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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Educational Paradigm: Learning With And From Your Students

On Christmas Day, we published this post, which brought attention of someone we don't know whether he is a teacher or is he related to education, either way, he picked this post and added an interesting note.

Hellio said it out loud in his InterWeb Notes:

"OK, but go ahead and say it. Dump the classroom model entirely. Our students live in a jungle and I don’t mean a blackboard jungle. And get rid of the word 'student'. And dump ‘instruction’ and ‘curriculum’ as well. It is the teachers who are the bottlenecks not the students. It won’t matter what we call them in the near future because they will be irrelevant. The classroom will never change enough to accomodate the measure of learning that is rising to meet us. Ditch it. Move on or be moved on."

Hellio is inviting to do what we've said it already here, about re-reading Here Comes Everybody from Clark Shirky.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 12/27/2008

Be Your Own Bank.
We -predict that one of the first places that budgets will be cut will be the education system.

Social Networking Pros & Cons.
What remains to be seen is if face to face contact, and trusting personal relationships will continue. Pixels on a screen will never replace a hug or pat on the back.

Teachers Are Irreplaceable, Right Up Until The Moment They Are Replaced.
Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody needs to be re-read.

Microblogging in Education
Microblogs are important tools not only for networking, communication and learning, but also for forming communities of practices.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Playing Cops When Dealing With Research Papers

It's hard to encourage a teacher to keep working when he has to play police strategies to discover who's cheating and where. Experiences of a Uninspired Teacher are most than reflected in our practice. We were glad to read his presentation: "Comments are welcome, opinions are even more welcome, and spreading the word is welcome most of all." So, we thought it will be of great use spread word on this statement: "The problem with teaching research in high school is how archaic everything still is."

Tom believes that 'normal is underrated'. But he also asks to Stop Trying to Inspire Him. What a name for a great educational blog. An excerpt of how he's dealing with frustration when a student tells him "I'm not writin' this over" is here:

I don't think that most of my students who plagiarize realize they're doing it anyway. They usually fall into one of two categories. Either they try to cite their sources and don't do it enough or use MLA format improperly; or they don't cite anything because they "didn't know they had to do that" even though I've done a day's lesson on it and there are at least one or two pages' worth of information on hand that demonstrate proper citation. So it's either not fully grasping the concept or being flat-out lazy. And while I would do what some of my colleagues do and take the latter papers to the internet (or one of those paper-checking software tools), then highlight the plagiarized passages, it's really not necessary. That's because the papers are badly organized and horribly written to the point where if proper citation was used, they'd fail anyway (or maybe get a D-).

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Poor Grades Can Demoralize and Zap Students Confidence

How to handle it, when grades drop
Photo by Tony Crider
If you live in New Jersey, you should have received your son's report card by now. With all hopes that these grades haven't affected the Christmas gifts your dearest one have to receive, chances are you had to deal with low grades.

How do you handle low grades without giving rise to a battle?



First of all, remember that a report card is neither a measure of your child's worth nor of your parent ability. So, you have to walk a fine line between not dwelling excessively on her grades while not dismissing them as unimportant.

Schoolwork is easily followed with what some schools in NJ started just using, the PowerSchool. You can keep track of your son's information on the web. Student data, including attendance, schedules and grades are a click away. You can also set your student account to send you reports periodically to your own personal e-mail.

Still you may be confronted with low grades. Don't fall pray of angry rants and harsh criticism, in place, try to adopt a low-key , calm but serious approach to show your son what are your concerns. Bear in mind that you are the adult here and that poor grades will demoralize a child and even worse zap her confidence. Some children feel half-hearted to school work and results may also reflect this, so you will have to help him reorder his priorities.

Now is when we introduce the second step to handle low grades improvement. There must be something to praise your child's report card, then talk to your kid about the subjects he's struggling with and ask questions to identify the source of the problem.

We like to read Dr. Kenneth Shore's articles. In his When Grades Drop (njfamily.com, 12/08) he suggest the questions we should strenthen up:

"Is the work too hard? Conversely, is the work so easy that your child is bored and thus not putting forth effort? Is he handing in homework consistently? Is he having trouble following directions? Is he having difficulties preforming on tests? Is he having a problem focusing on class?"

Now we arrive to what we would like to call third step. Work along with your son a plan of action. You will need to get involved with the teacher to determine what your young boy needs to do differently and whether extra help is needed. Is it that you need to monitor homework more closely? or is it that he needs help studying for test?

