How to Get Education Loans For Mass Media Courses

Educational loans for mass media courses work just like other debts and refer to money that one borrows from any private lender or financial institution. He must pay back his debts with predetermined interest rate, but student loans are somewhat different in many aspects. These loans identify the fact that applicant has not had sufficient time to generate a credit rating and this is the reason why student loan applications are more streamlined and simpler. As far as qualifications are concerned, they are also made comparatively lenient, so that any needy student can apply for these loans.

Repayment terms

Education loans for pursuing mass media courses emphasize that students need not spend their time working to pay back the loan, but studying. This is the reason why various for students permit them to repay their debts gradually and usually after graduation. It clearly means that students can concentrate fully on their mass media courses. Most education loans give students an opportunity to hold over debt until 6 months after the completion of graduation. This facility is offered so that students can settle down properly and find any job prior to pay back their debts.

Types of education loans that one can apply for

The common types are financial institution, special grants, education grants, undergraduate student or federal Perkins loans. Primarily, all kinds of student loans fall into 3 major categories, as private, consolidation and federal loans.

Federal include Perkins loans, plus and Stafford Loans, and are subsidized by government. However, these are taken through financial institutions which are not associated to government. Perkins and Stafford loans are actually for undergraduates and are considered to give them relatively low interest rate, but one must have a significant financial requirement to qualify. Plus student loans are for those who have utilized other choices previously and now cannot apply for other kind of financial help.

When it comes to private loans for students, they are usually offered by private lenders such as school or company. The students who fail to meet the qualification criterion for federal assistance can apply for loans though private programs.

Important factors to consider

Nontraditional students may have many choices available to them. While they qualify for Perkins and Stafford student loans, many grants and scholarships are also made available for persons returning to educational institution to earn courses in mass media. So, one can check out the website of his college for more detail on these. It is good to fill out applications for FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). While one may not qualify for some additional loans,’ government’ may be able to send out scholarships and grants his way to offset education cost.

Globalisation And Primary Education Development In Tanzania: Prospects And Challenges

1. Overview of the Country and Primary Education System:
Tanzania covers 945,000 square kilometres, including approximately 60,000 square kilometres of inland water. The population is about 32 million people with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent per year. Females comprise 51% of the total population. The majority of the population resides on the Mainland, while the rest of the population resides in Zanzibar. The life expectancy is 50 years and the mortality rate is 8.8%. The economy depends upon Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Mining and Fishing. Agriculture contributes about 50% of GDP and accounting for about two-thirds of Tanzania’s exports. Tourism contributes 15.8%; and manufacturing, 8.1% and mining, 1.7%. The school system is a 2-7-4-2-3+ consisting of pre-primary, primary school, ordinary level secondary education, Advanced level secondary, Technical and Higher Education. Primary School Education is compulsory whereby parents are supposed to take their children to school for enrollment. The medium of instruction in primary is Kiswahili.

One of the key objectives of the first president J.K. Nyerere was development strategy for Tanzania as reflected in the 1967 Arusha Declaration, which to be ensuring that basic social services were available equitably to all members of society. In the education sector, this goal was translated into the 1974 Universal Primary Education Movement, whose goal was to make primary education universally available, compulsory, and provided free of cost to users to ensure it reached the poorest. As the strategy was implemented, large-scale increases in the numbers of primary schools and teachers were brought about through campaign-style programs with the help of donor financing. By the beginning of the 1980s, each village in Tanzania had a primary school and gross primary school enrollment reached nearly 100 percent, although the quality of education provided was not very high. From 1996 the education sector proceeded through the launch and operation of Primary Education Development Plan – PEDP in 2001 to date.

2. Globalization
To different scholars, the definition of globalization may be different. According to Cheng (2000), it may refer to the transfer, adaptation, and development of values, knowledge, technology, and behavioral norms across countries and societies in different parts of the world. The typical phenomena and characteristics associated with globalization include growth of global networking (e.g. internet, world wide e-communication, and transportation), global transfer and interflow in technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and learning areas, international alliances and competitions, international collaboration and exchange, global village, multi-cultural integration, and use of international standards and benchmarks. See also Makule (2008) and MoEC (2000).

3. Globalization in Education
In education discipline globalization can mean the same as the above meanings as is concern, but most specifically all the key words directed in education matters. Dimmock & Walker (2005) argue that in a globalizing and internalizing world, it is not only business and industry that are changing, education, too, is caught up in that new order. This situation provides each nation a new empirical challenge of how to respond to this new order. Since this responsibility is within a national and that there is inequality in terms of economic level and perhaps in cultural variations in the world, globalization seems to affect others positively and the vice versa (Bush 2005). In most of developing countries, these forces come as imposing forces from the outside and are implemented unquestionably because they do not have enough resource to ensure its implementation (Arnove 2003; Crossley & Watson, 2004).

