Auto Insurance: Accidents Happen

You need auto insurance. Most sates require insurance coverage just to register a motor vehicle. No proof of insurance, no registration. It’s the law. But the law or not, you need auto insurance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your assets. We live in a litigious society where lawsuits are common and facing a lawsuit is something you don’t want to face.

Having the right auto insurance protects you, your family and all that you’ve worked for. Choosing the right coverage in the right amounts is essential to protection of all the things important to you.

The Cost of Coverage

Auto insurance costs money. How much money depends on a number of factors including:

  • your driving history
  • your marital status
  • the kind of car you drive
  • your age
  • where your home is (and where you do most of your driving)
  • number of drivers
  • number of vehicles covered under the policy

If you have a few speeding tickets and you’ve had a few accidents (slow down) your monthly auto insurance premiums will be higher. If you drive an expensive sports car you pay more than if you drive a car built for safety.

Younger drivers have more accidents, therefore, their insurance premiums are higher. The factors that determine how much your automobile coverage costs are varied – some controllable, some not.

Automobile Policy Coverage

A quality auto insurance policy covers a variety of common contingencies encountered when driving down the highways and by-ways on the way to work.

Property damage coverage pays for damages done to the other vehicle and other property when you’re in an accident. Because property damage coverage protects the other driver it’s required in most states.

Bodily injury coverage protects you when the other party is injured or killed as the result of an automobile accident. The courts are clogged with cases involving bodily injury claims and you don’t want to add to the log jam.

Medical coverage pays for hospital stays, doctor’s visits and other medical expenses for you and all of those in the car at the time of the accident – again, essential to protecting your family assets – including your home. It doesn’t take much to roll up astronomical medical expenses even in a minor automobile accident.

Comprehensive coverage protects against things like theft, fire, a tree falling through the windshield and other non-accident related damages that can knock the family car out of service.

Uninsured motorist protection provides medical recovery expenses in cases of accidents with uninsured drivers or hit-and-run drivers who flee the scene of an accident and escape. You pay more for this protection but three out of 10 drivers are cruising the streets without insurance. Uninsured motorist protection covers you against these uninsured drivers who disregard the law and common sense.

Collision insurance pays to repair or replace a vehicle that’s been in an accident. Collision coverage comes with a deductible – an amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance company kicks in some cash to cover the crash. The smaller the deductible, the higher the monthly premium.

Collision coverage is one place you can save some money. Increase the deductible and lower your monthly payments. Or, if you drive an old clunker on its last legs, you can drop collision coverage altogether and simply get a new car in the event of an accident. That’s a decision only you can make.

Auto Insurance Coverage: How Much Is Enough?

Start by talking to an expert. Talk to an insurance broker. By bundling your home and auto insurance you often save money on both. And with insurance costs ever on the rise, saving on insurance coverage is always a good idea – as long as you’re protected by a reputable insurer who pays claims quickly and values the loyalty of its insured drivers and homeowners.

Another possibility? Your bank. Banks often sell automobile insurance as part of an auto loan agreement, something that can save you money and make it easier to get a car loan. If the bank knows its interests in your car are insured, that bank is more likely to help you get the car you need.

Using a bank to purchase car insurance can also simplify life by transferring monthly premiums directly from your checking account. No more writing checks, no more late fees, no more insurers threatening to drop your coverage.

How much coverage you need should be something you determine with the advice of an insurance expert. You need enough coverage to protect yourself, your family and your assets, including your home, but you also don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need. Yes, it’s possible to pay for more coverage than you actually need and an insurance broker or your local bank’s insurance specialist will help you define your risk exposure to cover that risk with a solid auto insurance policy.

So, talk to a pro. You may be under-insured or over-insured right now. Neither case is good. You may be exposed to more risk than your current coverage provides, putting your future in jeopardy.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with the right auto insurance to protect you and your loved ones when they do.

Before you get behind the wheel, even for a quick drive to the store, pull out your car policy and check policy limits. Do you have enough coverage to protect your loved ones in case of a serious car accident? This is serious business. Check now. Call your agent.

Leveraging Technology for Organisational Excellence

Technology & HR-Leverage one for the other: “Technology and HR are enablers of business. Integration of the two would mean not only harmonious co-existence but also leveraging one for the other. Leveraging of technology for HR would mean digitizing the mundane HR activities and automating the back office and transactional activities related to recruitment, performance management, career planning, and succession planning, training and knowledge management. Leveraging HR for technology implies managing change associated with technology by way of communication, training, hiring, retraining, stakeholder analysis and conscious keeping. Thus they can play complementary roles.”

Technology and HR both have one thing common i.e., both these are enablers of business.

In recent times, technology has become synonymous with information technology, as hardly any other technological development of the past would have impacted all spectrum of business as information technology has impacted. Irrespective of the kind of business you are in i.e., services or goods, commodity or branded, trading or manufacturing, contemporary or traditional deployment of information technology in one form or the other is a foregone conclusion. To manage and deploy technology in an effective way, all business Organizations would need knowledge workers. Managing of these knowledge workers is the responsibility of HR function. Hence the integration of technology and HR is an absolute must.

Having understood technology and HR in the present context we must understand integration in this context. Integration would not only mean harmonious co-existing but would also mean one enhancing and complementing the other i.e., technology is used to enhance effectiveness of HR and HR functions helps in adopting and managing change which technology deployment brings in.

Leveraging technology for HR

HR management as a function is responsible for deliverables like business strategy execution, administrative efficiency, employee contribution and capacity for change. All these are accomplished through what HR people do i.e., staffing, development, compensation, benefits, communicate organization design, high performing teams and so on. In majority of these areas technology is being deployed.

e-Recruitment

Recruitment is one area where all the companies worth their name leverage IT. There are two different models of e-recruitment, which are in vogue. One is recruitment through company’s own sites and the other is hosting your requirement on the other sites e.g., monster .com, jobsdb.com, jobsahead.com, naukri.com, and jobstreet.com and so on so forth. The first models is more popular with the larger companies who have a brand pull for potential employees e.g., G.E., IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, HCL, ICICI, Reliance, Mindtree consulting etc. Other companies prefer to go to the job sites. Some are adopting both.

E-recruitment has gone a long way since its start. Now these sites have gone global. Sites like jobsahead.com and monster.com have established global network, which encompasses separate sites for jobs in Australia, Denmark, Belgium, and Canada etc. Job seekers are able to search job by region or country and employers target potential employees in specific countries. For example, 3 Com recently posted a company profile on the Ireland site that highlights the contributions of 3 com’s Irish design team in its global projects.

In the early days e-recruitment was plagued with flooding the employers with low-quality bio-data’s. Again technology has come as a savior. Now pre-employment testing like the one introduced by Capital One, a US based financial company, help in filtering the applicants. These tools test online e.g., applicants for call centers. ‘Profile International’ a Texas based provider of employment assessments, has developed tools that allow instant translation of assessment tests between languages. Further developments like video- conference specialized sites, online executives recruitments and combining online and offline methods are leading to more and more companies adopting e-recruitment at least as a secondary recruitment method. Arena Knights Bridge, a US based IT company conducts video based interview of its prospective employees and only short listed employees are met in person. Even Cisco was to launch the same.

