education & tech

mLearning, teacher, scholar, social media

Education + Tech

Education & Tech, was created to build hope that education based on social technologies, can transform the new century, and enable abundance not only spiritually but economically. Milton Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is a teacher, tech blogger, writes on education, and hails this blog from Union, NJ. For further questions, tips or concerns please e-mail him to:miltonramirez [at] educationandtech [dot] com

Teacher + Scholar

If you are a regular to Blog Education & Tech, you shall remember that I am a blogger and I'd written a post about education almost everyday since 2003. Education & Tech provides you with education news, expert tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

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Why Do Bloggers Still Keep Writing And We Do Too

Why we are taking a post, this far? What happened is, a few days now, we received a comment from Uncoverguy where he posted, "You're writing from 2003 and you didn't become tired?" and we felt like compelled to answer and scratch some ideas evolving the answer. After all, a blog is not only Web 2.0 anchor text words, it's more than that.

Blogging for the heck of it is not a quick results endeavor and like you are possibly feeling from time to time currently, you question whether the work you put in will ever bring the desired outcomes.

We remember publishing content to my blog, first in Spanish then in English, content We thought was pretty good (even when some readers told me my English was bad!), but no one left a comment and our traffic wasn’t exactly skyrocketing. After posting our masterpiece We’d head out to other blogs and diligently make our presence felt by trying to leave quality comments.

We came across blog articles covering similar topics to our own that, in our opinion, were not as good as our articles, yet these bloggers had a following of hundreds of readers and lots of comments made to many of their posts. We wondered whether we were doing something wrong or was there something this other bloggers were doing right that we weren’t.

TonNet can’t equivocally answer that question, but he suspects, especially now in hindsight, it was simply a case of patience and dedication to the process he was executing. He needed time to get to where he wanted to go and he needed to believe that his actions day-in and day-out would take him there.

Yaro Starak in his post How to Remain Productive When You Feel like Giving Up and from where this post was edited, says you have to enjoy every small success and focus on the commitment towards a goal. Of course, this is not something every person can replicate. Regardless of life situation, access to free time, resources or any external variable, simply put - most people don’t have the willpower to finish the race!

And he sentences: "If you truly want to realize an outcome and taste success, then you must complete the necessary steps to get there. Not some of them and not just during your best days. This needs to be congruent and forceful effort regardless of external circumstances or internal turmoil."

College: Hybrid Classes Better Suited for Academic Performance

A group of aerospace engineering and computer science students gathers once a week in Atkinson Hall of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) to learn designing technology for the developing world. But their lecturer Derek Lomas never quite shows up in the classroom, at least not in person. He prefers to take classes of the popular ‘Design for Development’ course from his desktop in Mumbai — through videoconferencing that is.

They are using what sciencedaily.com calls  instructional technology.  "University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance researcher finds that students in a "hybrid class" that incorporated instructional technology with in-class lectures scored a letter-grade higher on average than their counterparts who took the same class in a more traditional format"  they wrote in its Science News column, today.

Practice of hybrid classes are growing so quickly and practicality for students and professors, at UH  and on campuses across the U.S., because of the advantages for students , in presentation of material as accessibility and flexibility. Brian McFarlin, was the researcher at UH and he can testify for example that an upper-level business law and ethics class in the UH Bauer College of Business reaches more than 1,000 students each academic year because of its flexible, hybrid offerings.

But what is the linking between those students at California Institute and the University of Houston?  No secrets. It's technology applied to the education. Same as Mumbai or Australia, students and teacher are able to learn or re-learn at the same time, even being so far away. In this case the use of the videoconferencing is vital and the good handling of PowerPoint files helps these students to obtain grades, on average a letter grade higher than those in the traditional format

Houston students attend class in classrooms, but students as far away as Australia also take and participate in classes. To date, there has been limited literature addressing the effectiveness of such classes.  McFarlin has comments on the advantages in timing of hybrid class: "That means two courses could be taught in a classroom that would normally be dedicated to one traditional lecture course [and] The key to success with instructional technology is to keep the focus on student-related outcomes and learning. This was my objective."

Findings were published in the journal "Advances in Physiology Education."

Edublogs 3.0

James Farmer, head of edublogs.org, is happy to announce the relaunching of his website. The following is the e-mail we received just today:

"It's been a long weekend over at the Edublogs Ranch, but a throughly satisfying one, as Edublogs is now running on the very latest and greatest version of WordPress!

We've got a customizable dashboard, brand new avatar options and a brilliant new uploader (that automatically makes perfect galleries for you!)... not to mention now over 100 themes to choose from.

