Factors To Consider When Looking For A US Home Improvement Contractor

Many residents who live in the US find the need to make home improvements season by season. The main reason for doing these is to make their homes look newer, improve on the architecture, bring new technologies in the home and even increase the value of their homes. All the above services can be hired from different US contractors spread all over different cities.

Some home improvement jobs for hire:

Different clients who want to hire contractors have choices to make from the available services. Some of the jobs include treating the windows, roofs and doors. Other home owners will hire the contractors to remodel the homes while others will pay for the storm drain repair, insulation needs, plastering needs, glass work jobs and even carpentry services.

Factors to put in place when looking for a contractor:

It is obvious that different home owners have different needs when it comes to their home improvement. The first thing to consider is the type of home improvement. For example a person who requires roofing facelift must check on the different roofing experts in their locations. It will be awkward when looking for a roof fixing expert and you head to a company that has expertise in storm drain remodeling.

Secondly one has to consider the pricing. Many companies will charge different prices. This will depend on the services offered. When a client is looking for any of the services, then they must compare the prices to be paid. This can be done by checking various online sites for the services offered by each company and initial charges.

In addition, some of the US home improvement companies have been in the business for a number of years therefore they have a good reputation. When a home owner is getting the services, it is only ideal to consider the companies that have worked in various cities and many people are recommending them. These reputable companies have the latest technologies to deal with any jobs offered.

The technology used:

Due to the competition among various US service providers, the home owner must get some information about the technology used to finish the jobs given. For example, a home owner seeking to improve the insulation around the home can check the companies with the best materials and technology to help in insulation remodeling. Since they know the requirements, then they will have to choose the best.

Availability:

In some parts, it is impossible to get specialists to solve a particular need. So this will mean importing the services from a neighboring state. This will translate to higher payments. To reduce the operation costs, they service provider needs to be contacted online to reduce the costs.

Offers made:

Some companies providing US home improvement services have various offers for different improvement jobs. In order to get the best at reduced prices, the home owner should ensure they take advantage of the discounts given on any service that will reduce the costs significantly.

The US home improvement has improved in the recent days as more people contact the experts to give a facelift to their homes. With these services available, home owners can pay smaller fees to ensure their homes look good every time.

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The Future of Educational Technology and Education 3.0

Thinking of what education might look like in the next decade, one quickly realizes that the trends in technology are leaving a large number of our students behind. We no longer live in an age of visible movement when it comes to progress and innovation. Today is an age of exponential change. New and ever-improving technologies are popping up every day and in every corner of society.

Educating the best and the brightest in this brave new world will take a new and improved educational paradigm. Allowing our educational tools to age in the corner of the classroom will be the mistake that may cost us our future. Throwing away masses of children to inequitable access will ensure that we languish at the bottom of the global pool of employable workers for decades to come.

The New Toolbox

I was at an auction a few years ago and noticed a few old woodworking tools that I thought I could use. For a few bucks, I was able to snag an assortment of hand tools that may have been in someone’s toolbox for a generation or more. As the next decade passed, I used these tools in my shop for a wide variety of projects until my projects outgrew these old, dull tools. My woodworking creations continued to improve as did my skills and artistry. I quickly discovered that using improved tools would translate into improved craftsmanship. As any woodworker will tell you, new tools require new skills.

Woodworking is a great metaphor for shaping and molding students. There is simply no good substitute for a sharp tool. If you want to build the best projects possible, you need to use the best tools possible. Thinking in terms of the next decade for our country, we will be sorely disappointed in our projects if we fail to improve our tools.

Within this article, I will try to paint a picture of how technology will shape the way we educate students in the next decade. I will attempt to show the amazing possibilities that lay before us if we will simply walk through the doorway of opportunity that is open to us. My focus will be this idea: Transforming the student from being a passenger to becoming a “user.” You may be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain.

Ask yourself what it means to be a “user.” A user is not simply a person who uses. For the student, being a user should involve using the latest technology in a free and autonomous manner. This new-found freedom will allow the student to become an active participant in his/her education instead of a passive passenger. No other time in history have we been so able to make this a reality.

In our current technological society, being a user also means being tracked. Tracking has become a major part of our daily lives and is precisely the engine that should drive our educational process for the foreseeable future. Tracking a student means having the ability to target education toward weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accurately customize curriculum to the individual has been the holy grail of educational philosophy for many years. This golden age of technological development may soon enable this dream to become a reality.

Current educational curriculum and individual assessment is arbitrary at best. Being able to accurately asses a student can only be achieved by using modern tracking and database technologies. The means by which we can make this a reality is readily available and only needs to be taken off the shelf to be used. If Congress is looking for a shovel-ready project, this may be the one.