There is misinterpretation that globalization has no much impact on education because the traditional ways of delivering education is still persisting within a national state. But, it has been observed that while globalization continues to restructure the world economy, there are also powerful ideological packages that reshape education system in different ways (Carnoy, 1999; Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). While others seem to increase access, equity and quality in education, others affect the nature of educational management. Bush (2005) and Lauglo (1997) observe that decentralization of education is one of the global trends in the world which enable to reform educational leadership and management at different levels. They also argue that Decentralization forces help different level of educational management to have power of decision making related to the allocation of resources. Carnoy (1999) further portrays that the global ideologies and economic changes are increasingly intertwined in the international institutions that broadcast particular strategies for educational change. These include western governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies and NGOs (Crossley & Watson 2004). Also these agencies are the ones which develop global policies and transfer them through funds, conferences and other means. Certainly, with these powerful forces education reforms and to be more specifically, the current reforms on school leadership to a large extent are influenced by globalization.

4. The School Leadership
In Tanzania the leadership and management of education systems and processes is increasingly seen as one area where improvement can and need to be made in order to ensure that education is delivered not only efficiently but also efficaciously. Although literatures for education leadership in Tanzania are inadequate, Komba in EdQual (2006) pointed out that research in various aspects of leadership and management of education, such as the structures and delivery stems of education; financing and alternative sources of support to education; preparation, nurturing and professional development of education leaders; the role of female educational leaders in improvement of educational quality; as will as the link between education and poverty eradication, are deemed necessary in approaching issues of educational quality in any sense and at any level. The nature of out of school factors that may render support to the quality of education e.g. traditional leadership institutions may also need to be looked into.

5. Impact of Globalization
As mentioned above, globalization is creating numerous opportunities for sharing knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promoting developments at different levels including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters, (1995) pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly it enable global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is the mutual support, supplement and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creation of values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serving local needs and growth. The fourth is the promotion of international understanding, collaboration, harmony and acceptance to cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions, and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.

The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced countries and less developed countries that are hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creation of more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. Thirdly is exploitation of local resources which destroy indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is the promotion of the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.

The management and control of the impacts of globalization are related to some complicated macro and international issues that may be far beyond the scope of which I did not include in this paper. Cheng (2002) pointed out that in general, many people believe, education is one of key local factors that can be used to moderate some impacts of globalization from negative to positive and convert threats into opportunities for the development of individuals and local community in the inevitable process of globalization. How to maximize the positive effects but minimize the negative impacts of globalization is a major concern in current educational reform for national and local developments.

6. Globalization of Education and Multiple Theories
The thought of writing this paper was influenced by the multiple theories propounded by Yin Cheng, (2002). He proposed a typology of multiple theories that can be used to conceptualize and practice fostering local knowledge in globalization particularly through globalized education. These theories of fostering local knowledge is proposed to address this key concern, namely as the theory of tree, theory of crystal, theory of birdcage, theory of DNA, theory of fungus, and theory of amoeba. Their implications for design of curriculum and instruction and their expected educational outcomes in globalized education are correspondingly different.

The theory of tree assumes that the process of fostering local knowledge should have its roots in local values and traditions but absorb external useful and relevant resources from the global knowledge system to grow the whole local knowledge system inwards and outwards. The expected outcome in globalized education will be to develop a local person with international outlook, who will act locally and develop globally. The strength of this theory is that the local community can maintain and even further develop its traditional values and cultural identity as it grows and interacts with the input of external resources and energy in accumulating local knowledge for local developments.

The theory of crystal is the key of the fostering process to have “local seeds” to crystallize and accumulate the global knowledge along a given local expectation and demand. Therefore, fostering local knowledge is to accumulate global knowledge around some “local seeds” that may be to exist local demands and values to be fulfilled in these years. According to this theory, the design of curriculum and instruction is to identify the core local needs and values as the fundamental seeds to accumulate those relevant global knowledge and resources for education. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person who remains a local person with some global knowledge and can act locally and think locally with increasing global techniques. With local seeds to crystallize the global knowledge, there will be no conflict between local needs and the external knowledge to be absorbed and accumulated in the development of local community and individuals.

The theory of birdcage is about how to avoid the overwhelming and dominating global influences on the nation or local community. This theory contends that the process of fostering local knowledge can be open for incoming global knowledge and resources but at the same time efforts should be made to limit or converge the local developments and related interactions with the outside world to a fixed framework. In globalized education, it is necessary to set up a framework with clear ideological boundaries and social norms for curriculum design such that all educational activities can have a clear local focus when benefiting from the exposure of wide global knowledge and inputs. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person with bounded global outlook, who can act locally with filtered global knowledge. The theory can help to ensure local relevance in globalized education and avoid any loss of local identity and concerns during globalization or international exposure.

