Is K12 useful for IT Education in the Philippines?

Before I give my opinion on this, let us try to define first what is K12.  K12 is a term used in education from the first world countries. It refers to grades from kindergarten (K) and the 1st through the 12th grade (1-12). This setup might be familiar with other people. It is even a normal setup for many. However, in the Philippines, it is a different setting. Primary education here starts from nursery up to kindergarten. There's nursery 1 and 2, kindergarten 1 and 2, grades 1 to 6, and for the high school, it's from 1st year to 4th year. The following is a usual age mapping for these education levels:

Age     Level
3         Nursery 1
4         Nursery 2
5         Kinder 1
6         Kinder 2
7         Grade 1
8         Grade 2
9         Grade 3
10       Grade 4
11       Grade 5
12       Grade 6
13       1st year high school
14       2nd year high school
15       3rd year high school
16       4th year high school
-----------------------------------
17       1st year college
18       2nd year college
19       3rd year college
20       4th year college

If this is to be converted to K12, then it will be transformed into the following setup:

Age     Level
3         Nursery 1
4         Nursery 2
5         Kinder 1
6         Kinder 2
7         Grade 1
8         Grade 2
9         Grade 3
10       Grade 4
11       Grade 5
12       Grade 6
13       1st year high school --> Grade 7
14       2nd year high school --> Grade 8
15       3rd year high school --> Grade 9
16       4th year high school --> Grade 10
17       Grade 11
18       Grade 12
-----------------------------------
19       1st year college
20       2nd year college
21       3rd year college
22       4th year college


Grades 11 and 12 will be focused on specialized skills in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business, and entrepreneurship, and others. This will allow (if properly implemented) students to be fully equipped with the necessary skills for working without even going to college. 

Can this be the right setup for the Philippine education system? How about for its IT Education? Well, I don't know. I haven't seen a research about this proving that it will be beneficial for the Philippines. If we talk about its advantages, then there are many. Here are a few:
  1. Adds specialization of skills to a student
  2. Lets the student acquire more knowledge from the extended years
  3. Allows the student to think clearly, what career path he/she wants to take
  4. Students are more mature when they enter college
  5. College graduates are more equipped with necessary knowledge and skills before engaging into the different work industries
For IT Education, these advantages would certainly be attractive enough to be implemented. This is because IT education requires a lot of technical and soft skills. By technical, I mean hands-on stuff like basic electronics and computer literacy (pre-requisite). Soft skills mean good interpersonal and communication skills (especially English communication skills). Many students enter college and get a Computer Science or Information Technology Course even without these basic skills. Many students are not really prepared when they enter college, and they end up having a really hard time adjusting to the culture and the subjects taken. We cannot even assume that they can already understand what Probability is, or that there is actually a technology called Probability calculator. Many are having trouble with Math and English. Grammar is a major problem and what's ironic is that many end up in call centers. Math is also a very big concern. It probably would be easy for foreign people to find some numbers' Equivalent fractions, or just understand Prime factorization than most kids here. The fact is that kids here really need some reinforced learning.

However, with regards to implementing K12 in this generation, I would opt to disapprove. There are too many concerns with the Philippine education system that had not been solved, and I don't think K12 can solve them. Here are a few:
  1. There are not enough schools to offer free education to the citizens (where many belong to the working class or are below poverty level). 
  2. There are schools, but there are not enough classrooms. Some schools have more than 50 students in one classroom and they are sharing books and other educational materials.
  3. There are classrooms but there aren't enough QUALITY teachers because many decide to go abroad for a better pay. There are teachers but some of them are always absent because they are somewhere else trying to make a living. 
  4. There are too many subjects that were supposed to promote patriotism to students (but are NOT effective at all). Many of these subjects in elementary and high school are also repeated in college.
  5. Government budget for education is limited. This is evident on the many educational establishments where many are just made up of wood and many are not renovated unless they caught fire or are destroyed by storm. Even in college, many universities are supposed to be granted budget for becoming Centers of Development and Centers of Excellence but it's either budget is received but is not given in full, or budget never comes at all.
For me, unless these problems are solved, K12 will only become an additional burden. Only in a stable and much less corrupt governance will this be implemented properly. As of now, the solution really rests on the transformation of the government. 




