Digital Photography As a Disruptive Technology and the Development of New Photographic Products

Introduction to DisruptionDisruptive technologies are innovations that unexpectedly create a new market and displace established market leading products and services. The music industry has been a great example of this: records were the first products that allowed consumers to own music and play it on-demand, but these were slowly replaced by cassette tapes and then compact discs. Each of these innovations had a profound effect on the market, on the one hand the quality of sound reproduction was better and with cassette tapes consumers were able to record music themselves. On the other hand they had to replace their old players with new technology and their previous music collection slowly became obsolete. Hardware such as the Sony Walkman became popular phenomena.Compression formats such as MP3 were another disruption in this industry, making it possible to store large quantities of music electronically and more importantly to exchange these files easily. As a result of this disruptive innovation P2P networks like Napster developed for exchanging music, along with various software for copying, playing, cutting and modifying music. As with the previous innovations, this one had an immense impact on the hardware side as well, the best example being the Apple iPod which in a way inherited cult status from the Walkman.Disruption in PhotographyDigital Photography is another disruptive technology it has almost completely replaced film photography over the past decade. The decline in prices of digital photography equipment has made the technology accessible to the mass market. Digital Photography penetration exceeds 60% in many western countries.One of the major changes heralded by the rise of digital photography has been the way people use their photos. With a 35mm film camera, that was the norm before digital, consumers would snap 12, 24 or 36 photos and then take the film to have developed without knowing the quality of the photos before seeing the finished product. Digital photography has had the effect that photographers take more photos, but print them less. This is due to the fact that they can screen the photos before having them printed.New Markets and ProductsAnother major change digital photography has brought about is how photos are used. Developed photos were often stored in boxes or pasted in albums, sometimes framed and hung on walls. Digital photography bundled with advances in printing technology have given birth to a new market for customized photographic products. The self-made photo album has been replaced by the photo book, which is created using software and digital photos and is hard to distinguish from a regular hardcover book. A large variety of novelty photo products is available that ranges from mouse pads to coffee cups.A product category that has recently begun to emerge as a result of the proliferation of digital photography is that of wall art or wall décor. Increasingly, art prints, framed photos and paintings are being replaced by photographic wall art. Many amateur and professional photographers are using wall art as an outlet for their creative energy. They go to great lengths to make photographs and want to display them somewhere. One of the first types was the poster, as it is easy and inexpensive to produce and dispatch. But a premium segment has developed for canvas and other photographic wall panels. Printing technology has evolved to be able to print not only on paper and cardboard but directly onto canvas, acrylic, metal and other materials. This has made a new class of photographic wall panels for interior decoration. Photographic wall panels have become a tool for design due to their unique properties. Acrylic panels, which are essentially plastic panels onto which an image is directly printed, are particularly attractive because they can be combined with innovative lighting to create unique effects.ConclusionDigital printing has profoundly affected not only the photography industry but it has also paved the way for new technologies, products and markets. It has influenced the way people take photos and what they do with them afterward. It has made established industries and products obsolete (film development, 35mm products), while creating new products and industries (web-to-print, acrylic panel, canvas print, photo books etc.). Digital printing is a prime example of the power of disruptive technologies.

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Market Research Via the Internet – Wave of the Future?

The gathering of industry data is important in any industry. The information determines the direction a company will go in to ensure its products are able to fulfill its customer’s needs in the future. How is this data gathered and applied?Traditionally companies utilized mail, phone surveys and outside consulting firms among other methods to obtain this information. However, within the last ten years market research from Internet based sources started to take hold.As with anything else there are advantages and disadvantages of using Internet for market research purposes.Some positives include: The Internet saves professionals the time of gathering information independently. Examples consist of a faster response rate in international markets. More ever, the practice has eliminated the middleman interviewer and allowing instant access to a wide audience at a very low cost.Furthermore some additional benefits of online market research include online surveys offer an element of real-time, allowing researchers to analyze their results at once. These kinds of surveys are easy to create and deploy. Furthermore, online surveys offer participants greater anonymity than other forms of surveys, like direct mail, telephone surveys or door-to-door canvassing. Once the days is used it can repurposed by posting the results on your web site and through social media channels.Some of the arguments against using Internet Research include: The use of the Internet may not be representative of certain populations. Computer penetration and Internet availability are low in some parts of Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe a true sample which represents the population could be difficult to obtain.The latest industry data indicates the positives are winning out. According to an IBIS World Report in 2010 37% of 14.1 billion dollars generated by the Market Research industry within the United States was Internet based.The report went on to state the Internet and social media have recently shifted the dialogue between market researchers and consumers. Professionals in the business can now monitor consumer opinions by establishing message boards, online forums and ratings systems. These methods allow companies to bypass paid participants in a focus group to reach and connect with an active audience.In conclusion, the IBIS publication added the Internet also gives researchers the opportunity to target and engage specific audiences and obtain critical data such as which competing products and services they are using and how satisfied your customers are with your products.Overall, the importance of internet-based market research will increase as population segments continue to fragment and social media continues to blossom.

