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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100 Days Are Down With Obama

100 Days of President ObamaPresident Obama has been in office for 100 days now and Andrew Rotherham of Eduwonk posted on this matter a paragraph we need to share:

    Over at NPR Claudio Sanchez looks at education 100 days in to the new administration. But Claudio may be the only one who cares? If there was an education question at the presser last night I missed it… Also from NPR, guess it’s going to be easier to get upgrades on flights to all these edumeetings over the next few months…

The White House has released a large collection of images of President Obama's first 100 days in office.

Seems like Mr. Obama is the most photographed man on the planet. MailOnline has an article and a selection of photos, too.

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The Most Frequently Identified Barriers to the Use of Web 2.0 Technology

A survey, commissioned by Lightspeed Systems and Thinkronize Inc., creator of the kids’ search engine netTrekker, shows that online communication tools for parents and students have caught on quickly, but online social networking for instruction has a long way to go.

The survey organized Web 2.0 technologies into seven categories related to student instruction and learning environments, reports Meris Stansbury of eSchools:

1. Student-generated online content;
2. Teacher-generated online content;
3. Online social networking used as part of instruction;
4. Online learning games and simulations;
5. Student use of virtual learning environments;
6. Digital multimedia resources; and
7. Online communication tools for parents and students (outside of school hours).

The most frequently identified human-factor barriers to the use of Web 2.0 technology were:

– The need to monitor appropriate use of online social networks (range 55%)
– Lack of teacher knowledge about how to use the technology effectively (range 51%)
– Teacher perceptions about its lack of instructional value or appropriateness (range 48%)

Also, the most frequent technology barriers were:

– Concerns about student safety (range 76%)
– Concerns about district network or data security (range 35%)
– Limited support systems, including technology personnel (range 27%)

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Arne Duncan: 'Go Ahead And Boo Me'

I fundamentally think that our school day is too short, our school week is too short and our school year is too short

Chris Lehmann explains why David Warlick is angry about Duncan's assertion and adds: "He is right to worry that the path we're heading down does not lead to smarter, more passionate students and teachers, bur rather it leads to teachers and students thinking that school is something that is done TO students, not with or for."

But there are some other reason to boo Mr Duncan. Clay Burell suggests that if it were on the Secretary of Education, a 8-Year-Old Woodrow Wilson wouldn't have college for him. And he asks helping to cite a Duncan interview on the value of standards and standardized test data:

"[We have to be honest enough to] look a second grader in the eye and tell them if they’re on track to get into a good college or not."

Is it the reform we were looking for in our school system?

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Schools get instructions about how to protect against swine flu

Philissa Cramer originally wrote this note at Gotham Schools

...The UFT and DOE last night issued guidelines for schools, encouraging teachers to maximize air circulation by opening classroom windows and to stay home if they feel sick. The DOE also instructed school nurses to place surgical masks immediately on students who have a fever over 100.5 degrees and any other flu-like symptoms. Both sets of full instructions are after the jump.

Earlier this weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that dozens of students at a Queens Catholic school are suspected to have contracted swine flu, although none has become seriously ill. (Two of the cases suspected there are the daughters of State Sen. Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., according to Liz Benjamin at the Daily News.)

Some Brooklyn students might have escaped exposure after the DOE cancelled their spring break trip to Cancun. Parents from MS 447 were angry about the last-minute cancellation, which the department said was needed because of heightened violence in Mexico. I’m guessing those parents are feeling relieved right now.

Continue reading...

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Education 101: The Best Learning Scenario

Teaching - What’s it all about?

    The one class that I teach collaboratively on a regular basis is an English class with possibly one of the best teachers I have met. This teacher’s leitmotif and driving conviction is ‘It’s not about what you teach them, it’s the connections you make’. Absolutely. If you don’t connect to the student, they haven’t picked up. If they haven’t picked up, they’re not going to hear anything you say. And once they pick up, they need to want to stay on that line. And that’s all about a personal connection. The teacher I’m referring to makes the positive connection with each individual student, and then goes on to create the group connection. This really is the best learning scenario - a student who’s happy with the relationship with his/her teacher, feeling accepted, acknowledged, liked, respected, and also confident as an accepted member of the class. This is where learning can take place. If you look into a classroom you can immediately see where this is happpening and where it is not. We’ve all seen it before: the class where students look distracted, bored, all looking in different directions, eyes switched off, and the class where facial expressions are turned on, students are bursting to contribute, focussed discussion or activity is taking place.