You can find out a whole heap more here.

And if you've lost your password or username, it's now even easier to get a new one here. (you just need to pop in the email address you're receiving this email at)

We hope you like the new features as much as we do :)"

Horizon Project 2008

A networking space for not only teacher but students, as well. [Link] Get around, visit them and make some comments.

Writing a Short Blog Entry

Writing corner by Kendra on Flickr

After you've set up your blog it's important to know what your niche is, what I am  sure everyone who stars a blog is familiar with, but as myself, you can find some days hard to publish something of your own interest, after all, you don't want to be repeating everything else other small and large blogs are already saying, you want to write original content, thinking on your particular audience. After reading these 10 Top Design Tips that will take your blog to the next level, we thought it was a good chance to complement it with this our post. We are going to talk about content, we respect the work of SEO and SERP people but as many other times has been said, if you don't have quality content, who's going to read it and most importantly (for a blogger) who's going to link to it?  Afterwards, let google do its job.

When writing a book for example, it would be easier if you start cranking  out one well-developed chapter than it would be to write an entire book. Same applies for bloggers, you want to write interesting, appealing and quality content but at the same time you don't want to be too short or get on the nerves of your readers and get them tired or bored of reading such a long post. Writing short stories gives you a sense of completion.

One of the benefits of writing a short story is the amount of time it takes to complete. You might sketch out a rough draft after three sessions at your computer. Then you set the story aside for a few days before revising and editing. Next, you present the story to a friend or critique group to get other opinions. You again revise and edit, add those finishing touches, and—Voila! You have a completed story. This process takes weeks instead of years.  - wow-womenonwriting.com

This is certainly true, because our posts now a days,  need to be long enough and engage our readers in a pleasant reading. One of the authors of widget slab.com, our dear friend Avatar, once told us: "people is getting lazy, they don't want to read large posts"  and  as the annual report into web habits by usability guru Jakob Nielsen shows,  people are becoming much less patient when they go online. "Instead of dawdling on websites many users want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave." says the BBC.

So, we have to write post for our 'selfish users'.  And that's where prime advice comes handy form people that really knows about this matter.  The authors of dailywritingtips.com are among them. Go and read  their daily topics.

Back to our matters. We write about education and in this field  Miguel Guhlin who describes himself as a learner and educator, has published a post on how to write a List Article,  that I suggest you read in its entirety:

  1. When writing an article for publication, I start out with an engaging question, quote, or scenario.
  2. A list of follow-up questions off the main topic (these are the ones that get answered)
  3. A short summary conclusion or make the conclusion the final question.

Hope this post complies with what I am saying and for those living in the U.S. I wish a nice Memorial Day!

3G iPhone to Arrive Soon

I've grabbed this note from the Techmeme homepage and I wanted to share it with you because if this is true, very soon avid American consumers will be making long lines just to buy the brand new gadget.  The launch of the 3G iPhone might be on 9th World Developers Conference in San Francisco according to the source(importgenius.com). We haven't bought this most searched gadget during 2007 but as you also know Apple keeps updating things ver quickly and new phone was coming.

Rumors say that the first version of the Apple's phone is out of stock in many of the company stores and to make it a coincidence employees from AT&T are not allowed to take vacation on June (remember AT&T is the only carrier in the US for the iPhone).

A few screenshots in this page.

The Paths to Be a Successful Blogger

Millions of blogs are being indexed everyday and all their web editors, try very hard to be successful. But, what's the secret behind  those personalities who are confessed they even read blogs, do not collect money for their work or simply...make many of what everybody else is dreaming of, money.

Let's what these three personalities have to say:

GVO Authors.

Guy Kawasaki.

Darren Rowse.

Comment and let us know which one is your mommy blogger.

Video Games: There Is Not Data Yet!

Ending of April of this year,  Do Reisinger wrote a interesting article about video games and its influence on the behavior of our kids.  As for my personal experience ( I"m father of a 10 years kid) , let me tell that sometimes I 've got scared about the conversations  my son and I,have about his games. He enjoys video games  violence and he says he cannot  find pleasure in a game that doesn't show violence and blood, he thinks that's funny!?

Now, my kid is a normal boy and  of course millions of kids worldwide are acting, thinking and saying the same stuff about video games. I don't care what Sociologists or Psychologists will tell me, I do know video games have a particular influence on these fragile minds and I let me  agree with .Dave Grossman, "Our kids are learning to kill and learning to like it. The most remarkable example is in Paducah, Kentucky the school killer fired eight shots, getting eight hits, on eight different milling, scrambling, screaming kids. Five of them were head shots (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999)."

