Fostering Accountability in the Outsourcing of Liberian Schools

first_imgOver the life cycle of the Liberian state, there has been a growing dissatisfaction among certain segments in the society over the poor quality of public service delivery in general. Public service has often been described as unfriendly to customers, slow, hard to improve, and not results-oriented. Now, combined with pressures emerging from fiscal austerity measures, outsourcing has become a prudent remedy in the eyes of some policymakers. How will such an approach procure efficiency, equity, and quality simultaneously, when the environment that incubates the sector has yet not changed significantly? Worse, when the public good in question is education, the lifeblood and underpinning of national development, the question asked before takes on a significance of grave magnitude. The future of Liberia hinges on this public good. The purpose of this article is not to join the debate on the merits or the lack thereof regarding outsourcing public education. Liberian society has gone passed this point. Therefore, it makes no sense going back and forth on this matter. That would not be an optimal use of brain resources. Instead, this article, in efficiency terms, aims to put forward those questions that the public might ask to determine the success or failure of Bridge Academies. Put another way, what product has the Bridge Academies inherited from the Liberian government and people? What product has it being given to manage? If we have a clear sense of the state of our schools, then the public will have an informed expectation, based on which to judge the success or failure of Bridge Academies during and at the end of its contract with the government. Clearly, there is a monitoring and evaluation plan that the government will use to judge Bridge Academies’ performance. However, I am interested here in how the public will assess the new approach to school governance in the Liberian context. The general assessment is that the standards by which the Liberian education system operates are not uniform. The curriculum might be standardized, but its application, enforcement, and support are not consistent across the board. We therefore have minimal or no ways to measure or compare the performances of individual schools, school administrators, teachers, and students across the country. Data sources on such matters are weak or nonexistent. The National Examination, which was the nation’s foremost standardized test, has been traded in for the WAEC. Therefore, how will Liberian society, not the government, measure the performance of Bridge Academies at different phases of its intervention? Does the ordinary Liberian have fine-grained ideas about the nature or quality of the product that Bridge Academies is inheriting? Or are they stuck in the negative perception that exists about Liberian schools without regard for the many oasis of learning (great schools) that exist in the country? The latter is mentioned to serve as a point of comparison. Until those variables are clear, at least, to the public, which will be the final arbiter of Bridge Academies’ performance, this might be an intervention without a target. Even if Bridge Academies succeeds, it might face unwarranted criticisms because the society lacks knowledge of where it started from, where it is going, how it is going to achieve set goals, and the constraints that stand in the way. Most importantly, are the goals set, ones that Liberians own broadly?WAEC is the standardized indicator by which student performance is measured in Liberia. On that measure, student performance has been characterized as abysmal due to repeated mass failures. A proxy measure that can be added to the WAEC is the University of Liberia entrance exams. Together, these indicators form a composite picture that teaching and learning are not meeting expectations. If one were to compare the performance of students from public and private schools using these indicators, some would say that the latter is doing better. If the ordinary Liberian were to assess Bridge Academies’ performance, it is likely that the WAEC and the University of Liberian entrance scores would be used to gauge, if they are effectively managing the schools in their care. How does Bridge Academies plan to improve performance on these two major indicators? Another marker by which the public is prone to measure the state of Liberian schools might be teacher quality. Teacher quality is a catch-all concept for the enabling conditions that make teaching and learning possible. For some, they involve knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal virtues of teachers, including self-discipline and parent engagement. For others, they add, education leadership at all levels and the professional community produced to facilitate efficient and effective teaching and learning. Teacher quality is crucial to improving student performance. For this, meters like the teachers’ qualifications, experience, and the outcomes produced by each student in their care will be keen public yardsticks. The level of ongoing capacity building that is provided to improve the professionalism of the teacher might also be another variable. Simple questions like: ‘What does the teacher know? What are they capable of doing relative to producing marked improvements in student outcomes?’ Put another way, the public will need to know what is being taught now and who is teaching it? But attached to this, would be teacher satisfaction in terms of compensation and incentives. Answers to these questions will adequately serve as measures by which to hold Bridge Academies accountable. It would be important to add the infrastructural dimensions to this discussion. By school infrastructure, I capture several things under one auspice. I think we must know the general nature of school facilities and the extent to which they would be improved to meet quality and/or public expectations. I also think of infrastructure not only in terms of facilities, but amenities such as bathrooms, libraries, laboratories, book stores, athletic fields, food for students, and basketball or volleyball courts, even classroom size coupled with technology. Relative to classroom size, experts are keen that disadvantaged students mired by poor performance learn much better in smaller classrooms, where their learning styles are taken into consideration by the teacher. Unless the public knows what to expect on these fronts, it might fail to hold Bridge Academies to appropriate account. The public would therefore need to understand the quality of school infrastructure that is being passed down to Bridge Academies to set associated expectations for improving it. The mission to transform Liberian schools will not be complete until capacity is built throughout the country for self-management and self-governance. The centralized approach has proven over the years to be unable to give local partners the deserved stake in this life changing enterprise. Local decision making and community participation are the cornerstones of devolved school systems. It is the missing ingredient in helping Liberian schools systems to recover from its present state. All of the variables identified would have to include a process of inclusive decision making, whereby local communities, more than ever, parents and their communal ties, are equipped to fully graduate their local education systems to self-governance and management. It is this ownership that will eventually send the message that Bridge Academies has achieved its purpose in the eyes of the ordinary citizen. Devoid of it, this intervention would be a mere pipeline or conduit, another paternalistic venture, which will leave insufficient capacity in its wake for Liberians to administer their schools nationally and locally. Our education system did not get the way it is today suddenly. It will therefore not be improved to standards of excellence with quick fixes. No one knows precisely whether or not Bridge Academies is the best alternative for transforming Liberian schools because the evidence for making such a decision has yet not been brought to the public attention. It might even be even absent. Using evidence from other contexts such as Kenya to explain the success of Bridge Academies makes the necessary case, but it is insufficient. If one thing is indispensable to change making, it is the context. Kenya is not Liberia, and Liberia is not Kenya. Liberia is a transitional society emerging from the throes of war and an Ebola epidemic that combined to devastate all fibers of its being. These experiences set Liberia apart. When the country is transitioning to a new government in a year, and when the education system needs a complete overhaul, if supporters of the Bridge Academies intervention fail to clearly articulate the standards by which they must be assessed in layman terms, in the long-run, Bridge Academies’ record will be mired in controversy. Allies of this venture in and outside of government would have made the classic mistake in systems transformation, not telling your constituents how success will be measured before you begin the enterprise. Thus, they build expectations that are not rooted in reality and fail to satisfy them. And when regret turns into despondence, they wonder where it came from. I am not an unbiased observer of the education reform process. When I worked for government, my role involved organizing Liberia’s first Education Roundtable and providing technical assistance to executives at the Ministry of Education (MOE) in developing its Operation Plan. During this period, I built ties with staffers who are still working at MOE. The current Minister of Education and I served on the Cabinet together. I am a professional colleague with some of its local leaders of Bridge Academies. I worked with them in previous positions. In spite of these associations, my commitment to academic objectivity and the good of Liberia exceeds these relationships. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rugby Head calls for better practice facilities