Read whole article: Brave New World

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Teenagers: Inequality Being Reproduced by Social Media

Teens are using social network sites as a social hangout with their pre-existing network.

Researcher Danah Boyd over the weeken was participating at Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology. There she spoke about Living and Learning with Social Media, which gently she has made available here.

Abstract:
Many American youth are embracing a wide array of social media as part of their everyday lives. From social network sites and texting to blogs and wikis, many youth are leveraging the power of social media to create, communicate, share, and learn. In this talk, I will use social network sites as a case study to examine critical shifts that are underway as a result of social media. I look at how inequality is perpetuated through these systems and the challenges that educators face when trying to incorporate these systems into the classroom. Finally, I conclude by discussing implications for educators.

Danah begun to say that her talk was 'an implications talk, not a research talk' and then she keep explaining what are her concerns about uses of technology nowadays. She finds no change in the pattern of living of our young generation. She said, "Today's teens are still more interested in their friends than their lessons. They're still resistant to power and authority at variable levels. They still gossip, bully, flirt, joke around, and hang out. The underlying dynamics are fairly consistent. That said, technology is inflecting these practices in unique ways. And my goal here today is to talk about these inflection points."

We haven't thought of this one. Many hours are spent reading blogs, wikis, subscription an online newspapers, so you missed the point sometimes. I have reflected on these people who still are relying on print of radio waves and do not have internet connection but I never have reflected as what is happening with the utmost significant social networks, My Space and Facebook. When teens are segregating their peers moving from one another, this means they are reproducing the 'socio-economic status and class divisions in digital worlds' How? You have to read the article under section MySapce vs Facebook and you will learn how teens have established some kind of groups whom they decide to hang out.

A great presentation indeed and out of the echo chamber.

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Education Today 04/24/2009

Getting Serious About Improving Hispanic Children's Chances
They need urgent attention on: 1) dual-language programs, and 2) more pre-kindergarten.

Looking for Virtual School Board Members - Are You Interested?It would be great if you could sign up for an entire class period, but if you only have time for a partial period, we’ll try to work it out. Your help is needed between May 15th through May 24th.

Web2.0 - On sale now
Most teachers think they use it already or worry the Internet is source of plagiarism, half truths, complexity and perverts. Then, How do you get more people to use ‘web2.0’ tools in your school?

Interview with Chad Wick and Andrea Saveri
On 2020 Forecast: They spoke about creating the Future of Learning and the conversation focused on key forces of change that will shape the landscape of learning over the next decade, and how we are moving toward a culture of creation and innovation.

Most people believe manners are unimportant in 21st century In Britain, they say that good manners cost nothing. Apparently not. For researchers have found that fewer than a quarter of them think that common courtesy is important today. And U.S?

The rest of my favorite links are here.

World Book Day: The Translator -Daoud Hari

The Translator by Daoud HariWe had signed to participate in the GVO Book Challenge and today is the World Book & Copyright Day which is a yearly event on 23th of April, since 1995, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

The challenge was to read a book from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before and tag it as #gvbook09. Many still criticize that print media is in debacle and so are books. However, this is a good opportunity to recall that science and all information we enjoy through the internet today, was only possible thanks to the books that jealously were saved in ancient libraries, monasteries, universities and lately the world wide web.

We have been reading The Translator: A Tribes Memoir of Dafur. written by Daoud Hari. While looking out for which book we should pick to read for this challenge, what caught our attention was the its title, The Translator. It called our attention because we too, translate for 'one of the largest volunteer-based online translation communities in the world.'

As Claudia Giampreti puts it, "The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world - an on the ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon - while others around him were taking up arms - Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur."

And it really is. But to understand better the circumstances under which Sudan was living and was built, I will suggest you start reading its Appendix 1 (A Darfur Primer). In about 200 pages, once you start the book, you do not want to stop anymore. It is the vivid conversation two people can have while sharing the sadness of genocide of his people or even your own family. You learn about the Zaghawa tribe and terminology only spoken by these people. What Daoud had to endure while a refugee in the Chad and all his trips around Cairo and Israel.