Employee Self Service

Employee self-service is perhaps one utility of IT, which has relieved HR of most of mundane tasks and helped it to improve employee satisfaction. Employee self services is a plethora of small activities, which were earlier carried out by employee through administration wing of HR. These are travel bookings, travel rules information, travel bills, leave rules, leave administration, perk administration, etc. Earlier all these rules and information were in the custody of HR. Every user employee was expected to reach out to HR and get it done. Now with deployment of ESS in most of the companies, employee can request for travel related booking online, fill his/her T.E. bills, apply for leave, log time sheet and see his perks value disbursed and due etc. E.g., in Ballarpur Industries Ltd. leave administration is completely digitized in its corporate office. It is working towards digitizing travel related activities, perks and even compensation management and performance management administration. ‘Digitize or outsource all the mundane and routine focus only on core and value add’ – Vineet Chhabra V.P. -PDC BILT.

Communication

Communication which is most talked about management tool has always been a gray area in HR management. In large companies with vast geographical spread communicating with all employees had really posed formidable challenge to HR professionals. Technology has again come for rescue. Starting with telephones, faxes, e-mails and maturing into video conferencing, net cast, web cast etc. communication is one area of HR, which has been greatly benefited by technology. Mouse & click companies like Oracle, IBM has an intranet which caters to most of the information needs of its employees. Brick & Morter companies like BILT also have made a foray into deploying intranet for internal communication, which has corporate notice board, media coverage, and knowledge corners.

Knowledge Management

Another area of HR, which is leveraging technology, is employee development. Programmed learning (PL) i.e. learning at its own pace is one of the most effective ways of adult learning. Use of technology for this purpose can’t be over emphasized. Aptech Online University and ‘The Manage mentor’ are some of the Indian sites, which are in this business knowledge management, which is an integral part of any learning organization, which cannot become a reality without technology. Companies can harness the knowledge of its employees by cataloging and hosting it on the intranet. Talk to ‘Big-5’ or not ‘so big’ consulting companies you will find that main stay of their business is the knowledge repository. Technology has enabled them to retrieve it swiftly. In the competitive environment where speed is the name of game technology driven Knowledge Management constantly provides a strategic advantage.

If you look at HR module of ERP solutions like people soft, SAP, Oracle and Ramco they provide you with a comprehensive package which helps in man-power planning, recruitment, performance management, training and development, career planning, succession planning, separation and grievance handling. A transaction happening in all these areas are digitized and form a closed loop ensuring employee database is always updated. E.g. a joining letter of a new employee is system generated. It will be printed only when all mandatory fields of information are entered. Similarly a transfer order or a separation letter is issued from the system only if that transaction has been carried out in the system.

For career planning, success planning, skill and competencies matrix methods are used by most of these systems. They search an employee with the required skills first in the in-house database of employees. Once put in practice in letter & spirit, this system not only enhances business results by matching the right candidate for right job but also improves retention of employees.

Processing payroll, churning out time office reports, providing HR-MIS are some other routine activities of HR which have been off-loaded to technology.

Leveraging HR for Technology

All HR professionals, preaching or practicing, learning or experimenting, teaching or studying have experienced leveraging technology for HR. But most of us come across a situation where we need to leverage HR for technology. Let us understand what do we mean by this.

Whenever technology is deployed afresh or upgraded it involves a change. The change may be at the activity level e.g., applying for leave through the intranet or at the mental model level e.g., digitizing the process succession planning which have been HR professionals forte. The people have always registered adopting change. This is one area where HR professionals are to deliver i.e., become change agents and lead the process of technology and change adoption. The resistance to change is directly proportional to speed of change. Now speed of change has increased and hence resistance.

Just to take an example, most of ERP implementation in the world have not been able to deliver all the expectations. Some of these have failed to deliver at all. While analyzing the cause of failure it has been observed that 96% of failures are because of people related issues and only 4% are because of technology.

It is the people who make the difference; hence HR should exploit its expertise to facilitate the adoption of technology. I would like to put together some of the thoughts on what HR should do for this.

At the time of recruitment, stop hiring for skills rather hire for attitude and a learning mind. Skills of today are no longer valid tomorrow. Managing ever changing change is the only criteria for success.

Functional or technical skills can be acquired during the job. Hence recruitment in the technology era needs to undergo a paradigm shift i.e., from a skill/competency based it needs to be attitude and learning mind/ ability based interview. That would translate into hiring for skills for future. In IBM every employee has to fill in his/her individual development plan where the employee commits its learning one/two new skills every year thus remaining competitive every time.

If we look at the chemistry of resistance to change it is either a skill issue or a will issue. To address the will issue we need to work at a comprehensive solution starting from recruitment (as discussed earlier), reward, compensation and leading to organization culture which promotes change. A living example is 3M, a US based company, where innovation is way of life, where 10% of revenue must come from new products every year. For them change becomes way of life.

To address the will issue further organization need to prepare a communication strategy which creates a ‘pull’ for the technology. For example, in Ranbaxy, when they went for SAP implementation they anticipated resistance. To address this they started a house journal, which was aimed at educating the employees on the benefits, which will result from adoption of ERP, SAP. This created a need rather a potential need or a latent need was brought out. Adoption of ERP did not become much of a problem.

At times adoption of technologies is perceived as a threat by the employees e.g., automation leading to reduction in workers, office automation leading to retrenchment of clerks etc. HR needs to be associated with the technical adoption right from the beginning till the end. At the selection of technical stage if HR is associated, it can map the skills required and create a pull during implementation and adoption. Post adoption it can release the excess non-re-allocatable employees.

To understand this process more clearly we can take example of ERP implementation. ERP is taken as an example as this is one technology adoption which effects employees across the org. irrespective of function and position. Any other automation may have affected only a segment of organisation. ERP implementation in any organization goes through the following stages.

1. Selection of package

2. Business analysis

3. Solution design

4. Configuration and customization

5. Conference room piloting (CRP)

6. Go-live and production

At each stage HR has to play a role, which will help in mitigating resistance to change.

During selection process, the change agent can understand the business benefit ERP would bring. This would help him to draw a comprehensive communication plant aimed at creating a ‘pull’ for the change. The communication plan may use its various weapons from the armory. The obvious examples are Newsletters, Newsflash. In-house journal, addressing by the top management, web cast, open house sessions, meetings formal and informal.

During the business analysis phase implementation team is supposed to analyse the existing business processes. At times this leads to surfacing of some data which is not very desirable by the process owners, leading to resistance at this stage, HR has to be again proactive and carry out a detailed stake-holder analysis. Such an analysis should give a lead to potential areas of problem and potential champions of change.

Solution design involves defining ‘To-be processes’ i.e., the way business would be carried out in future. At this stage HR has to play the role of catalyst to turn the heat on. The idea is to ensure to make maximum out of an opportunity of package enabled business transformation. HR can play a role by arranging to educate and train the right people on best business practices, just before this phase.

During the configuration and customization HR has to keep on beating the drum, the customization of a standard package is a big no-no. Similarly, during the conference room plotting (CRP) it should help in identifying the right persons to be involved in CRP. A thorough testing at this stage would result in lesser pain at the time of going live. This is also time to focus on training of end users, the employees who are going to use the system once implemented. Training- retraining -training to ensure all the prospective users are comfortable with usage of software before the system goes live.