first_imgJust after receiving permission from the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown to utilise the Parade Ground for much-needed practice sessions, Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Head and Rugby Coach Peter Green has made a call for better facilities to be given to sporting disciplines.At the media briefing, the Rugby Coach described the conditions under which the team had to operate prior to receiving permission to use the Parade Ground. “That’s what will happen because of the weather and the players running up and down on at that field and I’m surprised at that, because they did some work on it and somehow it is not up to standard because just after use of several teams it became slushy,” he lamented.Green further shared that attempts to utilise other practice facilities such as theGRFU Head and Coach Peter Green speaking with media operativesLeonora Complex proved futile owing to them being used by another sporting fraternity. He expressed gratitude for the use of Parade Ground, but not without outlining the difficulties they may encounter.“Parade Ground yes, next week, but the boys have to walk the full length and breadth, because you have bottles there, and my rugby players tackle and fall on the ground. Visualise landing on the ground and a piece of glass waiting to rip you open; that’s not what we have in mind. So while we’re getting Parade Ground, we constantly have to walk the length of that ground and then we meet up with the opposition of people who are saying this is our land, what are you doing here?” he explained.As such, the frustrated Coach made a bold call for a facility that is strictly for rugby, stating: “Rugby needs a ground, we have land. Why is the sports policy promising and we’re not getting these facilities? I’m appealing to the Government of Guyana to kindly make a priority and give us land at least where the majority of players are, from Demerara,” he said.The Coach explained that they were appealing for their own training ground so as to avoid having to use facilities belonging to other sporting disciplines, especially when they are hosting international tournaments.“We’re going to have a situation where you’re going to find football’s ground that is being made there, all of us are going to be begging to use that ground for international events. We don’t want that picture.”The national rugby team is currently in preparation for the Caribbean and Central American Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.last_img read more

‘New signing’ wants to make big impact on Everton’s season

first_img Darron Gibson in action for Everton 1 Darron Gibson wants to be like a new signing for Everton now he has finally returned from ongoing injuries.The former Manchester United man sat out the majority of the 2013/14 season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.Gibson has now made five substitute appearances in the Premier League this season and, although he is yet to start a league match, he is ready to re-establish himself for Roberto Martinez.“It’s been frustrating because I had a good pre-season, but maybe it wasn’t right and I wasn’t fit enough when I came back in at the start of the season,” Gibson told Everton TV.“Mentally, it was frustrating for me but I’ve worked hard and hopefully now that’s me back to my best.“It’s the best I’ve felt in the last 18 months, so fingers crossed [it can continue] and it’s good to be back.“I want to play as many games as I can, every time I set a target or goal, I end up breaking down again so I’m just going to try and stay on the pitch for as long as I can.”last_img read more

Istanbul hero on FIVE things Jurgen Klopp will change at Liverpool – Colin Murray podcast

first_imgDietmar Hamann and Steve Bunce were alongside Colin Murray for today’s show, as they discussed Jurgen Klopp’s impending move to Liverpool, the next Sunderland boss plus the week’s Euro 2016 action.last_img

