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.

Welcome Twitterer! Why not like our site for more updates?

Will Technology Eliminate Teachers From the Classroom?

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of teaching certificate programs in New Jersey. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Unless there are other worlds like the fictional one where Superman originated from, I’d like to think that we have reached a level of technological advancement that could not even have been dreamed of a decade or two ago. The advent of computers and the omnipresence of the Internet have made the world one big classroom (or playground depending on your point of view) that is free from the limitations of physical boundaries. E-learning, wikis, online courses from respectable institutions like MIT and the like, and the general proliferation of information on any topic under the sun on the World Wide Web have made learning much simpler and easier than it was a few years ago.

The classrooms I remember from my school days are long gone – every student is equipped with gadgets and gizmos that they hope will aid the studying process; notebook computers, iPods, smart cell phones and PDAs are the staple diet of every self-respecting college student. But now concerns and questions are being raised about these gadgets replacing teachers altogether.

E-learning initiatives do not require teachers; they offer students the advantage of learning anywhere and anytime according to their convenience rather than at set times that depend on teachers and institution authorities. The teacher in this scenario is reduced to just framing the syllabus or guiding the student as to what to learn. There is no classroom interaction and no actual teaching being done.

In spite of the newfound popularity of e-learning, teachers are still in demand around the globe. There’s something missing in the learning aspect when you have to play both the roles of the teacher and the student; maybe it’s the lack of motivation in the absence of an authority figure and classmates whom you can compete against - which is why live online classes are being held around the world.

These combine the advantages of both classroom teaching and e-learning – with teachers working from all parts of the globe, students are able to find one online at any time, thanks to the time differences between different parts of the world. They can learn at the convenience, with the help of a teacher, and with other students from different geographical locations.

The Internet has made this a reality, and no matter how advanced we become in terms of technology, as long as there is a demand for more knowledge of the highest standards, there will be a demand for teachers who are dedicated to their jobs.

Education Today 08/30/2008

New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies

Research looking at how students are appropriating technologies points to similar changes in practice: students are mixing and matching different tools to meet their own personal needs and preferences, not just relying on institutionally provided tools and indeed in some instances shunning them in favour of their own personal tools.

Teachers propose, donors choose

Donors Choose [http://www.donorschoose.org] lets teachers submit projects that need funding. Donors can pick an idea they want to fund.

Learning Styles Don't Matter

You are all different. You already know this, of course, on a less than formal basis. You recognise that when one student pipes up with, "Can I just ask a question...?" you can expect something really stupid and irrelevant, and that when another starts the same way it will really put you on the spot. Some will make notes even of your jokes, and some will relish the little exercises you set up to break up your presentation, while others will whinge that you are holding back on the correct answers."

IE8 Beta 2 and Firefox Add-on You All Must Have

We here at education & tech love Firefox and of you happen to be using IE still will notice some strange behaviour in displaying our pages. However, people from Microsoft had said, "While Beta 1 was for developers, we think that anyone who browses or works on the web will enjoy IE8 Beta 2. We haven't downloaded it yet but it's matter of time. Try it out!

And speaking of browsers, did you know that Firefox allows you to play videos from your favorite video sites such as YouTube, DailyMotion, MetaCafe, MySpace right from within your Firefox sidebar? There is an add-on that you can download here. This is a must-have Firefox add-on.

Please, share with us what else is going on apart of BackType in the OpenSocial lab!

Update:



Listen CNET Review of IE8

Surprise, surprise... IE8 will not trigger standards-compliant mode by default :(

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Education Today 08/28/2008

Reverse Engineering A Curriculum for Excellence

[If] "Most secondary school curriculum models are actually based upon a “trickle down” effect why not recognise the power of the reverse engineering of the curriculum and seek instead to build a different engine – which would still serve the needs of higher education – but which would also serve the needs of every young person and the needs of society."

Build Discourse Communities, not blogs

"Getting students to post online is easy. Sustaining a learning community with diverse cultural origins and social preferences - is substantially more complex. But not impossible."

DNC/RNC: Time to Voice your Educational Concerns

The presidential nominating conventions just started this week with the DNC, and educators, journalists, writers and bloggers are taking note and wondering why education is remaining so far in the stage. There is a question on the minds of educators, advocates and American citizens everywhere -where are specifics, and where are proposals for a sweeping change? And why isn't the public hearing more of them?