During the go-live stage HR has to work over time to keep the motivation levels high. This is the time when management starts losing patience as one glitch after the other keeps appearing and virtually bringing the business to halt. At this stage, HR has to play ‘conscious keeper’ for the top management once into product relocating the surplus is a challenge for which it has to be prepared before it.

This examples makes it clear that involvement of HR during the entire life cycle of technology is valuable. ERP is not an isolated case. It is true for any other technology adoption only finer details may vary. Hence HR must play a proactive role rather than being just a silent spectator or mere executers of the wishes of business or chief technology officer in case of technological changes.

Glossary of Auto Insurance Terms

Do you want to get the auto insurance coverage you desire for your car? One basic way of accomplishing this is by learning the terms pertinent to it.

The benefits of learning and knowing these terms can not be over-emphasized. It will not only build your basic knowledge, but stand as a key factor to choosing the right insurance policy for your car.

Damage

This is another term related to this type of insurance. In speaking of this, one is usually referring to the loss of one or more insured properties e.g. car, or the harm that has befallen the policyholder in an accident.

Typically, an auto insurance company would offer a claim to you that has experienced the damage in one way or the other, by means of the insurer adjuster.

It may be important that you (the policyholder) have all the correct details filed regarding any damage that has occurred before sending a claim notice to your auto carrier. This may include the total amount of incurred loss, as computed from the damage.

This is because some auto insurance companies would want to know or determine the cost of damage before offering a claim to you (the claimant), which is absolutely usual. Following legal procedures of your insurance policy would greatly help in the reimbursement of your car.

Deductible

You may likely have heard such word or hear others say it, but do not know what it means. In the insurance field, the word refers to the amount of money that you (the policyholder or insured) must pay to your insurer on the event of a loss, before your insurer can offer you a claim for the loss.

This is an up-front payment as applied to you under the insurance policy, to be qualified for the benefits of loss coverage that your insurer will offer to you. It is a general feature of most insurance companies, but as applied to the law of the state.

The amount considered to be deductible varies, but in most states it may range from about $200-$450. Policyholders of collision and/or comprehension coverage are entitled for deductible, for their loss to be fully reimbursed.

Paying a deductible that is high will most likely save more money for you on your coverage contract. But be informed that your insurer payment for covered loss will be determined by the policy limits of your insurer.

When running an auto policy, be prepared to pay for your deductible concerning any possible loss. In doing so, you are telling your insurer to pay for all the other huge expenses for loss coverage.

 We commit ourselves to providing you with high quality information and reviews about auto insurance and quote to fulfil your coverage needs and make you get the best auto insurance policy for that car of yours.

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Teacher Education and Teacher Quality

One of the sectors which fosters national development is education by ensuring the development of a functional human resource. The institution of strong educational structures leads to a society populated by enlightened people, who can cause positive economic progress and social transformation. A Positive social transformation and its associated economic growth are achieved as the people apply the skills they learned while they were in school. The acquisition of these skills is facilitated by one individual we all ‘teacher’. For this reason, nations seeking economic and social developments need not ignore teachers and their role in national development.

Teachers are the major factor that drives students’ achievements in learning. The performance of teachers generally determines, not only, the quality of education, but the general performance of the students they train. The teachers themselves therefore ought to get the best of education, so they can in turn help train students in the best of ways. It is known, that the quality of teachers and quality teaching are some of the most important factors that shape the learning and social and academic growth of students. Quality training will ensure, to a large extent, teachers are of very high quality, so as to be able to properly manage classrooms and facilitate learning. That is why teacher quality is still a matter of concern, even, in countries where students consistently obtain high scores in international exams, such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). In such countries, teacher education of prime importance because of the potential it has to cause positive students’ achievements.

The structure of teacher education keeps changing in almost all countries in response to the quest of producing teachers who understand the current needs of students or just the demand for teachers. The changes are attempts to ensure that quality teachers are produced and sometimes just to ensure that classrooms are not free of teachers. In the U.S.A, how to promote high quality teachers has been an issue of contention and, for the past decade or so, has been motivated, basically, through the methods prescribed by the No Child Left Behind Act (Accomplished California Teachers, 2015). Even in Japan and other Eastern countries where there are more teachers than needed, and structures have been instituted to ensure high quality teachers are produced and employed, issues relating to the teacher and teaching quality are still of concern (Ogawa, Fujii & Ikuo, 2013). Teacher education is therefore no joke anywhere. This article is in two parts. It first discusses Ghana’s teacher education system and in the second part looks at some determinants of quality teaching.

2.0 TEACHER EDUCATION

Ghana has been making deliberate attempts to produce quality teachers for her basic school classrooms. As Benneh (2006) indicated, Ghana’s aim of teacher education is to provide a complete teacher education program through the provision of initial teacher training and in-service training programs, that will produce competent teachers, who will help improve the effectiveness of the teaching and learning that goes on in schools. The Initial teacher education program for Ghana’s basic school teachers was offered in Colleges of Education (CoE) only, until quite recently when, University of Education, University of Cape Coast, Central University College and other tertiary institutions joined in. The most striking difference between the programs offered by the other tertiary institution is that while the Universities teach, examine and award certificates to their students, the Colleges of Education offer tuition while the University of Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, examines and award certificates. The training programs offered by these institutions are attempts at providing many qualified teachers to teach in the schools. The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher training programs in order to ensure quality.

The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher education programs based on the structure and content of the courses proposed by the institution. Hence, the courses run by various institutions differ in content and structure. For example, the course content for the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast is slightly different from the course structure and content of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Coast and none of these two programs matches that of the CoEs, though they all award Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) after three years of training. The DBE and the Four-year Untrained Teacher’s Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by the CoEs are only similar, but not the same. The same can be said of the Two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, Four-year Bachelor’s degree programs run by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Education, Winneba and the other Universities and University Colleges. In effect even though, same products attract same clients, the preparation of the products are done in different ways.

It is through these many programs that teachers are prepared for the basic schools – from nursery to senior high schools. Alternative pathways, or programs through which teachers are prepared are seen to be good in situations where there are shortages of teachers and more teachers ought to be trained within a very short time. A typical example is the UTDBE program, mentioned above, which design to equip non-professional teachers with professional skills. But this attempt to produce more teachers, because of shortage of teachers, has the tendency of comprising quality.

As noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) the factors that contribute to the problems of teacher education and teacher retention are varied and complex, but one factor that teacher educators are concerned about is the alternative pathways through which teacher education occur. The prime aim of many of the pathways is to fast track teachers into the teaching profession. This short-changed the necessary teacher preparation that prospective teachers need before becoming classroom teachers. Those who favor alternative routes, like Teach for America (TFA), according to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their alternative pathways by saying that even though the students are engaged in a short-period of pre-service training, the students are academically brilliant and so have the capacity to learn a lot in a short period. Others argue that in subjects like English, Science and mathematics where there are usually shortages of teachers, there must be a deliberate opening up of alternative pathways to good candidates who had done English, Mathematics and Science courses at the undergraduate level. None of these arguments in support of alternative pathways, hold for the alternative teacher education programs in Ghana, where the academically brilliant students shun teaching due to reasons I shall come to.

