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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10 Free Site Exploration for Teachers

I haven't being able to compile large lists of online resources in order the post them here in Education & Tech. Despite of spending lengthy periods of time filtering and collecting information, I have almost never published lists as today we pretend. Most of our collection are laid on Delicious, Diigo and Twitter

The following are few of our recommended websites to explore and learn along other colleagues and students, in no particular order. If you are a teacher find a way they can help you seed your curriculum in some way, enhance your website, or even inspire you:

1. Easy Test Maker - Is a free online test generator to help you create your tests. You can create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer and true and false questions all on the same test. You can also insert instructions and divide your test into multiple sections.

2. Etherpad - This is a shared writing pad tool. Start a new writing pad, then send the address of it to anyone you want to collaborate with. You both can write on a document, chat about it, brainstorm together, etc. It’s not a word processor but a collaborative tool to work on something together.

3. Shortyawards - Useful now that many educators and specialists use Twitter. Search who is professionally 'tweeting' in Education or find more Teachers on Twitter.

4. Wetpaint - If you’ve considered blogging or wiki-ing but haven’t gotten started yet, check out Wetpaint. It is a very accessible Wiki site that resembles a web page and is easy to use and edit, with a nice layout and design.

5. Pivot Stickfigure - A great free tool that my son still loves. It is a very simple yet smart piece of software that allows students to animate a stickman using a frame by frame technique. A good supplement to those boys who love anime and manga fighting.

6. Teacher Led - Teacher Led offers a large collection of interactive white board resources and games on one of the subjects most teachers and students have concerns, math.

7. Learner.org - Explode your video library resources. Use qualified sites to fulfill your video cabinet with thousands of professional clips to enforce class concepts. I know it is not the only one, but it is run by professionals.

8. Merlot - Here teachers post their lessons and then get reviewed by peers. Covering all content areas, you can dig into high caliber lesson material for your new lesson or to revise an existing one.

9. Phonevite – It is an award-winning voice broadcasting service that sends out free phone reminders and alerts. You can send these reminders to yourself or to students, colleagues, and parents. One alternative is Google Voice.

10. Free Tech 4 Teachers – This is a blog specialized on tech in the classroom. Not long ago I turned onto this site, which has excellent new tools featured constantly, and serious lessons attached to the posts.

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Social Media in the Classroom

This post was contributed by Tara Miller, who writes about the online teaching degrees. She welcomes your feedback at TaraMillerr00 at yahoo dot com

Many high school teachers have recently opted for keeping their homework assignments and grades online, making full use out of the many social media mediums that have infiltrated their students’ lives. The increase in Twitter usage has additionally opened up a new outlet for teachers to post revisions to homework assignments (given that their students check their site daily), as well as keep in contact during extended breaks.

Social media has led to a new form of communication and thereby a new realm in which to educate students. With the easy accessibility of this advent in technology, teachers and students are able to trade information between each other through a much easier forum, even allowing students to work from home on days where they cannot attend class. This has been seen frequently on college campuses throughout the years, albeit in a different format, but has picked up among high schools around the nation. As a high school teacher, you undoubtedly have learned that your students are Facebooking, Twittering, and MySpacing throughout the day, so why not incorporate learning into it as well? While they may have to create a separate account or “block” you from seeing certain things, your students in your advanced and upper level classes can take advantage of this newfound technology by quizzing themselves on your sites or similar methods.

These types of social networking sites are not the only way in which to apply social media to your teaching methods. Building a blog can additionally be a way in which to reach out to your students beyond the classroom, and provide a way to assist them with homework. Having a blog for every class and subject you teach can be a different and beneficial way to teach a subject in this technological age. Social media has provided this generation within an enhanced way to communicate, thereby knocking down previous barriers or block which made it difficult. Those students who are avid learners and wish to know more about every subject will be the ones who will benefit the most from a classroom blog; it will allow them to either navigate away to other links, or simply figure out your opinion on the particular event. With this method of communication, your class will grow closer together and you will be able to reach out to the entire audience, even hear the input of students who may be shy to speak in front of class. As a teacher, most social media sites have provided you with an exciting new way to enhance your teaching and fully penetrate your students’ minds.

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Professional Development Is a Waste for Teachers

Before July 4th I went to the public library in the neighborhood and picked a book by Christopher Witt: Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint I always thought a teacher has to be a good speaker and needs to know how to sell his/her image and ideas. I am not going to comment on the book but I am trying to connect the role of leaders explained in this book with two post in Why Do You Ask a blog written by Ric Murry

Murry wrote a interesting post (sadly without any comments yet)on why he knows teachers aren't any good today. No even after NECC09. Ric Murry says that, "Schools have become breeding grounds for experiments for businesses, vendors, college professors, or publishers to make quick turnkey money by convincing teachers that they are not capable of doing their job without constantly changing how they do their job."

In other words, all the time a teacher spends attending Professional Development(PD) doesn't go beyond a "systemic indoctrination". Classroom teachers -there are teachers doing business independently- no longer believe they are able to lead without someone telling them what to do. The energy teachers have when they start working vanish, after a period of time we all become followers rather than leaders.

Of course, this image, aura and conduct is quickly perceived by students, who "feel the energy we project, they will seek to become the class 'leader' because the one thing they have learned for sure is that their teachers will not know how to lead them.", continues Murry.

Christopher Witt writes in his book that leaders (teachers to this matter) have to match their message to their reputation but most importantly, they have to imitate no one! Teachers are to be unique and use their natural enthusiasm and knowledge to shine through. Be a highly effective teacher!

Until we continue being the 'social animal' of which Cesar Millan speaks, being referenced by Ric Murry in his post, teachers will be waiting for someone else to tell them what to do, how to do it, when to do it. Classroom teachers can do better, no matter if they still have to go to the PDs; otherwise "districts that provide system-wide, school-wide, department-wide PD [will] waste the time of teachers, the money of the tax-payers, and deteriorate the internal motivation of their best teachers."

What wish you can do to be a better teacher and stop being a follower only?

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