There is a special paragraph that i really liked. It's a lesson of how saving money sometimes can save your life specially when you are in prison. Daoud and his co-writers wrote:

    ...When someone asks if you have any money, you will put hands in there again. This time, after so long in prison, after wearing these old jeans for many months in the vilest of prison cells with nothing to do but stand in the heat and put my hands in my pockets, I somehow let my thumb slip into the tiny watch pocket above the right pocket of my jeans -a forgotten pocket. I felt the edges of something. Folded into a small square was an Egyptian hundred pound note..."

Otherwise, he will never contact his cousins in Great Britain and would ever return home. A small lesson our kids and we teachers should encourage in school.

The author now lives in Baltimore. He was involved with the savedafur.org and starting whith his high school English language knowledge, he helped major news organizations including The New York Times, NBC, BBC, UN and some other aid organizations.

You can buy his book here and a review is up at A Little Bit of Change.

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Angela Maiers on "Doing School" in the 21st Century

How many times you have felt compelled to make your students become quiet, and no wonder the number of times you felt like suspending them. As a teacher you have to find the balance among teaching, educate and discipline.

However, Maiers in a beautiful slide asks her readers: Have we succeeded as educators:


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Why Should Teachers Have Tenure?

I won't comment on this article, read it and have your own thoughts. An additional link has been added for better reference and the stressed part is also ours.

From If Obama were an Untenured Teacher...

    ...If the president of the United States catches hell for being civil and speaking common sense, imagine how dangerous such behavior as a teacher can be. That's one reason tenure is important. It allows teachers to approach politically unpopular ideas without jeopardizing their jobs, instead of being classroom propagandists and mythologists.
    Time Magazine managing editor Richard Stengel doesn't seem to get this unique justification for tenure in the teaching profession. In his sloppy fluff piece on Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Stengel goes from interviewer to anti-labor tool with this comment:

    I think parents look at tenured teachers and say, I don't have tenure in my job — why should teachers have tenure?

    Sheesh, Dick, most parents don't face unemployment for exercising academic freedom and intellectual integrity. You don't get fired on Wall Street or Main Street for pointing out that America is not perfect or Genesis is not a science textbook. You do in schools.


For more on this matter see also Three Bullets for EduWonk

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Three Games Your Kids Can Play With iPodTouch/ iPhone

This post was meant to six and under children and was originally uploaded at Learning Visions of Cammy Bean. Using her Creative Commons license we reproduce Bean's work. All these three games can be get it through iTunes at only $ 0.99:

iWriteWords This is a fun little spelling game. You trace out letters to spell words. When you finish the word, a cute drawing appears and then you shake the letters into a little hole to move on.

Sort of a Montessori style approach, like the sandpaper letters that my daughter does at school. When she's trying to write a letter she doesn't know, I have to 'dot it out' on paper for her so she can trace it herself. This game matches that experience really well.

AniMatch A classic memory game with fun animal cards and sounds. I played it a few times myself before going to bed last night.

Pacifier1 Marketed for the 1-3 set, although my older kids are mesmerized by it. Little dots and shapes float around on the screen. As you touch them, a number is spoken out loud from 1-10. When you get to 10 it starts all over again. Soothing background music, smooth movement and lots of colors to pacify and interest your young child. And get her hooked to electronic games early.

Can you recommend other games that your kids enjoy while playing with either your iPhone or the iPod Touch?


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The Curriculum Universities Should Have Today

It's very difficult to please everyone not only in the educational institutions but in our normal daily life. Authorities are supposed to understand the necessities of new students and if they are not, then research should be lay down and built a curriculum that adjust not only for the students vision but conceptualization parents, educator and ultimately society demands.

Connecting 2 the World a interesting blog by V. Yonkers discusses a movie he watched during Spring Break with his children. 'Accepted' is the movie and he goes on explaining why Colleges and Universities should pay attention as to what their new students are in need of. The following questions are demanded to be answered, in order to understand what is the role and what is meant by the concept University: "What makes something a "university"? What curriculum should today's university have? What is the role of the faculty, student and administration in today's university? What should it be?"

We have been involved in the process of curriculum design and we also know how difficult is to set objectives, goals and parameters to evaluate the outcomes. Until society does not demand a particular professional, a technician or any political storm that translates into a deeply educational reform (Depression, Sputnik, then curriculum will be re-designed but no mayor changes will be implemented. Surely, students might want to:

    ...Skate boarding (in which students learned the laws of physics and engineering), stress reduction (based on the principles of religion, philosophy, and psychology), and understanding women (using concepts from sociology, women's studies, and biology)."