Imagine a world where every child has a tablet computer with ready access to the App of virtual photographic memory (internet). Further, imagine that every student can access all the knowledge of humankind freely at any moment in time. Continue to imagine a world where a misspelled word brings up a spelling challenge application instead of an auto correction. Try to contemplate what it would mean for a teacher to have a database of every misspelled word, every misunderstood concept or every missed equation for each of their students. Try to envision a teacher with the ability to customize the experience of the individual “user” with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being automatically targeted to the user through an intuitive educational platform that knows every strength and each unique weakness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The company that makes this standard available to the educational community will be the company that shapes the future of humankind. Will it be Google, Apple, Microsoft, or some other yet unknown pioneer?

Continuing from the thoughts in my last post, I would like to elaborate on the idea of the student as a user of a new standardized educational platform. It is obvious to me that the future of education will always mirror our everyday lives in one way or another. If you examine how technology has influenced your daily life already, you begin to put together a snapshot of what it will mean to be educated in the next decade.

In the last few hundred years, most individuals would consider an education as something you receive. You often hear the question asked, “Where did you receive your education?” As we proceed through the next decade, education will slowly move away from reception and toward being custom designed for the individual user. New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. The question we might ask in 10 years is, “How did you develop your education?” The question of where will still be important, but the how of the matter will be the focus that defines the individual.

To make this a reality we will need a standardized platform from which to develop a student’s unique education. This standardized platform will allow us to tailor a custom curriculum that will be matched to talents, interests and life goals. For the educator, a standardized platform will create a way to assist the student in discovering a true purpose in life through a unique educational experience. The basics of reading, writing and arithmetic will not be taught as much as they will be discovered and used. Learning will become a reciprocal experience between the teacher, the student and the machine.

Under a standardized platform, each of these three participants will have a role to play. The teacher will be the facilitator, assisting the development of the curriculum and inspiring the direction the student takes. The student will be the user, gathering resources, skills and knowledge in an efficient and measured sequence. The machine will do the work of data gathering and analysis, which will assist the teacher and student in refining the curriculum. This data gathering work of the machine will also free the teacher from the burden of record-keeping and tedious tasks that currently distract from the real job of teaching and learning.

Under a standardized system, grade level will be far less important. Achievement and progression will be measured by accomplishment and intelligence as a benchmark for success. The question of failure or success will be irrelevant and replaced with a standard and consistent measurement of potential and overall intelligence. Information will no longer be missed but continually rehearsed and monitored for retention by the machine.

In our current educational paradigm, the teacher is in charge of arbitrarily constructing curriculum. This approach to curriculum development is based on inexperience in some cases, outdated materials, inadequate funding and a shortage of time. Measuring the success of a specific curriculum is currently impossible. With a standardized system, comparisons of curricular success can be made across the entire spectrum of education and then continually reformulated and enhanced by the machine.

Sadly, teachers today are bogged down with an assortment of mind-numbing tasks that would be better suited to an off-the-shelf automated system. Tasks such as data tracking, reporting and record keeping are currently accomplished manually. These tasks could easily be delegated to an intuitive database. Developing a standard to follow would eliminate these tasks and free the teacher to do their main job of teaching students.

Education 3.0

Throughout history, man has sought to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This process started with oral tradition, storytelling and writing. With the advent of the printing press, knowledge and information slowly became available to the masses. The amount of information that could be gained by one human in a lifetime was severely limited by his access to printed materials and wealth. The majority of learning was gained through observation and imitation. We can call this Education 1.0.

Education 2.0 starts around the late eighteen hundreds with universal literacy movements throughout newly industrialized regions of the world. Improvements in education slowly transitioned from apprenticeship to formal education and training. Despite our movements toward universal education, access to knowledge and opportunity continues to be inequitable throughout the world. Even with the arrival of the computer revolution, access to the tools of learning continues to define the learner.

The next decade may mark the moment in history when all men are granted equal access to the greatest treasure a soul can possess. I use the word may in the last sentence because there is the chance that we will miss this golden opportunity. Access to Education 3.0 will only be gained through investment and universal standardization. If we continue to divert wealth toward fruitless goals and corporate greed, this opportunity will be lost or hopelessly delayed.

Education 3.0, when it arrives, will be the age of universal enlightenment. Platforms for education and learning will slowly standardize and become globally accessible and affordable. The poorest to the wealthiest will have access to the machine that runs the platform.

The thought on your mind at this point is most likely wondering what machine I keep referring to. The machine in question is the one we have been so busy teaching and training since roughly 1969. You’ve probably guessed it by now that I am referring to the internet. The great cloud of knowledge that we call the internet is precisely the mechanism that we will use to build the platform of Education 3.0. When the platform is finally in place, the decade to follow will see the greatest amount of wealth, discoveries and use of human potential that we have witnessed during our time on this earth. The only question that remains to be answered is the point at which I will leave this article.

