Archive for June, 2010

June 24, 2010

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24 June 2010

Use of Humor, Satire and Irony in Huckleberry Finn

Before we go into any details regarding Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn we must understand the background of this story. This was written in a world after the civil war, where racial hatred was running high and there were frequent lynchings, the society which had developed was one which was marked by widely acceptable discrimination of black people. This was the society in which discrimination was not only considered ethical and moral, but it was condoned and even encouraged, where the whole race of African Americans was considered to be something below normal white ‘humans’.

In such a society, it is a challenge for an author to reach out to people and make them understand why their ideology is erroneous. Mark Twain once said:

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.

– “The Chronicle of Young Satan,” Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts (Twain, and Robinson).

This was the ideology that he firmly believed in as an author. His philosophy was to make the readers laugh at themselves or the problems that exist in the society, because once the laugh at it, they realize how stupid a certain accepted norm is and why society as a whole should abandon it (Twain, and Robinson).

This was the same philosophy that Mark twain followed in ‘Huckleberry Finn’, to make the readers realize how absurd their stance on race debates were. Not only did he make fun of the racist masses that he showed in his novel, but he also contrasted it with the innocence of the ‘stupid’ boy that was Huckleberry Finn, where Huck Finn was on the wrong side morally and ethically if we compare to the accepted norms of the day. What he showed was that even though Huckleberry Finn might be considered a criminal of his time, he was doing something great and highly ethical. To keep his arguments fresh and entertaining to the reader, to make his blows lighter with the mask of humor, he wrote the novel in such a way that the reader had no choice but to laugh at the events depicted therein, and once the reader laughs, he realizes the absurdity of it all.

For example, in the beginning of the story we are shown Huck’s life in St.Petersberg where his guardians, widow Douglas and Miss Watson attempt to civilize the young boy. However, their attempts to civilize Huck fail as he finds that being ‘civilized’ is not for him. Eventually, he does something ‘uncivilized’ by helping Jim (the slave) run away from his masters. However, we can clearly see that it was an act of kindness that was the highest form of being civilized that Huck did.

In addition to such instances of Mark Twain’s humor, we see that he keeps the novel alive with jokes, and more importantly, his particular style that makes even the most serious situations humorous. This is the best thing about Twain’s satire that he makes his readers laugh even when they least expect it.

In the beginning of the story, Huck is shown thinking about his future and whether he would be admitted to heaven or not. In the end he decides that he would not be admitted to heaven that is the heaven of the Judge or widow Douglas, this shows in a humorous way Huck’s incompatibility with the morals and accepted norms of his time. Huckleberry Finn is somehow untouched by the norms of the society, and he thinks he is on the wrong side when actually he is not. Twain derives humor from such simple things that the reader not only gains insight into the society of his time, but also understands what was wrong with that society.

Mark Twain used humor and satire to his best advantage in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. His goal was to make the reader realize the injustice of the society in which Jim lived, and not only that, he gave the universal message that racial discrimination should end and slavery should not be condoned, and he did it while making the readers laugh and not by making them cry. That, in my opinion, is the triumph of Mark Twain.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark, and Forrest Robinson. The Cambridge companion to Mark Twain. Cambridge Univ Pr, 1995. Print

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June 22, 2010

Child and Adolescence Development

The simple truth is that we cannot teach what we do not know; we cannot give what we do not have. Teachers are not only expected to be committed, they must have mastery of the subject matter they are teaching. Mediocrity in the classroom is not an option because it undermines the overall reputation of educators (Reece & Walker 2006, p. 115). Teachers must always strive to hone our craft and be vigilant against stagnation. Teachers who have mastered there craft are those who know their material inside and out and are constantly looking for ways to apply such knowledge with constant innovation and relevance in the context of real life.

In the educational process, all teachers must be reminded that the learning process starts with what the child knows. Prior learning is the framework where new concepts are built upon. As such, every teacher should begin with the previous lesson and connect it to the new material. Let the child see the relationship and build their own concepts. This way the child is actively engaged in his own learning because it was a result of what he already knows. I am firm believer of teaching where the students are. Starting with what you know is the best way to attack any learning task. When individuals approach a lesson armed with knowledge and skills they already have, they have more confidence in exploring the new concept (Crystal, 2003, p. 25). It is also encouraging because it gives you a sense of success and accomplishment early on in the lesson, something which is very important to maintain student motivation. Activating prior knowledge also empowers students and gives them a sense of ownership for their own learning. This is very important in young children especially, who are only beginning to explore their independence.

As Dewey once said, there is no better context for learning than the context of real life. Most classes fall into the trap of offering only pure theories without any exposure on how such theories find practical form in the real world. Still, there are some skills training courses offer a sink or swim design without offering any background information. I believe that regardless of the type of platform, the best teaching programs offer solid theoretical foundations as well as practical experience. For young students, this can be achieved by exposing them to natural experiences as much as possible.

High/Scope Preschool Curriculum

Researchers have been consistent in showing that as far as early learning is concerned, play is among the most effective ways to develop communication skills. For young children, play is the ideal venue for socialization, which as previously discussed, frames learning in ways that are meaningful to the student on a personal basis (Rogers & Evans 2008, p14) Playtime is a moment when children have full ‘ownership’ of their time and learning experiences (Smidt 1998, p22). Play also allows teachers to introduce learning concepts embedded within such leisurely pursuits. The leisurely nature of play addresses the young child’s need to have a deep sense of safety in every experience that he or she engages (Shonkoff & Meisels 2000, p56).  The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum aims use this concept by using the element of play and active discovery in order to facilitate learning. Teachers are trained to use scaffolding to provide challenge and heighten the level of academic and cognitive achievement.