Designers should listen what the students want and need, although they won't weight more than the 50% of decisions. Students are able to teach themselves without any help from faculty in this era but still as many times have said, they still need an institution to certify that knowledge and such institution must follow state recommendations , since education most of the times is a government responsibility.

So, what is the curriculum universities should have today? It all depends on the state or county necessities. We don't want keep graduating engineers or finance people but we are not to force into the curriculum the skills on Twitter and other social networks. That's something students already know. We have to look up what the goals are in the Obama administration, in this case, work towards those goals: environment, social security, health, and economic crisis, as well.

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Teaching Students How to Handle Failure

During this weekend I was reading the print edition of ReaderDigest, May edition, and I found an interesting article about how parents are growing kids "defenseless against failure."

The article supports the investigation realized by Carol Dweck a PhD psychologist from Stanford University. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. This book is the result of a research that found two kinds of mind sets, the 'fixed mind-set' and the 'growth mind-set'. We all are born withe second one, otherwise we weren't able to survive this world.

Unfortunately, parents, coaches, as well as teachers, often push us into fixed mind-sets by rewarding certain behaviors and misdirecting praise. Following are Deweck's recommendations for parents and teachers dealing with failing children:

School -Never compliment a child by saying 'You're so smart' or 'You picked that up so quickly.' Instead, praise effort or strategy by saying That was clever of you to take that approach or I'm proud of your persistence. Please, listen for similar remarks from teachers and correct them.

Sports -Instead of 'You're a natural,' say Practice is really making you better. Instead of inquiring 'Did you win?' ask Did you give your best effort? Dweck, explains: 'Talent isn't passed down in the genes; it's passed down in the mind-set.'

Dinner table -Instead of the standard 'How was your day?,' ask What did you learn today? or What mistakes did you make that taught you something? Describe with zeal something you're struggling with. 'Instill a passion for learning, stresses Dweck.

Planning the future -Don't just ask about goals; ask about the plan for reaching those goals.

Frustration -Don't permit children to refer to themselves as losers, failures, stupid, or clumsy. 'Never let failure progress from an action to an identity,' recommends Dweck. Likewise, don't label your kids. Don't say this one is the artist, and this one is the computer geek. Anyone can be anything.

In doubt -If you encounter skepticism, ask the child to think of areas in which he once had low ability and now excels, or to recall a time when he saw someone learn something or improve in ways not thought possible.

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2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning

After reading that Stephen Downes is likely the most prominent voice in evaluating both the nature of learning changes and the future impact of ed tech, we have to adhere to G. Siemens appreciations.

Downes has unintentionally collaborated to the future of education and each of the six change drivers (Knowledge, economy, society, systems, organizations, self) the KnowlegeWorks Foundation is working on, the 2020 Forecast. There is also a drill down of information and ideas, including a summary of 6 ways to take action.

The Map of Future Forces affecting the Future of Education provides a great tactical to take action. Did it caught your attention on its opening page? "This world calls not for better schools, but for entirely new kinds of learning environments. To be successful in it, tomorrow’s learners will not just need better teachers; they will need guides who take on fundamentally different roles."

I know not all us are researchers but what are we doing to foresee education on 2020? Are we still thinking white papers are specific enough and that we want relevancy and making sure that it is current? Or is it that we are happy with Autism in Academia?

Just asking...

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Identity Management And Open Educational Resources

JISC Access Management Team

On the way to work this morning, whilst I was supposed to be writing a paper for JISC SMT (oops), I instead found myself thinking about a question that I posed to David Kernohan on Twitter a while ago – how does the Open Education Resources initiative impact on identity management? This in itself was not an unusual question – I tend to ask it about all of the initiatives in JISC as access and identity management are only important in the way that we embed them in to the practises put in place by other activities. At the time, I didn’t have much of an answer. Having attended UKSG, I think some thoughts on that area have started to infiltrate my brain!

I started by asking myself what is different about Open Educational Resources to the Open Access agenda. There are of course lots of answers to this question – but I focused on the medium. OER is very much a part of the social software / social networking / web 2.0 world that encourages people to make their stuff as widely available as possible, and encourages others to comment, annotate, reuse and repurpose that stuff. It is about changing the nature of the way we perceive content. The Open Access agenda does not as a whole look to change the concept of the published article; instead it wishes to change the business model by which the article is made available to its target audience.