The author of this article published on  Cnet.com refers to  Dmitri Williams who is of the opinion that "some games don't lead to aggression, but I am saying the data are not there yet [and] until we have more long-term studies, I don't think we should make strong predictions about long-term effects"

Yeah Alright! Same as government oversees these problems, food and medicines are allowed until something wrong is found! Let's go ask the kids who grow up knowing nothing but poverty and violence in such extremes that becoming a suicide bomber seems like a viable option for them. Lets ask them about the impact of any video game on their life.

Three Ways Students Can Help Themselves

I wanted to write about what's happening on applications, and what I ended is thinking of best ways to help students getting to college or universities.   Sometimes inexperienced young people commits to study but they don't realize of all their chances to change  life while concluding  professional careers.

Change the way your take your notes in class.

It's not the best way to handle documents but for students works perfectly. Google Docs is a good tool not to take notes only, but to share them and enrich them when you have to work on projects.  Remember too, Google Docs allows you to embed Power Point files.

Of course, Google Docs isn’t perfect. When using it with 4 or more collaborators, Paul Stamatiou [Google Docs: Changing the Way I Work]  have found that merge conflicts  occur quite often and it becomes rather annoying.  Other than those issues, Docs falls short of being a complete word processing solution for students. Many of them still end up fine-tuning their documents in Microsoft Word before printing and turning them in.

Brand yourself writing on a blog.

"I haven’t yet taken much consideration’s for “branding” of my blog, but I think in someway our sites take on branding naturally ... so I guess in a way without trying, we do end up branding ourselves" says Stephanie from jusanotherblogger.com

And she's right. It doesn't matter if you are a technical or social student, having a blog helps you lots. One of the first steps in creating a brand for yourself is to make your blog visible. Post meaningful entries, comment on your niche’s top blogs, or simply gain a regular readership. Visibility creates opportunities, it's  believed that when you brand yourself, the competition becomes irrelevant. So, the goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs.

Pick courses that will help you make bucks.

If you're in college, about to start the university, or looking to take some classes,  the list below for college courses will help make you rich.  It's well known that school doesn't prepare you  for life, even when educators, administrators or government shout it out loud.   Schools (though) help to identify which classes are the most relevant and helpful for those of you looking to become rich entrepreneurs.

Robert, head of flimjo.com lists eight courses that, if used correctly, will put you on your path to amaze money (no particular order):

1. Accounting - People does not comprehend the difference between an asset and a liability.

2.  Marketing  - Products fail because you need to find the market first, and then develop a product.

3. Economics - Identify which direction your business is going in, then take advantage of specific trends,

4. Finance - Learn time value of money and why you lose money while waiting for your refund check!

5. American History Course - Turn around terrible decision-making learning from history.

6. Writing and Composition - Open doors, figure it out how many blogs are paying money to good writers.

7. Literature Courses - Books provide timeless principles of personal development and wealth creation.

8. Management - Understanding of management concepts and learning different techniques and skills will not only make you likable,  they will  help you make more money!

Photography Tips to Be Used in our Classrooms

This post is written for someone who really loves photography and we teachers might have a lift from it. Now that all kids, teens and even baby boomers what to play around with photography.

Title say all: 60 Photography Links You Can't Live Without.

School for Riches and Schools for Impoverished

I thought education was running ok even on war times and in the presence of a globalization not only of the economies but inflation, as well. The dollar it's not the heavy currency that used to be and it seems is affecting not only the pockets of suv's drivers but schools and parents.

No matter if we have just a web we need education for everyone and at all levels (hem, does any of the presidential candidates has spoken about it). We cannot keep up with chart schools or even worst Schools for Poor. Definitely, the intentions of The loose-knit group, called the New Schools Collaborative, Piton Foundation, Donnell-Kay Foundation and the Daniels Fund, are well received for their work in urban education in Denver.

But society doesn't have to pool money to solve problems the government has to. The knowledge of this gropus will help jump-start the creation or replication of schools that have proved successful with students from low-income families. Please, I do agree with their work and intentions, what I disagree is the segregation of poor families, poor kids, whre is the money of No Child Left Behind?

Might be that I'm so ignorant or I'm right. We just need a single school for everyone!

Education seen from the 1937 through the 2000 year

A Columbia university educator, addressing students at the University of California at Los Angeles, predicted that "by the year 2000, we won't send children to school until they are 10 years old." He said that "while they are young, we will keep them busy building healthy bodies in the fresh air". Evidently, he doesn't know the mammas. They want to get their children into school as early as possible. One of the reasons for the development of the kindergarten is to hasten the time when even devoted mothers can get a little freedom from the demands of their children. But the year 2000 is a long way in the future.



