e-learning is a great way to maximize time.

Cost-effective

E-learning can also be more cost-effective when compared to traditional methods. Travel, logistics and course materials can take up a fair chunk of a student’s often humble budget.

As such, with e-learning, a learner’s ROI (return on investment) can be significantly higher than traditional learners.

Quick delivery and updated content

With e-learning, a learner can begin a lesson quickly and follow through at his/her own pace rather than at the pace of a whole group. E-learners also often have the ability to repeat lessons at an unlimited rate.

This is different from learners in the traditional classroom that generally only have the ability to receive lessons in the classroom environment and will not be able to repeat the lesson at their convenience.

E-learners are also often able to access updated content at any time, ensuring that they are always in sync with modern learners.

Uses of a Virtual Data Room in the Classroom

It is understandable that virtual data rooms may seem like a complicated software when compared alongside generic online platforms such as Dropbox. Their extensive features and intuitive interface can leave a beginner feeling intimidated by the extent of tasks that can be accomplished and the amount of money they can potentially cost during a longer project.

While these concerns are valid for anyone dabbling in new software, the practicality of a VDR can outweigh the hesitation in the initial investment so that more functions are being performed with increased security and a higher sense of control on the part of the user. No one wants their important information divulged, even if it is as innocuous as corporate minutes or field notes. Security should be expected and easily attained for even the smallest tasks. This article will highlight a few practical uses of a data room for any inexperienced beginners.

Document Storage

The most basic use for a virtual data room, if for nothing else, is document storage. The key function to take note of with this is not just storing documents, but housing them somewhere safe and impenetrable so that they can be viewed by whomever you or your company invite onto the platform. Most commonly, this is implemented for mergers and acquisitions, from the buy side or sell side as they attempt to perform their due diligence on a certain company.

A VDR is the easiest way for information to be shared back and forth while simultaneously keeping track of whoever views it. For deals as arduous as M&As, it is evident why enhanced security is needed as vital financial and company information is being accessed by multiple users within the virtual data room.

However, a VDR is just as easily utilized in a more simplistic way for anyone who wants to ensure their information will remain safe. Perhaps by a marketing company sharing confidential client information with a remote copywriter. In this scenario the client’s data can’t be leaked without the marketing company’s knowledge and the copywriter is still able to do their job outside of a dedicated office.

This provides boundless opportunities for individuals to launch their careers from home or even from different countries. The cloud-based platform means we are no longer susceptible to the impact of space and time on our abilities to remain effective overseas. Projects can be completed faster and from the comfort of your own home if necessary, making virtual data rooms a contemporary alternative to the mundanity of traditional office life.

Global Document Exchange

This leads to another basic use of a virtual data room which is exchanging documentation on a global scale. More and more companies seem to be moving towards remote employees and attempting to expanding their reach to various countries around the world. With this change comes the unavoidable need for reliable and quick communication amongst colleagues and clients. A company’s strength lies with how cohesive its associates are and without an online platform working alongside them there is no way to facilitate their virtual success.

A VDR is one way to help a company remain connected even when working from different parts of the globe. The effortlessness of uploading important documents to be viewed at any time by only select individuals is a simple feature, but undoubtedly vital in keeping a company undivided in their ventures. Not only is information kept secure, but also easily accessible with templates that can be modified to a user’s preference.

The transition to online employment seems inevitable at this point and virtual data rooms are only the tip of the iceberg for how companies and clients will remain connected. The control of their vital and confidential data is left to their discretion and the details taken care of by their provider, ensuring that projects are completed smoothly.

Anyone who may be slightly intimidated by the notion of virtual data rooms should first discover the most basic uses of the software and understand how they can benefit their company in even the simplest of tasks. Whether it is exchanging company financials, sharing client data for internal use, or even safely storing years’ worth of company minutes – the capabilities are endless and the functionality of reputable VDRs and their providers is compelling.

Have an article to contribute to Union? Email us.

Charting a New Path to Career Success

Old technologies and jobs are either fading away or morphing into something new. Emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, blockchain and analytics can cause massive disruptions in existing jobs and industries, but also have the potential to create wealth and new kinds of jobs. The education system, in its current form, is woefully unprepared to capitalize on evolving job opportunities as it has its roots and was designed to support the age of industrialization. It is therefore time for policy makers worldwide to rethink the existing education system. They need to eliminate the bias towards tertiary education and focus on technical and vocational education.