The theory of DNA represents numerous initiatives and reforms have made to remove dysfunctional local traditions and structures in country of periphery and replace them with new ideas borrowed from core countries. This theory emphasizes on identifying and transplanting the better key elements from the global knowledge to replace the existing weaker local components in the local developments. In globalizing education, the curriculum design should be very selective to both local and global knowledge with aims to choose the best elements from them. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person with locally and globally mixed elements, who can act and think with mixed local and global knowledge. The strength of this theory is its openness for any rational investigation and transplant of valid knowledge and elements without any local barrier or cultural burden. It can provide an efficient way to learn and improve the existing local practices and developments.

The theory of fungus reflects the mode of fostering local knowledge in globalization. This theory assumes that it is a faster and easier way to digest and absorb certain relevant types of global knowledge for nutrition of individual and local developments, than to create their own local knowledge from the beginning. From this theory, the curriculum and instruction should aim at enabling students to identify and learn what global knowledge is valuable and necessary to their own developments as well as significant to the local community. In globalizing education, the design of education activities should aim at digesting the complex global knowledge into appropriate forms that can feed the needs of individuals and their growth. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person equipped certain types of global knowledge, who can act and think dependently of relevant global knowledge and wisdom. Strengths of the theory is for some small countries, easily digest and absorb the useful elements of global knowledge than to produce their own local knowledge from the beginning. The roots for growth and development are based on the global knowledge instead of local culture or value.

The theory of amoeba is about the adaptation to the fasting changing global environment and the economic survival in serious international competitions. This theory considers that fostering local knowledge is only a process to fully use and accumulate global knowledge in the local context. Whether the accumulated knowledge is really local or the local values can be preserved is not a major concern. According to this theory, the curriculum design should include the full range of global perspectives and knowledge to totally globalize education in order to maximize the benefit from global knowledge and become more adaptive to changing environment. Therefore, to achieve broad international outlook and apply global knowledge locally and globally is crucial in education. And, cultural burdens and local values can be minimized in the design of curriculum and instruction in order to let students be totally open for global learning. The expected educational outcome is to develop a flexible and open person without any local identity, who can act and think globally and fluidly. The strengths of this theory are also its limitations particularly in some culturally fruit countries. There will be potential loss of local values and cultural identity in the country and the local community will potentially lose its direction and social solidarity during overwhelming globalization.

Each country or local community may have its unique social, economic and cultural contexts and therefore, its tendency to using one theory or a combination of theories from the typology in globalized education may be different from the other. To a great extent, it is difficult to say one is better than other even though the theories of tree, birdcage and crystal may be more preferred in some culturally rich countries. For those countries with less cultural assets or local values, the theories of amoeba and fungus may be an appropriate choice for development. However, this typology can provide a wide spectrum of alternatives for policy-makers and educators to conceptualize and formulate their strategies and practices in fostering local knowledge for the local developments. See more about the theories in Cheng (2002; 11-18)

7. Education Progress since Independence in Tanzania
During the first phase of Tanzania political governance (1961-1985) the Arusha Declaration, focusing on “Ujamaa” (African socialism) and self-reliance was the major philosophy. The nationalization of the production and provision of goods and services by the state and the dominance of ruling party in community mobilization and participation highlighted the “Ujamaa” ideology, which dominated most of the 1967-1985 eras. In early 1970s, the first phase government embarked on an enormous national campaign for universal access to primary education, of all children of school going age. It was resolved that the nation should have attained universal primary education by 1977. The ruling party by that time Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), under the leadership of the former and first president of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, directed the government to put in place mechanisms for ensuring that the directive, commonly known as the Musoma Resolution, was implemented. The argument behind that move was essentially that, as much as education was a right to each and every citizen, a government that is committed to the development of an egalitarian socialist society cannot segregate and discriminate her people in the provision of education, especially at the basic level.

7.1. The Presidential Commission on Education
In 1981, a Presidential Commission on education was appointed to review the existing system of education and propose necessary changes to be realized by the country towards the year 2000. The Commission submitted its report in March 1982 and the government has implemented most of its recommendation. The most significant ones related to this paper were the establishment of the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), the Tanzania Professional Teachers Association, the introduction of new curriculum packages at primary, secondary and teacher education levels, the establishment of the Faculty of Education (FoE) at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the introduction of pre-primary teacher education programme; and the expansion of secondary education.

7.2. Education during the Second Phase Government of Tanzania
The second phase government of Tanzania spanning from 1985 to 1995, was characterized by new liberal ideas such as free choice, market-oriented schooling and cost efficiency, reduced the government control of the UPE and other social services. The education sector lacked quality teachers as well as teaching/learning materials and infrastructure to address the expansion of the UPE. A vacuum was created while fragmented donor driven projects dominated primary education support. The introduced cost sharing in the provision of social services like education and health hit most the poorest of the poor. This decrease in government support in the provision of social services including education as well as cost-sharing policies were not taken well, given that most of the incomes were below the poverty line. In 1990, the government constituted a National Task Force on education to review the existing education system and recommend a suitable education system for the 21st century.