When the target is just to fill vacant classrooms, issues of quality teacher preparation is relegated to the background, somehow. Right at the selection stage, the alternative pathways ease the requirement for gaining entry into teacher education programs. When, for example, the second batch of UTDBE students were admitted, I can say with confidence that entry requirements into the CoEs were not adhered to. What was emphasized was that, the applicant must be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been engaged by the Ghana Education Service, and that the applicant holds a certificate above Basic Education Certificate Examination. The grades obtained did not matter. If this pathway had not been created, the CoEs would not have trained students who initially did not qualify to enroll in the regular DBE program. However, it leaves in its trail the debilitating effect compromised quality.

Even with regular DBE programs, I have realized, just recently I must say, that CoEs in, particular, are not attracting the candidates with very high grades. This as I have learnt now has a huge influence on both teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. The fact is, teacher education programs in Ghana are not regarded as prestigious programs and so applicants with high grades do not opt for education programs. And so the majority of applicants who apply for teacher education programs have, relatively, lower grades. When the entry requirement for CoEs’ DBE program for 2016/2017 academic year was published, I noticed the minimum entry grades had been dropped from C6 to D8 for West African Senior Secondary School Examination candidates. This drop in standard could only be attributed to CoEs’ attempt to attract more applicants. The universities too, lower their cut off point for education programs so as attract more candidates. The universities as alleged by Levine (2006) see their teacher education programs, so to say, as cash cows. Their desire to make money, force them to lower admission standards, like the CoEs have done, in order to increase their enrollments. The fact that, admission standards are internationally lowered in order to achieve a goal of increasing numbers. This weak recruitment practice or lowering of standards introduce a serious challenge to teacher education.

The Japanese have been able to make teacher education and teaching prestigious and therefor attract students with high grades. One may argue that in Japan, the supply of teachers far exceeds the demand and so authorities are not under any pressure to hire teachers. Their system won’t suffer if they do all they can to select higher grade student into teacher education programs. To them, the issues relating to the selection of teachers are more important that the issues relating to recruitment. However, in western and African countries the issues relating to recruitment are prime. It is so because the demand for teachers far outweighs that of supply. Western and African countries have difficulties recruiting teachers because teachers and the teaching profession is not held in high esteem. Teacher education programs therefore do not attract students who have very good grades. It is worth noting that, it is not the recruiting procedure only that determines whether or not teacher education will be prestigious, however recruiting candidates with high grades, ensures that after training, teachers will exhibit the two characteristics essential to effective teaching – quality and effectiveness. Teacher education can be effective if the teaching profession is held in high esteem and therefore able to attract the best of applicants. Otherwise, irrespective of incentives put into place to attract applicants and irrespective of the measures that will be put in place to strengthen teacher education, teacher education programs cannot fully achieve its purpose.

In order to strengthen teacher preparation, there is the need for teacher preparation programs to provide good training during the initial teacher training stage, and provide and sustain support during the first few years after the teachers have been employed. That is why Lumpe (2007) supports the idea that pre-service teacher education programs should ensure teachers have gained a good understanding of effective teaching strategies. Methodology classes therefore should center on effective teaching strategies. Irrespective of the pathway the training program takes, the program must be structured such that trainees gain knowledge about pedagogy, besides the knowledge of subject matter. They should also get enough exposure to practical classroom experience like the on-campus and off-campus teaching practice. Whether or not there is the need to fill vacancies in the classroom due to the high teacher attrition, many countries face, teacher preparation programs should aim at producing quality and effective teacher and not just filling vacancies.

3.0 DETERMINANTS OF TEACHER QUALITY

Teacher quality has such enormous influence on students’ learning. Anyone who has been in the teaching business will agree that teacher quality is central to education reform efforts. Priagula, Agam & Solmon (2007) described teacher quality as an important in-school factor that impact significantly on students’ learning. Quality teachers have positive impact on the success of students. Where the students have quality and effective teachers the students make learning gains while those with ineffective teachers show declines. With respect to the classroom teacher, teacher quality is a continuous process of doing self-assessment so as to have professional development and a self-renewal, in order to enhance teaching. For the teacher educator, an effective or quality teacher is one who has a good subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge, which the he/she can build upon.

Outstanding teachers possess and exhibit many exemplary qualities. They have the skills, subject matter, and pedagogy to reach every child. They help equip their students with the knowledge and breadth of awareness to make sound and independent judgments. Three determinants of teacher quality will be considered here. They are; pedagogical knowledge, subject-matter content knowledge and experience.

3.1 PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

Trainees of every profession receive some sort of education that will give them insight into and prepare them for the task ahead. That of the teacher is called Pedagogical Content Knowledge or Pedagogical Knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge can be described as, knowledge the teachers use in organizing classrooms, delivering the content the students must show mastery over and for managing the students entrusted into their care. Generally speaking, pedagogical knowledge is knowledge the teacher uses to facilitate students’ learning. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is in two major forms – teachers’ knowledge of the students’ pre-conceptions and teachers’ knowledge of teaching methodologies. Students come to class with a host of pre-conceptions relating to the things they are learning. The pre-conceptions may or may not be consistent with the actual subject-matter that is delivered. Teachers must have a good idea of both kinds of preconception, in order to help students, replace the inconsistent pre-conceptions or build upon the consistent pre-conceptions to bring about meaningful learning. Teachers must have a repertoire of teaching methodologies for facilitating students’ learning. When the methodologies are applied wrongly little or no learning occurs in students. In effect when either of the two is weak, the teacher becomes a bad one because that teacher will not be able to execute his/her responsibility in the vocation he/she has chosen. Due to this during teacher preparation, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is emphasized.

Teachers gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge from various sources. Friedrichsen, Abell, Pareja, Brown, Lankford and Volkmann (2009) distinguished three potential sources of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. They listed the sources as professional development programs, teaching experiences and lastly teachers’ own learning experiences. During their days as students in teacher education programs, teachers are assisted in variety ways to gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge. For examples, during practice, they learn how to put the pedagogical skills they learnt. Teacher education programs and other professional development programs create avenues for teachers to gain pedagogical content knowledge through workshops, lectures, working together with colleagues, and in teaching practice. Then their experiences in their classrooms as they teach students lead them to gain insight into which methodologies work under best under specific situations. That last source is usually ignored. It indicates that the professional knowledge of the teacher begins to develop long before the teacher becomes a candidate entering into teacher education. This means, the way teachers teach influences to a large extent the prospective teachers’ professional knowledge and beliefs. This type of learning is, generally, overlooked by teachers at all levels because unintentional and informal, it is.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge can be gained through formal and informal means. Learning opportunities for pedagogical content knowledge, formally, designed by institutions, based on learning objectives which generally are prerequisite for certification, constitutes the formal means. In formal learning, students have clear ideas about the objective of acquiring pedagogical skills. Informal learning, on the other hand, is not organized intentionally. It takes place incidentally and so can be considered as ‘side effect’. As Kleickmann et al (2012) described it, it has no goal with respect to learning outcomes, and it is contextualized to a large extent. This is often called learning by experience. Informal, but deliberative, learning situations exists. This occurs in situations such as learning in groups, mentoring, and intentional practicing of some skills or tools. Werquin (2010) described informal, but deliberative, learning as non-formal learning. Unlike formal learning, non-formal learning does not occur in educational institutions and does not attract certification. Whether pedagogical content knowledge

Pedagogical Content Knowledge is used to bridges the gap between content knowledge and actual teaching. By bridging the gap, it ensures that discussions of content are relevant to teaching and that discussions themselves are focused on the content. As such, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is something teachers must pay attention to. Teachers who possess and use good Pedagogical content knowledge have good control over classroom management and assessment, knowledge about learning processes, teaching methods, and individual characteristics (Harr, Eichler, & Renkl, 2014). Such teachers are able to create an atmosphere that facilitates learning and are also able to present or facilitate the learning of concepts by even lazy students. They are able to make learning easier by students hence teacher with high pedagogical content knowledge can be classified as quality teachers. It is worth noting that it is not pedagogical content knowledge only that makes good teachers. A teacher will not be good if he/she is master of pedagogical knowledge but lacks subject matter content knowledge.