See also comparation OER to scholarly publishing, here.

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Passage Middle School Challenges Others On Using Cellphones in Class

Principal Kipp Rogers is the man behind the move. Passage Middle School is in Newport, WA and contrary to what other principals and faculty members nationwide are doing, here at Passage students not only can they carry their cellphones but they are able to integrate it into classroom activities.

Cell phones, considered a nuisance or worse in many schools, are welcome at Passage. At least eight teachers are using them for a range of lessons, from reports to quizzes in English, social studies, science and math classes.

Tony Neeley's science classroom, is just one example. A question popped onto the screen in front of class. Neeley gave the students a six-digit number and said, "Go." Instantly thumbs began dancing over cell phone keypads. Within seconds, phones trilled the signal that a text message had been sent. At the same time, answers began dropping into view on the screen, one answer for each group of students, identified by a student's cell phone screen name.

How cell phones get top marks in this classrooms?



Kipp D. Rogers, his faculty and the students have developed an acceptable use policy. They are not to send text messages to anyone outside the building during class hours. They are not to take photos. They are not allowed to upload anything to YouTube or other Internet sites not approved by the school. Principal asserts that for the most part students respect the rules.

But students do not abide by the rules per se. The first round of exercises students learn is how to use Google to find information with their phones. Using key words, students can look up definitions, download weather, get directions, search for information about a location or object, translate a word or phrase into Spanish or French or receive the latest sports scores for their favorite teams.

How many public schools or even those so differenciated Blue Ribbon Schools will follow suit? Do not wait for Duncan's reforms, just do it by yourselves in each Board of Education.

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Learning to Use 21st Century Literacies at School

Yes. Not list will be find in this post as how step-by-step become a 21st century literate. What you will read is a disclosure of how media and education is performing their role in regards of educating young generation about all means of Web 2.0

I came across an article by Howard Rheingold where he asks, how many of us have learned to use digital media and networks effectively, reasonably, credibly, collaboratively, civilly, humanely? Question is full adjectives and inspires to any responsible adult to make, at least, a pronouncement. How schools are contributing to these 21st century literacies? In our conception they are not occurring in schools on any significant scale, until we as educators, step out of our teaching role and immerse ourselves in the 21st world as learners. The future of our young family as much as age school children, is digital, global and networked.

We have to stop seeing students online activity as ‘a dangerous neighborhood where their identities can be stolen, a morass of spam and porn, misinformation and disinformation, urban legends, hoaxes, and scams?’ This is part of the reason for inaccessibility and filtering; for the rules prohibiting the use of online games and mobile phones at school. We talk about integrating technologies into the curriculum, but we still view these technologies as the enemy , writes accordingly Brave New World blog.

Let's have a discussion on this essential questions for the future of education presented by Howard Rheingold in his opening paragraph:

    Will our grandchildren grow up knowing how to pluck the answer to any question out of the air, summon their social networks to assist them personally or professionally, organize political movements and markets online? Will they collaborate to solve problems, participate in online discussions as a form of civic engagement, share and teach and learn to their benefit and that of everyone else? Or will they grow up knowing that the online world is a bewildering puzzle to which they have few clues, a dangerous neighborhood where their identities can be stolen, a morass of spam and porn, misinformation and disinformation, urban legends, hoaxes, and scams?

Difference can be made with literacy. A good understanding of this paradigm includes norms of behavior(ciberbullying is central here), the skills of encoding and decoding blogs, wikis, forums, vlogs, microblogs, search engines, text messages, and whatever a smart young person brings up tomorrow when he (or she) wakes up, after being late at his basement or stayed over sharing some tricks with his hacker camaraderie!

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Education Today 04/15/2009

Education - Free Speech? Not in Schools
Thomas Jefferson Center has announced the winners of the 2009 Muzzle Awards. The awards "honor" the most egregious First Amendment infractions across the country. This year's recipients range from the corralling of protesters at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to three high school-related incidents.

Educators using technology to improve writing
"Writing Between the Lines -- and Everywhere Else," -Students are to spend more time writing outside class on computers and cellphones and that teachers should tap that interest and find ways to merge the two rather than focusing on research papers, essays, journal or letter writing.

Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class -- via Twitter
He prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students. He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions

The rest of my favorite links are here.

How to Use Blogging in Learning

Stephen Downes does not need presentation. He has posted his Handbook Sumission for a forthcoming STRIDE handbook for The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

The submission is a great summary of the uses of blogs. As for our interests, there is the last section written under 'How to Use Blogging in Learning' that all educators should read and among other topics Mr. Downes describes, the addressing bullying as quick as possible plus how teachers must start leading by example:

    Before requiring students to blog, instructors should lead by example, creating their own blogs and adding links to interesting resources and commentary on class topics. This not only produces a useful source of supplemental information for students, it creates a pattern and sets expectations for when students begin their own blogging.

Read more at the 'half an hour' place for writing of Stephen Downes.

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'Tweeting' Between Students, Faculty Gains Popularity at Princeton

Twitter is an interesting and deeply human phenomenon. -David Robinson

You all know what it means to be enrolled in one the Ivy Leagues. Fox News ran a story last week where clearly students and faculty from well respected Princeton University, showed probe as how important it is to keep educational environment connected through social networks:

    The microblogging format of Twitter—which has become increasingly popular on campus—may bring administrators and faculty members like Harris-Lacewell closer to students, as they divulge personal details of their lives in an informal setting.

    With an estimated 5 million users, Twitter is the third largest online social network, after facebook.com and myspace.com. On the website, founded in 2006, users can post messages of up to 140 characters that are listed on the site’s public timeline. Users can also choose to “follow” the posts, or “tweets” of other Twitterers.

Continue reading...

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In Times of Crisis Find a Career That Generates Respect and Self-esteem

With thousands of layoffs on a daily basis, American are obliged to rebuild their careers goals. Not profession can walk away from recession. Finances used to be king, are not employing with big pay checks anymore. High School students and colleges interns have to prepare for the future. Same as people dealt with Depression era or times when Sputnik approach was the solution.

The New Yor Times brings out today an analysis as for what should it be the careers of the near future and asking: What will the new map of talent flow look like? States:

    It’s early, but based on graduate school applications this spring, enrollment in undergraduate courses, preliminary job-placement results at schools, and the anecdotal accounts of students and professors, a new pattern of occupational choice seems to be emerging. Public service, government, the sciences and even teaching look to be winners, while fewer shiny, young minds are embarking on careers in finance and business consulting.

Teaching still is in the top careers of choice for many nowadays. What other teachers are thinking of this shift? Well, let's see what comes next and wait for the best resources to stay.

Photo Credit: The Marmot

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Teaching Basic Concepts Behind Math Problems Are More Useful Than Teaching Children Procedures for Solving Problems

Scientific Blogging

New research from Vanderbilt University has found students benefit more from being taught the concepts behind math problems rather than the exact procedures to solve the problems. The findings offer teachers new insights on how best to shape math instruction to have the greatest impact on

The research by Bethany Rittle-Johnson, assistant professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College and Percival Mathews, a Peabody doctoral candidate, is in press at the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Read more...

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Illiterate Teachers: Is it Ok to Stay That Way?

In a commented post, Pat explains the results of a Survey of the American Teacher, conducted by MetLife. It is an important piece you should read especially that section where the survey (pdf doc) says "teachers just plain haven't embraced digital forums for personal growth."

Education and Tech supports the answer given by Succesful Teaching on this question: Is it alright to be a technologically illiterate teacher? (bold is ours):

Absolutely not. I think that teachers need to take the initiative in learning more about technology. I know teachers have heard about blogs and things like Twitter since it is all in the news. If they don’t know what these are, they need to find out about them and see how they can use them. I read blogs daily in order to stay current on education topics and learn about other tools that are out there for the classroom. By reading blogs, I get inspired and motivated to try new things. By joining Twitter, and Plurk, I have developed a Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN) that offers support and encouragement when I need it. I have been able to bounce ideas off of others immediately and get feedback on these ideas. I have grown so much professionally by being around other educators and learning from them. As an educator, we need to constantly grow professionally so we don’t become stagnant. It is not acceptable to be technologically illiterate anymore. I feel it is also impossible to be this way and still be a successful teacher.