The report of this task force, the Tanzania Education System for the 21st Century, was submitted to the government in November 1992. Recommendations of the report have been taken into consideration in the formulation of the Tanzania Education and Training Policy (TETP). In spite of the very impressive expansionary education policies and reforms in the 1970s, the goal to achieve UPE, which was once targeted for achievement in 1980, is way out of reach. Similarly, the Jomtien objective to achieve Basic Education for all in 2000 is on the part of Tanzania unrealistic. The participation and access level have declined to the point that attainment of UPE is once again an issue in itself. Other developments and trends indicate a decline in the quantitative goals set rather than being closer to them (Cooksey and Reidmiller, 1997; Mbilinyi, 2000). At the same time serious doubt is being raised about school quality and relevance of education provided (Galabawa, Senkoro and Lwaitama, (eds), 2000).

7.3. Outcomes of UPE
According to Galabawa (2001), the UPE describing, analysis and discussing explored three measures in Tanzania: (1) the measure of access to first year of primary education namely, the apparent intake rate. This is based on the total number of new entrants in the first grade regardless of age. This number is in turn expressed as a percentage of the population at the official primary school entrance age and the net intake rate based on the number of new entrants in the first grade who are of the official primary school entrance age expressed as percentage of the population of corresponding age. (2) The measure of participation, namely, gross enrolment ratio representing the number of children enrolled in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official primary school age population; while the net enrolment ratio corresponds to the number of children of the official primary school age enrolled in primary school expressed as a percentage of corresponding population. (3) The measure of internal efficiency of education system, which reflect the dynamics of different operational decision making events over the school cycle like dropouts, promotions and repetitions.

7.3.1. Access to Primary Education
The absolute numbers of new entrants to grade one of primary school cycles have grown steadily since 1970s. The number of new entrants increased from around 400,000 in 1975 to 617,000 in 1990 and to 851,743 in 2000, a rise of 212.9 percent in relative terms. The apparent (gross) intake rate was high at around 80% in the 1970s dropping to 70% in 1975 and rise up to 77% in 2000. This level reflects the shortcomings in primary education provision. Tanzania is marked by wide variations in both apparent and net intake rates-between urban and rural districts with former performing higher. Low intake rates in rural areas reflect the fact that many children do not enter schools at the official age of seven years.

7.3.2. Participation in Primary Education
The regression in the gross and net primary school enrolment ratios; the exceptionally low intake at secondary and vocational levels; and, the general low internal efficiency of the education sector have combined to create a UPE crisis in Tanzania’s education system (Education Status Report, 2001). There were 3,161,079 primary pupils in Tanzania in 1985 and, in the subsequent decade primary enrolment rose dramatically by 30% to 4,112,167 in 1999. These absolute increases were not translated into gross/net enrolment rates, which actually experienced a decline threatening the sustainability of quantitative gains. The gross enrolment rate, which was 35.1% in late 1960′s and early 1970s’, grew appreciably to 98.0% in 1980 when the net enrolment rate was 68%. (ibid)

7.3.3. Internal Efficiency in Primary Education
The input/output ratio shows that it takes an average of 9.4 years (instead of planned 7 years) for a pupil to complete primary education. The extra years are due to starting late, drop-outs, repetition and high failure rate which is pronounced at standard four where a competency/mastery examination is administered (ESDP, 1999, p.84). The drive towards UPE has been hampered by high wastage rates.

7.4. Education during the Third Phase Government of Tanzania
The third phase government spanning the period from 1995 to date, intends to address both income and non-income poverty so as to generate capacity for provision and consumption of better social services. In order to address these income and non-income poverty the government formed the Tanzania Vision 2025. Vision 2025 targets at high quality livelihood for all Tanzanians through the realization of UPE, the eradication of illiteracy and the attainment of a level of tertiary education and training commensurate with a critical mass of high quality human resources required to effectively respond to the developmental challenges at all level. In order to revitalize the whole education system the government established the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) in this period. Within the ESDP, there two education development plans already in implementation, namely: (a) The Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP); and (b) The Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP).

8. Prospects and Challenges of Primary of Education Sector
Since independence, The government has recognised the central role of education in achieving the overall development goal of improving the quality of life of Tanzanians through economic growth and poverty reduction. Several policies and structural reforms have been initiated by the Government to improve the quality of education at all levels. These include: Education for Self-Reliance, 1967; Musoma Resolution, 1974; Universal Primary Education (UPE), 1977; Education and Training Policy (ETP), 1995; National Science and Technology Policy, 1995; Technical Education and Training Policy, 1996; Education Sector Development Programme, 1996 and National Higher Education Policy, 1999. The ESDP of 1996 represented for the first time a Sector-Wide Approach to education development to redress the problem of fragmented interventions. It called for pooling together of resources (human, financial and materials) through the involvement of all key stakeholders in education planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (URT, 1998 quoted in MoEC 2005b). The Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) provided the institutional framework.