3.2 SUBJECT-MATTER KNOWLEDGE

The goal of teaching is to help learners develop intellectual resources that will enable them participate fully in the main domains of human taught and enquiry. The degree to which the teacher can assist students to learn depends on the subject-matter the teacher possesses. That is to say, teachers’ knowledge of subject-matter has influence on their efforts to assist students to learn that subject-matter. If a teacher is ignorant or not well informed he/she cannot do students any good, he/she will rather much harm them. When the teacher conceives knowledge in such a way that it is narrow, or do not have accurate information relating to a particular subject-matter, he/she will pass on these same shallow or inaccurate information to students. This kind of teacher will hardly recognize the consistent pre-conceptions and challenge the misconceptions of students. Such a teacher can introduce misconceptions as he/she uses texts uncritically or inappropriately alter them. It is the teacher’s conception of knowledge that shapes the kind of questions he/she asks and the ideas he/she reinforces as well as the sorts of tasks the teacher designs.

Teachers’ subject-matter matter content knowledge must go beyond the specific topics of their curriculum. This is because the teacher does not only define concepts for students. Teachers explain to students why a particular concept or definition is acceptable, why learners must know it and how it relates to other concepts or definitions. This can be done properly if the teacher possesses a good understanding of the subject-matter. This type of understanding includes an understanding of the intellectual context and value of the subject-matter. The understanding of subject matter generally reinforces the teacher’s confidence in delivering lessons, thereby making him/her a good teacher.

3.3 EXPERIENCE

Experience is one of the factors that account for variations in teacher salary, the world over (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006). The fact that salary differences are based on the number of years the teacher has served, suggests that employers believe the teachers experience makes him/her a better teacher and such a teacher must be motivated to remain in the service. Though some studies like that Hanushek (2011) have suggested that the experience positively influences teacher quality only in the first few years, and that beyond five years, experience ceases to have positive impact on teacher efficacy, common sense tells us the one who has been doing something for a long time does better and with ease. Experience will therefore continue to pay, since, more experienced teachers have the propensity to know more about the subject-matter they teach, and think and behave appropriately in the classroom, and have much more positive attitudes toward their students.

Teachers who have spent more years of teaching, usually, feel self-assured in their skill to use instructional and assessment tools. These teachers are able to reach even the most difficult-to-reach students in their classrooms. They also have greater confidence in their capability to control the class and prevent incidence that might make the teaching and learning process difficult. Their experience makes them much more patient and tolerant than their counterpart with few years of experience (Wolters & Daugherty, 2007). Novice teachers progressively gain and develop teaching and classroom management skills needed to make them effective teachers. They spend time learning themselves – trying to understand fully the job they have entered. The teachers who have spent more years teaching have gained a rich store of knowledge the less experience teachers will be trying to build. Teachers’ sense of effectiveness is generally associated with good attitudes, behaviors and interactions with their students. This is something the experienced teacher has already acquired. These explain why more experienced teachers are usually more effective teachers than the novices.

Another reason more experienced teachers tend to be better teachers than their inexperienced counterparts, is that, experienced teachers have gained additional training, and hence, have acquired additional teaching skills, needed to be effective from direct experience. Usually the training of teachers does not end at the initial teacher training stage. After graduation, teachers attend capacity building seminars, workshops and conferences. These give teachers the opportunity to learn emerging teaching techniques and also refresh their memories on the things they have learnt. Such seminars, workshops and conferences mostly add to the teacher’s store of knowledge. The other advantage the experienced teachers have is that they have encountered more situations to develop the skills needed to be effective teachers through additional direct, and sometimes indirect experiences. That is to say, they have encountered challenging situations which gave them the opportunity to build their skills. Whether they were able to overcome these challenging situation or not, does not matter so much. If the teachers encounter difficult situations in their classes, they learn from them. If the teachers are able to overcome difficult situations, they get to know how to resolve such situations at the next encounter, otherwise their reflections and suggestions from co-teachers gives them ideas about how to approach same or similar situations. They also have a greater chance of being exposed to current and competent models. More experienced teachers have a higher chance of demonstrating superior self-efficacy in most areas, because they have learned the needed classroom management and instructional skills from their colleagues. Teachers who have been in active service for many years are most likely to be classified as quality teachers, because of what they have learnt from in-service training, capacity building workshops and seminars, their interaction with other teachers and what they have learnt from experience in their classrooms.

4.0 CONCLUSION

Teacher education aims at providing teacher education program through initial teacher training for teacher trainees, and in-service training for practicing teachers in order to produce knowledgeable and committed teachers for effective teaching and learning. To realize this mission, teacher education programs have been instituted for the training of teachers. These programs differ from one country to another. Even within the same country, there may be different programs training teachers for the same certificate. These alternative programs are a created, specially, where there are shortages of teachers, and attempts are being made to train large numbers of teachers at a time. These alternative programs ease the teacher certification requirement, allowing those who under normal circumstances would not become teachers. This introduces serious challenges. Because large numbers of teachers are needed within a short period, their training is somewhat fast-tracked resulting in what is usually referred to as half-baked teachers – teachers of lower quality. Applicants who did not gain admission into the program of their choice come into teaching only because they have nowhere else to go. Such applicants tend not to be dedicated to the teaching service in the end. Fast-tracking initial teacher preparation actually harm the mission for which the initial teacher training institutions were created. This is because the teacher produced through such training are usually not of high quality.

Teacher preparation has a direct impact on students’ achievement. The most important in-school factors upon which student’s success hinges, is a teacher who has been well prepared. A well-prepared teacher is one who has gone through a strong teacher preparation program. It is therefore necessary for educators to work to create needed improvements in teacher preparation. To strengthen teacher preparation, teacher preparation programs must provide strong preparation during the initial teacher training period and give support to fresh teachers until they are inducted. Pre-service teacher education should emphasize the acquisition of effective teaching strategies. This can be done in methodology classes and corresponding field experiences. Students who have quality teachers make achievement gains, while those with ineffective teachers show declines, therefore having high quality teachers in classrooms has a positive impact on students’ achievements.

Pedagogical content knowledge, subject matter content knowledge and experience determines the quality of a teacher. Teachers make subject-matter accessible to students by using Pedagogical content knowledge. Pedagogical content knowledge has two broad areas of knowledge: teachers’ knowledge of students’ subject-matter pre-conceptions and teachers’ knowledge of teaching strategies. What Pedagogical content knowledge does is that, it links subject-matter content knowledge and the practice of teaching, making sure that discussions on content are appropriate and that, discussions focus on the content and help students to retain the content. The teacher’s job is to facilitate the learning of subject-matter by students. The degree to which the teacher can assist students to learn depends on the subject-matter content knowledge the teacher possesses. Teachers who possess inaccurate information or comprehend the subject-matter in narrow ways, harm students by passing on the same false or shallow subject-matter knowledge to their students. The last of the three determinants of teacher quality is experience. Teachers who have served more years gain additional and more specific training by attending seminars, conferences and workshops and in-service training and so tend to understand their job better. They also might have met and solved many challenging situations in their classroom and therefore know exactly what to do in any situation.