Post writen by Matt at Paleofuture.com

Following Stephen's Web

We've quoted more than once Stephen Downes, and today after reading over one hundred post that come from his feed, we are able to share with you the five most useful under our blog Philosophy. He's one of the most prominent bloggers among those writing on education and he deserves to be followed:

1. He wrote a post over The Teacher Appreciation Day, but he's thrown a big question.
Does Steve counts as a teacher? Michael Larsen, Mary M,and Anymouse had posted answers on this one. Our appreciation is Steve should be considered as a teacher and should say a Teacher's teacher. Reasoning my answer with the introduction I've just made on top.

2. Just yesterday my wife's daughter was being called her attention for posting some of her personal pictures on Hi5. On this post he questions what is most dangerous posting information on blogs Hi5, Facebook or whatever or send your teenage kids to work evenings and weekends at McDonalds. Predators are everywhere, caution is always advisable.

3. Quoting Judy O'Conell, he raise concerns about what it'll be the roll of Yahoo for Teachers. How this new beta (look for invitations) will solve some problems for schools, or just create new ones. Education has a lot to be with theory, so as far as I am concerned, this will be another place for this business.

4. He abides by the Scientific Method and really, really calls for an stop of 'multiple choice surveys' being called research or worst scientific! I would like (same as the Stephen's link suggests) all educators (not only researchers read, Robert Nola & Howard Sankey's book Theories of Scientific Method
for a better understanding of what we talking about.

And the last one as for today and for myself,

5. A new issue (at least for me) is brought to the bench. Steve Downes says we shouldn't be paying much attention to the 'syndication' word, but (and this is news to me, again) the difference between (open) syndication networks, and (closed) federations. No comments here, I have to read more and deeper to understand more about what Jon Udell is into. Help my teacher!

Education & Tech: Top 20 Posts All Times

There is a great tool which help us analyzes RSS/blog feeds. AideRSS,PostRank allows you to determine the popularity of each of your posts according to the number of comments, Diggs, Del.icio.us bookmarks, backlinks and clickthroughs. Although, as for us, one of the most useful features of AideRSS for bloggers is the ability to analyze the popularity of items in your own blog feed!

Here are our top 20 posts all times.(Thanks to bloggerbuster.com)

1. Please, your Majesty don't get angry. [link]
2. Holly Jobe: The changing expectations of learning. [Link]
3. Comics: Friends 2.0 [Link]
4. Steve Jobs: Following his Macworld watchers. [Link]
5. The future in technology is here. [Link]
6. Merry Christmas to all of you. [Link]
7. Dealing with cellphones in our classrooms. [Link]
8. Academic Social Networks, academics are wary people. [Link]
9. Why the so popular Scoble isn't getting comments on his blog as before. [Link]
10. Social filtering, the new great challenge. [Link]
11. Find out who's the one that couldn't finish college and is rich and famous![Link]
12. Firefox, downloading Free Access Plus. [Link]
13. HC: MacCain will 'Gut Obama like fish'. [Link]
14. Jump onto Technorati train. [Link]
15. Support Freddom of Speech. [Link]
16. Best Flickr Photo during 2007. [Link]
17. Edublogs.org is a great place to start a classroom blog. [Link]
18. Why Technorati ranking is also important. [Link]
19. Experiences: An online continuig education case. [Link]
20. How to cheat schools under Internet filters. [link]




Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at miltonramirez@educationandtech.com . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.


MP3 Players Help Bring the Outside World into the Classroom

Educators across the nation are finding that iPods and other MP3 players are more than just high-tech toys. Students are using the portable devices in classrooms and libraries to listen to books, watch documentaries and record podcasts, among other educational uses.

MP3 players have a range of benefits. Instead of sitting in a library cubicle to watch a video or listen to an audiotape for class, students can download content onto a portable MP3 player and watch or listen anywhere as many times as they need.

Some research even shows that listening to music on an MP3 player while taking a test or doing other schoolwork may help some students drown out distractions

(*)Tiffany Ray wrote this abstract and she is a staff writer for the Birmingham (Ala.) News.

Cyberculture: Dealing with Disruptive Students in the Classroom

Everyone who has been teaching temporarily or in a regular peace has confronted problems of discipline in the classroom ( or even in the surroundings of this room). Those experiences go from pre-K to universities and there is no book or standard procedures to get along with such a disgusting events for a teacher.