Challenges include the considerable shortage of classrooms, a shortage of well qualified and expert teachers competent to lead their learners through the new competency based curriculum and learning styles, and the absence of an assessment and examination regime able to reinforce the new approaches and reward students for their ability to demonstrate what they know understand and can do. At secondary level there is a need to expand facilities necessary as a result of increased transition rates. A major challenge is the funding gap, but the government is calling on its development partners to honour the commitments made at Dakar, Abuja, etc, to respond positively to its draft Ten Year Plan. A number of systemic changes are at a critical stage, including decentralisation, public service reform, strengthening of financial management and mainstreaming of ongoing project and programmes. The various measures and interventions introduced over the last few years have been uncoordinated and unsynchronised. Commitment to a sector wide approach needs to be accompanied by careful attention to secure coherence and synergy across sub-sectoral elements. (Woods, 2007).

9. Education and School Leadership in Tanzania and the Impacts
Education and leadership in primary education sector in Tanzania has passed through various periods as explained in the stages above. The school leadership major reformation was maintained and more decentralized in the implementation of the PEDP from the year 2000 to date. This paper is also more concerned with the implementation of globalization driven policies that influence the subjectivity of education changes. It is changing to receive what Tjeldvoll et al. (2004:1; quoted in Makule, 2008) considers as “the new managerial responsibilities”. These responsibilities are focused to increase accountability, equity and quality in education which are global agenda, because it is through these, the global demands in education will be achieved. In that case school leadership in Tanzania has changed. The change observed is due to the implementation of decentralization of both power and fund to the low levels such as schools. School leadership now has more autonomy over the resources allocated to school than it was before decentralization. It also involves community in all the issues concerning the school improvement.

10. Prospects and Challenges of School Leadership

10.1. Prospects
The decentralization of both power and funds from the central level to the low level of education such as school and community brought about various opportunities. Openness, community participation and improved efficiency mentioned as among the opportunities obtained with the current changes on school leadership. There is improved accountability, capacity building and educational access to the current changes on school leadership. This is viewed in strong communication network established in most of the schools in the country. Makule (2008) in her study found out that the network was effective where every head teacher has to send to the district various school reports such as monthly report, three month report, half a year report, nine month report and one year report. In each report there is a special form in which a head teacher has to feel information about school. The form therefore, give account of activities that takes place at school such as information about the uses of the funds and the information about attendance both teacher and students, school buildings, school assets, meetings, academic report, and school achievement and problems encountered. The effect of globalization forces on school leadership in Tanzania has in turn forced the government to provide training and workshop for school leadership (MoEC, 2005b). The availability of school leadership training, whether through workshop or training course, considered to be among the opportunities available for school leadership in Tanzania

10.2. Challenges
Like all countries, Tanzania is bracing itself for a new century in every respect. The dawn of the new millennium brings in new changes and challenges of all sectors. The Education and Training sector has not been spared for these challenges. This is, particularly important in recognition of adverse/implications of globalisation for developing states including Tanzania. For example, in the case of Tanzania, globalisation entails the risks of increased dependence and marginalisation and thus human resource development needs to play a central role to redress the situation. Specifically, the challenges include the globalisation challenges, access and equity, inclusive or special needs education, institutional capacity building and the HIV/aids challenge.

11. Conclusion
There are five types of local knowledge and wisdom to be pursued in globalized education, including the economic and technical knowledge, human and social knowledge, political knowledge, cultural knowledge, and educational knowledge for the developments of individuals, school institutions, communities, and the society. Although globalisation is linked to a number of technological and other changes which have helped to link the world more closely, there are also ideological elements which have strongly influenced its development. A “free market” dogma has emerged which exaggerates both the wisdom and role of markets, and of the actors in those markets, in the organisation of human society. Fashioning a strategy for responsible globalisation requires an analysis which separates that which is dogma from that which is inevitable. Otherwise, globalisation is an all too convenient excuse and explanation for anti-social policies and actions including education which undermine progress and break down community. Globalisation as we know it has profound social and political implications. It can bring the threat of exclusion for a large portion of the world’s population, severe problems of unemployment, and growing wage and income disparities. It makes it more and more difficult to deal with economic policy or corporate behaviour on a purely national basis. It also has brought a certain loss of control by democratic institutions of development and economic policy.

Disability Inclusion As Portrayed In The Lawless One And The End Of Time

My fiction book, The Lawless One and the End of Time, has four main characters who meet at age 14 in Naples, Italy and all grow into globally-recognized figures. One of the characters, Bert Winn, was fascinated with history. He loved the concreteness of historical facts; they either happened or they didn’t. He met and fell in love with Laura, a math major he met in college. He graduated college with a Ph.D. in history and became an acclaimed professor. Bert and Laura married and had a son they named JT. The Winn family became internet celebrities and millions of people subscribed to their online video blog. Subscribers loved to hear their messages of fact, inspiration, and challenge. Their message? An unvarnished, inspirational view of life with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Bert started showing signs of autism at eighteen months with speech delay, difficulty maintaining eye contact, and a dislike for being cuddled. As Bert grew, he and his mother developed strategies for how to accommodate some of Bert’s sensitivities, such as a “beach ball kiss,” in which an imaginary beach ball filled space between them when they kissed hello and goodbye. Laura too had sensory issues, particularly with clothing fabrics. The two of them learned to cope with their sensitivities through the years, so they became normal for them. It also felt normal for their son, JT, to be on the autism spectrum. They didn’t view themselves as people to be pitied, but used the opportunity to help others understand the world of autism and how people on the spectrum could thrive just like anyone. Their story educated and inspired millions and gave those affected by autism hope.