Please, do not always follow teachers recommendations on learning disabilities, you are the person who knows better, help him organizing better for school and try a tutor before accepting classification of kid with learning disabilities.

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Turn your Classrooms into Learning Ecologies

Technology will never replace the Teacher. However, teachers who know how to use technology effectively to their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those who do not. Dr Scott Macleod credits the message of the inspirational slide to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.

That's how we get to read the Open Letter she wrote to all her colleagues. Dangerously Irrelevant was first to pick the gems, but we secondly, want to go to middle of the letter and extract what we consider is the key to connect and do progress in curriculum and classroom management.

From the Letter to my Colleagues:

"Want to know how a 21st Century learner learns? Ask them. You will be amazed at what you hear and if you are smart- you'll act upon it. Sylvia Martinez says we are trying to solve this 21st C PD issue in schools with 6% of the population (teachers) when 94% of the population (kids) are better positioned to help us learn what we need to know to be successful. Turn your classrooms into learning ecologies- learn with and from your students. Get rid of top down, expert driven instruction methods and nurture self-directed discovery- both your own and theirs. Turn your passions into classroom curriculum. Get excited and mentor your kids integrating your passions with core content and foundational knowledge. Help them develop a love and understanding for culture and our rich heritage. Advocate hard to get the metrics we are using to measure classroom effectiveness changed- for we teach what we measure. Leverage NCLB to push for personalization of curriculum in an effort to meet AYP and all the various needs of your subgroup populations."

21st Century Learning's letter came into, after a request from a person who asked to continue with thread that Mark Shirky started when "Here Comes Everybody" discussion took place, and same requester, "wondered whether or not technology would have a similar effect on teachers."

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Topics for Learning, e-Learning And Technology Conversations

Imagine you had a conversation about one of these 100 topics related to learning, e-learning, and technology.

If you are a edublogger, then having you post these kind of conversations is great. "I saw a post by someone suggesting ways to come up with ideas for blog post topics and they gave some examples. The examples were not all that relevant to most of the readers of this blog, but it definitely sparked a thought for me.

Almost every time I have a conversation, I learn something new. Most of the time I learn something, I write a blog post. But I don’t have nearly enough time to have conversations, learn and write blog posts. So now that some people called me influential, I’m hoping that I can leverage my influence to inspire people to have a conversation with me and help me with my lack of time."

So, here are Tony Karrer's suggested 100 conversation topics that he wishes he had time to speak to you. The following have been our takes either on learning or technology.

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Report Card Scores for Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan Gets a D.

Almost every other key Cabinet and advisory positions are higher than Arne Duncan's score. The Secretary of Education selected by Obama only is surpassed by all others, except by Rich Warren, who's gotten a F grade.

Schools Matter quotes the author of this report:

"Instead of selecting change-oriented experts like Linda Darling-Hammond, President-elect Obama went with the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. While some depict Duncan as a passionate reformer, others view him as a pro-privatization union buster who has only intensified the city’s educational apartheid. At a moment where the very notion of “public” is coming under attack, Duncan represents a disturbing move toward the educational Right."

Marc Lamont Hill asses that Obama’s Cabinet only average! Hold on a second, there is another person who pitched in, to compare the selection of Mr. Duncan as the Sarah Palin of the School System! Ouch.

Are there so many people getting wrong all the times? What do you think?

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Education & Tech News for Educators 12/25/2008

Stories on the recession and early childhood education.
Keep the human angle in mind. Every time you see a story about budget cuts, think about people and how they may be affected.

Classroom Management: Who Makes the Rules?
90% of your students will likely follow them. The 10% who don’t follow rules probably won’t follow rules set by you or set by other classmates without training and your consistency in enforcing them.

The New Digital Divide.
Whereas this divide used to refer to whether or not students had access to technology, now it concerns whether schools are using technology effectively to achieve results.

Got 12 minutes? What I Learn from Twitter.
The best news of all is this wealth of learning happened not only in 12 minutes, it is available and accessible to anyone twenty four hours a day, seven days a week! Ohhh did I mention this is all free?

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Shhh...It's Santa... But,...Is there a Santa Claus?

"There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus." - Author Unknown

September, 1897 Dear Editor:

I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun it's so.' Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?


Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance, to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

What will happen with these ‘absolute’ rules from our editors, parents, teachers, and representatives, if they suddenly change?

Russell Foltz-Smith of Social Mode, elaborates the answer, “Well as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone (another stellar admonishment that the end justifies the means…) why not have Santa, the Easter Bunny and a Virgin Mary?”