Education Election is following is covering at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. There is nothing quite like a U.S. Presidential election to highlight the importance of media literacy, critical thinking, and not taking media messages as 100% truthful, because what we need is an electorate of critical thinking citizens who are not easily manipulated by emotionally charged disinformation.

Some at this point, are saying what we need to build is discourse communities, not blogs. Effective Digital Classroom published a post today that sustains the discourse about such communities. They wrote, "Getting students [as much as citizens] to post online is easy. Sustaining a learning community with diverse cultural origins and social preferences - is substantially more complex. But not impossible."

Don't let pass this opportunity and write, ask, comment on what are your expectation on your career, about learning and education, the technology en education or anything you are interested in. There are plenty of tools you can use and take advantage of this momentum. Heard what happened with former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Twitter? The instant messaging is a good resource but not academically such as The American Phychological Association just found, "Students who are managing busy lives may think they are accomplishing more by multitasking, but they will actually need more time to achieve the same level of performance on an academic task". Or the very popular Friendfeed, and get firsthand advise from one who really knows, without being obsessed on seeing everything that floats by.

You have the voice. You have the tools, Use them!

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Edublogger Event 08: Passionate People Talking About Education

In the United State this is an election year and no matter who wins, Democrats or Republicans, change in education is in the wind (not for the first time, though) and think tanks, experts, politicians and bloggers are all again looking for the things that need to be "done to" improve the quality of the American education. We think that teachers should offer up their thoughts to politicians and others about what you think needs to happen. Surely , there are organizations preoccupied on these issues, but what about teachers around the world, across practice, across theory, grade level just talking about the things they would like to see happen in education.

Last year, we participate in the Edublogger Event07 and this, Steli Efti kindly invited us, but we couldn't be part of such a select group of speakers. At least, we want to participate to all of you the Best of Edublogger Event08.

"There are so many passionate people out there who are devoted to improve the future of education and change the world to the better and bringing some of you together for one day, was a special honor for us!" wrote Steli, thanking great participants this year, just to mention: Vicki Davis, Jeff Utecht, Jonatan Castano Munoz, Daniel J. Guhr, Alexa Joyce, Peter Bihr among other valuable participants.

We don't profess to know it all by any means, but we think this is as an opportunity to start a conversation about the things that will truly improve education. Nobody can doubt that taking the 30,000 foot view ever hurts!

So, we want to congratulate SuperSchool and we hope to be on board next year. In the meantime, please head over to see what happened the 2007 and follow the conversation of the amazing virtual speakers this year.

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Babla: Love your Words at Lexiophiles

I think this is a smart way to conquer sympathizers and visitors. Today we've received an e-mail from bab.la where they notify us about a new project they are working and developing. We don't believe much in this directories anymore, but they have made a point, saying "no system is perfect, but we based our ranking on objective values, which were assigned according to the blog’s content and features." So, we've take it as ours.

This company is based in Germany and they feature education and tech among their first 67 language and education blogs. We want to thank the guys who found content, consistency and interactivity in this blog as to select it and feature it in their project.

This kind of blog are useful when you work in an environment where many cultures come together, our experiences in Global Voices Online as author or translator are valuable and we can tell from those experiences, that language lovers we encounter them worldwide. We hope guys at lexiophiles.com succeed and pass by and check out by yourselves, if you find that list interesting and useful for people reading and searching about languages and education.

As we said before, we don't pay attention to this lists but if you like them and want us to do the favor, and vote for education & tech, please head over their page and vote us. Thank you all.

The following is a chart we've taken from lexiophiles where they've categorized what are the 10 most spoken languages in the whole world:

1 -->Chinese [1,210,000,000]
2 -->Hindi [487,000,000]
3 -->Spanish [358,000,000]
4 -->English [341,000,000]
5 -->Arabic [320,000,000]
6 -->Portuguese [250,000,000]
7 -->Bengali [207,000,000]
8 -->Russian [160,000,000]
9 -->Japanese [125,000,000]
10 -->German [100,000,000]

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Socializing a Lesson's Plan. Using Wikis...

We hope you know what to do with a wiki(not always a good tool for design of curricula) and how they are handy tools helping you elaborate and construct lesson's plan as MGuhlin.net has reported today. He helped someone else hanging up a wiki, a project a fellow teacher is working on, here.