Morata latest: Striker ‘hoping’ PL move still on after Man United end interest

first_img3 They are keen to bring the 18-year-old to Spain, but may have to fork out a world-record £114.5m to do so and Morata could be the man to make way for around 70m Euros.Morata netted 20 goals and assisted six in 2016/17, his first season back at the club, despite being in and out of the team.A Manchester United move looks dead in the water and he will have to hope Chelsea come calling. Manchester United are closing in on the £75m signing of Romelu Lukaku from Everton – so what does this mean for Alvaro Morata?The Spain international was one of the Red Devils’ top summer targets and, after missing out on Antoine Griezmann, an Old Trafford move appeared to be on the cards. So much so, Morata himself was reportedly convinced as late as Wednesday evening that he would become a United player.But Jose Mourinho’s side seemingly had a change of heart.The Portuguese boss was said to be concerned Real Madrid were using their interest in order to extend the 24-year-old’s contract at the Bernabeu, leaving United embarassed.Mourinho, who gave Morata his Real Madrid debut in 2010, turned his attentions to a forward proven in the Premier League, in Romelu Lukaku, leaving Morata bewildered and uncertain of his employers next term.He was so sure of linking up with Mourinho at United that he snubbed an offer from AC Milan, who have been ambitious in the transfer market so far this summer.With pre-season starting, Morata will be keen to sort out his future sooner rather than later. 3 3 Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the former Juventus striker and, after they appear to have missed out on Lukaku, Morata is on a shortlist to replace the seemingly outgoing Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge. Andrea Belotti of Torino also features, but his £87million release clause could put off the Blues, as does Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez while a cheaper option could be Fernando Llorente of Swansea.Even a Chelsea move would depend on manager Antonio Conte, whose future has been plunged into huge doubt after being left ‘livid’ with the Premier League champions for missing out on Lukaku.Chelsea’s contact with Morata had recently gone quiet due to their interest in the Belgian forward, although Conte is believed to still rate him highly.But now he is out of the question, The Independent claims Morata is ‘still hoping’ Chelsea turn to him. Morata missed out on the chance to play under Conte at Juventus, joining the Old Lady shortly after the manager took charge of Italy’s national team. But he played in a team with foundations set up by Conte and is said to be keen to work with him.Morata’s Madrid exit could also be helped by the LaLiga and Champions League winners’ desire to win the race for teenage star Kylian Mbappe from Monaco – READ MORE HERE. Alvaro Morata: Real Madrid forward ‘left hoping’ Chelsea remain interested last_img read more

TD BOYD BARRETT CALLS ON DONEGAL PEOPLE TO KEEP TAX BOYCOTT GOING

first_imgMore than 80 people were turned out in Letterkenny to hear Independent TD Richard Boyd Barrett appeal to the Donegal public to maintain the tax boycott. The meeting at the Station H0use Hotel was organized by Donegal Campaign against the Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT Dun na nGall).He pointed out the inability of the current government to understand the struggle of the ordinary person is a reflection of how out of touch this government actually are. However he said he was optimistic about the future and still believed ordinary people had the ability to change things by becoming organized in their own communities and work-places.He urged people to boycott the property tax registration and to become more involved in the campaign.He also noted three important dates for the campaign- March 23rd -The campaign are calling for a day of regional protests- April 13th-Finance Ministers of Europe at Dublin Castle-campaign calling a large protest to make peoples voices heard and to surround the building-May 1st-To turn the traditional day of workers protests into a day of national civil disobedience-attemt to bring the country to a standstill.The People Before Profit T D also went on to say that if we dont fight against austerity now there will only be more to come. “When the Fiscal Treaty comes into effect the government will be making another seven billion in cuts on top of every thing else. This fortells another decade of austerity for us all if those in power continue to get away with this they will eventually wreck our society as well as our economy.It is up to us who care about our country and society to get organized and take an active part in changing the course of our own history.”The meeting was chaired by John Duffy of the Ramelton campaign group.John said ” While it is important to organize locally ,we must realise in order for us to win this struggle we must be networked to other groups throughout the state, the ability of CAHWT to do this is one of the main advanages of a national campaign”Sheamus Kee spoke on behalf of Donegal Action against Austerity while Owen Curran from Falcarragh and Charlie McDyer for Ballybofey spoke on behalf of their local campaign groups.There was many strong and positive contributions from the floor including questions on the campaigns position on local elections, the situation in Greece and by contrast Iceland septic tanks. TD’s salaries. There was also a thoughtfull discussion regarding where we go from here in opposing the property tax and can we get unions involved. People agreed that the next two months was crucial for building networks of resistance in their local areas.Every one left the room energised for, but under no illusions regarding the struggle ahead.TD BOYD BARRETT CALLS ON DONEGAL PEOPLE TO KEEP TAX BOYCOTT GOING was last modified: March 12th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:boycottRichard Boyd Barretttaxlast_img read more

GALLAGHER WINS BALLYARE 10K – WHERE DID YOU COME?