Merry Christmas to All of You Dear readers!

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Contribute to the Big Education Ideas of the 2008

The New York Times released last week The 8th Annual Year in Ideas and they dedicated three of them to the education: Kindergarten Redshirting is Bad in Many Ways, Two-Tier Teacher Contract, and The One-Room School Bus.

Many have accused administrators as much as educators to be full of theoretical axioms, which hardly can be take to reality. Isn't ideas how society has developed and transformed all the time? Well, there are many ideas people who is compromised with education would like to promote and carry it to practice. A standardized curriculum for all students in well developed countries may be one or as Alexader Russo suggests:

"A couple that come to mind include unionized charters (like Green Dot) that could finally unlock the innovation-security puzzle, open-source software and textbooks that could free districts from costly budget items, "artsy" charter schools that emphasize enrichment as well as remediation, turnaround efforts (they're back!), and - perhaps the biggest idea of all - the idea that real-world experience still counts."

Another idea would be, how can any educator explain himself, why someone who worked inside the public system cannot be in charge of Secretary of Education!



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Mass Digitization to Create an Open Digital Library for Scholarly And Public Use

Maura Marx has founded the Digital Library Program at the Boston Public Library and has been instrumental in securing the Library's support of Open Content principles. Maura is also the Executive Director of the Open Knowledge Commons, who last week introduced the OKC. What is the OKC? It's a new organization born out of the Open Content Alliance and dedicated to advocacy for and development of an open digital library of human knowledge.

The following is an excerpt of the announcement first appeared in Open Access News:

"...In funding start-up operations for the Knowledge Commons the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recognized the need to broaden the community's effectiveness beyond the research and development phase of mass digitization and to create a sustainable open digital library for scholarly and public use. This will be a very interactive session; comments and feedback on the OKC agenda will be encouraged and welcomed.

Maura...began her career in Europe doing development work in cultural heritage institutions and later worked in the U.S. technology sector before coming to libraries and the open content movement. She holds a B.A. in German from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in Italian from Middlebury College and an M.S.L.I.S. from Simmons College."

This is particularly important for teachers, since understanding participation in online communities is one of the important areas that will help educators and others who are interested in developing and maintaining effective learning communities.

Findings in Leadership at a distance: Research in technologically-supported work's book provide more clues about creating effective online participation, but we still have way much to learn. It is particularly important for us as Education professionals, to understand more about the relationship between online relationships and online community building. OKC is just a good example and a great project we expect have 100% positive results, as all Berkman Center for Internet & Scoiety Projects.


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More Basic Research on Arne Duncan Discussion

Dr. Stager, a contributor of The Huffington Post, a teacher educator, education journalist, speaker and school reformer wrote a letter to Santa, asking for something special, comments on his Huffington Post article. "I think I've been good, even if the Hooked-on-Phonics(R) folks think I've been naughty!", he states.

Obama practices social promotion, is the title of his post in HuffPo where he establish that "social promotion is a godsend to urban school superintendents in this age of privatization." Whole post is a critic of the nomination of new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

We are not going to comment on his post but in place we will reproduce part of his Judy L. Harris-Hooked on Phonics(R)netiquette dispute:

"A curious cartel of billionaire bullies, power hungry politicians and tough-talking school superintendents wage an eternal battle against social promotion -- for the good of our children of course. Social promotion, a divisive political term with no basis in reality, like partial-birth abortion, is one of the most popular talking points among the the most vocal critics of public education. The "end of social promotion" has caused tens of thousands of kids as young as 3rd grade to be left-back, despite overwhelming evidence that this practice harms children and increases the drop-out rate."

Henry Thiele, weights in and writes a Basic Research on Arne Duncan. He calls everyone to stop acting against an educational primer as Duncan is. Withhold judgment until you learn and see more, adds one of his commenters.

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The Secret to Success in Blogging Is to Share Good Ideas and Be Consistent

Last Friday, Moving at Speed of Creativity was down and people who reads and follows this blog was concerned, so they quickly demanded attention by his editor, Wesley Fryer. After this experience, Mr Fryer wrote an interesting post explaining what is the psychology behing his blogging experience, which is interesting to read because almost every edublogger that I know, once they start blogging, it won't ever stop.

Two reason are given by the great Fryer. He as every other edublogger, loves to learn, and one of the best ways he learns is by reading and writing. Wesley aspires to be a digitally relevant change agent in education in local as well as global contexts.