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Health Care Reform – How Are You Affected? – Part 2

To date, little is known about specifics expected to come from the two departments. HHS will be the primary driver however, while DOL will address union and other labor issues that arise.Healthcare reforms do address a few specific areas by which employers, large and small, can plan. We do need to remember the final outcome of the law was not to reduce costs. Rather, the purpose was to increase access to health insurance.The immediate timeline related to all employer sponsored health insurance plans look like this:-By September 23, 2010, all insurance plans must offer dependent coverage to children until age 26, regardless of marital status, student status, or employment status.
-Tightly restricted annual limits on “Essential Health Benefits” are eliminated
-Waiting periods for pre-existing conditions are eliminated for children under age 19
-Lifetime benefits are eliminated
-35% tax credit (immediate for 2010) for employers who offer and subsidize health insurance for its employees.Essential Health Benefits will be better defined by HHS over time, but will certainly include mandatory wellness benefits. Health plans in effect on or before March 23, are considered “grandfathered” and thus are exempt from the following mandates. However, a change in carriers, a “substantial” change in benefits, or a substantial shift in costs of premiums to employees will result in the loss of this exemption. HHS will issue R & Rs later, further defining the parameters of “substantial change”.Grandfathered plans may enjoy the luxury of smaller premium increases over time than non-grandfathered plans because these new plans have other, stricter requirements.In the interim, grandfathered plans are exempt from:-First dollar coverage for preventive care although some grandfathered plans offer this benefit.
-Non-discrimination rules are extended to insurance plans. That is, management may not have a richer benefit plan than non-management
-Emergency care services must be treated as “in-network” without prior authorization
-Pediatricians and OB-GYNs are considered primary care providers.Insurance carriers will be required to abide by a “minimum loss ratio” (MLR). This will apply to all group insurance plans. In short, the MLR states that insurance companies must issue refunds to groups if claims are less than 85% (large groups) and 80% (small groups) of total premiums paid. The reverse is also true. Small groups in particular could face excessively high premiums after one particularly unfavorable year. Some employers who provide health insurance are now faced with some tough decisions as a result of health care reform. Non-grandfathered plans are more likely to see significantly higher premiums than grandfathered plans, as R & Rs clarify some of the uncertainty.Health Care Reform included some other obscure provisions about which employees are probably unaware. All non-grandfathered plans and employer groups with 25 or more employees (including common ownership of 2 or more small businesses) will be subjected to a number of reporting requirements in addition to the mandates listed previously. Too, health care reform will begin to count part-time employees as well through a formula called “full-time equivalent” (FTE). This could be especially troubling to employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees, but after accounting for FTE of part-time employees they could inadvertently be counted as 50+ and subject to mandates. The FTE formula will be clarified as time goes by, but by January 1, 2014, all non-grandfathered groups will be subject to these mandates.Health care reform does not require employers to offer group insurance. Nevertheless, penalties will apply to 50+ employee groups (including FTE & remember the common ownership rule) who do not offer medical insurance. For instance, an employer would face a $2000 fine per employee (31st employee and beyond) if even one employee receives a $2000 tax credit from the government toward health insurance through the Exchange (to be explained in a later column) or through Medicaid.Employers who offer health insurance must also offer a free voucher, equal to the employer’s contribution, to all employee’s whose household income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level. The employers can then purchase insurance through the Exchange. If the Exchange is cheaper than the value of the voucher, the employer is then required to pay the difference to the employee.On January 1, 2014, the IRS will get involved. Employers of 50+ and not grandfathered will be required to report the value of the health insurance on W-2′s to be issued by January 2012. Penalties will apply here as well if the reported value is greater than $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. That is, insurers will be assessed an excise tax on the coverage and because of the MLR, that assessment will likely be pushed on to employees as higher premiums.If the employer’s contribution is less than 60% or the employee’s cost share of premium exceeds 9.5% of household income and an employee receives a government subsidy, then a penalty of $2,000 for each employee (31st employee and beyond) is levied..By March 2012, employers of 50+ and non-grandfathered plans must provide a 4-page pre-enrollment coverage document outlining benefits and exclusions to all new employees. Details will be forthcoming from HHS.Reading “between the lines”, it would appear the government is making it difficult for employers at or near 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance. Likewise, employers may be forced to eliminate part-time/seasonal workers and instead opt for overtime to regular/full-time employees to avoid potential penalties and the possibility of having to cover part-time employees on insurance.Health care reform includes other mandates that will trigger by January 1, 2014, but are not as likely as the above mandates to alter an employer’s basic business model on hiring practices, nor are they as apt to influence an employer’s decision on whether to offer insurance.Inevitably, many more questions will arise. As you can see, the intent with health care reform is a push toward universal coverage through employers of 50+. Next time, we’ll talk about individuals and groups under 50