Money Making Real Estate Marketing Ideas

Real estate marketing is a lot simpler than most Realtors
make it out to be. Some equate expensive products and
services with quality.

However, effective real estate marketing does not have to be
expensive, complicated, or sophisticated. Sometimes, plain,
simple, direct and to the point makes lasting impressions
that result in increased business opportunities and more
income.

One of the most effective real estate marketing ideas
involves Expired Listings. If you’re newly licensed, new to
a community or simply looking for a way to increase your
business you should aggressively pursue them.

Expired Listings are plentiful and always easy to find. All
you have to do is look at your daily MLS updates.

If you make them a staple of your real estate marketing
efforts by pursuing them consistently you should be able
to develop a steady stream of prospects and a solid income
within 3 – 6 months, depending on your local market
conditions.

Still, getting them is easier said than done. However, a
good real estate listing system can help set you apart from
other Realtors in a relatively short period of time.

Below are some additional real estate marketing ideas.

1. Bumper stickers. Are you advertising yourself via bumper
stickers, yet? If not you’re missing out on a simple, cost
effective marketing strategy.

So, here’s the deal. It’s very simple. Have some bumper
stickers printed with your web site address and other
business information on it.

Ask your church, sorority, fraternity and/or other groups
you belong to to support you by placing them on their cars.
Many will be happy to help out, especially since it won’t
cost them anything to be supportive.

Also, make enough for family, friends and clients who are
happy with your services and willing to share how great they
think you are.

2. T – Shirts & Jackets. Real estate marketing via T –
shirts and jackets is not a new or novel idea, but how many
Realtors do you see advertising via this medium. Did you say
“none?” That’s what I thought.

So, have some t-shirts and jackets made with your web site
address and other business information on them. You, your
family and friends can wear them almost anywhere. Market
your business year round for a one time cost. When it’s too
cold for t-shirts wear the jacket.

3. Baseball Caps. Here’s another great way to get a lot of
free advertising.

Have some baseball caps made with your web site address and
other real estate business information on them. Heck, you
might as well spend a few more bucks and outfit your child’s
baseball team with them. It makes for great publicity and is
also a nice thing to do for kids!

Ask the parents for “quid pro quo” by asking them to place
your bumper stickers on their cars.

4. Envelopes, Stationary & Business Cards. These are the
mainstay of any real estate marketing campaign, and a must
for your marketing campaigns.

Make sure your web site address and other business
information is printed on all of your stationary, envelopes
and business cards. Leave a few wherever you go. Give them
out like candy, as they are doing nobody any good in your
pockets.

5. Magnetic Signs. Automobile signs are the “meat and
potatoes” of real estate marketing of most serious agents.
If you don’t already have some get some. No,not the generic
ones that your Broker has laying around, but signs with your
name, web site address and other business information on
them.

Place them on your car doors or roof. Take them off and
reattach them in different spots from time to time to avoid
fading your paint job.

6. Flyers. Print flyers with your web site address and other
business information on them. Keep some with you at all
times and hang on bulletin boards or simply lying around to
be picked up. It’s a great, inexpensive real estate
marketing idea that reaches a lot of people fast.

Print out a few hundred at a time and pay your kids to place
them on car windshields in grocery store and shopping center
parking lots on Saturday mornings.

7. Articles. Another real estate marketing idea is to write
articles. Writing articles is a great way to demonstrate
your expertise as a real estate professional while plugging
your real estate business. It’s also an inexpensive way to
increase your website ranking.

These real estate marketing ideas, anchored by a good real
estate marketing listing system, can help supercharge your
business and help you achieve the success you deserve.

So, the sooner you adopt these strategies the sooner you’ll
be able begin reaping the benefits of them.

Tips to Maintaining Long Beautiful Hair

Long beautiful hair is an epitome of a woman’s beauty and personality. Thus it requires extra care and good maintenance. In this fast and hectic routine it’s really challenging to spend extra amount of time for hair care but if any one desires to have long hair then it is exceptionally significant. Just a little care and a little time can add a crowning glory of long healthy hair to a woman’s personality

Here are some of the excellent tips to care for your long beautiful hair:

• When your hair are wet comb with a wide-toothed comb or else you can experience breakage as wet hair are very weak.

• Softly remove tangles and locks with a wide-toothed comb. Use a small comb only once all the locks and tangles are removed.
• Use a branded shampoo or the one with natural ingredients to avoid any kind of damage or issue.
• Always use a conditioner after shampooing as it helps to neutralize the effect that shampoo leaves on your hair. Conditioners help to keep the hair cuticle smooth and slippery that otherwise become rough and dull with the shampoo. It is believed that conditioners are mainly used to acidify the effects of shampoo.
• At least twice a week massage the scalp with coconut oil, olive oil, or any other good hair oil.
• Protect your hair from over-exposure to sun, wind, pollution or any kind of damaging products.
• Keep your hair away from chlorinated water. Cover your head well with a swimming cap when you go for swimming.
• Don’t use any hair product that contains alcohol or hardening agents as these cause dryness and reduce the natural glamour.
• Don’t use much of electronics and styling products to jazz up.
• Avoid use of dryer, curling irons, flat iron, or any such kind of hot styling tools. Too much heat will destroy the shine and make your hair look dull and lifeless.
• Don’t switch over colors and highlights constantly over a short period of time. Give time to your hair to accept the style and make gradual changes if you want to change your hairstyle.
• Trim your hair at least once a month or once in 45 days to get rid of split ends. Split ends make the hair look unclean, dull, and frizzy.
• Last but not the least, a good diet and proper nutrition is also essential. You should have enough of proteins, iron, and vitamins to keep your hair healthy and beautiful.

Is Technology Killing Creativity?

It is impossible for technology to kill creativity. Creativity always precedes technology. The notion that technology can kill creativity is like worrying that a tree can kill the sun. Creativity is the force that drives technology.

What is creativity?

Common definition: ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. The term generally refers to a richness of ideas and originality of thinking. If you can’t digest all that easily, don’t worry. I couldn’t either. There are many definitions of creativity and they are all complex and wordy but I think Einstein said it best. “Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” That’s creativity in a nutshell. (Einstein, quoted in Creativity, Design and Business Performance.)

Perceptions of the creative type

The term creative, when applied to a human usually provokes the image of the artistic type: the writer, the musician, and the painter among others. And conversely, it is often assumed that the engineer, businessman, or scientist is not creative, but it can be quite the opposite. In my observation it is more often than not the successful person who is creative, not a particular type of person. When looking at the definition of creativity you can see that creativity is not the ability to draw well, or have long hair, but the ability to produce something new whether it be a song or a better business model or a safer car. All of these advances come from creative minds.

Creativity is the ability to solve problems in a unique way and is not limited to the arts. The fine arts are more about self-expression and not necessarily problem solving. In any case, creativity in expression and problem solving has been greatly enhanced and unleashed by technology.

