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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Ivy League Scholar Breaks the Rules, Waives the Fees, And Welcomes Harlem Residents

Professor Dennis Dalton
By Courtney E. Martin, Utne Reader

True teachers from Socrates to Dennis is that they really are midwives to their students’ thinking. Since thinking is imaginative, unpredictable, innovative, critical, and iconoclastic, it is a danger to the status quo. We live in a world where “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Nevertheless, I share Dennis’ dream of a world in which teaching was properly honored so that the best and the brightest longed to take it on. But, alas, we only dream. -jpoverseas

Seventy-year-old professor Dennis Dalton - his bald head, trademark sneakers, baggy jeans, and button-up denim shirt barely discernible at the front of the room - announces with glee, "Ahhh! There it is! The School of Athens!"

Professor Dalton has taught for 38 years in the political science department of Barnard, the all-women's school of Columbia University in Harlem. How did a professor at one of the nation's most exclusive colleges manage to become the people's professor? As with many grand social experiments, it began with an unlikely friendship.

Administrators have not always looked favorably on Professor Dalton's theory of education. After they discovered that he was allowing a group of undocumented students to slip into his lectures semester after semester, he was asked to reconsider his open classroom policy, gently reminded that Columbia University has a formal auditing program and that students pay upwards of $50,000 a year.

The professor smiled and replied without pause, "These are my friends. You wouldn't tell any other professor that he couldn't invite his friends to sit in on his class."

The administration compromised, inviting the professor to hold a weekly evening seminar for the public in the fall of 2004. Though Dalton already had a full course load and a few nagging health issues, he eagerly agreed, inviting his "friends" to a community forum on nonviolence.

This is an abstract of one of the several articles on fixing education. For more, read Putting the Public Back in Public Education, America 101, and the online exclusive Educational Success: Stories of Innovation from the Utne Library.

(Photo: The Teaching Company)

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Among Obama's Goals Are a Major Spending Infusion on Education

It's our hope the Stimulus Plan passes by Senate, so our President can succeed on his goals for the 21th century classroom. It's all possible if Sen. Judd Gregg is elected Secretary of Commerce. The smart move would add another Republican to the Cabinet, but if Sen. Gregg left the Senate, it would be up to New Hampshire's Democratic governor to name a replacement. Only these ifs take place.

Teach and Learning has the note about Obama's goals for the 21st century classroom:

    President Obama has called to invest in technology for the classroom as part of the upcoming economic recovery package and has urged Congress to take targeted action. More specifically, Obama's goals include to "equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms" and to "provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers," with the goal of allowing American students to "compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future." The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) applauded Obama's call, and have in turn urged Congress to disseminate the new classroom technology grant funds through the existing Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program. This would ensure that the funds reach the neediest schools first. These 4 groups represent over 100,000 educators and hundreds of high-tech employers, and they believe that a major spending infusion on education technology will create jobs within the education, education services and technology sectors. Furthermore, the funds would help American classrooms address the needs of today's tech-savvy students. SIIA President Ken Wasch says SIIA is "extremely optimistic about their [the Obama administration] commitment to boost classroom instruction into the 21st century through technology, and to achieve that goal through targeted stimulus investment." The four organizations recommend the inclusion of separate, additional broadband and technology infrastructure support for schools in addition to the economic recovery package, since an influx of technology in classrooms will be met with a need for increased bandwidth. The groups also pointed to a recent study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which found that a $10 billion investment in broadband would lead to the creation of nearly a half-million jobs.

See also, Throwing Money at Education in the New York Times.

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Facilitate… Stop Teaching the Uses of Web 2.0 Tools

Is very easy to get caught up in the jargon and hype of the current technologies. We are very enthusiastic about tech and still are in the learning stages of exploring the educational possibilities of the Web 2.0 tools. Imagine how would you feel when you realised you have unsuspectingly crossed into the realm of those who use the technowordy and from there they exclude others out of the conversation.

It's good to show new tools to other teachers and giving them ideas of how they can use them to enhance their teaching. We can get there, educating people of the range and limitations of the Web 2.0 tools, the safety procedures that can be put into place and being able to show them some working example that others have set up.

Don’t assume that teachers you know are tech savvy (most are, but not all) that they actually know how to use a tool. Set up rules for the pool, and enforce them diligently. Soon enough, teachers themselves will police themselves. Your education should include password use, proper conduct, reporting procedures, participation expectations, definition of inappropriate conduct, consequences, what information is OK and what is not (i.e. names, addresses, personal references, pictures, school info, etc.), how to log in, and so on.

Facilitate… Stop teaching, is noted in The Teacher Teacher's blog. Bob Martin, editor of the cited blog continues, "This may be the hardest part of using Web 2.0 tools. They don’t allow for front of the room teaching. You have to PARTICIPATE with your [teachers]students in the form of commenting, reading and encouraging. Once the project gains momentum, let it go."

Since an administrator’s job is to ask the tough questions about the ROE (Return On Education) and a tech’s job is to protect the networks. One of the most natural ways to teach administrators and techs about Web 2.0 is keeping it simple. Don't just assume administrators and tech people know everything.

Experience in the field of Web 2.0 can be related to blogging. Martin cites Konrad Glogowski, “If you are reading everything your students are writing then they are not writing enough.” We have to stop to “judge every word” on their writings and look more at the intent and effort. Same procedure is to be followed when we intent to facilitate the uses of Web 2.0 tools. Aren't they
participating? Aren't they engaged? Aren't they active?

Back in September of 2008, Liz Davis wrote an interesting post in answer to Angela Maiers call, what it'll be her suggestions for people starting their Web 2.0 journeys.

Are you up-to-date on all Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom? How are you facilitating the handle and uses of such a popular instruments?