first_imgGerard Gallagher of Finn Valley won last night’s Ballyare 10K in a time of 33.16 followed by Ciaran McGonagle in 36.10.More than 100 runners tok part in the event.The following are the runners and their finishing times. Place Time No. FirstName Surname Category Club1 33.16 103 Gerard Gallagher SM Finn Valley A.C.2 36.10 148 Ciaran McGonagle SM Rosses AC3 36.23 120 Noel Diver SM Rosses AC 4 36.58 80 Liam Doherty SM Cranford AC5 36.58 104 John Sweeney SM Cranford AC6 37.16 165 Brian Crossan SM Individual7 37.17 72 Jude O’Donnell M40+ Individual8 37.30 73 Raymond Birch SM Letterkenny A.C. 9 38.35 102 Paul Doherty SM 24/7 Triathlon Club10 38.40 144 Brian Ferry SM Letterkenny A.C.11 39.28 155 Paul Murray SM Finn Valley A.C.12 39.31 156 Barry Coyle SM Individual 13 39.42 130 Paul Dillon M40+ Individual14 39.46 77 Joe Gallagher M40+ Milford A C15 39.58 71 Pat Hegarty M50+ Finn Valley A.C.16 39.59 68 Anthony Doherty M45+ Individual17 40.03 66 Joe Hegarty M40+ Individual18 40.11 65 Michael McHugh M40+ Milford A C19 40.27 97 Damien McGoohan SM 24/7 Triathlon Club20 40.28 112 Raymond McGahey M40+ Individual21 40.29 83 Nick Fowell M40+ 24/7 Triathlon Club22 40.30 79 Paul Cullen SM 24/7 Triathlon Club23 40.31 99 Paul Lynch SM 24/7 Triathlon Club24 40.46 163 Michael Murphy SM Cranford AC25 41.11 85 Gerard McGettigan M50+ Milford A C26 41.15 161 Mark Connolly M50+ Finn Valley A.C.27 41.16 114 Des Goyvaarts SM Individual28 41.18 157 Declan McCann SM Individual29 41.43 124 Adrian Gill SM UHG30 42.10 94 Colm McTaggart SM Individual31 42.13 98 Brian Doherty SM Milford A C32 42.17 134 Terry McFadden SM Milford A C33 42.19 123 Johnathon Edwards SM Individual34 42.43 149 Francis Gildea SM Individual35 42.51 75 Eugene McGettigan SM 24/7 Triathlon Club36 42.54 146 Karl Crossan SM Individual37 42.55 136 Paul Gildea SM Individual38 43.11 160 Kieran McMonagle SM Individual39 43.31 91 Daniel Cullen SM Letterkenny A.C.40 43.33 140 Paddy McCauley SM Individual41 43.33 135 Patricia Nulty SW Milford A C42 43.34 122 Hugh Coll M40+ Individual43 43.40 84 James Gibbons M50+ Milford A C44 43.43 141 Carl McGinley JM Individual45 43.52 162 Paul Friel M40+ Milford A C46 44.19 107 P.J Lyons M40+ Individual47 44.25 151 Paul Lee M40+ Letterkenny A.C.48 44.43 132 Emma McGee SW Letterkenny A.C.49 44.49 119 Gavin McCrossan SM Individual50 44.52 82 Tony Gallagher M50+ Finn Valley A.C.51 44.58 131 James Whoriskey SM Milford A C52 45.02 87 Mark Houston JM Individual53 45.06 106 Noreen Bonner W50+ Finn Valley A.C.54 45.14 126 Gerard McConnell SM Individual55 45.51 143 Ciaran Burke SM Individual56 46.12 86 Gerard Dorrian M50+ Individual57 46.41 133 Catherine McKinley SW Letterkenny A.C.58 46.45 142 Eugene McGinley M40+ Individual59 46.52 96 Seamus Ferry M40+ Milford A C60 46.52 125 Tim Flanagan M40+ Milford A C61 46.58 154 John Ward SM Milford A C62 47.15 90 David Connors SM Milford A C63 47.31 129 Darren Ferry SM Individual64 47.55 110 Mary Hippsley W40+ Finn Valley A.C.65 47.56 88 Martin Anderson M40+ Finn Valley A.C.66 47.57 101 conor Mc Gonagle M40+ Finn Valley A.C.67 47.58 92 Liam McGinty M40+ Finn Valley A.C.68 47.59 67 Joseph Casey M40+ Individual69 48.00 111 Sean O’Leary M50+ Finn Valley A.C.70 48.06 129 Darren Ferry SM Individual71 48.42 105 John Ferry M40+ Individual72 48.43 100 Marian Kerr W35+ Letterkenny A.C.73 49.02 108 John Pollock M50+ Individual74 49.13 89 Brian Duffy M40+ Individual75 49.23 128 Margaret Shields W45+ Letterkenny A.C.76 49.38 150 Kenneth Moore M40+ Milford A C77 50.22 145 Catherine Regan SW Letterkenny A.C.78 50.23 138 Shaun O’Donnell M50+ Lifford AC79 50.34 152 Derek Brennan SM Individual80 50.41 69 James Doherty SM Milford A C81 50.47 118 Claire Molloy SW Individual82 50.47 116 David Doherty SM Individual83 50.52 164 Francesca Patton SW Convoy Runners84 50.55 137 Noel Kilpatrick SM Milford A C85 51.22 147 Gary Price SM Individual86 51.23 166 John Carr SM Individual87 51.25 167 Paul Thornton SM Individual88 51.29 78 Mark Gildea SM Individual89 51.40 109 Aidan Dorrian JM Milford A C90 51.46 117 Barry Fox SM Individual91 52.10 158 Oliver Gallagher SM Individual92 52.14 95 Darina Ferry W40+ Milford A C93 52.31 74 Bridgeen Doherty SW Individual94 52.41 76 Hugh O’Donnell M50+ Individual95 54.02 70 Tommy Naughton SM Individual96 54.26 81 Mary Martin W60+ Finn Valley A.C.97 57.06 115 Christine Coyle W40+ Milford A C98 59.49 93 Ann Doherty M60+ Milford A C99 60.10 121 John Lafferty M40+ Individual100 61.16 64 Lisa Smith W40+ Bangor101 62.44 159 Rachael Gallagher SW IndividualTotal Runners: 101GALLAGHER WINS BALLYARE 10K – WHERE DID YOU COME? was last modified: August 16th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ballyare 10kGerard Gallagherlast_img read more

