Tag Archives: online education

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Pivotal Group Acquires Majority Stake in Pan Am Education

A Pivotal Group affiliate has acquired the assets of Pan Am Education, expediting the international expansion of the company. Pan Am founding management will maintain a stake in the company and continue day-to-day operations.

Pan Am Education provides online blended learning solutions for students and education companies around the globe.  Pan Am currently distributes its education services in 10 countries, including China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and the U.S.  Its current distribution network reaches over 5 million students.  The company plans to expand into additional markets as a result of this investment by Pivotal Group.

The transaction is also expected to create new jobs in Arizona and around the U.S. Pan Am hires contract teachers from across the country that work from home, videoconferencing with students to provide online, synchronous instruction around the world.

“Pivotal Group is impressed with Pan Am’s unique interactive, blended-learning model; global platform; capable management team and capacity to make a major impact on how people learn.  This investment reinforces our long-standing commitment to improving the global mindset of students and educators around the world,” said F. Francis Najafi, CEO, Pivotal Group.

“Pan Am and Pivotal Group share the same vision: to improve access to quality, affordable education to students everywhere. This investment represents a mutual commitment to international education and the shared principles of our team,” said Joe Merrill, CEO and co-founder of Pan Am Education.

Angel Chaves, Pan Am Education executive vice president and co-founder adds, “With additional resources and the support of the Pivotal Group, we will change the face of education and create opportunities for students and teachers everywhere.”

Christopher Nyren and Todd Maurer, of Illinois-based Educated Ventures, advised Pan Am Education with respect to the transaction.  The amount of the transaction is not being disclosed.

Founded more than a quarter century ago by CEO F. Francis Najafi, Phoenix-based Pivotal Group is a diversified investment company focused on private equity and real estate, particularly drawn by the unrealized potential of well-managed, middle-market companies with unique assets.  Pivotal Group works in partnership with acquired company management to strengthen the firm’s strategic and financial position through planning, improving operations and creating growth initiatives.  To learn more about the Pivotal Group go online to http://www.pivotalgroup.com.

Virtual Schools, Online Education

Virtual Schools, Online Education: Is It Right For Your Student?

Virtual Schools, Online Education in Arizona: Is It Right For Your Student?

As adults we know that not everyone is suited for a  9 to 5 job. Whether it is work style or other responsibilities such as parenting, social, and community commitments, one size fits all does not fit all.

But what about kids? What if they don’t fit into the traditional school model? What if they want to progress more quickly through a subject or need more time?  What if they can’t focus due to social challenges or even attend a bricks and mortar classroom due to severe allergies or other medical concerns? Increasingly, families are turning to technology for a solution.

In Arizona, students from across the state may enroll in a full-time virtual public school – tuition free. This innovative school option combines public school, distance learning, and elements of schooling at home – and its popularity is gaining, not just in Arizona, but nationwide.

In fact, according to new research by Evergreen Education Group, as of late 2011, 30 states now have full-time, multi-district virtual schools that enrolled an estimated 250,000 students in the 2010-2011 academic year, a 25 percent increase over the previous year.  Yet despite this growth, many parents don’t fully understand virtual school and how it works.

First, parents often confuse virtual schools with homeschooling. The two are very different.

Virtual schools deliver highly accountable education to students in the comfort of home. State-certified teachers deliver a rigorous curriculum that correlates to state standards and students participate in state testing. Most virtual schools provide everything a student needs for school, including curriculum materials and loaned texts and computers.

Parents also worry virtual school students sit in front of a computer all day; they don’t. The computer is a tool for teachers and parents to manage and track assignments, communicate (along with the phone) and deliver interactive curricular materials, but it is not the only tool that students use. Students complete many assignments “unplugged” and spend time reading textbooks, using workbooks, reading library books and doing hands-on experiments — just like a traditional school.

Also, just as there are in traditional schools, students in the virtual school setting learn under the guidance of a state-certified teacher. Assisting the student in day-to-day activities is an adult Learning Coach, who is typically a parent, but may be another family member or adult caregiver. The teacher works directly with both the student and Learning Coach to develop an individual learning plan, provide instruction and evaluate assignments.

And despite a common misconception, virtual school students socialize. Like all kids, they choose to IM, text or talk to one another on the phone, but good virtual schools also host a number of educational field trips each month so students can get together as a group and engage in real-world learning. Many of the students find that the flexibility of virtual education makes it possible to be involved in activities, such as sports and volunteering.