The concept of play and leisure is rooted in man’s deep and innate need to socialize and interact with other people outside the context of family or work. Leisure may be reconstructed as activities that people pursue in order to take a break from the grind and demands of daily living (Sutton-Smith & Pellegrini 1995, p118). Leisure activities are believed to help people cope with the stress of work and family responsibilities and allow us to stay motivated and keep us emotionally and mentally balanced. However, for young children, play is not merely a pursuit. It is the means with which they explore the world around them (Nutbrown 1994, p87).  Framed within the innocent sensibilities of wonder and discovery, children engage all their senses to navigate the world of grown-ups through their own terms: through play (Smith & Smith 2009, p71) Play is an activity most comfortable and most natural to children. Through play, children are able to use their skills and competencies in ways that connect to new knowledge and situations (Saracho & Spodek 2003, p14). By playing with other children, language is naturally developed as the children communicate with others to make the play more enjoyable to everyone involved. Language is also the tool to establish rules and goals in play and thus children develop and enhance their ability to communicate (Smith & Smith 2009, p92).

Observation is a key component in the High/Scope Curriculum. For teachers, play is the best opportunity to observe and study a child’s learning zone. Through proper observation of play, teachers can make instant instructional revisions depending on what has been observed right then and there. (OECD 2005) Indeed observation is an essential skill for anyone working with children (Davidson 1996, p135). Observation provides fundamental and crucial data that helps decide further action as far as the child is concerned. This further action may simply involve the refinement of instructional strategies, or may call for intervention measures and the involvement of specialists. Observation allows both teachers and assistants alike to make early intervention procedures that can make a significant difference in the young child’s life. Most researches find that observation as a type of formative classroom assessment is one of the most effective ones to use, especially where young children are concerned. Observation is unobtrusive and provides a more holistic view on the student, and not just focusing on one particular skill or domain alone as some tests tend to do. The discreet nature of observation addresses the preschooler’s need to have a deep sense of safety inside the classroom. Because children do not know that they are being assessed, then they will not feel threatened (Smidt 1998, p2). Moreover, observation provides a more integrative and comprehensive type of formative assessment, as the student is assessed in terms of the bigger picture. It is also more authentic because children are assessed within the context of their normal, day-to-day activities.

Observation has constantly provided a fuller, richer picture of each and every young learner inside the classroom. Proper analysis of my observation logs has provided insights that would not have been available otherwise or through conventional testing. As a result of these regular observations, instructional strategies can be adopted in order to make it more responsive to each of learner’s needs and specific capabilities (Bee & Boyd 1999, p53). Through observation, teachers are able to know their children more in so far as their educational profile is concerned, and as a result, are able to create lessons and choose materials that are more engaging and interesting for them. This creates a cycle wherein the observations help create a classroom full of busy and engaged children, which in turn provides with more opportunities for observation.

Aside from instant feedback and intervention, another advantage of the observation method is that educators are able to create profiles in several developmental and cognitive domains at the same time. For this to be possible, it is important that pre-school or early childhood teachers should be well-grounded on developmental milestones such as cognitive, social, physical, and emotional domains (Shonkoff & Meisels 2000, p72). If observations show that a young child is exhibiting marked and persistent developmental delays, then proper diagnosis and early intervention can be given. Similarly, observation provides educators with the basis for planning a curriculum that is more responsive to the student’s individual level. A young child may have advanced physical skills but have weak cognitive skills, then some measures can be taken so that the child becomes a balanced individual. The weaknesses will be attended to without neglecting other aspects of development.

Through facilitated play and observation, children enjoy interacting with adults as much as they do with their own peers. The children especially like it when teachers play games with them and read them stories. Regardless of the curriculum or philosophy, children will always prefer to learn in an environment of safety. And that safety is provided by the presence of an ever-attentive educator, always ready to help and to guide the children as they learn more about the world and themselves. And this is what High/Scope should consistently aim to provide.

A Classroom of Democracy and Positive Expectations

It’s has been well established that negative words affect our sense of self-worth and erodes our confidence. Anyone can understand that learning and motivation best takes place in an atmosphere of positive expectations and an environment that inspires achievement. How young children are perceived dictates becomes how they perceive themselves, and it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore it is important that schools create an environment where the young learners are expected to achieve and be successful. In the same token, while people are expected to achieve, they are allowed to do so at their style and preferences as unique individuals. All of these positive expectations are expressed in words and languages. Leaders, teachers, and administrators must understand that young children should be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own learning and accomplishments. By taking this to heart, teachers can then create an environment that advocates participatory learning, where the students are encouraged to explore and discover knowledge in ways that are meaningful in their own lives. (Dewey, 1897)

The High/Scope combines the philosophies of Piaget and Vygotsky. Piaget’s seminal work on cognitive development maintains that intelligence grows parallel to the physical development of the individual. Piaget calls these as “developmental stages” or ages when the individual can be expected to perform certain operations and tasks. (Piaget 1997, p. 2) By relating cognitive development with physical development with certain performance or operational milestones, parents, psychologists, and teachers are able to gauge whether an individual is developing normally, or is advanced or delayed for his or her age, as the case may be. Based on this notion, there is an intimate link between how the the body and the mind develop. Therefore it is very important to be able to provide for the physical needs of young learners because a lot of physical skills like fine and gross motor skills, and hand-eye coordination involve the development of the mind which also controls these actions.

Vygotsky meanwhile contends that the child’s physical environment takes a secondary place to the social environment. Vygotsy refutes Piaget’s theory and argues that social learning precedes or stimulates cognitive development. Vygotsky maintains that through constant engagement with more competent or knowledgeable people in the environment, the child’s own knowledge is enhanced. The distance between what the child can perform independently and what he can do with support or “scaffolding” from the more knowledgeable person is called the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). In this zone, learning takes place through social interaction with the more mature people. For example, in the acquisition of oral language, “young children are active agents”, constantly making sense of the inputs that they get from their surroundings in way that is meaningful to them. From these meanings, children then create their own sense of language rules, constantly refining and redefining these rules through active engagement and communication with the more competent language users in their immediate environment. (Tappan, 1998, p. 25) By combining both physical and social resources High/Scope is able to holistically address the learning needs of the young child.