Connecting to Firebird using C# express 2008

It's quite easy creating a simple information system with Firebird and C# express 2008.
You will need the following to do this:
1. Firebird RDBMS (The latest release as of this post is 2.1.3)
2. EMS IBManager Lite (The freeware version. There are other Free Firebird IDE that you can use but for me, this one is the most user-friendly)
3. Microsoft C# Express 2008 (This can be downloaded at the Microsoft Website)
4. Firebird .Net Provider

Creating the database:
1. Create a database in EMS IBManager Lite






















We'll create a table for recording our Gold IRA Deposits. An IRA is a retirement account that can be used by an employed person. It can be in various form. One of which is an IRA Gold in which instead of money being deposited, you deposit gold. It can be a gold coin. Preferably, it would be good to deposit high value items such as a 401k Gold.



Use the following for the fields.





Be sure to edit the ID field to have an autoincrement value.

















Let's add a record with the following values:
ACCOUNT_ID: 1111-1111-1111
DATE_DEPOSITED: 8/31/2010
DESCRIPTION: Gold 401K


*******************************************************
Now for our C# application, open C# Express 2008 and create a new Windows Forms Application.
Drag a DataGridView to the form.
Add a reference for the project to c:\Program Files\FirebirdClient\FirebirdSql.Data.FirebirdClient.dll
Double-click the form and add using FirebirdSql.Data.FirebirdClient;
Declare an FbConnection before the constructor. FbConnection cn;
On the constructor, add the following code right after InitializeComponent();

            cn = new FbConnection(@"User=SYSDBA;Password=masterkey;Database=C:\PROGRAM FILES\EMS\SQL MANAGER LITE FOR INTERBASE & FIREBIRD\MYDATABASE.gdb;DataSource=localhost; Port=3050;Dialect=3; Charset=NONE;Role=;Connection lifetime=15;Pooling=true; MinPoolSize=0;MaxPoolSize=50;Packet Size=8192;ServerType=0;");
            cn.Open();


the C:\PROGRAM FILES\EMS\SQL MANAGER LITE FOR INTERBASE & FIREBIRD\MYDATABASE.gdb should be replaced with your corresponding database.




On the Form_Load method, add the following:

            FbDataAdapter da = new FbDataAdapter("select * from GOLD_IRA", cn);
            DataTable dt = new DataTable();
            da.Fill(dt);
            dataGridView1.DataSource = dt;



Press F5 and you should see the following:


Your code should look like this:



using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using FirebirdSql.Data.FirebirdClient;


namespace WindowsFormsApplication1
{
    public partial class Form1 : Form
    {
        FbConnection cn;


        public Form1()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
            cn = new FbConnection(@"User=SYSDBA;Password=masterkey;Database=C:\PROGRAM FILES\EMS\SQL MANAGER LITE FOR INTERBASE & FIREBIRD\MYDATABASE.gdb;DataSource=localhost; Port=3050;Dialect=3; Charset=NONE;Role=;Connection lifetime=15;Pooling=true; MinPoolSize=0;MaxPoolSize=50;Packet Size=8192;ServerType=0;");
            cn.Open();
        }


        private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            FbDataAdapter da = new FbDataAdapter("select * from GOLD_IRA", cn);
            DataTable dt = new DataTable();
            da.Fill(dt);
            dataGridView1.DataSource = dt;
        }
    }
}

Firebird Tools

Firebird SQL Database has been existing for so long already. However, not many have created a free and open source Firebird tool or IDE that is really easy to use. Developers are forced to use commercial ones because the free and open source in my opinion are not user-friendly at all. It's just ironic that a very good free and open source DBMS lacks decent free and open source IDE. I would like to create one and post it at sourceforge but I'm not that skilled yet. Hopefully soon. In the meantime, let's just enumerate the existing Firebird Tools currently being used by developers.
1. FlameRobin
2. EMS for Interbase and Firebird Lite
3. IBExpert
4. Lazarus
5. Firebird Maestro

Of these, I like the EMS IDE.

