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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Duncan: Teachers Should Be Judged on Student Performance

It has been said that Secretary Duncan was successful with implementation of merit pay in Chicago. However, I would like to ask the Secretary what it should be done with those students who simply don't want to be at school. Teachers and parents both know, the story of rebel teens who prefer to do another stuff that go to school and in the worse case scenario, youngsters who are not able to self-control or even be disciplined by parents themselves. Will this group of students hurt teachers merit pay? Absolutely.

During this week the AP ran a story about the controversial practice of linking raises or teacher's bonuses to student achievement. Of course, with the simple experience related on top, it is normal that Duncan's proposal be opposed by many teachers' union members. We do agree that test scores alone should not decide a teacher's salary, but other parameters as research and publication of books, should be also considered, to mention just two.

States and school districts will compete later this year for a piece of a $5 billion fund to reward those that adopt innovations the Obama administration supports. Applications will be available in July, and money should be awarded starting early next year.

In several districts around the country including Chicago, where Duncan ran the public schools, merit pay systems have been created with support from teachers' unions. Duncan aims to gain the support of teachers saying "he wants it done with teachers, not to teachers." Is this the rigor he is asking for?

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Time to Kill 'No Child Left Behind'

It is too late to tweak NCLB. Seven years after it was signed into law, it is clear that the program deserves to be buried.

Diane Ravitch of Education Week wrote a great piece about the No Child Left Behind policy, and how in the long run no even time 'can repair this poorly designed law':

    In long-term trends, the achievement gap between white and minority students has hardly budged over the past decade. Although average scores are up for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds in reading and mathematics between 2004 and 2008, the rate of improvement is actually smaller than it was in the previous period measured, from 1999 to 2004.

    It is time to ask whether NCLB should be renewed. I argue that it should not. What will President Barack Obama and his administration do with the law?

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Dumb Generation? Teens Are Just as Smart as They Ever Were

The USA Today commented on two books related to the digital age of Gen Y (ages 16-29). The first book is The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future by Mark Bauerlein.

Bauerlein an English professor at Emory University in Atlanta, claims in his book that young generation have acquired skills not being useful in the marketplace, and that they've lost track of human ways to relate to unknown people. The author recommends to parents to: "Talk with your kids. Kids can't do this by themselves."

In the other hand is Gary Small, director of the Center of Aging at the University of California- L.A. and co-author of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind. And this is the posture we take part in. Small asserts clearly that, "teens are just as smart as they ever were."

Multitasking for example, creates a barrier between the old and new generations. The Gen Y may be good with technology but weak in face-to-face communication but still they interact with no prejudices. This young generation, familiar with MySpace and Facebook, is just as smart as any adult but in different ways. Small concludes: "In some ways (technology) is hindering, in some ways it's advancing" education, and adds, "It teaches our brain a different way of processing things."

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Impacts of a 2008-2010 Recession in Children's Well Being

The Early Ed Watch Blog:

A report released this morning, shows that children's well-being started to decline last year and is expected to dip to its lowest point in 2010, when many economists believe the full impact of the recession will be felt.

It projects that next year 21 percent of children will be in poverty and 28 percent will not have at least one full-time working parent. The median income for all families will drop to $55,700. Single-parent households led by fathers will be hardest hit.

The economic downturn will ripple across other domains as well, according to the report, causing breakdowns in community ties (driven by unemployment or housing crises) and family structure (due to an expected uptick in divorce rates). Fewer children at 3 and 4 will be enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, and violent crime will likely increase. The number of children reporting good health is expected to dip (with obesity rates increasing due in part to a reliance on less healthy foods), but government health insurance policies should lessen the economy's ill effects.

Read more on the report by Lisa Guernsey

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Self-representation And Self-exposure Through Online Networks

During May, Kerry Mallan, a Professor in the School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, published an article at the Digital Culture & Education online journal. The author has published widely in the areas of youth literature and film, and youth studies. Her research is transdisciplinary across cultural studies, literary studies, cyberstudies, and education. Now she presents Look at me! Look at me! Self-representation and self-exposure through online networks to discuss on the "complexities of self-representation and self-exposure with respect to friendships, surveillance, and privacy."

The abstract is what follows (the stressed part is ours):

    With the ever more user-friendly Web, the opportunities to use available channels of online communication complicate ways in which individuals oscillate between exhibition and inhibition, self-exposure and self-preservation, authenticity and deception. This paper draws on empirical research with high school students to examine the ways in which youth represent themselves and interact with friends and others in online networks such as MySpace. The conceptual framework for the discussion draws on the politics of visibility and notions of spatiality. These twin factors have consequences for new modes of technologically-mediated modes of representation with respect to community, friends, communication, and recognition. They also are helpful for considering what self-exposure means in terms of trust, risk, and privacy. The paper argues that there is no escaping the fact that online networks and other related activities hold both promise and peril. However, in constructing new social practices that traverse public and private spaces, technology itself is a key player in shaping how a community contributes to an individual’s identity formation and social activities.

Should the reader be more interested on this topic? Please, head over the journal for a complete results on the research with students about most prominent social networking sites (SNS) but particularly MySpace.

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