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Problogger: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge

Darren Rowse is one of the most popular bloggers and whether you've heard or not about Problogger, it is still time you follow the advice he offers in his blog. Yesterday, Problogger started a series of posts called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, where all subscribed participants are to follow Rowse' advice and write in their respective blogs about the suggested topic.

This series are particularly important for those who are still performing their first experiences in the blogosphere. There are small but important things you have to keep an eye on, if you want your blog get noticed. Here is our five cents:

First Day. Write an elevator pitch for your blog. "Technology and Thinking on Education by Milton Ramirez."

Second Day. Write a list post. No very common here at Education & Tech but we do have some like 7 Educational Sites Your Kids Will Enjoy.

Third Day: Promote a Blog Post. Not all them but posts like Social Web in Education.

Day 4: Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche. I've doing it quite a while. Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers and Bradblogging.

Day 5: Email a Blog Reader. If I ever done it before, I would do it and practice emailing some of our commenter.

Day 6: 27 Must Read Tips and Tutorials for Bloggers. Before I started to focus on education and tech I used to and still read successful bloggers to keep peace of what is happening at the blogosphere.

If you still struggle or do not like this kind of post, is better you check Ali Hale 10 Steps to Write a Perfect List Post.

Why we are into this, anyway? We are teachers and are trying to teach students how to blog. Writing for print media is one thing and write outstanding posts to online consumption, is another. Our students not only need to have a blog and know how to write, his work needs to be read and as Derek Markman puts it, "It's very similar to any other business, in that even if you have the greatest product ever, but nobody knows about it, you won't sell any."

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'Speegeeking' an Innovative Way to Do a Faculty Meeting on Technology Integration

"SpeedGeeking is just like Speed Dating - a way to quickly introduce people to a wide variety of new ideas in a short amount of time," defined this idea Kim Cofino.

This is the second time she and all members of the team at her place of work, organize successfully this kind of events. Teachers apparently were excited and energized by the discussion and it seems that "everyone found at least one thing that sparked their interest in the 30-minute session." Isn't tha great?

In along detailed post Cofino explains how to organize and develop a SpeefGeeking meet up and includes 5 reasons as for why she likes this short but effective reunions. Why not to emulate same process when you have a faculty at large and in need of speed up technology integration. Here Mrs. Cofino's reasoning:

  • Because we had so many groups, we were able to highlight so many teachers - we made sure to have some specialists present, as well as some teachers who had never worked with technology in their classroom before this year.
  • We enabled teachers to interact with others outside of their grade level. It’s amazing how rarely teachers get the opportunity to just talk with teachers outside of their team.
  • We focused on the positive, on the commonalities among our colleagues, on the successes that we all have in our classrooms every day. Sure, we can all be doing things better, but that doesn’t mean that amazing things aren’t happening already.
  • We empowered others who are not normally highlighted and we helped build networks and infrastructure for supporting teachers who may need assistance.
  • We laughed, a lot, together. How often can you say that about a faculty meeting?

That's more that enough to keep learning, writing and sharing the technolgy applied to education. Hat tip to Always Learning!

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Why Witing Your Own Dissertation Pays Down the Effort

No all of us want or like to write or use, in a good way, our skills learned either in school or in our daily activities. With enough instruments at hand, many if not most of our students today, are forgetting how handwriting is like. No more epistolary interchange, internet has come and the revolution is only comparable to the transition from the trivium to the quadrivium, to revolutionize that way we save and sustain knowledge and information in ths era.

To write or not to write? It is a general question for all students who are to make up their minds whether to choose or not to choose a writing dissertation. Everybody realizes the amount of difficulties that comes with writing a dissertation. What about the pros and cons of starting your dissertation work. Actually, the advantages of a dissertation writing work are obvious:

Writing a dissertation is a way to a scientific degree. If you think that science is your calling and your vision about the career of a professor in reputable University, then writing this dissertation is vital for you.

Writing is a big advantage for every career and for teacher is not less important. If you do not want to be a teacher, but want to follow a perfect career in any other field, writing a dissertation work will still be valuable for you. Every employer will understand that you are a knowledgeable and consequently valuable worker. If you have special interests in some fields, you will make huge research and you can regard yourself as a real expert of this field.

However, there are some drawbacks of a dissertation work that you need to consider too:

If you are a busy person who has a job, a wife, two kids and who knows a dog, then it is more probable that writing a dissertation is not for you. You simply will not have enough time and strength to do this work properly.