He's working on a scope and sequence for my class. The scope and sequences will be built for the 6-8 TA TEKS and he's pulling from a variety of sources to put it together. Even if you feel like you may not be able to help then periodically check it out, e-mailed Miguel this fella.

MGuhlin has made his part and he's found some points the curriculum the author should change:

-Course seems computer literacy more than technology literacy focused.
-Why not use Moodle glossary instead of MS Word for a WordWall?
-What is Tech Connect accounts?
-How is this relevant to anything? It seems like the journal entries are fabricated with no relation or connection to the power that social computing offers.
-The Read/Write Web isn't a part of this.

The editor of Around the Corner closes his post when he recalls Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay's work to get conversations rolling on "content that matters that is relevant to the technology that is being used, rather than coming up with content that has no purpose except to encourage students to learn a technology."

I will incorporate under "Create Rules" the following contract(sorry I don't remember where I've found it, but it's not mine), to be signed by teacher and student.

Remember:Even if you feel like you may not be able to help then periodically check it out

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.


Education Today 08/22/2008

Free Websites for Teachers

Interactive Science Sites -Contribute to expand the list.

Stop “I Cant-ing” and start trying.

When we fall into “I Can’ts” we lock ourselves into filling that as truth. I tried to call Jen on that in her comments[http://injenuity.com/archives/285]. If she says, “I can’t cook” then that’s cuts off effort to counter the assertion. She responds:

Alan, I mention that I “can’t,” only to emphasize that it’s because I’ve not gathered the information and abilities I need. If I take the time to do that, I’m sure I’ll be able to make you the saltiest squirrel pie you’ve ever tasted!

A Must-Read Science Teacher

Doyle is a science teacher whose writings about that subject are addictive. Half Steinbeck, half uncle you’d always wished for, the voice and perspective just do me right. He makes his back yard, his New Jersey coast, the trees outside his classroom window come alive like only a good science-storyteller can. Do yourself a favor and check him out.[http://doyle-scienceteach.blogspot.com/]

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Freedom: The Prize of Going to China to the Olympic Games

We thought Olympics will allow some liberties in China ( yes, I know different countries have different laws). One of the values we teach our kids in school here or there, is the value of their own culture and of course the immense value of freedom. When Ingrid Betancourt was set free by Colombian government, one of our friends told us, you cannot value freedom until you've lost it. And certainly is it.

While mayor blogs discuss who's leading the coverage of Olympics in the US, there are people who is being left behind as The Pirate Bay, a website who allows users to download torrents on the Beijing Olympics. They were asked by IOC to take down all videos being broadcasted by this very popular website.

Recently, David Sasaki, outreach director of GVO wrote a article that appeared in PBS-IdeaLab where he said there were three obstacles to a truly global conversation: censorship, lack of digital inclusion and language. In this post we refer to the first one, censorship.

What are you doing today to save those five US bloggers who were detained in China because of their sympaty for Tibetan causes? In America we support freedom of speech and even if they are critics of the American system, they deserve the right of free thinking. We join to condemn such actions taken against fellow journalist/bloggers:

- James Powderly
- Brian Conley
- Jeffrey Rae
- Jeff Goldin
- Michael Liss
- Tom Grant

A commenter in ReadWriteWeb put it straight and simple: "The harder China tries to make Tibet go away, the more foolish they look. That is not to say that the US doesn't look foolish over Iraq, but two wrongs don't make a right. The consistent targeting of Buddhist monks and the cultural genocide that is going on in Tibet is a travesty. I don't think the world at large really appreciates what will be lost if China's plan for Tibet succeeds."

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Curriculum: Design and Phylosophy Underlying Are Not For Wikis

It's been a long time since I don't read or write about curriculum (Curriculum was the topic I've worked on back when I had to present my doctoral thesis). Stephen Downes found the root of this theme and directed me to Generation YES a multi-authored blog which goals are to "facilitate change in schools that are interested in transformation, growth, and fulfilling their potential as inclusive learning communities."

Silvia Martinez is one of the contributors for Generation YES and she wrote an outstanding post on her reasons of why she thinks curriculum shouldn't be built taking wikis as a tool. We find her contribution interesting, because since Hilda Taba and Ralph Tyler, it's not so easy to find theoricists of the American curriculum and she just got it right. At the end of her post she clarifies though, she's not against breaking down the monopoly that textbook world. "I’m completely in favor of people using the collaborative power of wikis to build reference and teaching materials that reflect their views about learning and teaching."