Teachers may set varying learning environments for their students depending on the classroom resources, teacher’s knowledge and skills as well as students’ needs and interests. However in modern classrooms, there are certain learning environments based on certain educational philosophies that are proven to be effective in maximizing the learning potential and participation performance of students. A constructivist learning environment is a deviation from the traditional way of teaching students. Under this philosophy, students are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. With the aid of educational programs tailor-made for their developmental level, there is a higher level of engagement and ownership of learning. After all, students are not like a sponge that would just absorb anything that we say. Teachers are just here to facilitate learning and every learner must be given the chance to formulate their own questions, organize thoughts and ideas and take part in the development of the course. With the multimedia interaction, teachers should adhere to the democratic kind of learning environment. The teachers offer them a control of the package but should be there to remind them of the consequences should they go astray.

One of the most important benefits of creating a democratic classroom is that students are able to take on a personal or individualized approach to learning. Because students employ various learning styles and learn at different pacing, using technology allows students to utilize the method and pace best suited for them as individuals. A constructivist learning environment enables the students to discover relationships between concepts and apply new- learned knowledge and principles to new situations (Chen, Hsu & Hung, 2000).

This kind of learning environment also provides opportunities for learners to acquire knowledge from multiple perspectives and share common understanding with other students (UNESCO, 2002). It is a venue where learners could work collaboratively as they utilize a variety of tools and information resources in order to solve problems in exercises or classroom activities (Dexter, 2002). Thus it is not sufficient to say that participation from students would be demonstrated from mere questioning regarding related topics. This constructivist educational philosophy could be integrated with technology and other medium in order for the students to grasp basic concepts presented in every topic. Our teaching philosophy should be in consistent with how we design technological tools for student use. Democratic learning should enable the students to choose the topics and pacing of a multimedia package. They should be able to control and manipulate information in order to answer the problems in the exercises.

A democratic learning environment incorporates control, feedback, collaborative and meta-cognitive strategies. Students would learn not just from slide presentations, exams or lectures, but more importantly from tasks that would entail authentic learning and assessment. When they just take down notes, what is a meta- cognitive skill that a student develops? Learning from active participation is crucial. Students will participate more in the class if they develop appreciation for the course. Developing a love for learning and seeing the significance of information technology in their daily lives are also valuable strategies. Given the importance of computers and communications technology in today’s world, it would not be difficult to inculcate these to students. These values would be developed if there is an appropriate learning environment that best prepares         children for higher-order thinking through active learning approaches (Lowry & Turner, 2005). These would include real world problems and cases that would require students to go through investigative and research process or developing a product or creation through projects. This approach also incorporates student-centered learning (Lowry & Turner, 2005).

What is being emphasized is the learning of the students; how they acquire the knowledge and how it is being applied to different learning situations, may it be in a multimedia environment, in the classroom situation, or in the outside world. It really boils down to the changing role of the teacher in a democratic classroom. Teachers are thus challenged to try out new things and to keep pace with modern educational tools and technologies in order to maximize the learning capabilities of their students.

Conclusion

Much has been said about the nobility of the teaching profession; the high sense of duty and the self-sacrifices required on a daily basis is no less than heroic. Pursuing a lifelong career in education as a teacher is indeed a call of duty of the highest sense; but what must be emphasized that alongside the difficulties, are the rewards that make the sacrifices worth it. The essence of the teaching profession is to be able to provide a venue that maximizes the learning opportunities for every student and to allow their minds to soar to unlimited heights.

Education is a process where teachers and students come together in an atmosphere of collaborative and sustained learning experiences. As teachers facilitate learning, so should their own wealth of knowledge and experiences be enhanced by the students as well. Inside the classroom, the teacher is the single biggest factor that determines the success or failure of learning (Smidt 1998). It is the teacher who creates the atmosphere that will allow the class to focus on their tasks and keeps them engaged in the lessons. The teacher must create a classroom that invites constant opportunities to learn (Mujis 2005, p. 75) In the same token, school leaders create the atmosphere hat makes it possible for teachers and students to come together in mutual learning experiences. As teachers create the atmosphere inside the classroom, so do principals and school administrators create an educational institution that facilitates or hinders learning. The bottom line is that schools provide the venue where the educated person is developed and the policies that school leaders create and the rules that they establish determines the success or failure of this educational process.

References

Chen, D., Hsu, J, & Hung, D. (2000). Learning theories and IT: The computer as a tool. In M. Williams (Ed.), Integrating technology into teaching and learning. Singapore: Pearson Education Asia Pte Ltd. pp. 185- 201.

Crystal, D. (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University   Press. Cambridge.

Dexter, S. (2002). eTIPS- Educational technology integration and implementation principles. In P. Rogers (Ed.), Designing instruction for technology- enhanced learning. Pennsylvania: Idea Group Publishing. pp. 56- 70.

Dewey, J 1897, My Pedagogic Creed. From the School Journal. LIV (January 16, 1897),           pp. 77-80 from Wade Baskin, ed.. Classics in Education. New York: Philosophical Library, 1966. pp. 177-188.

Lowry, G., & Turner, R. (2005). Information systems education for the 21st century: Aligning curriculum content and delivery with the professional workplace. In D. Carbonara (Ed.), Technology literacy applications in learning environments. Pennsylvania: Information Science Publishing. pp. 171- 202.

Mujis, D (2005). Effective Teaching: Evidence and Practice. Sage Publications.

Nutbrown, C. (1994) Threads of Thinking: Young children learning and the role of early education. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

OECD, 2005, Formative Assessment: Improving Learning In Secondary Classrooms, Educational evaluation, OECD Staff, Organization for economic cooperation and development.

Piaget, J., 1997, Jean Piaget: Selected Works, Routledge.

Reece, I & Walker, S 2006, Teaching, Training and Learning (6th ed) Sunderland:          Business Education.

Shonkoff, J & Meisels, S (2000) Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention, Cambridge University Press.

Smidt, S (ed) (1998). Observing Children, The Early Years: a reader. London and New York, Routledge.