Smith Throws Perfect Game as Drake Blanks Loyola, 8-0

first_img Watch Live vs. Missouri State 5/11/2017 – 1:30 PM Story Links Preview Photo Gallery Live Stats The Valley On ESPN3 Prior to Sunday’s game, Drake recognized its 2017 senior class of Kaitlyn Finneran (Morrison, Ill.), Maddie Hooyman (Trenton, Mo.) and Megan Sowa (Gurnee, Ill.). All three started for the Bulldogs and Finneran and Sowa each tallied 2-for-2 performances and Hooyman went 1-for-2. Finneran drove in three runs, Sowa scored twice and Hooyman scored one run as well in their final games at Buel Field.center_img Full Schedule Roster DES MOINES, Iowa – Junior pitcher Kailee Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) tossed a perfect game for the Drake softball team Sunday afternoon in an 8-0 victory over Loyola in five innings at Buel Field. Drake improved to 28-26 overall and 11-15 in Missouri Valley Conference play with the victory in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs clinched the sixth seed for next week’s MVC Tournament in Normal, Ill., where they will play No. 7 Missouri State on Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. Every game of the MVC Tournament will be broadcast online via The Valley on ESPN3. Smith improved her record to 18-16 as she struck out three Ramblers hitters in the first perfect game since Jessica Hicks did it against Indiana State in 2005. Smith earned two wins and one save in the series sweep of Loyola (26-25, 9-17 MVC) this weekend. Next Game: Drake pounded out 12 hits as eight different hitters finished with at least one hit. Freshmen Sarah Maddox (Henderson, Nev.) and Mandi Roemmich (West Des Moines, Iowa) also had two hits each while junior Tasha Alexander (Eddyville, Iowa) drove in a pair of runs.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Spartans boys down Chico for league win

first_imgRed Bluff >> Valentin Ramirez put up nine points in the opening period for the Spartans Friday night en route to a 61-54 league win over Chico in Red Bluff.After a strong start from Ramirez and teammate Brayden Hutchens, who had seven in the first and four 3s on the night, it was anybody’s game deep into the final frame. The Spartans scored the first 10 points before the Panthers started hitting shots. After one it was 21-12 Red Bluff. The second was a different story.The Panthers went on a …last_img read more

New resource for understanding SB 1

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest State Representative Jim Buchy has announced the launch of a website intended to serve as a resource for those impacted by Senate Bill 1 as they plan for changes to their farms, businesses, and municipalities.Senate Bill 1, signed into law by Governor Kasich in April, prohibits the spreading of manure, chemical fertilizer, and sewer sludge on frozen ground, saturated ground, and under certain weather forecast conditions.“Working with other legislators, we were able to identify the best new agricultural practices and use those as a model for the regulations that now impact northwest Ohio,” Rep. Buchy said. “The goal of this website is to make those new regulations easier to navigate and understand from a legislative perspective.”Click here for more information.last_img read more

Google Makes Major Semantic Web Play, Acquires Freebase Operators Metaweb

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Freebase is a massive open-structured database of information about almost anything, including books, movies and music. In fact, Google already has a relationship with Freebase, pulling in its information to provide intelligent search results within Google News. With the acquisition of Metaweb, Google can now leverage the company’s tools and data even further, especially within basic Web search results.“This is a huge win for the Semantic Web,” Alex Iskold, founder and CEO of AdaptiveBlue, the semantic technology company behind GetGlue.com (and occasional ReadWriteWeb contributor), told us. “It could not be bigger, because really, we had the biggest company on the Web buy the biggest player in the Semantic Web space.”Google already provides some smart search results, including basic math, sports scores and birthdays of public figures, to name a few. For the most part, however, Google merely serves up links to Web pages; knowing more about what is behind those links could allow the search giant to provide better, more contextual results. To get a better idea of how that could happen, have a look at the video below. Microsoft made a similar purchase when it acquired Powerset two years ago. Since then, Bing has bested Google in terms of providing smart search results, and has been nibbling at its market share for search. In an effort to keep Bing from eating its semantic lunch, Google is taking Metaweb’s technology and data under its wing. “What about [colleges on the West Coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one Oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers,” writes Jack Menzel, Google’s director of product management.Metaweb says that Freebase will remain free and open as always, and will be improved upon due to the Google acquisition. The service’s quarterly downloadable data dumps will now be served up weekly, and the company hopes the acquisition will encourage more companies to contribute to Freebase. Tags:#NYT#Semantic Web#web Semantic Web Adoption by Facebook, Best Buy & OthersIt’s All Semantics: Open Data, Linked Data & The Semantic WebThe State of Linked Data in 2010Top 10 Semantic Web Products of 2009ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Leecenter_img ReadWriteWeb’s Guide to The Semantic Web: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The Semantic Web is all about structuring data so that humans and computers can more easily interpret the Web and discover relevant data for a wide variety of purposes. Google, a company built on the ability to advertise based on contextual data, announced today a major acquisition in the Semantic Web space. As of today, Metaweb, maker of Freebase and a leader in the Semantic Web, has joined forces with Google. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… chris cameronlast_img read more