Creativity always precedes technology

When man first observed that a sharp stick could kill an animal or be used to pick his teeth he was making that leap from observing to being creative. Someone had to have the idea of using a log as a roller before they actually used it that way. Then came the Roller 2.0 or Wheel 1.0 depending on who you ask. The point is that the wheel didn’t stop creativity, creativity gave us the wooden wheel, then the wagon wheel, then the bicycle tire, then the car tire…

Apparent loss of Creativity

You may hear people lamenting the loss of creativity, but that is only a perceived loss of creativity. People love citing the abundance of bad books, unoriginal art, crappy videos, and terrible songs found on the Internet but they are wrong. There are more people expressing creativity today than ever before in history. Don’t confuse quantity and creative expression with quality. Furthermore, while it may appear that the quality of creative output has suffered a serious decline, it hasn’t. There are just so many people expressing themselves creatively, and we have access to it all, so it seems that there is nothing out there but a mountain of crap. In my experience there is significantly more quality creative output available than ever before.

Creativity needs inspiration

We have a lot of that available now. 24 hours a day we can find inspiration in the form of books, blogs, images, movies, music, art, photographs, you name it. Inspiration is very important to creativity and despite the wealth of electronic inspiration available, this is one area where I can see the danger of creativity being stunted by technology.

Hands on experience is vital to creativity. You can’t adequately describe a pounding jungle rain, or the feeling of walking past an abandoned house alone at night, or the smell of a bathroom at a gas station, unless you’ve experienced them. There are so many smells, feelings, sensations, etc. which make you a much better creator that you just can’t get from sitting in front of a screen. The fuel of artistic creativity is inspiration and the ingredients for inspiration are knowledge and experience. We have a vast amount of knowledge at our fingertips. We just have to make sure we have plenty of real-life experience. The loss of inspiration can diminish creativity but that is a case of technology distracting us from tactile sources of inspiration, not replacing or destroying creativity.

Will technology replace the artist?

Technology will not replace the artist (at least not in the near future) or creative types; it in fact requires more of us. A programmer can write more complex and refined code that will do many mundane functions, even mimicking creativity, but that ability to mimic is nothing more than coded instructions and there is a limit to what they can do. Real human creativity can make leaps and jumps and associations that a program can’t.

For example, there are applications that can take a photo and make it look like a hand sketched portrait, and they can look very, very convincing. These programs are prime examples of technology and its limits. No matter how good the program, there are still many decisions that a human will make differently, whereas the computer plows on through carrying out all of its instructions in the same exact way each time. What’s being coded is a mechanical process, not creativity. In the case of the sketch programs, an artist sat with a programmer and they studied pictures together. The artist explained to the programmer that given certain aspects and elements of an image he would sketch or draw them in a certain way. He might explain hundreds of variables and how they apply to shadow and light. The programmer then wrote the code that will analyze lights and darks, contrast, colors, and even focus and density of detail. But when a series of images are fed through it the program will approach the task the exact same way each time whereas an artist will always do something different. They might be in a good or bad mood that day, maybe biased towards eyes and not lips, or have trouble drawing nostrils, or the picture evokes a certain reaction, not to mention the training and personal background of the artist. All contribute to the uniqueness of the piece.

Creativity is being accelerated by technology, not stifled

Photoshop and Word are both pieces of software that make creating vastly easier and quicker, and feature tools that can do some of the mechanical work for us, but they don’t replace creativity. Just as Leonardo Da Vinci used the best tools and techniques of his day, artists having progressed past rubbing dirt and ash on cave walls, are also moving past paints and brushes and using tablets and touch screens. Technology changes, creativity doesn’t.

We are losing the arts

There is something very substantial feeling about an old oil painting or antique book and I mourn their diminishment in the modern world. But those are losses of technology and not creativity.

We are evolving our processes. I hate to see the dark room go the way of the telephone booth. I remember working in a dark room and I loved the atmosphere, but that is all personal and sentimental. Besides, there will always be diehard traditionalist that will keep the old ways alive, just as there are still those who like to handcraft wood, leather, and participate in other archaic processes for the satisfaction of it and to keep the old ways alive. I am not saying it’s a good thing that processes are dying off, quite the contrary. I think it is important for a myriad of reasons to keep old processes alive. But there are many benefits to the evolution of these processes.

The barrier of cost and accessibility have plummeted for almost any creative endeavor. Writing, art, music, photography, you name it and technology has made it cheap, even free, to express oneself.

I am not sure of the ecological impact, but all those chemicals used in the dark room were often dumped down the drain. Books were hand typed, and even when computers and email attachments were first coming out, publishers still expected a submitting author to print a manuscript and mail it to them. That took days and hundred dollars which is insane to even consider today. My last novel was read and edited by several people worldwide, even the cover was designed by an artist far away from where I live. I easily and relatively cheaply published a professional quality novel. The creative content, my expression of creativity, may be up for debate, but all other aspects of the novel were done as well as, or even better than, any publisher could have done. This was not even dreamed of just a short time ago and I used no paper, shipping, ink, etc.

And it’s not just barriers of cost and accessibility but audience. Recently if you were to get a book published you had to convince a publisher you had a huge audience. Now you can publish a book because you want to, or for a niche audience. How to Wash Your Llama might do well in certain circles.

So our tools make the job easier, but do they require less talent? No, and the reason there are so many lesser talented artists in circulation is because there is such a high demand for content. But that’s great news for artists. Artists don’t have to be the starving artist anymore. As an artist; whether you are a writer, artist, designer, musician, voice over talent – you can work from anywhere in the world. You can sell your art online, get hired to do jobs, even leverage your success to create more success.

I am old enough to remember cameras that used film, televisions that were black and white, and phones that were attached to the wall and worse still, phones could only be used as phones. And I remember what it took to attempt to get a book published. The people getting published weren’t the best writers, they were the best at facing a mind-numbingly complex and boring job that could take years and would likely lead to nothing. And self-publishing was ridiculous. Even if you had the thousands of dollars it took to do even a small print run you hadn’t even scratched the surface of getting a book marketed, distributed, and sold. Many would-be authors ended up with a garage full of books they couldn’t give away.

Today companies like Create Space have removed virtually every barrier there ever was to writing and publishing a book except for one – the ability to actually write the book. It is infinitely faster and less expensive now to get a book beta read, edited, cover designed, and made available for the world to buy. In the quest to publish my own works, I’ve spoken with writers who have spent hundreds or even thousands marketing a book and generated almost no sales. I’ve also talked to several that just put the book out there and word of mouth and good reviews led to more and more sales.

One in particular has a tale similar to mine. He spent twenty years having the publishers and agents telling him, “No thanks.”

They all had reasons not to publish him and most were contradictory to the other. Too long, too short, too many characters, or not enough characters. He started self-publishing about five years ago and has since quit his job and writes fulltime. People love his books, the very same books that all the “professionals” said would never make it. And the funny thing is, those same publishers have come back to him wanting the rights to publish his work. He said, “No.”

Why would he sign away his rights and get a fraction of the book sales so a publisher could make money? With a good book, almost no marketing is required, but that of course is the exception, not the rule. But even an incredibly bad book can make money in this new world. In the publisher’s defense, publishing a book was hugely expensive and they had to pick winners, books that would sell a large number of copies.