There is something we have to agree with Silvia is that curriculum is build up on a whole set of ideas and philosophical and even political conceptions. Curriculum isn't a collection of content per se. It reflects the wiki author’s beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning. How many people can edit a wiki? So, what is going to be the set of believes used and established to design, build, apply and evaluate a determined curricula?

"Curriculum is an statement of opinion [...] It reflects a person’s or group’s belief about what order to approach topics and what kinds of activities work best for most students. The pacing, depth, and order are all based on these beliefs, which can differ widely between authors. Curriculum authors have to think long and hard about their philosophy regarding the subject area and presentation of the material."

If you go and visit the thread of comments on Silvia Martinez's post you will see interesting contributions.

Being agreed on the conception of curriculum, let us say that the best of them, won't fit all school necessities and that's something people that work as designers need to consider at all times. If curriculum is flexible, then it won't work as a wiki in large, but could it be used into particular boards or schools? If you are a teacher, you know plans need to be adjusted every time and almost for every class.

And as always, when people talks about philosophy it's so hard to arrive to conclusions, so is the curriculum discussion. What are your thoughts?

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Worlcamp SF 2008: Takes on Education and Multiuser Experiences


Photo by marilu79
This past weekend all people who love Worldpress among bloggers, thinkers, journalists, developers, and inventors were reunited in the University of California, San Francisco.

The main page says the goal of Worldcamp 08 was "figure out the future of publishing on the web."

Reading Andrew Mager's page where he made a great presentation of events (still missing some video or audio from this event) we've found a particular topic presented by Allen Levine from New Media Consortium. He just put it plain and simple: "The powerful thing about blogging is that it’s personal. It’s the most important subject: me." And after he brings up examples of great work on multiuser installations such as the familiar edublogs, chickspeak, al upton and scholarpress.

We would love to hear what Blogger is doing to favor education or use of blogs in the classroom.

In the lengthy post written about the Worldcamp, there is also a section where Matt Mullenweg interviewed Om Malik (from gigaom.com). The question about any tips for bloggers was answered, pointing out a mistake many still are doing it (myself included: "Listen to your head. You talk from your head. Using blockquote is an excuse. I use it and that’s when I know I’m being lazy."

Malik's answer says all.

See also, Worldcamp SF 2008 Follow Up.

Update:
Cogdogblog posted audio and a PicLens slide show, plus the Worldcamp takeaways.

Update 2:
The Blog Herald is talking about The Changing Social of Conferences.


Top 5 Career In Demand According to NACE

Bachelor's Degree In-DemandThe NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) during the Spring 2008 Salary Survey, found which are the Top 5 Bachelor's Degree in demand. We should all remember that "at the time of graduation, nearly three out of five Class of 2006 two-year college graduates (59.2 percent), on average, had a job; at the time of the follow-up survey, nearly three-quarters (74.4 percent) had secured employment." applied to the two-years college graduated.

Imagine what it will be the difference if you've got to the level of a bachelor even when some still think education matters but not much as you thought:

1. Mechanical Engineering, with a start salary of $ 57,821. As more engineers retire, and other professionals transfer to managerial positions, job opportunities in this field are good.

What do they will do? These professionals research, design, develop, and test tools, machines, and mechanical devices. Along with a knack for science and math,for engineers strong oral and written communication skills are a must.

2. Accounting, with a start salary of $47,429. Retirees and a faster than average job growth due to new business and changing financial laws and regulations, accountants can have favorable job opportunities.

What they will do? Accountants ensure that a firm is run efficiently and records are kept accurately, so this career is for people who delight in number crunching.

3. Finance, with a salary start of $48,616. Competition is still keen for finance positions and financial advisors are projected to be among the 10 fastest-growing occupations.

What the will do? Almost a third of finance professionals opt to open their own business but they gather and analyze financials and provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. You must feel comfortable with money markets, tax laws, and the workings of the economy, and a good communication skills to explain complex strategies and concepts is also a key.

4. Business Administration/Management, with a start salary of $44,195. Competition for top-level business administration management jobs will be high while more opportunities will exist for lower-level management jobs and facility managers. Projected to grow so quickly among other occupations.

What they will do? Leadership and communication skills are as valuable as flexibility, being detail-oriented, and decisive. They keep offices running efficiently, conducting records management.