The story of Bert, Laura, and JT were heavily influenced by my wife Patty’s and my experience raising our son Trevor. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age five (the clinical diagnosis was Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS) back in 1998. At the time, autism wasn’t well known and our only exposure to it was Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman. We had no idea what the future had in store for us as a family. Would he ever graduate high school? Would he drive? Would he have relationships? Through the years Trevor amazed us with what he was able to do and how he learned to cope with his autism. Today he is a college graduate who lives on his own, drives, works, and has an active social life. Yes, he has challenges that will be with him for the rest of his life. But we learned an important lesson with Trevor; the moment we underestimated him he proved us wrong.

You may have your own perceptions of people with disabilities, whether it be physical (paralysis), cognitive (autism), present at birth (Down Syndrome) or related to an injury (amputation due to an accident). Your perceptions may be due to personal experience, observing a friend or loved one, or what you see in the media. Your perceptions may be inclusive or biased. Only you can decide.

So, what’s your action? Educate yourself. Disability:IN, American Association of People with Disabilities, Special Books by Special Kids, Autism Speaks, Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disability and Health Overview, and Northwest Centerare some great resources to help you better understand people with disabilities. Do your own web searches, just make sure the information you’re taking in is from credible sources.

Take the time to learn more about disabilities and focus less on the “dis” and more on “abilities.” Oh, and if you want to learn more about Bert, Laura and JT’s story, check out The Lawless One and the End of Time.

Winter Backpack – Perfect For Colder Situations

It can be a real challenge for many types of backpacks to be able to protect materials in cold weather conditions. It helps to have a good winter backpack as a result. This is a type of backpack that is capable of handling colder weather conditions. Many of these types of backpacks can have straps that work to carry various different winter sports materials.

A winter backpack is a type of backpack that is used in colder situations. With this backpack the user can go into various different cold conditions and in many areas where common winter occurrences like snow and high winds are present.

A major reason as to why this is helpful for the winter months is because of the various different types of materials that one of these backpacks can be made with. Nylon is commonly used for these types of backpacks. Nylon is a polymer that is noted for being very durable and for being very resistant to various different outdoor materials that a user can come in contact with in the wild.

Polyester is also used in many of these backpacks too. Polyester is a polymer that is capable of handling colder temperatures and is especially durable.

Fleece is used on the inside of many of these materials. This is helpful because fleece can be a useful insulator. Many of the different winter backpacks available on the market today feature pockets that are lined with fleece to help with protecting various materials ranging from containers of hot drinks to global positioning devices and other things that need to be protected from cold weather conditions.

One of the best parts of these types of backpacks is that a winter backpack can have various straps for handling winter sports equipment. Compression straps are used in many of these backpacks. These are straps that are adjustable and can be used to help with fastening materials that are narrow in size. These can include skis and snowboards.

Also, many of these backpacks can come in different sizes. Most of these will be standard sized backpacks that are a little less than three hundred cubic inches in size but there are some larger ones available from some companies that can be used for trips that take multiple days.

Don’t Buy Hyaluronic Acid Skin Products Unless They Do This

If you are like me, then you probably want to make sure you get the best hyaluronic acid skin products possible. This is exactly why I took the time to do the necessary research on the subject BEFORE I chose which hyaluronic acid skin products I wanted to use. After reading this article, you will know exactly what to look for in a quality HA skin solution.

So first of all, what is the big attraction about HA anyways? Well, HA is a substance found in all of your skin cells and it’s primarily responsible for retaining moisture. In fact, HA can retain about 1,000 times it’s weight in water. It also helps increase viscosity and reduce permeability of extracellular fluid, regulates tissue repair and inflammatory response, and contributes to the mechanical resilience and suppleness of the skin.

Have you ever heard of collagen and elastin before? These are the structural proteins in your skin that determine how firm and elastic it stays and they make up a large amount of your skin matrix. The rest of this matrix consists of HA, which acts as a filler between these proteins- similar to the role that mortar plays when constructing a brick building. HA provides mechanical cushioning, holds moisture, enhance barrier function, and so forth.

When buying hyaluronic acid skin products, it is important to understand which methods to use in order to keep the level of this substance high in your skin. Some of the products on the market today use untested or unproven methods of increase HA in the skin just because they seem like effective solutions so choosing carefully is key.