Firebird

Firebird is a free relational database that allows many SQL features and has existed since 1981. It supports indexing, primary key, foreign key, stored procedures, and many more. You can use it in many platforms of Linux and Windows. I liked using it because it's free. The only problem is with its IDE. It is really hard to find a user-friendly IDE that is also free. Although there is Flamerobin, I didn't like using it. The commercial ones like EMS for Firebird and IBExpert. I just wish the open source community also comes up with a comprehensive IDE for Firebird. It also took a very long while for Firebird to come up with another version. Maybe because it is almost complete.

The Dog Park

Are you a dog lover? My favorite thing to do in the summer is to take my two puppies to the dog park. Here you can let your dog socialize, helping them become better with other dogs and people. It is very important for your dog to be able to be comfortable with strange dogs and people, this way they will not act out if they are ever put in an uncomfortable spot.

The dog park is great because you can let your dog get way more exercise than just taking them for a walk. You can let them play fetch, run around with other dogs, or even just chew their favorite bones in the corner. No matter what personality you or your dog may have, you will be accepted at the dog park. It is full of dog lovers who are all looking out for the best for not only their pooch, but yours as well.

The other great thing about the dog park is that your puppy will be extremely worn out after he is done running around with all his new friends. This will give you a chance to watch your Direct TV deals in Washington State when you get home without your dog running around like a wild man! Check out your local dog park, it is a safe way to get your dog the exercise and social skills he deserves!

Car enthusiasts and their wife

Car enthusiasts around the world want their vehicles to look their best, whether they are new or old. They put great effort in making the most of their car with a stylish collection of car accessories for everyone. They equip their cars with different styling products and car accessories, such as alloy wheels, car mats, car lighting, steering wheel, and the best smelling air fresheners. I remember one of my professors who said that his car is more important than his wife! It is quite harsh but it is a reality to many car enthusiasts. They spend thousands and even millions on car accessories and other car products just to make the car look new and shiny. I think this is funny though.

Everything Virtual on the Internet

The Internet has become a great tool in our time today. It has become a means to live a different life. Almost everything can be virtualized on the Internet. We can have friends anywhere. We can become different persons with different lifestyles in different places in a different world. It has created a new way of living. One reality that has become virtualized over the Internet is gambling.


There are many types of gambling. From card games to slot machines, the Internet offers all of them. Some are free and some for a fee. You can have an online casino from different websites. Even facebook has applications with online casino. People mostly prefer free online casino. It’s just a way to entertain ourselves and make new friends both locally and abroad.

An online casino is a form of website that provides you the opportunity to gamble on the Internet. It is also called Internet Casino or Virtual Casino. Whatever your game plan is, it’s either you win or lose money. Sometimes, I enjoy playing Poker against other Internet users. The rewards won are either in virtual money, or you can actually claim your money. They just send it to your paypal account or any online payment methods. When we wager on online casinos, we usually experience similar odds and payback percentages when compared to actual or land-based casinos. Although some online casinos claim higher payback percentages for slot machine games, almost everything is similar.

One particular advantage of online casinos is that some websites post payout percentage audits. Everything is automated and you won’t have to worry that your opponents (for instance in a Poker game) cheat their way to win. All players have equal odds and opportunities. It only matters on how much you wager for your win. I’m not into paid casinos, but I sometimes play free online.