5. Civil Engineering, with a start salary of $50,940. Employment growth for civil engineers is expected to move faster than the average for all career.

What they will do? Whether you are attracted by nature for details and analytics or you are inquisitive, detail-oriented, and interested in the big picture. This career is for you. Civil engineers must consider potential environmental hazards, construction costs, and government regulations that can affect their creations.

Job descriptions are based on details provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and salaries correspond to entry-level. Post written in base of the already article published by Elizabeth Weiss McGolerick.

Photo credit: Hiram College.

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Education Today 08/17/2008

Higher Education - Dangerously Close to Becoming Irrelevant!

"The Internet and wealth of developing technology provide young people outside of education with a sense of “openness, connectedness, personalization, and participation” that is simply not found at the university level today.

The idea that America’s colleges and universities are effectively educating the next generation has become suspect."

Darren Draper: First Impressions

"What happens on the first days of school can be an indicator of future success, He thought it would be interesting to see how many of your teachers - educators whose blogs have helped you to learn - chose to begin their classes, at a time when they weren't yet my teachers and at a time that they most likely were not even aware that their blogs would eventually become a classroom for many."

Olympics: Learning to Fake from Chinese Media

Alicia Sacramone is Hot!I haven't really paying much attention to the Olympics. Yes, they are on no fewer than 14 channels and as you all know summer prime time television is a waste of time (exception for public television as channel 13), but as we spend many hours in front of the computer screen, we feel as we know what went down even before it airs live.

China did pretty good at the initial illusions but no so good in the PR department. The only truth we al know is that Michael Phelps has no competition on the quest for eight golds. The China organization of Olympics started with the colorful explosions during the opening that actually were faked by computer graphics, then came the 7-year-old girl with her lip-synched because the real singer wasn't cute enough as to sold out Chinese. Now is the Chinese women's gymnastics team, which took the gold medal from the American team and they continue to fight agressively the plague of fake news, reporting that at least two of the girls were younger than 16.

So, what else is real? The horrific accident Janos Baranyai had last Wednesday. The silver medal for Ecuadoran marchist Jefferson Perez and the sad participation Alicia Sacramone had in the finals but ignite the attention of males. According to Google Trends, she reached # 1 position confirming that no matter what happened with those two mistakes, she is for many, real hot!

Until we have something to write on education. Have you all, a great weekend!

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Education Today 08/15/2008

Student and Teacher Blogging that Succeeds

Dean Shareski writes (reposted by Ideas and Thoughts) "we have a wonderfully graphical web and are beginning to recognize that writing is only one way we express ideas and communicate. The use of embedded video, audio and images provides a rich communication that goes well beyond words. Text still has importance but allowing embedding pertinent, interesting media can express ideas like never before."

We don't agree on this one, it might be on the edublogs experience but, blogging goes beyond reading; many even reference blogging as the echo chamber . Serious blogging (as we expect on education) is about writing on ideas, methods, procedures and sharing experiences in any space of the educational pyramid.

Edublogs.tv: Audio Embedding Success

How to embed audio from Edublogs.tv, turning the autostart function off! Anyone has tips as how to do it for Apple generated videos?

Unitierra: Life Without Teachers, Between Discipline and Freedom

Scholars and researchers, teachers and parents are looking into new paradigms for a new system of education. A good first approach was already dropped out by Disrupting Class proposal but there is not enough and there are out there another reliable experiences.

The challenge isn't for American school only but, educational spectrum worldwide. In the 60's and before we could speak about instruction and we all were happy; today we have plenty of tools for successful knowledge sharing and then it appears as if all ideas written on centric-learning, were all plausible.

The other point, however is, how our schools as formal institutions are preparing students for life. Yes, some would start arguing that effectively, students are being trained for life in the U.S. otherwise American students will be a failure (What is failing is the educational system as it is). Are students on others countries being prepared for life? Mexico has created its own apprenticeship university to remedy what traditional school is not doing. Gustavo Steva explains in detail how Unitierra works, where you learn as you do, in other words, the they are applying the 'social learning', as life experience has demonstrated, the best way to transfer the know-how occurs precisely when learning and work is developing at the same time.

The Unitierra experience takes place in very well known community in Mexico, Chiapas and we were delighted to read this part:

One of the most important conclusions of our conversation was the explicit recognition that we learn better when nobody is teaching us. We can observe this in every baby and in our own experience. Our vital competence comes from learning by doing, without any kind of teaching.