United Educational Scientific and Cultural Education. UNESCO. (2002). Information and communication technologies in teacher education: A planning guide. Texas: Paul Resta.

June 19, 2010
Managing Strategy

Section 1

Dell

Dell is a multinational company that makes, sells and supports computer based products and services as a merchant. Founded in 1984, the company has come a long way and is one of the biggest computer suppliers in the world. The company has made a total of 10 acquisitions and 2 divestures in the time period 2002-2010. Of the ten acquisitions, the most notable ones are the Alienware, ASAP, EqualLogic and Perot Systems.

The Alienware deal, 2006 enabled dell to venture into the high performance gaming computers industry. The company produced high performance computer products to be used for gaming and other high performance tasks. After the deal, the company was added as a subsidiary and has been functioning as a separate company ever since.

Moreover Alienware benefited from this deal as it could then access the Dell’s huge supplier network and enjoy on the massive economies of scale. There were some problems that came with the deal. One of them was that after some time after the deal went through, Dell fired off a number of employees from the Alienware in the name of cost restructuring (CALLAHAM, John, 2009).

ASAP was a leading software solution company and thus the deal enabled Dell to reach as a leading supplier of commercial technology and services. Moreover this also enabled Dell to increase its grip on the software market and thus to offer customized software solutions bundled with its existing hardware portfolio. The deal also helped Dell to merge the existing software business with ASAP and helped it to reinvent and simplify the final solution for the customers. ASP employed 600 employees which were retained by Dell. The deal helped dell solidify its hold in the software market and thus Dell emerged as a big player and also enabled it to change its image to a solution provider. The EqualLogic was a data storage solutions provider firm. Dell acquired this firm in 2007 and thus it enabled it to increase its market share in the rapidly growing internet storage market.

Moreover as cloud computing was gaining momentum back then, this deal was an excellent choice on part of Dell to enter into online storage market (RILEY, Duncan, 2007). Dell retained most of the EqualLogic’s service and support staff as well as channel partners. This increased the overall staff motivation within the EqualLogic and thus helped to allay the fears of the employees as during acquisitions, layoffs are a regular feature. The cultural factor did not play its part in this deal as both of these companies had a similar culture (RAFFO, dave, 2007).

Parot System was a technology based firm which offered technology services in a range of sectors, from health care to government, as well as software and consulting. Dell acquired Parot System for $3.9 Billion. The deal enabled Dell to offer broader range of IT services, and a built-in market for its hardware among Perot Systems’ existing customers. Perot Systems had a strong footprint in the health care and government, which provided 48 percent and 25 percent of its revenues, with the remainder in the enterprise sector.

The deal also helped Dell to represent a $16 Billion company with $8 Billion on technology services. It also had a long term impact and thus so in the short run the revenue’s for Dell decreased (GAYLORD, Chris, 2009).

By acquiring different strategic companies, Dell managed to increase its product diversification and also its market reach. Moreover these acquisitions helped the company to enter into new markets and thus to overcome the patents and license barriers which stop new entrants into entering an existing market.

Microsoft

Microsoft is the world leader in computer software products. The company was founded in 1975 and since then it has taken the computer world by storm. The company has been aggressive in its acquisition spree and thus has taken a lot of companies during the period 2002-2009. The acquisitions were very much helpful for the company as they helped it to maintain a certain level of competitive edge over its competitors. Moreover such acquisitions helped the company to acquire ready made products which could be marketed through the company’s existing marketing and distribution functions.

Apart from this such acquisitions helped the company to acquire new technologies from those companies. This proved to be a beneficial form of investment for the company both in terms of monetary and non monetary forms. The company’s acquirement of e-Business developer firm Navision enabled Microsoft to enter into the small and medium business market for ERP systems which was previously being served by SAP AG and Oracle Corp (MICROSOFT, 2002). Other than this, such a deal helped the company to directly enter into the ERP market without any sort of time delay.

Microsoft’s acquisition of GeCad software in 2003 and GIANT Company in 2004 enabled the company to enter into the antivirus and security related products market. Before such a deal the company was lagging behind in this category (LEMOS, Robert, 2003). The deal enabled it to offer these products and compete against the current players of the antivirus market. The acquirement of aQuantive, 2007 for $6 Billion enabled Microsoft to have a company specialized in advertising and thus to add more muscle to its advertising strategies. The notable acquisitions were successful in a sense that Microsoft was able to integrate the knowledge capital from the individual companies to its own pool and also to transfer the technologies that these companies had developed. The eventual result was Microsoft offering new products or services under its own brand and was thus able to successfully increase its market reach. The company added over 8500 workforce due to these acquisitions. These employees had to learn the Microsoft way of doing business and eventually proved to be an asset for the organization.

Moreover as most of the companies acquired by Microsoft were much smaller in size as compared to the parent company, Microsoft was in a commanding position to apply its culture and impose its policies and thus was able to mould those companies to work in its favor. Apart from that some of the acquisitions like NAVISION were only technology based transfers and did not involve total employee transfer to Microsoft.

The company also divested many of its assets and companies in order to reduce losses and increase revenues. Expedia and DreamWorks Interactive and MSN Money Central are the notable names which were divested by Microsoft. These divestments also enabled Microsoft to get rid of loss bearing companies and thus to focus on new opportunities that were coming in its way.

Section 2

Nokia

Nokia is a Finland based company which makes mobile devices and its related products. The company is the largest manufacturer of mobile phone. The company has been active in forming strategic alliances and joint ventures with different companies which enabled it to enter into new markets and also to expand its current product range. Some of the notable strategic partnerships and joint ventures that Nokia has entered into during the time period 2002-2010 are Nokia-Siemens Networks (Joint Venture), Nokia – New Alliance (Joint Venture), Nokia – Intel (Strategic Partnership), Nokia – Alpine Electronics (Strategic Partnership), Nokia – France Telecom (Strategic Partnership) and Nokia – Skype (Strategic Partnership).