In fact, some families who choose virtual schooling so their child can pursue their dreams, whether that be the Olympics, professional golf or even acting.

As a principal, I know every parent wants his/her child to receive the best education possible.

Parents need to do their homework to pick a high quality virtual school that’s the best fit for their child. Look for a school with a track record of delivering student academic achievement and high levels of parent and student satisfaction. Other quality benchmarks include: accreditation from AdvancED; full-time, certified and highly qualified teachers; state-of-the-art technology resources; and community activities like clubs and field trips for students.

Ultimately, you must decide what type of schooling is right for your child.

For more information about virtual schools and online schooling, please visit www.connectionsacademy.com.

 

GPEC Forum

GPEC Hosts Forum For New And Expanding Businesses

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( GPEC ) hosted a forum on Dec. 8 to welcome three green and sustainable businesses to Arizona. While Arizona provides particular benefits for these businesses, including climate, educated workforce and tax credits, these businesses will provide benefits for Arizona and its communities by creating jobs, in addition to upholding the reputation of Phoenix as a leader in sustainability.

GPEC Introduces Clear Energy Systems, Maxwell Technologies Inc. and Bryan University to Arizona


Clear Energy Systems

GPECClear Energy Systems, is a research and design company based out of Tempe since 2001, but now that the company is ready to go into production mode, it was time to determine a home base.

Clear Energy Systems developed a clean burning, one-megawatt generator that is powered using natural gas, opposed to traditional diesel generators.

The Clear Energy Systems generator has been designed to meet or exceed the EPA and the CARB emissions requirements. The company expects to have its first saleable unit produced in 2Q of 2012, but even with the generator still in production, the company already has orders for 200 units.

Clear Energy Systems is gearing up to have a local workforce of 350 employees and represent five percent of the exports of the state of Arizona by 2016.

“We want Clear Energy Systems to be a place that people are banging down the doors to come work at,” says Joel Borovay, chief operating officer (COO) of Clear Energy Systems. “By 2014, we’ve committed to the state of Arizona that we will have 225 employees; today we have 11.”


Maxwell Technologies Inc.

GPECMaxwell Technologies Inc. representative, Earl Wiggins, the vice president of operations, was enthusiastic about expanding the company to Peoria.

Maxwell Technologies Inc. will be manufacturing Ultracapacitors in the Peoria plant. These Ultracapacitors are used in heavy transportation vehicles, such as buses, trains, trams and metros around the world. The mechanism stores the energy created when the vehicle stops and uses that energy for the vehicle to accelerate. This type of technology is also used in energy windmills to control the direction of the blades as the wind changes.

The Ultracapacitors have to be manufactured in a low- to zero-humidity environment, so choosing the Southwest was a no-brainer. Cities such as Albuquerque and San Antonio were competing for the patronage of Maxwell Technologies, but according to Wiggins, “Phoenix won out because of GPEC’s outstanding communication with our company and the current availability of facilities. The other cities were willing to build a facility for us, but time was a factor.”

Maxwell Technologies sells its Ultracapacitor model to 40 different countries and expects to bring 150 jobs to Phoenix in the next three years.


Bryan University

GPECBryan University is relocating its headquarters from Los Angeles to Tempe.

The online-based university offers a variety of courses for higher education seeking students. Eric Evans, chief technology/compliance officer for Bryan University, explained the high tech systems used to facilitate a successful and engaging learning environment that is available on the Internet.

The university uses programs such as Moodle, eDiscovery and Illuminate to facilitate a face-to-face learning environment with access to all the amenities that a student would receive if they attended a university in person, just simply eliminating the carbon footprint.

Bryan University was considering other locations in addition to Arizona as the optimal relocation for its headquarters; however, Arizona won top spot for its close proximity to its current location in California, the growing population of Arizona, the need and desire for online education and avaliablity for persons with higher education degrees to fit employment qualifications.

“In the next two years, we expect to hire between 150 to 200 employees with higher education degrees to fill positions with our university,” Evans says.


All three of these companies were in talks with other cities as the new manufacturing site or headquarters, but Phoenix won out as Arizona’s climate, population and desire for economic expansion won these companies over. Each feature of our state contributes to our success — expanding population, the sustainable technology programs provided by Arizona’s colleges and universities, the warm sunny weather and the continuing interest by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council for Arizona’s economic and sustainable improvement.

Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold

1.

Landlines

According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More

2.

“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email

3.

Newspapers

Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online

4.

Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark

5.

In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online