Don’t even waste your time with hyaluronic acid skin products that actually contain HA as an actual ingredient. This is the most common type of HA skin care product out right now, but that doesn’t mean that any of them are worth getting. Only minimal amounts of HA can even penetrate through your skin’s epidermis, and large-sized molecules of it can even suppress your immune system and inflammatory response.

Instead, it’s much safer to just use hyaluronic acid skin products that stop the degradation of this important cellular substance. How? By inhibiting the activity of the enzyme that constantly breaks down HA, hyaluronidase. Ingredients like Japanese Wakame extract do this very well without introducing foreign HA molecules to the body. As a result, your skin will become much more supple and plump making it much harder for wrinkles and fine lines to develop (and become permanent).

Do a Health Insurance Comparison to Get the Best Deal

It’s clear to see that you need to find some new health coverage. Perhaps your current plan just isn’t cutting it, and you are spending far too much money each month on co-pays and trying to meet your high deductible. Or perhaps you don’t have a health plan at all, and it is simply time to give you that extra security and peace of mind that comes with having health coverage. Regardless of what factors are driving you to get a new insurance plan, you now are in full shopping mode to find the best coverage possible, and this means that you need to do a health insurance comparison.

Shopping around for insurance can quite simply takes days and even weeks to complete as you search for the best policy for you and your family. It can be quite confusing to decipher the terminology used in the insurance world, and then to figure out how those terms and conditions of the insurance will relay to how you will use the insurance plan. After all, not everyone has the same insurance coverage needs, so your health insurance comparison is not as easy as simply selecting the coverage your friends or neighbors have. If you are shopping for insurance, you want to make it as easy as possible to get the information you need for your comparison, and this means making full use of information available online.

Some websites are specifically designed to help you shop around for various coverage plans, and these websites can be a great resource tool for you as you sort through the various plans available. It can be time consuming and even frustrating to sort through the health coverage options, as well as to compare so many options side by side to find the right one for you. But when you use the many tools available to you to make this process easier, you will find that getting the right insurance for you isn’t that complicated at all!

Stress-Free Small Business Ideas That Are Actually Fun!

Tired of the long commute to and from work? Annoyed with your boss always barking down your neck? Exhausted from the long hours of your career? You need a break. And what better way to break out of your vocational rut than with your own small business? Be your own boss; make your own hours and work from the comfort of your own home.

Here’s how:

1. Start a membership site: Membership sites are the perfect way to combine your passion with your pay cheque. Simply find a great idea, a niche market, a marketing tactic and start writing and creating content. Or, hire a group of writers to do it for you. Either way, you can be in business in no time, managing and designing a website you are passionate about and making residual income off of it.

2. Become an online auctioneer: an online auctioneer uses sites such as eBay to buy and sell stuff. Be your own boss and choose your own hours. Simply look through the stuff on ebay, searching for deals. The best thing to do is buy low, sell high. You can make a fortune in no time.

3. Offer your services: telecommunication and the internet have made it completely possible to start your own small business from your home. Whatever you’re good at, whether it’s writing, editing, translating, data entry, computer graphics, etc, there are people who need your services.

So what are you waiting for? Become your own boss doing something that is easy, flexible and fun!

BlackBerry Torch 9800 – 6 Multimedia Options That Are Great

Many cell phones are designed with a variety of features and options. You can pick and choose from any one of them to help aid in your decision of purchasing one. AT&T is no stranger to this concept and they have packed a number of multimedia functions in the BlackBerry Torch 9800:

1. Web Browsing – The BlackBerry Torch 9800 allows you to surf multiple web pages at once. Simply open a new tab, enter the new web address and then tap go. Its as easy as that. You can also perform things like copying and pasting, changing your homepage, and pinching your fingers for the zoom feature on the BlackBerry Torch 9800.

2. Music – The BlackBerry Torch 9800 makes it easy to select and play media files. Since this phone uses a touch screen interface, there will be a lot of tapping to make things work. Simply open the media folder and just tap on the file you want to play. Once the file is playing, the interface itself is pretty self-explanatory for volume control and pausing the file on the BlackBerry Torch 9800.

3. Ring Tones – Ah yes, we all know about them and they come in many types of sounds including short song samples or simply a dog barking. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 enables you to do things like uploading, changing, or setting your ring tone for any of your friends. The only hard part is choosing which of your ring tones sounds better than your friends on your BlackBerry Torch 9800.

4. Camera and Photos – For that “Kodak moment” this phone allows for you to capture photographs at anytime. You can take pictures, set the picture sizes, share photos, view slideshow’s, and set any photo for your contacts. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 has pulled out all the stops for this one.

5. Video – You can record or watch video on the Torch 9800 and store them as files in the media folder. With the battery that this phone comes with, you have enough power to record for 6 hours straight if you wanted. Navigating the interface is fairly easy too.

6. Podcasts – Exploring through podcasts has never been easier. You can do it by category or tap through featured podcasts that are available. If you haven’t found what you are looking for then you can tap in a manual search to play what you want.