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Questions For Commercial Loan Applicants

Let us say that you see the market in a good position and you decide to invest a little in your own business. First thing that comes to mind is to expand. For that you need a commercial loan. We give you a few questions you should think about.Begin by taking at the financial decisions you have taken in the past. Judge yourself from that information and decide what commercial loan fits your needs. For instance, think about the rates that you can realistically afford to pay without sacrificing money on other things. If the commercial lenders looked at your personal financial history what would they find? Would you be willing to share that information if required for your commercial loan?Next, you should also look at the terms of the loan. Is your business going through some bad times and it only requires financial assistance in the short term? Maybe you’ve made a lot of work and want to choose an intermediate term commercial loans. Is your business doing great? Will you need a commercial loan in the long term to maintain the smooth operation of your computer or to acquire other properties?Having considered all of that, how much money will you request? When you first started your business you had a business plan. Go back to that document and compare it with the way things have evolved since the beginning. Are your projections accurate or not? What is off then? Choose a bottom and a top for your commercial loan, an amount that you should not go under or above.Have you talked to more than a commercial lender for their financing needs? Have you thought about the rules and regulations of the mortgage lender? It is important that you look at your warranty. This must equal the minimum amount of the loan when you apply your commercial loan. Together with this, review your personal credit rating and your business before making applications to commercial lenders. They will no doubt consider this information crucial in order to give you a commercial loan.It may be an overwhelming amount of questions that we have suggested here. The truth is that you should consider all of this information before engaging into long or short term commercial loans. If you have not been the best financial manager of your own money, commercial lender may judge that in order to give you a loan. If you have then the news may be different for you.

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Why Online Education?

Online education is a process of learning and teaching through the Internet.Over the years, the World Wide Web has expanded ideas and information, making them more accessible to people wherever they are. With audio and visual technologies, the Internet has allowed the creation of a more effective, faster instructional system called the network, which makes distance learning possible. To build a network in order to unite the distance learning teacher with the student, both need only a satellite, cable modem, digital subscriber lines (DSL), or wireless cables.But before these technologies came about and made a difference in learning methods, online education seemed to just be a vague picture around twenty years ago.It was in the early 1980s that cable and satellite television became the primary media for distance education courses. Over time, the computer industry grew; and educational institutions used multimedia programs, the PowerPoint being the most popular one, in order to enhance teaching techniques in the hopes that students can easily absorb lessons.In mid-1990s, the Internet happened, and online education started to become a part of everyone’s way of life. At first, e-training companies only rendered online training courses for business entities that did not prefer in-house trainers for their employees. However, as the technology advanced, online classes and college courses ultimately became the next big thing. And up to now, we continue to witness the evolution of distance learning and online education, the changes of which have resulted to a lot of benefits.What basically sets online education apart from traditional face-to-face education is the technological separation of teachers and students. Online education saves students from the burden of actually going to a certain place at a certain time to meet his professor in order to learn. The two-way Internet-based communication systems that comprise a great streaming media, online video access, and fast web servers allow students to learn at home or someplace else at their own time. This enables students to keep on earning their respective university degrees through ways they see more efficient and effective. If they wish to study while working, then taking college courses online could be their best option.However, every option has its pros and cons and perhaps the major downside of online education is the lack of interaction that is naturally present in traditional classes. Online courses may be flexible for one’s study and work schedules, but it may also limit social skills that contribute into making a well-rounded individual. That is why online education must be balanced with a good amount of interaction as learners do tasks aside from studying.All are unique individuals with distinct methods to gain knowledge. And the fact is that online education has become an adaptive means for education pursuits for many people; high technologies such as the computers and Internet play an essential part in the educational system. The future of education, specifically for college programs and degree courses, holds a more accessible and wider range of educational and research opportunities.