UIC BSIT Research Topics for 2011

School Year 2010-2011 is fast approaching. In the first semester, the 4th year students will be having their thesis proposal, and from what I have observed, students find it hard to look for topics for their research. The following categories might help:
BSIT Major in Networking:
  1. Communications (Email, Chat, P2P File Sharing, Protocols, etc.)
  2. Networking and Network Security (Firewall, Routing, Monitoring, Access List, Virtual Private Network, VLAN, etc.)
  3. VOIP [Voice Over Internet Protocol] (Voice Quality, Transmission enhancement, Compression, etc.)
  4. Virtualization
BSIT Major in Multimedia:
  1. Animation (2D,3D, etc.)
  2. Game Programming (Role-playing games, Simulators, etc.)
  3. Audio and Video Manipulation (Digital Image Processing, Audio Editing, Video Editing)
BSIT Major in Software Engineering:
  1. Databases (Migration, Encryption, Load Balancing)
  2. Software Development and Integration (Interpreters, Compilers, Software Interoperability)
  3. Systems Security/Cryptography (Anti-Virus, Firewall, Anti-Spam, Counter-hacking, etc.)
  4. Open Source Technologies
Each of these categories can be further expanded and examined for more specific research topic. Whatever your chosen topic is, the research should have the objective of improving the quality of life through information and communication technologies.

Computers can cause people to have trouble relating to others

In a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Rose Richards of the University of Otago said: "Our findings give some reassurance that it is fine to limit TV viewing. In fact, it may result in stronger relationships between young people, their friends and their parents." The study concluded that staring at any screen for a long time is detrimental. Richards advised parents to stick to the recommended time limit of less than two hours of any screen use a day. 

Open a Lenovo 3000 G410 Battery

One of the common problems with laptops is the deteriorating performance of its battery. Laptop batteries are made up of Lithium Ion (Li-ion). I have a laptop that is more than a year old. Last week, its battery went totally dead. I'm still looking for a replacement. I'm very careful in finding one because most cheap alternatives are poor in performance (with only 45 mins up time compared to the original 3-4 hours). Some are overly priced. I now have a prospect seller and will be purchasing after this post. Well, to continue, out of my curiosity, I opened the battery. The laptop is a Lenovo 3000 G410. Before my exploration, I took the specifications of the battery. It turned out that it's manufactured by SANYO. Here are the specifications:

Battery name: PABAS024
Unique ID: 3658QSANYO PABAS024
Chemistry: LION

I really don't have any knowledge about the hardware. All I know is that it can be charged and discharged. Despite my limited knowledge, I still opened it up and here's how it looks like:

Earn Money Online

It seems that some of the money-making Internet services are up again. Recently I received two tasks from blogsvertise worth $8 and $9 respectively. It's been long before they give consecutive tasks. It went slow since the recession. What I like about blogsvertise is that whatever is the amount posted for a particular task, you get it clean. Unlike other advertising services, many usually get a percentage of your earning. Take SponsoredReviews for example. They take 50% of whatever amount is posted for a particular task (e.g. you only get $5 for a $10 task). For those who know SponsoredReviews, yes! they increased the percentage causing you to earn lesser. Good thing though there are other sites that let you earn a bit. One would be LinkGrand. It's like Bux.to but the difference is that LinkGrand pays on time. Just search on "Linkgrand scam" in Google to see for yourself. This type of money-making services however, would seem silly to others (you keep on clicking links for just a few cents), but it does let you earn.

Biotechnology: An evolution to biology and information technology

One of the many advantages of paid posting is that you learn new things. If you are a blogger, then some of your posts are compensated by a company or a website owner. Most of these articles you write will be about their products or services. One interesting topic I've received is a form of "biotechnology". Specifically, it is under the category of "Red Biotechnology" which generally speaks of application of technology in the field of medicine. One such application is the Cochlear Implant. Another term for this would be the "bionic ear".

A Cochlear Implant is an electronic devise that is implated to the the ear of a person with hearing disability.

Conventions and Trade shows

Another semester is about to end. This is the time when marketing and promotional activities start to take place. For universities and colleges, their admission's office becomes busy going to high schools to give seminars and aptitude exams. Tough competition awaits each of the prestigious schools because of their quest to recruit the best and brightest students. Some will conduct national conventions to be able to gather attention and provide visibility to their organization. Many gimmicks from the best marketers arise. Despite all the tricks, one method still remains widely used: trade show exhibits, displays and trade show booths. Well, we can't deny however that it's still a jungle out there. It's not enough to just have our trade show booths to place whatever exhibits we may have.

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