Online University Reviews Guide For Higher Education

Online degree programs offered by American Universities and colleges are being pursued by students from within United States and abroad. These degree programs are high in content value and recognized worldwide. Most of these online courses are as valuable as any classroom studies and involves considerable homework and assignments. Online group discussions help is developing teamwork and leadership qualities. Before getting involved in this serious affair, one needs to be very sure of the shortlisted online university. Online University Reviews are a sure way of knowing about the institute inside out as these are provided by students who have experienced life there.

Before starting on with the research of online reviews, one must know the parameters to evaluate the online university on. These are:

1. Accreditation of the online university is a must. With proper accreditation of the school, you can be sure of getting quality education and hence nice employment offers after successful completion of the course.
2. The placement assistance provided by the university is another very important aspect as this determines a bright and safe future. With a placement offer in hand from campus after the course completion, makes life relatively easy for people.
3. The facilities provided by the school are equally important as this makes learning a comfortable experience.
4. Costing is another major parameter. There are some universities that provide equally good education at a comparatively less cost. This must be researched thoroughly.

Now read on the reviews on some prestigious online universities.

Columbia Southern University (CSU) offers online Bachelor, Maters and Doctoral degrees in Fire Science, Criminal Justice Administration, Business, Environmental Management and Occupational, Safety and Health. On a scale 1 to 10, the overall rating of Columbia Southern University is 9.14, its teachers have been rated 8.75, the institution 9, materials 8.84, support 9.07 and value 9.29. CSU online degree courses are laid out in a convenient format for timely completion. These online courses of CSU are comparatively cheaper than other distant learning courses. Columbia Southern University however lacks in prompt correspondences and replies.

Seton Hall University (SUH) offers online degree courses in Healthcare Administration, Nursing, Health Systems Administration, School Counseling, and Strategic Communication and leadership. SUH on a scale of 1 to10 is rated 9.23 on overall performance. Their teachers are marked 9, their materials 8.8, and support 9.13. SHU’s institution is marked 9.2 and its value rated 9.1. The online degree courses of Seton Hall University are value based and thorough. Their online programs are as valuable and rigorous as their classroom programs. Self-discipline, leadership and team work are the basic human values nurtured at SUH.

Norwich University provides online Masters Degree courses in Information Assurance, Business Administration, Military History, Civil Engineering, and Justice Administration. On a scale of 1 to 10, the overall rating of Norwich University is 9.07. The institution is rated 9.28, its teachers 8.48, materials provided 8.52, support 9.35 and value 8.98. The study programs are thorough and require considerable involvement. Assignments set are tough and time consuming. Online discussions and team projects are fun and educative at the same time.

American Military University (AMU) established in 1993 offers online Bachelors degree programs in Environmental Studies, Information Technology Management, Transportation and Logistics Management, American Military History, Legal Studies, Intelligence Studies, and Homeland Security. Online Masters are offered in Security Management, and History. AMU in a rating scale of 1 to 10 is rated 8.6 in overall. The institution rating is 8.31 while teachers are rated 8.49. Support services of AMU is rated 8.29, materials supplied 8.46, and value rating is 8.71.

Culinary Arts From Greece

So you want to impress your friends and family with what you cook or you just love to cook and you want to work in this field? Then a culinary art school is perfect for you.

You will learn how to prepare even the fanciest foods or how to make any food perfect and tasty. Why not try the culinary art of Greece? Besides philosophers, Greece also has an incredible cuisine that will impress everybody: tzatziki sauce, souvlaki, olive oil, pasta soup and feta cheese; these are just a few of the dishes that characterize the Greece cuisine. Many people go to Greece and when they come back, they want to share with their families the culinary tradition from Greece but most of them do not know how to cook.

Greeks usually like to celebrate by eating and drinking special food and wine with their family and friends. They do not like taking care only of their body, the mind is important too and before any celebration, they have carnivals where the spiritual atmosphere is completed by the smell of good food.

Weddings are nothing without koufeta and almond candies; even at funerals they like to drink good wine and eat koliva.

As we can see, the culinary art is very important in Greece but people there like to eat all natural so knowing how to cook Greek food will help you have a healthy lifestyle too.
The most frequently used ingredients are: cereals, vegetables, olive oil, beans, fish, meat and everything natural and healthy.

To help the digestion you can learn how to prepare tzatziki and eat it like Greeks between meals. Tzatziki is made of fat yogurt, garlic and cucumber and it is a great help for digestion. It is also an amazing treatment for people who suffer from stomach problems.
Learning Greece culinary arts will improve the way you live and eat. Maybe your family is tired of the same food everyday, maybe you want to eat more natural and forget about those fast foods or maybe you just want to work for a restaurant where Greek food is served; in any of those cases a culinary art course will help you fulfill your dream.

Maybe you are a person who is too busy to try all those recipes in the cookbook and just want to know everything without experimenting; in this case, a culinary art course is just perfect for you. If you ever have the opportunity to learn how to prepare good and healthy food take advantage of it and you will not regret it: any knowledge is useful.