Nokia entered into a strategic alliance with France telecom in 2004. The objective of this alliance was to jointly develop rich media solutions on mobile terminals encompassing rich media hardware, services, applications and contents by using various standards technologies. Nokia had a technical edge and thus a large in house setup to develop such media solutions. On the other hand France telecom had the large user base and the distribution system through which it could push the media solutions to its customers. Thus together it was a win-win situation for both the parties. The deal proved successful and Nokia was able to enter a new market and thus got hold of valuable experience (NOKIA, 2004).

Nokia entered into a joint venture agreement in 2006 with Siemens. The new company Nokia Siemens Networks was made to offer telecommunications equipments in different parts of the world. By 2010 it was one of the largest telecommunications equipment suppliers in the world. The joint venture enabled Nokia and Siemens to both jointly use their technical expertise to offer and supply equipments to major telecom networks. This was a very successfully joint venture for both the companies and thus proved to be an excellent example of synergy and team effort.

Nokia also entered into a strategic alliance with Intel in 2009. This alliance would enable both the companies to develop mobile computing devices and chipset architectures which will combine the performance of powerful computers with high-bandwidth mobile broadband communications and ubiquitous Internet connectivity. This partnership was called a long term agreement as both of these companies shared the common belief and thus wanted to take this shared vision into the future. This partnership is expected to bring several innovations and technological advancements into the arena. Nokia being an expert in mobile technology and Intel being a chipset wizard would prove to be a good combination.

Nokia also entered into a joint venture agreement in 2009 with New Alliance Company. New Alliance was a China bases investment company. The 50-50 joint venture was expected to aim at the delivery of a series of mobile services in China as well as providing support for the developer ecosystem. China being a large market for Nokia and thus in order to gain entrance into China, Nokia needed such a venture to secure its entrance. Moreover Nokia would be able to use the local knowledge from the New Alliance to its own use and also to develop localized software solutions to capture the interests of the local market.

Pepsi

PepsiCo is a Fortune 500, American Multinational Corporation. The company manufactures and markets a wide variety of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, as well as salty, sweet and grain-based snacks, and other foods. During the time period 2002-2010, the company ventured into a number of strategic alliances and joint ventures. The most notable ones include Pepsi – Starbucks, Pepsi – Unilever and Pepsi- Almarai.

Pepsi entered into a strategic alliance with Starbucks in 2002 in the name of North America Coffee Partnership (NACP). This deal enabled Pepsi to offer joint products along with Starbucks that would suite both the brands. They launched a number of brands under this partnership agreement. Some of them include Starbucks Double Shot, Frappucino. This strategic alliance enabled Pepsi to come into the coffee and ready to drink market. Starbucks was already a famous name in the coffee circles and the brand had a high repute for offering good quality coffee and its related drinks. Thus this partnership enabled both the companies to jointly develop new products which would benefit both the companies.

Strategic partnerships help both the companies to use the technical expertise and market experience of the other partner. In this case Pepsi has a vast experience and technical expertise in the bottling line. On the other hand Starbucks had a vast experience in making coffee based drinks. Thus a partnership between these two enabled them to make coffee drinks they could sell. The partnership proved to be highly successful and even after its start in 2002 the partnership is going strong with new products being launched under the umbrella.

In 2003 Pepsi entered into a joint venture with Unilever. Under this agreement, Pepsi would market and distribute Unilever’s range of Lipton ready to drink teas (BUSINESS EDITORS, 2003). The 50-50 joint venture – Pepsi Lipton International will enable both of the manufacturers to use each other expertise in their respective areas to reach a common goal. The joint venture enabled Pepsi to venture into the healthy drinks category which it was trying to enter.

As the worldwide cola drinks had been receiving a negative press due to health concerns, coming into a healthy drinks market was a right step for Pepsi. The joint venture proved to be a success as Pepsi successfully positioned itself from the previous carbonated drinks manufacturer to a healthy drinks manufacturer. As both of these companies had joined together for a common goal, they were able to push that through and thus made it a success.

Pepsi entered into a joint venture agreement in 2009 with Almarai, the gulf’s largest dairy company by market value. Under the agreement both these companies would invest in dairy and juice processors in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The deal helped Pepsi to benefit from the Almarai’s vast experience in dairy food products. Moreover Almarai’s dairy and non-carbonated fruit juice product line proved to be a compelling complement to Pepsico’s current product lines.

On the other hand, Almarai benefited from the Pepsico’s distribution channel and market insights in countries outside the Gulf area. The joint venture enabled Pepsi to offer more health based drinks and thus could further increase its healthy drinks portfolio. The worldwide move towards a more healthy diet also compelled Pepsi to take such a decision. The joint venture is running well with it acquiring more companies and thus further increasing its product range.

Section 3

Microsoft

The key threat currently facing Microsoft is “Cloud Computing”. Cloud computing is an internet based computing whereby shared resources are provided on the internet on demand. This is a paradigm shift and is the way where things would move on in the near future. Any company which is in a business related to the internet has to adopt the cloud computing factor in its strategic planning. Microsoft currently has more than 90% in the operating system market. Its flagship Windows product sells like hot cakes and thus is generic name for operating system.

The Windows operating system is totally reliant on locally based resources. This means that hard disk, graphic card, RAM attain central importance in Windows and thus the overall experience varies greatly if one of these things are changed. Even in its recent most versions (Windows 7), Microsoft is still focusing towards the local desktop resources. It is high time that Microsoft needs to shift its focus from the local desktop to the cloud computing concept. Microsoft needs to change its philosophy and needs to shift in time as the competitors have aimed their guns and are ready to fire. Google is all set to launch its GDrive product (SMITH, David, 2009). The product will enable anyone to make a free account and thus save all of his/her data online which could be accessed anywhere in the world.

Moreover Google is in the process of making its own operating system known as Chrome OS. This operating system would be fully built on the principles of cloud computing. This means that it could be used on minimum resources and the client pc would only need to have the bare minimum specification in order to just connect the computer to the internet (KELLNER, Mark A., 2009).