Will this work in industrialized countries? What are the points of intersection between the student-centric proposal from C. Christensen and life without teachers in Unitierra?

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Information Literacy: Tomorrow at University of Sheffield (UK)

This is an event not only for Gen V(Generation V) but everyone interested in the flow of information nowadays.

This summer event will take place at Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Regent Court building, Regent Street, Sheffield. Attendants should set up their schedules, between 1.30 to 4pm. The event is free and it will present a keynote from a visiting academic plus reports on research and activities in progress. With a focus on higher education, the talks will appeal to anyone interested in information literacy in different disciplines and contexts.

Information Literacy Weblog echoes this invitation, where one of its editors will be giving welcoming to the event and as they put it in their weblog "keynote from Dr Yazdan Mansourian, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Technology, Tarbiat Moallem University, Iran: Implications of the information visibility model in information literacy research and practice.

Dokphrom Information Literacy of undergraduate students in Silpakorn University Geography Department: emerging findings. Phussadee Dokphrom will report on findings from her doctoral research into information literacy at Silpakorn University (Thailand).

Helen Dobson, University of Manchester Library and MA Librarianship programme Evaluating Information Literacy at the University of Manchester.

Maryam Nazari Conceptions of GIS (Geographic Information Systems/Science) and implications for information literacy.

Pam McKinney, Learning Development and Research Associate (Information Literacy), Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. Inquiry Based Learning and Information Literacy: a report on CILASS experiences."

If you live nearby, please try to attend. Teas and coffes wil be served.

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Will a Weblog Change in the Web Future?

We want to keep peace so this page 'conveys information in a chronological style' as Sean P Aune just put it. We want to join the project started by Daily Blog Tips, on question What's Is A Blog?

Major difference is the sequence and activity the administrator maintains on the site. There are many genres and if you are a blogger, then you are familiar with blogosphere. We think a blog is an online collection of published items. There are videos, pictures, lifestreaming , research results, documents. As you can see, the variety of subjects is so diverse, as far as its activity doesn't fall on the death sea.

While you join to this thread or drop a comment on how do you define a weblog, I would like to extend the invitation to participate in the Web Future panel. Think of the description they submitted:"The rate of change of the web is accelerating. Radical changes are coming in how quickly we can evolve data, create new apps, find new audiences, and alter the fabric of the browser itself. In this panel, engineers from five areas will present a prediction of the next stage of the web. Expect disagreements, technical digressions, and shouting."

Update:

John Tropea at Library Clips blog on the context of blogs, says: "...blogs, as raw and informal as they are, are not a panacea for context, but they are a hell of a lot better than codified documents."

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Education Today 08/10/2008

Stop Trying to Inspire Me: Do it the right way, not the Wong way.

We are about to start new year in classroom and this history really hit my nerves (in a good way). I would like to share with you how was my first day, but it will be done in the future. I haven't being educated in the U.S., so I wasn't familiar with 'The First Day of School' by Rosemary Wong. However, I guess, it happened exactly as Tom puts it: "It was my first day as a teacher and I had already lost them. All of them."

Blown away by Students 2.0

"We make the mistake of thinking that the people that do well in school are the ‘smart’ ones, but that isn’t always the case. These people may just be good at retaining information and reciting it back under pressure, or may just be good at problem solving."

Is this what Clayton M. Chirstensen aims for in his Disrupting Class' book?

Challenging Monolithic Instruction in North America

Technology rich curriculum activities at Skowhegan Area Middle School (ME)Since this post is about a a book I am reading throughout chapter four, at this point, I should include a picture or video of the Disrupting Class' book but, be generous, and allow me to include in place a video of what it might be into a few years the new schools in the United Sates. The subtitle of book says How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, however experiences shown in the book are part of the U.S. and thematic is about America disruption of traditional school.

I'm writing this very inadequate tribute to change in education based on Clayton M. Christensen's book and coauthors Horn and Johnson. When I was preparing to become a teacher one of the most critics I had received from my professors was on Alliance for Progress and how this had been challenged the education in Latin America. Our governments weren't ready to introduce technology in schools and it was seen as an intrusion of the region's interests. Today, things have changed and the internet has lift barriers not only of understanding but learning, as well.