A Rocky Mountain Remodel Story

first_imgThe Rocky Mountain homeowners embraced the opportunity to “green” their remodeling project, primarily targeting the kitchen and the master bathroom. The design team—interior designer, architect, and homeowners—worked together as an integrated team to meet the project goals. We designed for multifunctional rooms with improved spatial relationships, family connectivity, increased storage and work areas, updated aesthetics, energy and water efficiency, and healthy indoor air quality balanced by timeless, durable, and easy-to-maintain design.An initial design charette meeting at the existing house set the scope for the remodel. We determined the overall layout of the home, the green strategies and goals, and the aesthetic vision. From there the design team, homeowners, and contractor met on a regular basis to keep the project on track, ensuring the goals were managed and met throughout the design, documentation and construction process. Detailed drawings and specifications were provided for the contractor incorporating the green strategies, and frequent job site meetings with the entire team proactively supported the project’s success.Greening the kitchenThe existing kitchen sat in a self-contained space not at all conducive to supporting the family’s active lifestyle. An open floor plan was developed relocating the kitchen adjacent to the existing family room and new, centrally located staircase.An oversize picture window invites the outdoors in and celebrates the magnificent views bringing joy to the heart of the home! Balancing aesthetics with sustainability were the top priorities. Local concrete countertops with integral concrete sinks complement the locally crafted, certified beechwood cabinetry. Recycled-content products were used for the glass bar front and backsplash, stainless-steel hood, and bar details. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. European appliances are ISO (International Standards Organization) certified, exceeding Energy Star ratings for energy and water efficiency. Sustainability was paramount right down to the furnishings, which are made of certified wood with low-VOC finishes, recycled-content stainless steel, and washable upholstered seats for the bar stools.Refined eco-master bathThe existing master bath didn’t work. The spaces were disjointed with minimal storage, a small pedestal sink on an exterior wall with a minute mirror, and inadequate lighting, not to mention an outdated design.The homeowners yearned for a cohesive space with increased bath and closet storage, natural light, and updated aesthetics. Reconfiguring the existing space provided them with his/her closets separated by a full bath, with all rooms off a hallway that floods the spaces with natural light and provides easy access to the master bedroom.Green strategies were incorporated throughout the bathroom. Integral-colored earthen-based plaster walls and ceiling allow the surface to breathe, which helps to mitigate potential growth of mold and mildew and supports healthy indoor air quality. A local-glass countertop with integral glass sinks sits on top of certified sycamore custom-wood cabinetry, locally crafted. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. High-efficiency, low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings reduce water usage, and an on-demand water heater delivers hot water straight away. A tonal, natural hemp area rug complements the neutral color palette. To preserve the green and healthy interiors, the homeowners use natural cleaning and body products along with organic towels and linens.Deconstructing the homeFor the entire remodel project, we worked with ReSource for architectural salvage and deconstruction support services. Existing building materials that were not reused were responsibly reintroduced to the reclaimed marketplace or donated to local charities. From cabinetry and countertops, to lighting and plumbing fixtures, to doors and hardware, to interior finishes, most everything was repurposed and recycled to local resources. We paid a nominal fee for the deconstruction services, which was offset by not having to pay dumping fees.Environmentally preferable productsRather than asking “How much more will the green renovation cost?” the homeowners understood that the integrated systems designed for optimal performance contribute to saving energy, water, and resources, aligning with the green objectives developed at the onset of the project.They enthusiastically supported the use of ecofriendly products and services in an effort to positively affect the marketplace. Many team discussions determined the environmentally preferable products that would meet our goals, including but not limited to the following criteria:What makes a product green?– Energy and/or water efficient– Healthy, nontoxic materials– Recycled or renewable sources– More efficient or more durable– Recyclable or biodegradableNext time you research products, refer to the Green Product Checklist on the REGREEN website to help in qualifying environmentally preferable products.REGREEN successWe’ve reached a critical mass of practicing sustainability! Today we are renovating homes using sustainable strategies and environmentally preferable products, and working with contractors and trade professionals with extensive green remodeling expertise. Every sustainability step we take is a success, and working alongside clients and project teams that are fully integrated truly is an amazing process. We delve deeper into increasing systems performance, water and energy efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, and material and resource efficiency, and into respecting the land and the community we live in, creating projects that we can all learn from.A great resource for green remodeling is REGREEN, created through a partnership between the American Society of Interior Designers and the U.S. Green Building Council . These tangible, in-depth best-practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects are available through the newly launched REGREEN website.last_img read more