Beginning April, if you didn't have the chance to get familiar with this note, Laurence Thomas a respected professor teaching Philosophy at Syracuse University, left his class in order to correct a misbehaviour of one of his Cuban female students.

Comments, opinions, the e-mails form the same professor were all out in the Internet. Some agree with Thomas and some others disagree completely. Even when Thomas has recognized he's an old fashioned instructor, what is being debatable is whether the old fashioned teacher will adjust to the cyberculture era or his students must correlate to their old school of correcting disciplinary actions.

Gerald Amanda is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed post about this topic. She supports the old fashioned way to address this kind of situations saying: "There’s only one person in that room who has the bureaucratic, legal, and moral authority to establish discipline — and that’s the instructor". But youngsters more familiar with the cyberculture media do not agree with the Philosopher way of solve misbehaviors such as text-messaging in class. One of Thomas' students complains, "We the students are the customers, the consumers, the ones who make the choice every day to pay attention or not...Does he think that this is the first time this has happened on any college campus? Had he acted like nearly 100 percent of the other college professors in this country, he would have shrugged it off and continued with his lecture,..."


I am a teacher and a blogger and many teachers are working hard to get students into technology and the positive workarounds to it, how is it possible we are training our students to know how to use technology just to block them up there in the university? I am not in disagreement with professor Thomas, of course, he has the right to manage his classes whatever he wants but I am talking about our output product getting prepared just now. Shouldn't we pay attention to investigation of the cyberculture being headed by Kurt Reymers?

Rebecca James from The Post-Standard of Syracuse in a post by Newhouse News Service makes a chronicle of what's going on at College Campuses and quotes experiences coming from different professors. One of them is Reymers, assistant professor in the Morrisville State College he explains himself in about the use of laptops and cellphones in class, "What is normal for us may not be normal for the up-and-coming 'millennial' generation."

How are you coping with your rude students?

Join St. Peterburg's University Campaign


Extract from DigiActive:

"The goal of the campaign is to draw attention to the persecution of the university, a particularly difficult task since the mainstream media in Russia is all state-controlled and is ignoring the issue. For this reason, members of the university community are using alternative media to raise awareness of the situation."

If you are to support these students, please head over to this Livejournal Community!

Struggling to Keep Afloat your Blog? Read Away.

This is the second part of a Spanish post we published here. The authorship correspond to John Metzler, head of Fresh Promo; which we reproduced, because TonNet considers many bloggers are still in the first steps to build up credibility and authority with their blogs.

The post in reference can be traslated in the same other Spanish page and it was referred to: How to create Search Engine-Friendly Content and Choosing Your Keywords Wisely.

Get Others to Link to Your Blog



In theory there are countless ways, some traditional and some quite innovative, to get other web sites to link to yours. In practice, it can be easier said than done. Google defines a link as it pertains to rankings and SEO as a "vote" from one site to another. The more quality votes your site receives, the greater chance you have of ranking well. If a well established site links to yours, that link carries more weight than one would from a mom & pop shop or less reputable page.

If your blog has useful content and is doing something unique, you're already ahead of much of the competition. People need a reason to link to your blog, as very few will do it out of the goodness of their heart. Trading links can work, but link exchange networks have decreased in value and won't be of much use in competitive fields. Buying links, if you haven't heard, is a big Google no-no. While entire articles could be written on this topic, here are a few popular methods of acquiring incoming links:

>Issuing special event releases with a link back to your site.
>Submitting to reputable business directories such as Yahoo! and Business.com
>Be active on related blogs by commenting and exchanging ideas.
>If you have friends with blog sites, ask if they would mind adding your link in a "visible" section
>Participate in relevant forums and discussion boards with a link in your signature.
>Write and submit original articles to web publications in your field with a link in your bio (Guest posting).
>Get involved and active in social media and bookmarking.



Don't Fall Behind to the Social Media Revolution



The collaboration between Internet users and the development of online communities is at an all-time high. Social bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Furl, Reddit, and Technorati offer users a way to store their favorite pages and media online, and share it with others. These services also provide a way to promote your own blog or create a buzz over a event or service. Creating a Myspace page or Squidoo "lens" is also a way to network and share information.

The key to using social media and bookmarking sites to your advantage is to not be shy. Network with other users, bookmark and share useful content, create eye-catching titles for your entries, and tell your friends and co-workers to vote on content you have on these sites.

These points are a general guideline to follow for SEO. If you want to perform a professional search engine optimization, experts are a good outsourcing option in competitive blogosphere, while the DIY attitude can yield great results for blog owners with small income budgets. So, if you're in the latter group, hopefully this post will help you to get started.
 
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