Here in the United States, school has been lately challenged because critics are saying that even when classrrooms are equipped with computers, international standards of testing are being unfavorable to American students. Christensen using what most of educators don't like much, have education linked to industry processes, has teamed with two other great people to apply his Innovation Theories on the educational industry (as the modeling Chirstensen uses to validate his disrupting theory of changing schools in America).

A short version of the Innovator's Dilema is: "the logical decisions that management makes in order to sustain success ultimately are the same reasons they lose their positions of leadership (thus the dilemma). That's because once established, most technologies over time foster improved performance -- these are sustaining technologies. But occasionally these sustaining technologies are up-ended by disruptive technologies. In many cases the disruptive technologies actually had worse performance in the near-term and generally underperformed the sustaining technologies in the mainstream market, so these are not 'break-throughs' in the performance sense. But they are generally cheaper, quicker, smaller, and simpler than the existing competition -- they concentrate on a few features that new fringe customers heavily desire and they ultimately disrupt the status quo marketplace" Learning Technology [http://saulnier.typepad.com]

So, taking a cue from Bill Gates' 2005 critique of the American school system, Clayton applies his theory of disruptive innovation to a much-needed evolution in educational technologies-offering new opportunities and challenges for the business community.

Many of us having been proclaiming for years that the 'sky is falling’ on traditional models of instructional delivery, but Christensen uses his plotting theory to provide a logarithmic graph (vertical axis needs to be arranged -so that .0001, .001,.01,.1, 1.0and 10.0 are all equidistant) postulating that by the year 2019 student centric technologies will displace over 50% of classroom instruction. I love his statistical inferences, and adds:"The S-curves are sometimes steep; other times they are gradual. But disruptions almost always follow this pattern: the initial substitution pace is slow; the it steepens dramatically; and, finally, it asymptotically approaches 100 percent of the market" (p. 96)

Online courses can give students more choices, for starters. Many schools in the US, especially rural schools (as Skowhegan School in ME), don’t have enough students to fill advanced math and science courses or to offer multiple choices for foreign languages. Those proposed, disruptional online courses will allow students in those schools to take subjects that simply wouldn’t be available to them otherwise, seems to agree Christy Tucker.

We are about to start reading chapter 5 and surely the conclusions of this books as ourselves are going to be definitely controversial and will undoubtedly upset some. What is great on this books is the introduction of the innovation concept even when this is a borrowed concept from industry. We do agree with statements made by author of Disrupting Class, and as they, themselves recognize it's something that wouldn't happen in the overnight, since we still have many myth to destroy ( Online teaching is mostly good for introductory or low level courses) and a whole bunch of work to do.

The following is a question still hasn't been answered: Do we not already have Web 2.0 tools that can be used in combination with one another to create an environment where this kind of user-developed product can be created and shared?

Also to read:

- Will Technology save education?
- Disrupting Class, Today.
- When students design their own learning.
- Comparing Finn and American Education.
- Service Oriented Virtual Learning Enviroment.
Florida: Tecnology Integration Matrix.

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Skype: How to Join to a Skypecast

I don't quite use Skype and certainly sometimes I feel afraid to use it, because I don't feel so much familiar with the protocols. I am frequently connected via GTalk (tonnetisalove ID). So, I thought it will be great to share with you Wesley Fryer's post, step-by-step, on how to host and join a skypecast.

Tonight is being held (as all Wednesdays) the next skypecast for a Storychaser Brainstorming Sesion. In a previous post, Fryer list four steps to join a skypecast:

"1. Set up Skype: If you have not already, download and install Skype. Be sure you have a RECENT version. Currently version 3.2 is required for Windows users to join Skypecasts, as far as I know version 2.7 for Mac users. (It is free but you’ll need administrative rights to install new software on the computer you are using.) Log in with your userid and password to Skype. Make sure your microphone is plugged in and working.

2. Website log in: Log in to the main Skype website. You’ll need to be logged in to join the Skypecast when it begins.

3. At the start of the Skypecast (7 pm US Central time tonight) click on this link to visit the Skypecast page. Click the link “Join this Skypecast” which will appear once the Skypecast start time has passed. On a Windows computer you should be presented with a dialog window which asks for your permission to launch an external application (Skype) and you’ll need to click yes to authorize that. Then you should be in the Skypecast. We’ll do introductions for at least the first ten minutes, so if you join late that is fine.