When will we allow the user to use the machine to its potential?

Stephen McClard has been the Director of Bands at Bolivar High School since 2002. Mr. McClard graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1990. He started his teaching career in Southeast Missouri before moving to Illinois where he taught band for 8 years.

Mr. McClard’s bands have consistently received superior ratings at contest as well as many other awards and accolades. Since 2002, the band has traveled twice to Chicago, where they won 1st place class 4A and 1st place overall at the Midwest Music In the Parks Festival. The band also traveled to Cincinnati in 2006, receiving the same honors. In 2006, Mr. McClard was named by SBO Magazine as one of the 50 Directors Who Make a Difference. In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Bolivar RI School district was named one of the “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” in America by the American Music Conference. Mr. McClard was previously featured on the cover of the 2003 issue of SBO Magazine for his work with music technology.

In addition to his career in education, Mr. McClard maintains an online woodworking business and is a 3rd generation piano technician. His woodworking creations include custom bass guitars, which have sold all over the world and one-of-a-kind computer desks made from old pianos. His piano desks have been featured in magazines such as Business 2.0 and Piano Technicians Journal and in many other newspapers and television news features.

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Residential Property Block Management Regulation – 34 Into 6 Doesn’t Go

The 34 New Residential Estate Property Management RegulationsThere have been a staggering 34 new regulation changes introduced by the government in just 6 years affecting residential freehold and leasehold management agents and their estate management property services. And this list excludes any changes to employment law covering property services companies in employing their own staff.The main regulatory and statutory changes impacting on landlords, freeholders, resident property estate management companies and their agents are set out below.Whilst this list is not intended to be exhaustive, the extent of government interference in this sector is clear to see. It is granted that much of this legislation brings with it undoubted improvements however the scale and pace of the introduction of change is staggering.There must be few industry sectors which have been subjected to such radical and wholesale statutory amendment in such a short time frame. It is little wonder why so many freehold and leasehold management companies, landlords and their leaseholders have been turning to residential property block management agents for professional help and advice regarding service charges.Many residential freeholds, leaseholds, resident management companies, Right to Manage (RTM) and property management organisations are run by volunteers and others who may be relatively inexperienced in the property estate management field. It is understandable that these organizations along with landlords will wish to know that their freeholds and residential block management firms are professionally run, ensuring suitable protection under both new and existing legislation.There are 34 headings set out below which have been recently affected. This list concerns property agents, landlord service charges and lease management of freehold and leasehold property. Some or all of these changes will have a significant impact on property companies and the maintenance and running of leasehold and freehold estates:-1. Ground rent notices for landlord and freehold companies2. Changes to consultation procedures for property services and major works3. Consultation on long term agreements for landlords and freeholders4. Service Charge Demands for block management agents, leaseholders and freeholders5. Administration charges for landlord property agents6. Forfeiture for leaseholders7. Breaches of Covenant affecting the landlord and leaseholders8. Asbestos property services legislation9. Working at height10. Risk Assessments and property services health and safety11. Regulation of residential block insurance by the F S A12. Taxation of Trusts for Service Charge Monies for managing agents and residential estate property management companies13. Digital Switchover14. Licensing of wheel clamping and other security staff for freehold and leasehold companies15. Separate bank accounts for each residential property scheme16. Prescribed statements of account for property service changes17. Independent certification of all service charge scheme accounts18. Licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)19. Home Information Packs20. Fire safety for leasehold or freehold estate property management companies21. Disability Discrimination and property block management22. Electrical Safety Testing for blocks of flats and freeholds23. Water testing and legionella for common and shared estate property services24. Gas Safety for common and shared property services25. Hazardous Substances in the common areas and the workplace26. Rules for appointment of contractors for property and estate management organisations27. Lifts, elevators and their regulation and block maintenance28. Health and safety planning for all freehold and leasehold maintenance work29. Data Protection for managing agents and residential property estate management30. Money Laundering for estate managing agents and residential property landlord businesses31. No smoking rules in blocks of flats and common facilities32. Disposal of electrical items affecting estate managing agents and residential property33. Health and Safety Offences Act 2008 affecting management agents and residential property estate management34. Administration services for residents leasehold blocks of flats and apartmentsIn view of the above extensive list it is clear that professional guidance should be sought to help leaseholders and freeholders begin to understand the effects of the above recent changes affecting the running of estates and lease arrangements.When it comes to service charges, maintaining and ensuring the smooth running of freeholds for blocks of flats or apartments, few things are more essential than securing the services of a professional property block management agent. Professional expertise in the field of block management service charges and property services have proven immensely popular with time pressed landlords, directors and leaseholders of freehold property management companies. Please refer to the details below to find out more.

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