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Veterans Benefits and Vocational Training

Of the many veterans benefits available to you, those that the Veterans Administration provides for education and vocational training may be the most generous. Upon discharge from military service you may have discovered that the experience and training received during your enlistment may not translate directly into the civilian workforce. Additional training may be required to jump start your career. If the prospect of returning to a traditional school environment leaves you cold, you may want to consider vocational technical training. The same hands on experience that attracted you to military service can be obtained at a vocational technical training school. Exploring the veterans benefits available for post secondary vocational training is a great place to start preparing for a new career.The transition from military to civilian service can be difficult. Many find that the most difficult part of connecting with their benefits is not the lack of information available but the information overload they experience. A quick internet search of the words GI Bill returns over one million hits. Keep it simple – don’t let the landslide of information paralyze you. The Veterans Administration website is a great place to start for the veteran who simply wants to take advantage of their veterans education benefits.Returning student veterans do not need to become an expert on the GI Bill. A quick read of the basics is sufficient to get you started. There will be counselors at the vocational school you choose who will help you connect with the veterans benefits you have earned. In addition to veterans benefits you may be eligible for traditional means of financial aid. By all means, educate yourself about the benefits to which you are entitled but do not let yourself become overwhelmed by the complexity of the information. Let those who deal with veterans benefits each and every day guide you through the process.There are no shortage of career options and vocational technical training choices that your veterans benefits will cover. Traditional vocational careers such as Automotive and Construction trades have been joined by a wide range of career choices. Returning students can use their veterans benefits to jump start a career in Health Care, Computer Technology or the Hospitality Industry. There is also an emerging focus on the jobs being created by our country’s move toward Green Technology.The New GI Bill provides for Tuition, a Monthly Housing Allowance and a Yearly Stipend for Books and Supplies. The amount of veterans benefits you are eligible for depends on several factors such as type of military service, length of service, your state of residence, etc. There is no simple formula by which you can determine the amount for which you are eligible and no shortage of charts and tables to help confuse you. These are, after all, government benefits so some complexity and confusion should be expected.The best course of action for a young veteran who would like to pursue vocational technical career training is to choose a career path, a school, and a program. Be prepared to show your DD-214 then allow the counselors at the school and the regional Veterans Administration office to determine the amount of veterans benefits for which you are eligible.

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Top Custom Web Application Development Company

Top Custom Web Application Development Company Enterprises and regulations are at all times looking for solutions to well manage their various business events and processes. Mostly Best Custom Web Application Development Company invention solutions from the IT commercial that is developing on a normal basis and has something for everybody. Professional Web Application Development Company are various software that can be bought »off the shelf» and applied directly to the various appearances of a business. Mostly, Professional Web Application Development Company organizations have needs that are different to them and are not shared by any other company. These definite needs can only be satisfied by custom web application development. Organizations can take support of any web application development company and get their custom solutions and improve their business processes.

Top Custom Web Application Development Company is highly regarded as it offers a unique solution that is built around the specific needs of the client and can be practical to those requirements that are most critical and different for a business. Professional Web Application Development Company are lots of reasons for the popularity of Best Custom Web Application Development Company but the very protuberant ones are mentioned below:

Any reputed web application development company should first behavior extensive research and analysis of any project previously actually getting started with it. Best Custom Web Application Development Company business analysts and project managers conduct an extensive fact finding team in which all the needs of the client, their business, needs of the personal using the software etc are found and clearly documented for future reference while developing application. These findings are then applied to create a well formulated solution that actualizes client’s needs into an appropriate solution.