Such developments pose a direct threat to the future of Windows. The entire current Windows concept is fading away and if proper measures are not taken Windows will become a small thing in the near future.

The recommended strategy for Microsoft is to modify its Windows operating system platform to include the cloud computing element. This could be done by making separate editions of Windows. One edition could be fully focused towards the cloud computing concept and thus would be a scaled down version of windows with bare minimum applications. All the focus of that edition would be towards internet where one could access all the relevant applications and storage space.

The other edition could be the normal Windows that is currently in use. Moreover these two editions would clearly enable Microsoft to directly enter a new market while keeping its old trusted user base in place. As Microsoft cannot directly shift its focus towards the cloud computing thus these two editions would clearly help Microsoft to make its mark and to thwart the competitors to play on its turf. Moreover by offering a separate edition focused towards cloud computing, Microsoft can increase the product life cycle of Windows and thus could eventually take it into the next horizon.

Dell

The key threat currently faced by Dell is “the reduced price difference among competing brands”. As the prices of computers are going down with each passing day, the price difference between the competing brands is getting smaller. Dell’s model of direct selling attracts customers because it saves cost. Since other companies are able to offer computers at low costs, this could threaten the Dell’s low cost user base (KRANGEL, Eric, 2009).

With almost identical prices, price difference is no longer an issue for a customer. They might choose other brands instead of waiting for Dell’s customized computers. Moreover with the overall growth rate in the computer industry slowing down plus the overall price increase in computer related parts, Dell would have to work in both managing increasing costs and differentiating itself from the competition.

Other than this, with a lot of low cost pc manufacturers coming into the arena and offering the same kind of hardware and software, Dell is having a hard time in managing these challenges. These challenges are threatening to grab the market share from Dell and also putting more pressure on Dell to be able to differentiate and come up with innovative solution to these problems.

The recommended strategy for Dell is to put emphases on its brand. This means that it should come up with aggressive marketing campaigns in which the main objective is to differentiate its brand from the rest. These campaigns should be high budgeted so that they could make their mark and reach their objective. These campaigns should inspire the consumers to know that when they buy a Dell it automatically means they will be getting the highest possible customer service and the highest quality product that the market can offer. Moreover these campaigns could also focus on the innovation factor and how Dell uses innovative techniques and processes to build the state of the art machine.

Moreover as the world is getting more informed about the e-waste and its consequences, Dell could position itself to be an environment friendly company and thus include this segment in the marketing campaigns. Other than this it could offer a buy back program which could enable a customer to send its computer back to dell after some years so that Dell could recycle it and thus save the environment. These kinds of options will enable Dell to clearly distinguish itself from the rest of the competition and thus would help the company to compete on a non price competition basis. Other than this Dell should increase its research and development budget. This would enable the company to come up with innovative technologies and original ideas which could in turn help the company to offer something extra and beyond the normal market offerings.

List of References

BUSINESS EDITORS. 2003. Business Wire. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2003_Oct_14/ai_108827922/ >

CALLAHAM, John. 2009. News Bigdownload. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://news.bigdownload.com/2009/03/24/dells-alienware-unit-to-lay-off-unknown-amount-of-workers/ >

GAYLORD, Chris. 2009. Who benefits most from Dell buying Perot Systems for $3.9 billion? [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2009/0921/who-benefits-most-from-dell-buying-perot-systems-for-39-billion >

KELLNER, Mark A. 2009. Cloud computing a Microsoft threat? [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web:  <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/16/kellner-cloud-computing-a-microsoft-threat/ >

KRANGEL, Eric. 2009. Dell Loses More Market Share In Q4 (DELL). [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/dell-losing-market-share-in-anemic-pc-market-dell >

LEMOS, Robert. 2003. One year on, is Microsoft ‘trustworthy’? [online]. [Accessed 18 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: http://news.cnet.com/One-year-on%2C-is-Microsoft-trustworthy/2100-1009_3-981015.html >

MICROSOFT. 2002. Microsoft Acquires Navision. [online]. [Accessed 18 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: <  http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2002/Jul02/07-11NavisionAcquisitionPR.mspx >

NOKIA. 2004. France Télécom and Nokia announce a strategic partnership for joint development of new rich media solutions. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://press.nokia.com/PR/200410/963521_5.html >

RAFFO, dave. 2007. Dell-EqualLogic-EMC: three’s a crowd. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: < http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/storage-soup/dell-equallogic-emc-three%E2%80%99s-a-crowd/ >

RILEY, Duncan. 2007. TechCrunch. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: <  http://techcrunch.com/2007/11/05/dell-acquires-equallogic-for-14-billion/ >

SMITH, David. 2009. Guardian. [online]. [Accessed 19 Mar 2010]. Available from World Wide Web: <  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jan/25/google-drive-gdrive-internet >

You invent a time machine.

June 11, 2010

Time is one of the most fascinating phenomena that constitute the human experience. It is all around us, stretching from the hazy dawn of the past into the mist of the future, both alluring sides of the same coin. Hence, I will use my time machine to explore both these realms.

I will first venture into the distant past, to answer one of the most enduring and profound questions facing human intellect. How did life begin? I will venture to the point in natural history when life came into existence. How correct are we about the evolution of species? A novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is an interesting example. In The Lost World he relates the experiences of an expedition to South America. The explorers come across a completely isolated piece of land lagging behind in the process of evolution, a living snapshot from our ancient past.

I will then move towards the ancient civilizations, notably Egypt. Of particular interest to me will be its culture and language. I will see how the average Egyptian spends his day, because any amount of research and study cannot completely recreate that for us in our age.

Jumping ahead in time, I will visit Europe in of 15th century, the age of pioneering explorers like Columbus and Vespucci. I will embark on one of those ventures and, at night, as they trek across the vast expanse of the ocean, I will point to the sky and predict that one day a man will walk on the moon. As they laugh and jeer at my lunacy, I will privately enjoy the irony.