How to Design a Mobile App for Outstanding User Experience

first_imgRelated Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Pete McCain User experience design (UXD or UX) has been getting attention day by day. The attention is because UX is recognized as a discipline, and it has registered voluminous growth in mobile apps. In the current era, mobile app developers focus on many touch points around end users before developing mobile apps. You need to know how to design a mobile app for outstanding user experience.What does UX mean?UX stands for “User Experience.” UX is all about how a website or mobile application interacts with customers or users. Or, we can say that how the end users of the mobile app feel about accessing the mobile application. Well, user experience is the way of improving user satisfaction by enhancing usability, accessibility, and efficiency of a user’s interaction with the user interface.UX is the metric that will help your app to level up across different App Stores. If you have determined to transform your app idea into reality, then it is high time to do it. And, you’re not alone. Statista estimated that as of the first quarter of 2019, Android users were able to choose between 2.1 million apps. It means that there were approximately 2.1 million apps with the best mobile app UX design. And, Apple’s App Store remained the second-largest app store with almost 1.8 million available apps.With these numbers like that, it is safe to say that there are immense opportunities for a mobile app with outstanding user experience. Let’s check out a few essential ways to design a mobile app with holistic user experience.5 Ways to Create Outstanding User Experience (UX)1. Prompt OnboardingThe concept of prompt onboarding is recognized as one of the underrated factors. But, in actual, the quick on-boarding process converts users into power users. Well, the user on-boarding allows amateur users into experts.So, to create a great first impression and retention, it is essential to develop the on-boarding process as simple as you can. Let’s take an example of WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook just because of three core values, which are simplicity, reliability, and security. WhatsApp has the most uncomplicated on-boarding process as it automatically detects SMS to simplify phone verification. So, users do not have to leave the application to check and enter the code.Image: useronboardAll you just need to create a user experience (UX), which makes onboarding fast and provides an excellent new user experience.Bottom Line: The bottom line is to make things simpler for your users as they will not get distracted by something outside the application and forget to complete the process of onboarding eventually.2. Simple Navigation Makes a DifferenceHaving a simple design means that the navigation must be more straightforward. There are different types of navigation, which use in mobile app design that makes a difference, such as:Pub GuideBottomFull ScreenSide MenuGoogle NewsstandOverviewSide navigationGesture-based navigationBottom navigationIf you are building an app as a knowledge or information sharing platform, then the full-screen navigation can be the go-to option. That’s why it can be a good choice in navigation is that on a 5-inch screen mobile app, the excessive information can make users confused. To give them impressive experience, the full-screen flat menu navigation is highly recommended to provide a simpler navigation experience. NASA app is one of the classic examples of full-screen horizontal menu navigation.3. Make Your App Responsive & Appear FasterTo make an outstanding user experience, loading time is extremely crucial. We live in the era where technology has been progressing a lot from the past few decades. And, it results, people have become more impatient. If the page takes more time to load, the chances are people get frustrated and leave. So, the loading speed must be essential, which we can’t ignore. No matter how fast your app is, but there must be some things that take time to process.Loading Spinner: A blank screen can make your users frustrated. And, the odds are users may leave your app. The only solution to prevent this condition is to make use of loading spinner. It makes it clear that something is happening. For longer load time (more than 10 seconds), it is pivotal to display the progress bar.4. Give a Thought Reachable Thumb ZonesIn general, people hold their phones with one hand and operate them through thumbs. And, most of the interactions are thumb-driven. So, it is safe to say that they do not forget to consider the positions in which users hold their phones. In users, the thumb movement is one of the most common ones when it comes to holding their smartphones.Image: DribbleSometimes, people are comfortable to consume content by scrolling with a single thumb. The important thing is that mobile applications must be designed by considering the reachable zones. Thus, it will increase user engagement and user satisfaction.5. FormsTo boost conversions of your business and engagement with users, a simple mobile form can help to create a great user experience.The mobile form allows a positive user experience, and it ensures a happy visitor or user. And, the odds are the visitors most probably convert into customers and becoming returning users. Well, there are several ways to achieve outstanding user experience, by including the following ingredients while designing a mobile app:Clear form fieldsMinimal form fieldsAutomated ActionsAlluring design and layoutIf mobile visitors or users cannot easily read, complete, and submit the mobile forms, the chances are high to losing the business. So, it is pivotal to create a mobile-friendly form, which fits the screen of the mobile device. Let’s check out a list of essential points, which is vital to implement while designing a mobile app form:Minimize the Form FieldsAutomate the ActionsUse Single-column LayoutCreate clear action buttonsProvide scanners for paymentsProvide the state of completionHence, to design a mobile app with alluring user experience, the mobile form must be highly functional and easy to view while completing and submitting the form.Final ThoughtsThat being said, the first impressions are the most lasting. It is no secret that the success of any mobile app relies on the fact of how simple and easy to use a mobile app is. To make a lasting impression, build a positive relationship with your leads and users, and boost conversions, then don’t forget to include the ways as mentioned above while designing a mobile with outstanding user experience. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Pete McCain is a technology startup enthusiast, associated with AppVelocity – one of the best mobile app developers in Toronto. He has collaborated with more than 50 entrepreneurs – over the last decade – to maximise growth and contribute to technical excellence. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

BJP, Congress finalise list of star campaigners for Tripura

first_imgThe Bhratiya Janata Party and the Congress have finalised their lists of star campaigners to woo voters in the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Tripura. The lists include top leaders of the parties and celebrities who will throw their weight behind the candidates during campaigning.BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to arrive in the State tomorrow (Thursday) to campaign for his party candidates. He is expected to host a road show in Agartala.“We are finalising the programme for the road show which will be joined by party supporters,” said a local BJP leader.Preparations are also in full swing for the election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 6 at Udaipur, headquarters of Gomati district in south Tripura. Mr. Modi might tag a few other northeastern States during the visit.The Congress announced a list of 18 star campaigners for Tripura. The list includes names like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Navjot Singh Siddhu, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mukul Sangma and cinestar-turned-politician Nagma.Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already held a public rally at Khumulwng, near Agartala, on March 18. The schedule for the visit of star campaigners will be announced soon, PCC general secretary Baptu Chakraborty said on Wednesday. Tripura will have two-phased Lok Sabha election. The West Tripura constituency will go to the poll on April 11 and East Tripura (ST) constituency on April 18.Both the constituencies are witnessing multi-cornered contest. All major parties are in the fray.last_img read more