If you are a kind of person who cannot sit at one place and do the same work day by day for a long time, and belong to the Gen-X generation, then writing a dissertation can turn into an eternal punishment for you. That's what my son call it when I ask him to show me his drafts.

If you think that your education and the degree you have is enough for that particular career you would like to do, then it is not necessary to spend time on this kind of writing.

All and all, learning and practice of writing are not an obstacle for a really concerned person.

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Education on Being Tamed, Domesticated And Subdued

Ed Tech Journeys

At birth we are blessed with a natural curiosity. There is a great wildness in it. A shaft of sunlight illuminates a world of dust and delicate objects floating in air, as if by magic. A child who catches a glimpse of this will stop whatever it’s doing and begin to explore what it sees. We are called to learn.

Our natural curiosity is like a wild animal; it hunts where it needs to in order to satisfy its deep hunger. As children, we awaken each day with an insatiable appetite to learn. It is in our early years that we are “wolves of learning”. There is a deep, DNA-based, natural connection between learning and survival; call it the burning relevance of the empty stomach.

Over the centuries, as we have institutionalized learning, we have taken something precious from our children, our young “wolves of learning”; and from ourselves. The wildness of our natural curiosity has been tamed, domesticated, and subdued.

Read the whole story by Pete Reilly
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You Are a "Social Media Snob" if You Do Not Follow Many People on Twitter

I've discovered (and subscribed) to a blog about Educational Technology, written by Mike Arsenault in Maine. Today, he brings up an interesting discussion about twitters in the educational field. He builds a chart where you can easily spot great figures in Education than I will not mention here in its enterity.

The central point is: Are you a social media snob if you do not follow equivalent number of people who is following you?

Twitter needs interaction and lately, there is a bunch o posts trying to impress you how to become a microcelebrity. Think before you tweet. Ask, will this add value? Will this help someone? wrote Tim Bursch, on what I consider an interesting post.

Many people nowaday are concerned about numbers and they might also be worried about the ratio of Followers to Following. But the real thing is interaction, as I said before, I usually unsubscribe from people who almost ever appear on my streamline. Why? They are not contributing neither to me nor to the social network. They, as well respected David Warlick and Will Richarson may be busy doing other stuff. They contribution is different from that one we expect in Twitter.

We tend to keep a balance between these two groups of Followers/Following and we clean up our list every now and then. Last, we do have to agree to Mike, " I would mostly attribute that to still being somewhat of a snob and still figuring out how to best filter the information that comes from so many different sources as I try to balance doing my job, reading RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and having a personal life."

To check out our ratio and updates please see @tonnet.

Update: Kevin Jarret respond to Mike and corrects him: Whether they follow me on Twitter is irrelevant. It’s just how they choose to use the service. Period.

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Call for Papers on Applied Research in Workplace E-Learning

The new Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-Learning is based in Australia, reports Will Thalheimer, the online journal will publish both refereed and non-refereed articles "from both researchers and practitioners relating to the design, implementation, evaluation and management of workplace e-learning across a range of sectors and industries."

Editorial Policies are at Impact, which contains general information on the journal's focus and scope, including topics of interest and types of articles accepted. Key dates include:

Manuscript submission deadline: 1 June 2009
Notification of acceptance: 1 July 2009
Submission of final articles for publication: 1 August 2009
Publication of inaugural issue (online): 1 September 2009

The theme of the first issue is: Current issues and future directions in workplace e-learning: Mapping the research landscape(pdf doc)

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Warlick at the 2009 Educational Technology Conference in Palm Beach



Featured Speakers:Steve Dembo, Kate Kenker, David Warlick, Karl Fisch, Mark Benno, Dean Shareski. -Photo by David Warlick and used under CC License

For those who wasn't able to attend the 2009 Educational Technology Conference, keynote speaker was David Warlick. Video of his presentation is here and some of his remarks were published in his blog, as well:

He starts by saying that this conference was "one of the best organized and idea-rich conferences that I have been a part of - better than any I can remember." And speaking about the participation of students, Warlick stresses, "it is another demonstration of how we need to come to respect the learner - not just demand respect as the teacher, but pay back with respect for the learner and the places they’ll take what we teach."

Interested in education and wishing to follow more about Warlick's activities? No desperation here is another CoLearners wiki from him.

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