The entire development procedure is needed to be flexible in order to create a solution according to clients requisites. Top Custom Web Application Development Company offers a very flexible development platform where developers can work and create the solution as anticipated by the client. The flexible development approach allows the ASP.NET developers to apply their originality and information without much imprisons and come up with advanced solutions for clients.

The majority critical thing to remember while developing custom web applications for organizations is that they should be user friendly. The qualifications and computer knowledge of those who would be finally using the application on a regular basis is essential to remember while developing applications. The usual users of the application would most likely be non IT aficionados who are more uneasy with business activities rather than the technological positions of how applications work. This requires the ASP.Net developers web application development company to come up with solutions that are very user friendly and can be simply operated by general users. Not much technical information must be required for functional the software. Custom applications can be simply expressed in such a method.

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Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination

An enormous amount of research shows the importance of self-determination (i.e., autonomy) for students in elementary school through college for enhancing learning and improving important post-school outcomes.

Research by psychologists Richard Ryan, PhD, and Edward Deci, PhD, on Self-Determination Theory indicates that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable), and thus higher quality learning, flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Students experience competence when challenged and given prompt feedback. Students experience autonomy when they feel supported to explore, take initiative and develop and implement solutions for their problems. Students experience relatedness when they perceive others listening and responding to them. When these three needs are met, students are more intrinsically motivated and actively engaged in their learning.

Numerous studies have found that students who are more involved in setting educational goals are more likely to reach their goals. When students perceive that the primary focus of learning is to obtain external rewards, such as a grade on an exam, they often perform more poorly, think of themselves as less competent, and report greater anxiety than when they believe that exams are simply a way for them to monitor their own learning. Some studies have found that the use of external rewards actually decreased motivation for a task for which the student initially was motivated. In a 1999 examination of 128 studies that investigated the effects of external rewards on intrinsic motivations, Drs. Deci and Ryan, along with psychologist Richard Koestner, PhD, concluded that such rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation by undermining people’s taking responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves.

Self-determination research has also identified flaws in high stakes, test focused school reforms, which despite good intentions, has led teachers and administrators to engage in precisely the types of interventions that result in poor quality learning. Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that high stakes tests tend to constrain teachers’ choices about curriculum coverage and curtail teachers’ ability to respond to students’ interests (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999). Also, psychologists Tim Urdan, PhD, and Scott Paris, PhD, found that such tests can decrease teacher enthusiasm for teaching, which has an adverse effect on students’ motivation (Urdan & Paris, 1994).

The processes described in self-determination theory may be particularly important for children with special educational needs. Researcher Michael Wehmeyer found that students with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to be employed and living independently in the community after completing high school than students who are less self-determined.

Research also shows that the educational benefits of self-determination principles don’t stop with high school graduation. Studies show how the orientation taken by college and medical school instructors (whether it is toward controlling students’ behavior or supporting the students’ autonomy) affects the students’ motivation and learning.

Self-determination theory has identified ways to better motivate students to learn at all educational levels, including those with disabilities.
Practical Application

Schools throughout the country are using self-determination instruction as a way to better motivate students and meet the growing need to teach children and youth ways to more fully accept responsibility for their lives by helping them to identify their needs and develop strategies to meet those needs.

Researchers have developed and evaluated instructional interventions and supports to encourage self-determination for all students, with many of these programs designed for use by students with disabilities. Many parents, researchers and policy makers have voiced concern about high rates of unemployment, under-employment and poverty experienced by students with disabilities after they complete their educational programs. Providing support for student self-determination in school settings is one way to enhance student learning and improve important post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Schools have particularly emphasized the use of self-determination curricula with students with disabilities to meet federal mandates to actively involve students with disabilities in the Individualized Education Planning process.

Programs to promote self-determination help students acquire knowledge, skills and beliefs that meet their needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness (for example, see Steps to Self-determination by educational researchers Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman). Such programs also provide instruction aimed specifically at helping students play a more active role in educational planning (for example, see The Self-directed Individualized Education Plan by Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman).