9-man Chennai City FC Lose 3-2 to Bashundhara Kings in Controversial Game at Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup

first_img Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. New Delhi: Bashundhara Kings defeated I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City FC 3-2 in a hugely controversial contest at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong on Thursday to keep their semi-final hopes alive in Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup.Mohamad Kdouh scored a brace for the home team, who had lost their opener to Gokulam Kerala FC, to keep his team alive in the tournament. With the loss, Chennai City FC were knocked out after having lost their first match 5-3 to Malaysian club Terengganu FC. Gokulam Kerala FC, later in the day, drew 0-0 with Terengganu FC to remain on top of the Group B table.The Chennai City FC match was a hugely controversial one, where Chennai player Katsumi Yusa and coach Akbas Nawas were shown red cards and the I-League champions played most of the match with just 10 men and finished the game with just nine..In the 24th minute, after Chennai City FC were awarded a free kick and Katsumi Yusa stood with the ball, he was seen exchanging a few words with the referee and then he went to his coach. As the referee asked the players to continue the game, Yusa charged towards the referee before his teammates came in between and stopped him.The match was thereafter paused with Chennai City players having left the pitch and Yusa alleging that the referee using racist language against him. After several minutes of delay, Yusa was shown a red card and it was only in the 35th minute that the Chennai City players made it back to the pitch to begin the game again.In the first half itself, Bashundhara head coach Oscar Bruzon and Chennai City officials got into a scuffle on the sidelines after a clumsy foul by Chennai’s Mashoor. Chennai coach Akbar Nawas was then sent off for obstructing the play.In fact, Chennai City FC played the last 20 minutes of the match with just nine men on the pitch after Roberto Eslava was sent off following a second yellow for a foul on Daniel.Nine-man Singams were defeated 3-2 by the hosts. #NammaThamizhagam #SingaNadaiPodu #CCFC— Chennai City FC🏆 (@ChennaiCityFC) October 24, 2019 Bashundhara got off to a dream start to the match when Mohamad Kdouh got them the lead in just the sixth minute of the match. Kdouh made a brilliant first touch with a header that fell his way and shot the volley home.Both teams stayed on the attack and created chances before the major controversy erupted half way through the first half.After the restart in the 35th minute, Chennai stayed on the attack and reaped benefits of the same in the 43th minute. Mashoor won the ball by fending off a challenge from Bashundhara and took the shot, which was saved by the keeper. However, the rebound fell to Pedro Manzi on the right and he made no mistake to restore parity for Chennai City FC.The teams went into half time with the scoreline reading 1-1 but Chennai down a man and their coach.The second half began with both teams trying hard to get the lead and in the 59th minute, Bashundhara took the lead once again through Bakhtyiar Duishobekov, who got his head to a beautiful ball in the middle.Once again on the backfoot, Chennai were put under immense pressure by Bashundhara, who also had a man advantage. In the 67th minute, Kdouh had a golden chance to score his second when he was released on the left but despite having only the keeper to beat, he shot the ball wide.Two minutes later, Chennai were reduced to nine men after Eslava’s dismissal but Chennai restored parity in the 71st minute through Mashoor. Nauzet took a goal kick straight over the Bashundhara midfield and Mashoor battled with unsure Bashundhara keeper and defender to shoot a scorpion kick that found the back of the net.However, the advantage in the number of bodies showed as Bashundhara maintained their pressure on the Chennai defence and midfield. In the 81st minute, Kdouh once again shot straight at Nauzet even he was through on the left.In the 87th minute, Daniel sent a brilliant ball in the middle and three Bashundhara men were in the box but none could get a touch.However, Bashundhara and Kdouh were not to be denied. A minute later, Rabi-ul Hasan’s powerful shot from far was blocked by Nauzet but on onrushing Kdouh slotted in the rebound to put the home team in lead once again.That proved to be the decisive goal as Chennai could not find a way back for the third time and bowed out of the tournament. Akbar NawasBashundhara KingsChennai City FCfootball First Published: October 24, 2019, 5:48 PM ISTlast_img read more

NBA: Toronto Raptors interested in signing Greg Monroe

first_imgAdvertisementToronto Raptors is interested in free agent forward Greg Monroe according to a report from TSN, which cites unidentified league sources. Monroe would provide the Raptors with additional scoring power off the bench, the report says.While Monroe wouldn’t provide the Raptors their much-needed rim protection, he is a gifted frontcourt scorer.The 28-year-old Monroe averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game in 2017-18, spending time with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Phoenix Suns, and the Boston Celtics. His value has cratered in recent years, but Toronto could use another frontcourt player after trading away Jakob Poeltl, who played all 82 games for them last season, in the Leonard deal.Toronto sent Jakob Poeltl to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade, so the Raptors have a clear hole at center. Playing Serge Ibaka or Pascal Siakam out of position are their only options to spell Valanciunas.Monroe was traded by the Bucks to the Suns last November and finished last season with the Celtics.Advertisementlast_img read more