I have read a few really bad, crazy, or ridiculous books and enjoyed them. Maybe laughing at them as they were so bad, but still I paid and the author got some money. There are books that were written so intentionally ridiculous that maybe 400 people will ever read them, but those books would never have seen the light of day previously and never, ever have made a penny. But one terribly silly book today can be enjoyed by a few hundred people and net the author a few dollars. In addition the world has a small, very unique book available to it that otherwise it wouldn’t have.

We are in a Renaissance unlike anything since the 1700’s. Much of what we love was birthed in the creative Renaissance: the novel, female writers, etc. Software, computers, technology itself, are tools and creative people always use tools, well, more creatively. If a piece of software is released that does a supposedly creative task and suddenly everyone can do that task, the creative and talented person is going to use that tool more effectively and to a better end than most others.

I came up with the idea for my most successful book because I realized that traditionally trained artists weren’t using the full power of available technology and self taught artists who learned on the computer lacked basic art skills. You need both to truly excel.

Simple and Easy Tips to Get Beautiful Hair

All women in the world are expecting to have beautiful hair. Some people say that beautiful hair will represent a women’s beauty. It is symbolized as women’s crown. That is true! Just compare with women who have poor and ugly hair, how they look like? Yes, they are not interesting enough!

Throw away your chemical shampoo now! In fact, shampoos that are offered in the shops are not good enough for you. Many bad effects are caused by the chemical contents of your chemical shampoo such as a dandruff and unhealthy scalp.

To make you get strong and beautiful hair, just do home remedy! No need to be worried, no need to earn much money, and it works!

Start to give vitamins. You can apply aloe Vera’s treatment as the ultimate mask. Based on the study and experience, aloe Vera has good vitamin content to make your crown strong, shiny, and beautiful. You can use aloe Vera mask twice a week. Then, you will see the result.

Use hazelnut oil as your head massage oil. Massaging will support blood stream to the head and bring nutrition for your crown. You can do it at home without any difficult method. Just rub hazelnut oil on your head and massage it slowly. In the short time, if you are consistent, you will get the strong crown!

Avoid last long sun shines! It will reduce much nutrition, even causing dry and broken. It is better for you to bring a hat or cap to protect your beautiful crown from the extremely warm sunshine everyday.

Consume fresh fruits like apples, bananas, and grape to give good nutrition to your scalp. Eat foods, which contain with rich minerals and vitamins like cereal, corn, wheat, rice, etc. You should have known the benefits of those foods. They are very effective to increase hair growth perfectly.

Understanding Technology News Paves Way for an Advanced World

Are you interested in knowing the recent developments that are taking place around you? Do you feel that every individual needs to realize the importance of keeping themselves updated with the global events? If yes, then surely you understand the importance of news in the contemporary world. News can be defined as information that affects a large number of people and is of utmost importance. News is disseminated to inform people about the different events that are taking place around their neighboring areas. News can range from entertainment, politics to science and technology. It can also be classified as per to the region. Events that are of local importance take the shape of local news and facts that consider foreign relations comprise of as international news.

Technology News is referred to as updated information that is concerned with the advancements achieved in the field of technology. Individuals around the world are highly dependent on technology. They are attracted with the beauty and charm of modern appliances in their day to day living. Be it laptops to smart phones, the contribution and use of technology is prevalent at every stage in our lives. With such popularity and reliance on electronic devices, a majority of the people in the contemporary world are interested in the latest updates of technological devices and advancements made in the related field. Thus realizing this need, most newspapers and websites have created a separate section for easy navigation.

In the corporate field, Technology News plays a pivotal role as it provides technical specifications on the trends and developments of different operating systems and applications. Information Technology (IT) experts comprise a large population of employers and with information on updated technology, organizations are aware about the different specifications of intricate system applications. It is also possible to get information on complex technologies like Linux, Unix and Windows Operating System.

From medical experts to schools and organizations, every individual lays emphasis on the importance of Technology News in the modern scenario. Even if you are a home maker, you need to be aware about the multiple products that are released in the market for easy and comfortable living. With multiple stories reporting of refrigerators that have the ability to automatically order food as it runs out, automatic cleaning ovens and vacuum cleaners that helps you to clean the house with ease. Therefore, you can understand that keeping yourself updated on recent technology can turn you into a smart shopper as well.

One can definitely understand how Technology News plays a pivotal role in the enhancement of one’s knowledge. It paves way for an easy entry into the technological world of computerization. With each passing day, various companies are launching new products and services to provide utmost comfort to all the consumers around the world. The development of software services paves way for a smarter planet. Therefore every person on this earth should have a passive interest about technology. It has a great potential in shaping up your life. Readers around the globe lay a great emphasis in educating themselves about the technological advancements of different equipment’s.

Real Estate Marketing Reports; Fast, Affordable and Content Rich

Generating good real estate web site content is hard, but writing effective content is harder. And forget about publishing good, useful web content quickly on a regular basis, because if you’re anything like me you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to do it.

However, the better the quality of your content the more value it adds to your web site. If your human visitors like it the search engines will probably like it, too. And of course this all makes since when you consider that your site visitors are looking for helpful information and search engines are pleased when your visitors are.

When you have an online presence it doesn’t matter whether someone is next door to you or on the other side of the world – they can see your web site just the same as anyone else can, at no extra cost to you or to them. You can make friends and contacts in places you’ve never been and will never go. Suddenly, it’s as easy to market globally as it is to market locally.

Pre-written Real Estate Marketing Content is readily available and can be used in a variety of ways; as marketing reports, articles, web site content and the like. Above all it offers a way to provide useful information and gain the trust of your readers and site visitors.

If you’re a good, fast writer you might consider writing your material yourself. While you might be able to save the cost of a professional writer, you have to ask yourself how much will you really save when you factor in the loss of business while you are painstakingly grinding out one article after another. There’s very little upside to doing a $15.00 an hour job when you could be making thousands.

Many real estate web sites appear to have just a few pages. However, they often times have upwards of hundreds of pages that you may never see, but they are hidden, hard working pages feeding the search engines and directing visitors to them. Real estate prospects find these pages by way of different keywords and visit the web sites that appeal to their interests.

Perhaps that’s why Marketing Reports are becoming increasingly popular. They’re a fast and affordable way to create content rich, dynamic real estate web site! The more pages you have the more business opportunities you will create, and the faster you can do it the sooner you can benefit from the traffic and leads you can generate using them.

Optimized real estate web site content can also help you get your real estate web site indexed by search engines faster, and the more unique the content the greater its’ perceived value. Plus, consumers can get answers to frequently asked questions, as well as determine the types of home available in their price ranges.

A well designed web site offers an online presence to advertise your listings and services. It also provides a platform to showcase your knowledge. It’s an efficient way to expose consumers to your marketing message, sign them up as prospects and convert them to viable leads.

The real estate market is very competitive and the most successful agents have found ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And a real estate web site is just one of the ways to do it. If visitors like your site content they’ll keep returning, as will the search engines.

Summarily, the most successful real estate agents usually have lots of leads, buyers and sellers. And one lead generating system that works well is marketing through Real Estate Marketing Reports. They’re easy to find, are relatively inexpensive and often ready to be used as soon as you upload them to your web site.