Having explored the past, I will then set my “sails” for the future. I will first move a few thousand years forward and see if we have solved the energy crisis. It will be interesting to see whether we took enough measures to keep the climate of earth within habitable limits; or perhaps it was too little too late and we were forced to develop a method of intergalactic transport and bid farewell to Earth.

I will visit a major city of the future and the first thing I will see is how technology (no doubt very advanced by then) has affected our lives. Do we hover around in flying cars and live in apartments on movable shafts like the Jetsons? Are our interactions with each other the same as today, or has technology redefined what it means to be a part of society?

An intriguing glimpse of the future is shown in the movie The Time Machine. Its vision of the future is not one that is dominated by technology. It depicts the human race living a very simple life with the most basic of tools; a life that is very reminiscent of our hunting-gathering days.

However, no matter how far back into the past nostalgia and mystery take me, or how far forward I chase the secrets of the future, I will be returning back to my time because it is in this day and age, and no else, that I truly belong.

Works Cited

Doyle, Sir Arthur C. The Lost World. London: Hodder and Stoughton. (1912).

The Jetsons. Hanna-Barbera Productions. Dirs. Joseph Barbera, William Hanna. ABC, (1962-1963).

The Time Machine. Prod. Arnold Leibovit, et al, Dir. Simon Wells, Perf. Guy Pierce, Samantha

Mumba, Mark Addy. DVD.  Dreamworks, Warner Bros., 2002.

THE AMERICAN DREAM AND THE STOCK MARKET

June 11, 2010

The American Dream is known as concept related to American once being referred to as ‘the land flowing with milk and honey’.  This concept began with certain personages attaching a brand to America.  “John Winthrop envisioned a religious paradise in a “City upon a Hill.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of racial equality.” (Warshauer)  These were the more intangible interpretations of what is today known as the American Dream.  Through the years, however, this perception began to change and started to focus on the material aspects of the ‘dream’.  Eventually, the American Dream came to represent financial freedom and stability as well as the quest for money.  (Warshauer)  What used to be a sound concept of centering efforts on thrift and hard work for financial gain has become a pursuit for instant wealth among Americans.  This concept of the American Dream could more appropriately be described as an illusion because it is too flimsy to actually remain consistent.  This inconsistency in the American Dream is what was affected with the crash of the stock market.  The crash of the stock market in the 1930s shattered the illusion of the American Dream by stripping Americans of their strong buying power and by making the prospects of saving bleak.

When the stock market crashed in the 1930s one of its most significant effects was a nationwide bank-run which resulted in the decreased confidence in the dollar and consequently, the buying power of Americans.  At his point in the nation’s history, “Checks could not be used for payments because no one knew which checks were worthless and which were sound.” (Wattenberg)  This effect served to strip the dollar of its buying power and thus decrease the public trust in legal tender.  Since the American Dream is characterized by the American concept of financial stability and freedom, damage at the very least, to the consumer’s dollar gave people the impression that they were no longer able to buy what they wanted to buy or spend their money the way they wanted to.   This is the lowest form of financial instability and because the American dream was rooted in this concept, people began to doubt their place in society.  Many began to question if in fact, as Americans they were still enjoying their own dream.  Americans began to panic.  Many of them withdrew their savings from the banks and lost confidence in the banking system.  This loss of confidence is characteristic of people who no longer believe in the integrity of the financial institutions of a country.  The American Dream plummeted because it was built on weak foundations, these being the financial ambitions of the people, and not on the more immaterial yet stable concepts of industry and the value of work.  The flimsy foundation of the ‘dream’ is what caused its downfall in the context of the plummeting stock market.

Other than just this, the American dream also suffered greatly because people looked at savings as a bleak prospect.  “In 1929, stocks started down an even more precipitous cliff. In 1932 and 1933, they hit bottom, down about 80% from their highs in the late 1920s. This had sharp effects on the economy.” (Wattenberg)  This ushered in the great American Depression and consequently disillusionment in the American Dream.  (Wattenberg)  The sad fact is that with the plummeting of the stock market, bank stocks began to drop as well.  This resulted in the loss of depositors’ money which was invested by banks in the stock market.  Individual Americans felt that they had lost all the money they saved to the fiscal crises and were traumatized in terms of saving their money in the banks.  The rush of depositors who went to withdraw their savings simply showed that the people no longer wanted to save their money in the banks and had totally lost trust in the system.  So, going back to the American Dream which propels financial stability among Americans, the stock market demise resulted in the destruction of the integrity of the single most reliable means of ensuring financial stability for Americans – keeping their earnings in a bank.  This meant that instead of focusing on their desire to achieve more financially, Americans became nearsighted and zoomed into the prospects of saving – with Americans not being able to save, financial stability began to suffer.  So, obviously if a particular component of the American Dream cannot be satisfied, it might as well be a fragmented and elusive illusion.

Evidence shows that the demise of the American dream is conceptual in relation to the stock market disaster.  This so-called dream gave people faulty concepts of how to become rich early and  fast how to ensure financial stability and these concepts, because they are not founded on sound ideals and principles, shattered with the destruction of the central concept which is financial strength as manifested by a strong stock market.   Naturally, because the core idea of financial stability is the stock market, all other concepts and perceptions built around this core idea will suffer with its demise.  Although the stock market recovered after a few years, this does not change the fact that at a certain point in history Americans were slammed right on the head and awakened to the reality of the instability of the financial sector.  With this instability came the destruction of individual financial confidence and consequently, the destruction of the American Dream.

Perhaps, now, the American has become more conscious of the possibilities that could happen to both the financial sector and individual finances because such would be necessary in ensuring financial liberty especially when the illusion known as the American dream was shattered by the stock market disaster because it stripped Americans of their buying power and their confidence in the dollar and it destroyed the public’s trust in the virtue of saving.

Works Cited

Warshauer, Matthew. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream.” America Studies Today Online. N.p., 13 Feb. 2003. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/American_Dream.htm&gt;.