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John Updike: Writing Is Diminished And Reading Is Declining

John Updike passed away yesterday. There was no greater advocate of books than this author who created so many of them and read so many of them. For someone who thought of writing and literature as so fundamental, he was known for writing about the most ordinary of things in eloquent words.

But he has created controversy around his greatest lament that writing was diminished and reading was declining. Is it true that people is reading less than before?

We have to disagree. People may not be reading printed books or any other printed instrument, but there are others, particularly young ones, who are reading on the screen of their computers. Is fair to say that they are not reading books online in the same way we were used to do it a decade now, however, they are certainly reading different kinds of media online, included blogs.

There are students who have a book under the pillow for months. But this same students digest a good amount of literature while online and a single day! Brevity is the clue. And when we talk about writing and reading, brevity is so much important these days. Any clue as to why Twitter is getting so popular with its 140 characters?

The Journal of Educational Psychology, confirms how wordiness can hurt reading and by our purpose, learning. The study they carried, compared three lessons about the same weather process. All lessons used the same illustrations but varied in the number of words. Result: Lesson with the fewest words resulted in the most learning. (pdf doc, pp. 109-115).

So, may be that we are wrong, considering the stature of John Updike, still one thing is true: Reading is not declining. What has changed is the way we read and we prefer concise writing in front of long and wordy books. Don't get me wrong, we appreciate and value enormously the books, only that these instruments of knowledge are no so popular anymore among the new generation.

John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji of The Takeaway share with you a book list from their listeners created to honor John Updike.

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Silvia Tolisano: Building And Having a Sucessfull School Website

EdTech Talk yesterday hosted its School Websites podcast # 29, where Silvia Tolisano shared her experiences with having a reliable school website.

Click the link to download podcast or Listen Right Now!

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Gates Foundation Still Has a Lot to Learn About Education

Our goal as a nation should be to ensure that 80 percent of our students graduate from high school fully ready to attend college by 2025.

This is the goal this fascinating article and worth reading discuss on why Bill Gates Foundation should "never trust what anyone who in education tells" them.

From D-Ed Reckoning on what works in education research:


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From Giroux to a Public Pedagogy through Video Games

I suppose you have memory of Henry Giroux as much as his pioneering work in public pedagogy. After you read James Paul Gee and Elizabeth Hayes' article, your eyes will pop up, learning the educational value of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and how we've come to built a Public Pedagogy through video games.

Derek Wenmoth has read the article and offers a deep insight of what is meant by these two authors:

Gee and Haynes argue that todays television shows, movies, websites and online games, are much more sophisticated in terms of the demands they make of viewers/users than they ever have been before, and that through engaging with them, there is quite profound and real learning taking place - what we often call ‘informal learning’. They further argue that this sort of learning is often wrongly compared with ‘formal learning’ in classrooms, because there is not teaching involved. Gee and Haynes make the point that teaching is a part of the gaming world - albeit implicit in the design, resources and affinity spaces involved.

Next time you want to pull out some these uncountable number Yu-Gi-Oh cards, belonging to your son, think twice.

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Teachers: Practical Advice on How to Remember Students' Name

You don't have to be a new teacher to forget the names of your students since the very beginning. Experienced colleagues also suffer of this problem (included myself). It's first day of class and you are all prepared to make arrangements and discuss what it'll be the schedule, norms and graduation, when all of a sudden you are in front of dozens of eyes, some are already familiar but others are not. That's when Rhett Allain saying that he is terrible at this process, suggests:

    I have students sitting at tables (in this class and in labs). As they are working on something, I go around and write down who is sitting where. Yes, this means that you have to actually ask each student what their names is (I hate that part). After I have a “seating chart” I just keep practicing while they are working. If a student talks to me, I make sure and use their name. I will look it up on the seating chart if I have to. This just takes a couple of class times of practice till I have them all (well, most of them) memorized...

That is not his only shot, he already tried "other things in the past"

Dr. Delaney Kirk, was the source where we got the tip on this practical advice, a part of mentioning Allain's Dot Physics, she also recommends her own suggestions of why learning students' names is The Best Way To Manage Your Classroom.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 01/27/2009

Impoverishment of the Educational Imagination

"Schools operate by the slogan ‘education!’ while ordinary language asks what children ‘learn’". -Ivan Illich

Teach For America, Awhile: Ivy League Temps and Corporate Missionaries

KIPP and TFA have formed, then, a marriage that is mutually supportive and sustaining, and both organizations are now fed by the same deep institutional revenue streams that flow toward social manipulation, privatization of public spaces, and limitless tax credits. Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of TFA, is married, you see, to KIPP’s CEO, Richard Barth.

Intelligence theory stolen by magpie

There is often vast amounts of silent evidence. Vast numbers of factors that have not yet been tested. There is always a black swan looming

What is the most important advice you can give to other teachers?

Once a week for a year, Mr D. is going to share an essential lesson submitted by teachers, for teachers. 52 different "mini-lessons" will answer the question of matter.

University of the People - providing low cost online degree courses worldwide

The University of the People will "open its doors" and plans at this stage to charge only nominal application fee ($15-$50) and examination fees ($10-$100), which will be adjusted on a sliding scale based on the student’s country of origin

The rest of my favorite links are here.

PhD Research on Teens and Online Social Networks

Blogger, speaker researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Danah Boyd recently finished her PhD. at University of California, Berkeley, and for those interested in youth culture, social networks and social media, she has posted her entire doctoral dissertation online for anyone to download(pdf document).

His work is entitled, Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics. A fellow working about circadian rhythms and photoperiodism, posted the abstract of Boyd's Dissertation:

Abstract: As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices - gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens' engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices - self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties - persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability - and three dynamics - invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private - are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens' engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

Congrats Dr. Danah and thanks for such an inspiring work!

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