Drs. Field and Hoffman developed a model designed to guide the development of self-determination instructional interventions. According to the model, instructional activities in areas such as increasing self-awareness; improving decision-making, goal-setting and goal-attainment skills; enhancing communication and relationship skills; and developing the ability to celebrate success and learn from reflecting on experiences lead to increased student self-determination. Self-determination instructional programs help students learn how to participate more actively in educational decision-making by helping them become familiar with the educational planning process, assisting them to identify information they would like to share at educational planning meetings, and supporting students to develop skills to effectively communicate their needs and wants. Examples of activities used in self-determination instructional programs include reflecting on daydreams to help students decide what is important to them; teaching students how to set goals that are important to them and then, with the support of peers, family members and teachers, taking steps to achieve those goals. Providing contextual supports and opportunities for students, such as coaching for problem-solving and offering opportunities for choice, are also critical elements that lead to meeting needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness and thus, increasing student self-determination.

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How to Build a Better Educational System: Jigsaw Classrooms

The jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements.

In the early 1970s, in the wake of the civil rights movement, educators were faced with a social dilemma that had no obvious solution. All over the country, well-intentioned efforts to desegregate America’s public schools were leading to serious problems. Ethnic minority children, most of whom had previously attended severely under-funded schools, found themselves in classrooms composed predominantly of more privileged White children. This created a situation in which students from affluent backgrounds often shone brilliantly while students from impoverished backgrounds often struggled. Of course, this difficult situation seemed to confirm age-old stereotypes: that Blacks and Latinos are stupid or lazy and that Whites are pushy and overly competitive. The end result was strained relations between children from different ethnic groups and widening gaps in the academic achievement of Whites and minorities.

Drawing on classic psychological research on how to reduce tensions between competing groups (e.g., see Allport, 1954; Sherif, 1958; see also Pettigrew, 1998), Elliot Aronson and colleagues realized that one of the major reasons for this problem was the competitive nature of the typical classroom. In a typical classroom, students work on assignments individually, and teachers often call on students to see who can publicly demonstrate his or her knowledge. Anyone who has ever been called to the board to solve a long division problem – only to get confused about dividends and divisors – knows that public failure can be devastating. The snide remarks that children often make when their peers fail do little to remedy this situation. But what if students could be taught to work together in the classroom – as cooperating members of a cohesive team? Could a cooperative learning environment turn things around for struggling students? When this is done properly, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

In response to real educational dilemmas, Aronson and colleagues developed and implemented the jigsaw classroom technique in Austin, Texas, in 1971. The jigsaw technique is so named because each child in a jigsaw classroom has to become an expert on a single topic that is a crucial part of a larger academic puzzle. For example, if the children in a jigsaw classroom were working on a project about World War II, a classroom of 30 children might be broken down into five diverse groups of six children each. Within each group, a different child would be given the responsibility of researching and learning about a different specific topic: Khanh might learn about Hitler’s rise to power, Tracy might learn about the U.S. entry into the war, Mauricio might learn about the development of the atomic bomb, etc. To be sure that each group member learned his or her material well, the students from different groups who had the same assignment would be instructed to compare notes and share information. Then students would be brought together in their primary groups, and each student would present his or her “piece of the puzzle” to the other group members. Of course, teachers play the important role of keeping the students involved and derailing any tensions that may emerge. For example, suppose Mauricio struggled as he tried to present his information about the atomic bomb. If Tracy were to make fun of him, the teacher would quickly remind Tracy that while it may make her feel good to make fun of her teammate, she is hurting herself and her group – because everyone will be expected to know all about the atomic bomb on the upcoming quiz.
When properly carried out, the jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements (and in which students who were already doing well continue to shine). Students in jigsaw classrooms also come to like each other more, as students begin to form cross-ethnic friendships and discard ethnic and cultural stereotypes. Finally, jigsaw classrooms decrease absenteeism, and they even seem to increase children’s level of empathy (i.e., children’s ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes). The jigsaw technique thus has the potential to improve education dramatically in a multi-cultural world by revolutionizing the way children learn.
Practical Application

Since its demonstration in the 1970s, the jigsaw classroom has been used in hundreds of classrooms settings across the nation, ranging from the elementary schools where it was first developed to high school and college classrooms (e.g., see Aronson, Blaney, Stephan, Rosenfield, & Sikes, 1977; Perkins & Saris, 2001; Slavin, 1980). Researchers know that the technique is effective, incidentally, because it has been carefully studied using solid research techniques. For example, in many cases, students in different classrooms who are covering the same material are randomly assigned to receive either traditional instruction (no intervention) or instruction by means of the jigsaw technique. Studies in real classrooms have consistently revealed enhanced academic performance, reductions in stereotypes and prejudice, and improved social relations.