Educational innovation and change is already in the air, albeit in selective pockets. Finland is poised to become the first country in the world to over-haul its education system by discontinuing school-level subjects and adopting a phenomenon-based learning methodology. In this approach, the students would bridge the artificial divisions between various disciplines by studying a concept through multiple lenses of science, geography, history, etc, thereby equipping themselves to better handle real-world issues. Do-it-yourself or alternative education is also gaining popularity as it teaches relevant skills for a fast-evolving environment.

Technological advances are allowing students to attend lectures without being physically present in classrooms. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) pioneers such as the MIT, Stanford and Harvard are making top-quality course content available online free of cost, and alternative education providers such as Khan Academy, Udacity and Coursera are supplementing these efforts.

A floating school in Lagos and a gender-neutral school in Stockholm are beacons of innovative thinking in education. Vocational courses in unconventional fields such as jewellery and communication would be another means of riding the disruptive wave. Mass Communication courses are already gaining in popularity among the millennial generation of students. Pet grooming is another interesting career option at a time when people are becoming increasingly animal-friendly and willing to spend money on their pets. Connoisseurs of food and drinks can choose courses and careers in hotel management, wine and tea tasting, while adventure lovers and travel freaks can opt for courses such as scuba diving. Cartography could be an interesting area of study for those passionate about geography and related disciplines.

In the fashion space, gaining an expertise in gems and jewellery is the way forward. There are ample opportunities for designers (who design bracelets, chains, necklaces, nose rings, earrings, armlets, engagement rings, etc), trend analysts, merchandisers and brand managers in the jewellery segment. Film and television courses could bring in the glam factor and monetary returns in equal measure. And with the corporate and film industries coming into their own, the field of image consulting can be a pertinent career choice.

The British author and global educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson has rightly emphasized the need to reform the education system in order to realize human capacity to the fullest. Education needs to evolve to keep pace with the changing societal dynamics or risk being rendered irrelevant.

Have an article to contribute to Union? Email us.

What Blockchain Means for Higher Ed

While there has been plenty of buzz around blockchain and the ways it’s going to revolutionise everything from global finance to our daily lives, the implications of this new technology for the Education industry hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.

But, a new patent from Sony has hinted at the idea that the Japanese tech giant might be developing uses for blockchain in education. Back in August last year, Sony announced it was cooperating with IBM on a suite of education services that used blockchain to secure student records and data sharing.

According to digital marketing experts, One Stop Media, the largest users of Blockchain technology will be industries that require strict proof of identity. Blockchain offers a digital identity solution where authentication is secure and indisputable, and using it can mitigate data manipulation by internal or external threats.

Something education providers are all too aware of since universities and colleges became serious targets for hackers throughout 2017.

Adopting blockchain technology could provide plenty of benefits for the higher education sector.

Perhaps most exciting is its ability to permanently and securely store all records. Student records contain life-long identifying information. Maintaining the privacy and security of student data stored by academic institutions is of paramount importance, often involving costly storage and disposal processes for the boxes of paper-files. Blockchain could essentially eliminate paper from the equation; issuing reliable certificates and awards, transferring credits and keeping track of achievements of a student’s entire academic career.

When we breakdown all the hype and jargon surrounding it, the blockchain itself is simply a ledger. A record of transactions. In the case of cryptocurrencies, it’s recording the financial details – who sent it, how much was sent, who received it. It’s a pattern that is ideally suited to recording academic credentials as well. Essentially, a grade for a paper or a course is just another type of value, and the pertinent information is exactly the same as in a financial situation, who issued the grade, who received it, and what it’s total value was.

In this way, blockchain also removes the need for having a central authority validate certificates and transcripts. Instead, the technology will be able to make all diplomas publicly verifiable and available, eliminating the need to submit copies to employers to prove you have a degree. It will even be able to track citations and first publications, instead of relying on a supervising body manually performing the tasks.

Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies also have the potential to simplify payment to institutions, as well as significantly reducing the costs of data management across the board.

But the biggest obstacle to blockchain’s adoption by the higher education sector is a cultural one. Education has always been a slow adopter of new technologies, and it’s often the students at institutions who adopt technology trends first, forcing universities and schools to fall in line with student demands. The blockchain provides a transparent platform on which a rich, secure global network for higher learning could be developed, but it’s up to the education sector to use it to its advantage.

Have an article to contribute to Union? Email us.

What our schools should really be teaching

Let’s face it, the world is changing from analog to digital, from hypothetical to practical. Rather than play catch up after leaving school, here are the four things that basic education should include.