"One of our important responsibilities and obligations as true teachers is to help students choose the latter path in learning, rather than the former." is written in the Blog of Wesley Fryer.

Why we've picked this post? Simply put, because we also write almost on a daily basis and we thought this is a good chance to find out why nobody reads our blog, how come that we spend time compiling information, assuming that "too much blogging CAN be a bad" still people is coming back, leave comments and many still complain that nobody reads their blogs.

We think edubloggers should strike a balance between their on/offline lives, given this is often challenging. We are sure that if you are a passionate blogger-reader-writer, then you are into the 'digitally relevant' group of educators. But first try to understand these:

"You need to have good ideas to share. This does not necessarily mean having all the good ideas yourself, it can also mean serving as an aggregator and sharer of good ideas (and especially hyperlinks) of others. [additionally] you need to be a consistent voice. How is authority and trust built and maintained over time in the blogsophere? I think one way, and perhaps the most important way, is via a consistent voice."

What all this mean? It means that you are sharing ideas from a consistent philosophical and pedagogic perspective, and when you publish a daily post, it also means that you share frequently.

What keeps you posting on daily basis? What doesn't?

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Edublog Awards: The Best 16 Eddies

I wish I could have listened the Eddies yesterday but I was on a familiar duty. Although being nominated is a huge honor in itself, Education & Tech wasn't among those Best Blogs in Education.

However, Angela Myers, one of the winners, wrote a post prior to the event, she's put it in this way: "The fabulous team at EdTechTalk will be providing a web-based audio stream of the event. The landing page for web based listening and text based chat will be http://edtechtalk.com/live. There's also a Facebook page for those of you over there, and there will be live updating over @ Twitter."

Miss W. in a comment left at the page created to present all winners, she asked: "Any chance in future for a student award as they don’t have the PLN that adult bloggers have? Even under primary/elementary, middle, high and senior high school. Remember these are the bloggers of the future we should be helping to grow."

Many of them are already part of our daily subscriptions and reading. But from Education and Technology, we want to congratulate all these innovative educators and champions. Visit, leave them a comment and hit their subscription button.

The 16 winners of the 2008 Eddies are:



1. Best individual blog: The English Blog.

2. Best group blog: SCC English.

3. Best new blog: Angela Maiers.

4. Best resource sharing blog: Free Technology for Teachers

5. Most influential blog post: Order for Closure.

6. Best teacher blog: The Cool Cat Teacher.

7. Best librarian / library blog: Hey Jude.

8. Best educational tech support blog: Teachers love Smartboards.

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog: eLearning Technology.

10. Best educational use of audio: Ed Tech Talk

11. Best educational use of video / visual: Steve Spangler Blog.

12. Best educational wiki: Flat Classroom Project 2008.

13. Best educational use of a social networking service: Classroom 2.0

14. Best educational use of a virtual world: Discovery Education Second Life.

15. Best class blog: Extreme Biology.

16. Lifetime achievement: David Warlick.

**Update**

Given the criticism these Awards have received, we ask you to read two very interesting posts on this thread: one from Stephen Downes and the other from Doug Belshaw.

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History of Students Who Decided That Online Videos Supplement Their Learning

The story was ran originally by eSchool News and unfortunately for us, as for yourself, these sites don't allow comments, at least, you are a registered user. Back in the 2007 we've expressed our thoughts on the service provided by YouTube. The article en mention says that students turn to online videos to supplement readings and lectures more frequently these days. It couldn't be different, nowadays we have plenty of resources online to help students (and teachers) with education technology, and students particularly enjoy pretty much social networking.

Great places where students can find supplement to their readings, classes and lectures are: YouTube, TeacherTube, MathTV and others. No wonder YouTube is getting hundreds of hits from young students looking for math help and educational videos.

From the Technology News for Today's k-20 Educator

"Math videos won't rival the millions of hits garnered by laughing babies, but a YouTube tutorial on calculus integrals has been watched almost 50,000 times in the past year. Others on angular velocity and harmonic motion have gotten more than 10,000 views each...

On tutorials posted to YouTube by the not-for-profit Khan Academy, for example, reactions include: "Now why couldn't my calc instructor explain it that simply?" and "I was just about to leave my physics course. You saved me." One viewer went as far as to declare to the man behind the videos: "You are god of mathematics!!!"

The 5 Ways to use Web 2.0 in the Classroom was an reflecting post of what means to be populated by this post, but surely, in the educational field educators can always come up with something new and creative. What uses are you implementing in your classroom with educational videos?

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