4. Be ready to participate! Depending on the number of participants we have, we may have everyone’s mic on or mics may be muted to minimize background noise. If mics are muted, you’ll want to click the button in the skypecast window which shows the names of all the people online to virtually “raise your hand” and ask to speak. In Skype 3.2 for Windows, this is a button in the Skype window which says “Ask for the mic.” As the skypecast moderator, I’ll unmute participant mics individually so you can speak and have the floor! We should also have a skype chat window available which can be used as a backchannel to ask questions, share ideas, and further challenge everyone’s multi-tasking abilities! I’ll do my best to keep up with the backchannel, but it certainly can be challenging to both read text chat and talk about an idea at the same time."

Check out preparatories before skypecast begins, here.


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Education Today 08/05/2008

50 Must-Read Up and Coming Blogs by Teachers

Great compilation of educational blogs, many you might be following and reading but, there are some other syou still have to check out.

Unfortunately, -education & tech isn't in that list!

Blogging as a Method of Communication May Be Over!

Sarah Perez from ReadWriteWeb has written an excellent post on what is the future of blogging. Before, she says, "the main way to publish your own personal thoughts and opinions for the rest of the web to read," was blogging, and continues "blogging started a movement that democratized the web. Everyone could be a publisher. But now, blogging as everyone's preferred method of communication may be over. What's taking its place? Lifestreaming."

We do agree with some of her commenters, Blogging it's not the same as Lifestreaming. The process of Lifestreaming will probably appeal to people who are less concerned about writing as their primary output and who do more with audio, video, and images. It may also be more suited to people who share freely and easily as opposed to saving up bits and ideas and then posting. And we don't think either, blogging will be replaced by this new tendency, not in a short period of time.

There are many people who write not because they want to be on top of Google searching of the even care about Technorati rankings, these people will sustain blogging as it begun; no matter that lifestreaming develop and some look for some voyeurism, blogging will persist a long while. All experienced bloggers, making or not profit of blogging are using different channels of distribution but, it doesn't mean they are moving ( as Sarah tries to show you), they promote their contents. That's all.

Now, we do agree with Sarah on this paragraph, it's becoming hard for bloggers to attract readers, because they are getting used to Friendfeed on the sort, so blogging need to be reinvented, not as a mere democratization of the www but as a disruptive process to communicate. Here's the paragraph:

The simplicity of a lifestream is ideal for our information overloaded age. Lifestreams are short and sweet, yet still provide the same insight into a person's life as yesterday's casual personal blog did. A video here, a photo there, and today's web citizens can voyeuristically peer into anyone's life and get a sense of who they are. Long-form bloggers, on the other hand (myself included) require time and attention to read, but with so many publishers out there, people just aren't reading content like they used to - they're just scanning text and moving on. For new bloggers, this means getting readers is harder than ever - your words are getting lost in a sea of noise. So to stand out, several are turning to the lifestream instead in order to get noticed.


Do you think Blogging will be replaced by Lifestreaming at the Friendfeed style?

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You Are Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution!

This is an interesting post that needs to be featured, the rule doesn't apply to school or education only, but it's valid to our daily activities, as well. Normally, when you have an issue, a difficult situation, a problem, most of the times you start looking to the other side. However, there are occasions when your social role doesn't allow you to do that, let's say you are a parent and find yourself in the middle of a conflict with your teenage, can you you look around and pretend there is not a problem?

Here is the moment that requires to you, "being part of the solution" because it "is the only viable option."

Teaching in the Middle, is a new source of educational matters to us and this post written on Are the Obstacle or the Answer make us subscribe to it, immediately. Patrick Woessner, is heading this page and we would like to reproduce his questions about the topic but applied to schools. What will it be your answers:

"When websites are blocked, are students more likely to ask the school to consider opening them and state their rationale or simply use the Tor network to bypass the filter? When an application doesn’t work properly and a lesson fails, are teachers more likely to pursue an after-the-fact solution with the IT department or simply forgo using that program again and opt for the low-tech “Plan B”? When updated equipment is required to provide an optimal learning environment but the budget request is declined, does the technology staff demonstrate the undeniable need or prepare to make do with what is available?"

As for me, many times I've felt compelled to stay as part of the problem, to be honest, but we have to move on and accept we are being lazy in this side and wish to give out the best of ourselves to help in the solution. I cannot let down, my son just because I feel like looking to the other side...

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