Wattenberg, Ben. “Stock Market Crash.” The First Measured Century. N.p., 2001. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/fmc/timeline/estockmktcrash.htm&gt;.

June 4, 2010
  1. Introduction

Education is like a bow and the student is the arrow, the harder you bend the bow the farther the arrow can go to reach the target. If one has little education, then one can expect little income. If one has more education then one can expect more income. Education does not only mean income. Education is our only means towards self actualization.

  1. Body

Education means Empowerment

It is undeniable that education has a great hand in helping people become successful in life. There are a lot of people who have become the person that they are in their own professions because of the kind of education that they have attained. One of the reasons why education is a big factor to a successful life is that it equips us to become better people through helping us attain self actualization  (Tidwell, p. 54) According to Nicole Tidwell, education gives people the opportunity to know different ways and skills of productivity. One aspect of education that is often overlooked is the raising of position of women in the society. It is obvious that men are already ahead when it comes to societal aspects as there remain traces of what seem to be undermining of women in the early years. That is why education is very essential to the success of women as it proves that they can also work outside the borders of their own homes. There are 776 million illiterate adults in the world; two-thirds of which are women. Face it, women used to be given less opportunities to study. And all though it is very common nowadays for women to study, there are still some remnants of what used to be. Evidences of such are the lack of sanitary facilities, no support for sports programs and the availability of protection from sexual abuse and harassment (Tidwell, p. 65). That is why if women get the kind of education that they deserve, then their societal positions will rise above what everybody else thinks of them, because they will get the same amount of learning and knowledge as men do.

“Education is the great engine to personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, and that the child of a farmer can become the president of a great nation”

This is what Nelson Mandela has to say about education. Yes, having your own kind of education will rid you of what your background used to be. Whether you have been very poor when you were young, if you have had the right kind of education, then you will be able to start your own life and can gear towards a successful future. Branching out is the perfect term for such.

Education means Employment and Security

Have you ever wondered why there is a certain tingle to the sound of Harvard University or Yale University? These two ivy-league universities are among the universities that are known to give high quality education.  Why are students dreaming to get into such schools? Because they know that they will be given top priority in different companies of their own fields. Education is very important because it is what most people are looking for, as it is believed that quality is needed to be highly competent. And there is also never a too early age to start the right education because research shows that preschool level is a very important stage in education. Yes, even the first step can make a big difference in one person’s education life. Which proves yet again that education is essential for an individual to be successful, even at a very early stage (Early Childhood Education: the Key to Success in Life, p.74 ). Well, of course one of the first things that companies and other hiring organizations and establishments look for is their educational attainment. In fact, there are some situations wherein employees cannot have a promotion without having a certain degree, or taking and advanced placement exam. Take for example teachers and professors of schools, colleges and universities. Some cannot be considered as permanent professors if they have not finished a certain degree level. The basics that are needed in professional living are the ability to speak and write fluently. However, the generation today demands even more as technology is becoming more and more integrated with daily living. Computer literacy is becoming more and more required in the very competitive professional world, and it is almost impossible to become computer literate without having the basics of reading and writing; which is another proof that education is essential to a person’s success.

Education develops critical thinking

According to Fatema Batul, education gives people the power of knowledge and gives the rationale to be able to develop critical and logical thinking. And with those, educated people will definitely be able to face any challenge in the real world with not much of a struggle. Why? Because having the right kind of education boosts the confidence of people, which makes them very much willing to perform and execute whatever they have learned from their different education fields (Batul, p. 16 ).

The Importance of Training to Success in Life

It has been said that having education teaches different individuals to be able to make wise and rational choices, which will help them take the right kind of choices which will lead to success. Which is why individuals are very much encouraged to strive hard during their educational years because once they get to love their own fields, it can alter their lives (Batul, p. 18).  Although there are a lot of people who have been successful even without the complete education (elementary, secondary and college), it is predicted that it will only be temporary as they lack the adaptive skills needed once change arises in their systems. Also, if one successful person has not been to college, but has finished either elementary, high school or both, then that person still has had a certain amount of education which is used in his or her daily life. Education is the perfect weapon to any problems, struggles, conflicts and other situations that may come an individual’s way. Because during one person’s school life is where he or she is trained to become mentally fit.  It is through education that the individual’s social skills are trained and developed, which can be used in our daily lives, even in the different fields and careers that individuals take, especially those that deal with people a lot, as there are professions that are all about meeting and talking to different people every day.

  1. III. Conclusion: Education the Path towards Definite Success and Self Actualization

Education is very much essential to one person’s success. It is not only necessary for our survival but also necessary for us to be the best that we can be as persons. Education is so essential and will help each person’s success be achieved faster and easier with less effort than those who are uneducated, as more opportunities will be opened for educated ones. Remember, quality education will result to a quality future, which means great success. It is true that success cannot be measured with the educational level one has attained. Success can be measured with how far a person can reach in this lifetime. Without the bow of education the arrow cannot reach the target – success in life and self actualization.

Bibliography

Batul, Fatema. “Academics and Education: The Key to Success.” 6 July 2009. PRLOG. 23 April 2010 <http://www.prlog.org/10275529-academics-and-education-the-key-to-success.html&gt;.

Chickering, Arthur. “Liberal Education and Success at Work.” 23 April 2010 <http://academics.tritron.edu&gt;.

“Early Childhood Education: the Key to Success in Life.” Learning Info. 23 April 2010 <http://www.learninginfo.org/early-childhood-education.htm&gt;.

Leslie Calman and Linda Tarr-Wehlan. “Early Childhood Education For All: A Wise Investment.” (2005).

Okun, Will. “Parents Who Don’t Parent.” 23 June 2008. The New York Times. 23 April 2010 <http://nytimes.com&gt;.

Thien, Rachel. Preschool Education Vital For Children’s Future Success . 2 March 2010.

Tidwell, Nicole. “Education: Key to Success.” (n.d.).