Aronson is not the only researcher to explore the merits of cooperative learning techniques. Shortly after Aronson and colleagues began to document the power of the jigsaw classroom, Robert Slavin, Elizabeth Cohen and others began to document the power of other kinds of cooperative learning programs (see Cohen & Lotan, 1995; Slavin, 1980; Slavin, Hurley, & Chamberlain, 2003). As of this writing, some kind of systematic cooperative learning technique had been applied in about 1500 schools across the country, and the technique appears to be picking up steam. Perhaps the only big question that remains about cooperative learning techniques such as the jigsaw classroom is why these techniques have not been implemented even more broadly than they already have.

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Have Your Children Had Their Anti-Smoking Shots?


In the early 1960s, social psychologist William McGuire published some classic papers showing that it is surprisingly easy to change people’s attitudes about things that we all wholeheartedly accept as true. For example, for speakers armed with a little knowledge of persuasion, it is remarkably easy to convince almost anyone that brushing one’s teeth is not such a great idea. McGuire’s insight into this curious phenomenon was that it is easy to change people’s minds about things that they have always taken for granted precisely because most people have little if any practice resisting attacks on attitudes that no one ever questions.

Taking this logic a little further, McGuire asked if it might be possible to train people to resist attacks on their beliefs by giving them practice at resisting arguments that they could easily refute. Specifically, McGuire drew an analogy between biological resistance to disease and psychological resistance to persuasion. Biological inoculation works by exposing people to a weakened version of an attacking agent such as a virus. People’s bodies produce antibodies that make them immune to the attacking agent, and when a full-blown version of the agent hits later in life, people win the biological battle against the full-blown disease. Would giving people a little practice fending off a weak attack on their attitudes make it easier for people to resist stronger attacks on their attitudes that come along later? The answer turns out to be yes. McGuire coined the phrase attitude inoculation to refer to the process of resisting strong persuasive arguments by getting practice fighting off weaker versions of the same arguments.

Once attitude inoculation had been demonstrated consistently in the laboratory, researchers decided to see if attitude inoculation could be used to help parents, teachers, and social service agents deal with a pressing social problem that kills about 440,000 people in the U.S. every year: cigarette smoking. Smoking seemed like an ideal problem to study because children below the age of 10 or 12 almost always report negative attitudes about smoking. However, in the face of peer pressure to be cool, many of these same children become smokers during middle to late adolescence.
Practical Application

Adolescents change their attitudes about smoking (and become smokers) because of the power of peer pressure. Researchers quickly realized that if they could inoculate children against pro-smoking arguments (by teaching them to resist pressure from their peers who believed that smoking is “cool”), they might be able to reduce the chances that children would become smokers. A series of field studies of attitude inoculation, conducted in junior high schools and high schools throughout the country, demonstrated that brief interventions using attitude inoculation dramatically reduced rates of teenage smoking. For instance, in an early study by Cheryl Perry and colleagues (1980), high school students inoculated junior high schools students against smoking by having the younger kids role-play the kind of situations they might actually face with a peer who pressured them to try a cigarette. For example, when a role-playing peer called a student “chicken” for not being willing to try an imaginary cigarette, the student practiced answers such as “I’d be a real chicken if I smoked just to impress you.” The kids who were inoculated in this way were about half as likely to become smokers as were kids in a very similar school who did not receive this special intervention.

Public service advertising campaigns have also made use of attitude inoculation theory by encouraging parents to help their children devise strategies for saying no when peers encourage them to smoke. Programs that have made whole or partial use of attitude inoculation programs have repeatedly documented the effectiveness of attitude inoculation to prevent teenage smoking, to curb illicit drug use, and to reduce teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. In comparison with old-fashioned interventions such as simple education about the risks of smoking or teenage pregnancy, attitude inoculation frequently reduces risky behaviors by 30-70% (see Botvin et al., 1995; Ellickson & Bell, 1990; Perry et al., 1980). As psychologist David Myers put it in his popular social psychology textbook, “Today any school district or teacher wishing to use the social psychological approach to smoking prevention can do so easily, inexpensively, and with the hope of significant reductions in future smoking rates and health costs.” So the next time you think about inoculating kids to keep them healthy, make sure you remember that one of the most important kinds of inoculation any kid can get is a psychological inoculation against tobacco.

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