  1. How the Internet works

Going online is one thing, but making a virtual home is another and the latter is becoming more and more crucial. From the moment one decides to create a website, they are bombarded with a whole dictionary of vocabulary. There are words that one has never even come across, much less understand or even worse: words that one knows but fail to comprehend, usually technical and accepted as part and parcel of the virtual world we have built around us, but with no true comprehension as to what it stands for. The first thing a new web-owner learns is the difference between a domain name and a server and how both is needed to run a fully functioning website that can receive visitors. Then comes the harder bit, search engine optimization, various plugins and designs. While it is true that one may employ the services of SEO companies if need be, schools should be able to produce people who are capable of working for them.

  1. How to Adult

A commonly shared theme amongst millennials in particular. Many of them feeling as though they missed out on a course preparing them for the ordeal of humdrum adult life. Bills, taxes and various employment or health benefits and laws, the rules that govern a society are either passed down by their parents or learnt through trial and error. However, one might assume that it would be in that government’s best interest if their next generation is already well versed in being a productive and effective citizen upon leaving school.

  1. Empathic Social Skills

Kindness and compassion are both highly desired traits and yet not actively encouraged or taught in school, focusing solely on knowledge and by-the-book-intelligence. While IQ and EQ might stand for very different things, they do have logic in common. The only logic teachers are interested in teaching are mathematics and therefore, creating students with a distinct lack of empathy and social skills. This also leads to difficulties in becoming a well-adjusted adult, especially since younger generations are becoming increasingly self-absorbed and are incapable of seeing past anything but their own desires.

  1. Life Skills

Light-bulb changing seem to revolve around many jokes, yet the joke’s on us – how many really know how to do it, fresh out of high school? How to fix a leaky faucet? How about unclogging a drain? There are even those who do not know how to work a washing machine or that the toilet floor requires a good scrub in order to remove grit and mould. Things that may seem of little to no importance, as they are skills that one pick up with age, but it would be nice to start life with the basic skill set needed to keep a home running in tip-top condition.

Have an article to contribute to Union? Email us.

Are Australian universities failing their students?

Higher education is big business, especially in Australia where it’s a billion-dollar industry. Around a million young Australian’s attend university under the perception that the degree they get upon graduating will be their best chance at securing a stable future. But is it really?

Over the last decade, the higher education industry in Australia has shifted to a demand-driven system, courting higher numbers of students than ever before. Australian universities spent three-hundred million dollars on advertising over the course of the last financial year, and have spent 1.7 billion dollars over the last seven years, pouring funds into digital marketing and SEO strategies amid a climate of fierce competition for both local and international students.

But despite spending big on marketing, it seems universities have been failing to teach it. There have been complaints from within the marketing industry that graduates are coming out of their studies unprepared and lacking the needed skills to perform in the workplace. With the rapid pace at which digital technology and related marketing strategies develop, many students finishing a three-year degree are a step-behind the industry standards.

In fact, business related degrees in general, seem to be failing students once they reach the job market. Accounting and finance degrees have seen little change over the last thirty years, despite massive disruption within the industries themselves. Education too, has come under fire for not adequately preparing graduates for the reality of the classroom. And programming graduates are entering the workforce without any security training.

The truth is, courses at Australian universities still assume a relatively static workforce, where graduates aren’t required to continuously adapt to new environments and engage with new technologies. 60 per cent of professions will be impacted by automation within the next 10 years, however students today are still training for today’s jobs. Training for jobs that, very likely, won’t exist by the time the time they enter the workforce.

Universities are archaic institutions, but they don’t have to remain that way. Current teaching methods at Australian universities are dated, lacking in practical skills and hands-on experience and students are all too aware.

According to recent surveys, at least twenty percent of current students are worried they’ll graduate without the practical skills they need, and only a third of university students believe their degree will get them the job they want.

Data released by the Australian government has highlighted this uncertainty, showing that only two-thirds of students are completing their degrees. Of those who do finish, fifteen percent of students are still unemployed four years after graduating.

It’s time for Australian universities to reform, and make meaningful changes to traditional courses. Universities should invest in new technologies and incorporate their use within degrees, and units need to include more flexible learning experiences that focus on present trends, as well as providing the historical perspective. Adopting changes like these are just small steps, but they’re necessary ones if Australian universities intend to better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

Students pay a lot for the privilege of attending university. Understandably, they expect the degree that they get at the end be worth the paper it’s written on.

Have an article to contribute to Union? Email us.
Skip to toolbar