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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Write Good English Following These 12 Rules

There is no question that writing shows how educated you are, but learning the mechanics is another story. I have to accept that I fail to proof read my posts before they are uploaded, for some reason I switch the order in the typed letters (typographical errors) and I frequently forgot I am writing, and input the same colloquial expressions as I usually talk.

Learning with'e's suggests we should begin to look over the rules of the English language. What we must enforce? We have to get grammar right, "steering clear of repetition and avoiding all the avoidable little syntax errors you could of avoided."

Writing good English means you have to:

(Quote)

1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They are old hat)
6. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Don't use no double negatives.
12. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Be my guest.

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Students Could End Up Upside Down With Their College Education

Alex Reid comments on an article by Michael Feldstein. The Product Manager for Academic Enterprise Solutions asks whether there is a bubble in the higher education market. He points, writes Reid, to a number of statistics indicating the declining rate of return for a college student investing in his or her education. "Unlike your home, your education is a fundamentally illiquid asset. You can’t sell off your diploma, even at a loss, to pay back your bank loans. These students will be screwed six ways from Sunday, which is even more ways than they’re getting screwed now," cites A. Reid.

Students could end up essentially upside down in a college education that will never be worth the cost.

Here are three more thoughts the author of Digital Dids, has on that.
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In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

There has been a long, though declining, tradition in the United States in which public school teaching was embraced as an important public service. It was assumed that teachers provided a crucial foundation for educating young people in the values, skills and knowledge that enabled them to be critical citizens capable of shaping and expanding democratic institutions. Since the 1980s, teachers have been under an unprecedented attack by those forces that view schools less as a public good than as a private right. Seldom accorded the status of intellectuals that they deserved, they remain the most important component in the learning process for students, while serving as a moral compass to gauge how seriously a society invests in its youth and in the future. Yet, teachers are being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the authority of security guards. Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.

This is only the first paragraph Maggie on The Freire Project, posted back on April 14, 2010.

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Why hasn't education community accepted the idea of acceleration?

Education Research Report:

America's schools routinely avoid academic acceleration, the easiest and most effective way to help highly capable students. While the popular perception is that a child who skips a grade will be socially stunted, fifty years of research shows that moving bright students ahead often makes them happy.

Acceleration means moving through the traditional curriculum at rates faster than typical. The 18 forms of acceleration include grade-skipping, early-entrance to school, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. It is appropriate educational planning. It means matching the level and complexity of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student.

To find out what are the reasons A Nation Deceived presents and to which Jonathan Kantrowitz disagres, visit the original post here.

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What Is so Innovative About ICT in Schools?

Steve Wheeler, a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Plymouth, makes his point when he explains the three angles: The "flexibility and provisionally that supports learning across the sectors", "acknowledge that creativity is an important aspect of learning across the curriculum," and "learning technology is very effective in connecting people together."

We especially like that way he presents his case, What ICT actually means:

ICT - Information and Communication Technology - is more than just computers. In education, it’s really better referred to as 'learning technology' and I made my views clear about this recently in a blog post entitled Stop calling it ICT!. Whatever we call it, it’s a term that embraces an entire spectrum of tools, including the Internet and World Wide Web, telecommunications, cameras and audio, mobile phones, computer games, and other interactive devices in the classroom, such as Interactive Whiteboards, turtles and pixies (small programmable floor robots) and voting systems. We limit our vision if we simply see learning technology as computers, but I concede that computers are often the gateway into many of the above tools.


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Milton Ramirez

What Are the Worst Examples of Using Tech in Schools?

This was the second time @shareski brought up the same question. He warned: "Exclude PPT, IWB and bad games. I already have those on my list." As he prepares to a 60 minutes session about the topic: Worst uses of technology in schools.

Dean Shareski has a blog where he discusses ideas and thoughts about authentic learning. One of this is for example, the reason others give for banning cell phones in the classroom.

I was just in time to catch most of the replies his PLN members did. As an anticipation of what that session will be, we are sharing some of the most relevant responses Twitter educators shared:

    @pmcash. Using tech as a reward: when you get this task completed you can use a computer

    @Digin4ed. What about the PA school remotely spying on students via their laptops?

    @ajep. Bad eg of tech in schools: copy from the screen into word.

    @daveandcori. projecting websites on board instead of having students search. Electronic worksheets...

    @hmundahl. social bookmarking as a classroom management tool, i've seen it... I think it's nuts...

    @RdngTeach. Computers that are only used to deliver rote, multiple choice online curriculum w/ all internet blocked.

    @MaryKayG. "Saving" the computer for the creation of the good copy and requiring that drafts/editing be done with paper/pencil.

    @TeachaKidd. Giving students NO access to any drives to save their work? Flash drives don't show up either!

But some fellas where to discover the most practiced of all of them, and even compared them to the teaching of mathematics:

    @vtdeacon. how about touch typing? or typing a "report"

    @MariaDroujkova. Calculators can be pretty bad tech for math (well, compared).

Others, however, saw at both sides of the Shareski's question. Things can be good or bad depending of the angle you take or the person in possession of information or any goods.

    @epcke. IWBs? Really, the worst example? I hope there will be two sides to this presentation. Anything CAN be the worst in the wrong hands.

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The 4 Fundamentals of Blogging

There is an original and not less interesting post written by Ryan Tracey that I would like to share with you my dear readers.

Tracey's post tries to answer the big question: "What are my guiding principles for blogging?"

1. Be Bold. "If you’ve got an opinion, let’s hear it. It’s just as valid as anyone else’s."

2. Add something new. "Find your unique angle." And do not forget to give credit.

3. Challenge your own content. "Challenge its accuracy." Play to be a good journalist.

4. Formulate a 1-liner. Pay attention to the headlines.

We've been writing for 5 plus years and very rarely felt impressed by other bloggers. Ryan's post is an exception. I wish all teachers could show this post to their students.

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Poorly Trained Math Teachers in the U.S.

A math study was analyzed by the New York Times today. The study included 3,300 future math teachers at 81 colleges and universities in the United States who were given a 90-minute test covering their knowledge of math concepts as well as their understanding of how to teach the subject, and were compared to their counterparts in other 15 developed and undeveloped countries.

The study reveals that America’s middle school mathematics teacher preparation is not up to the task, is attributed to be said by William H. Schmidt, the Michigan State University professor who is its lead author.

The study shows a problem in the background of elementary math teachers, but its aim to force learning of linear algebra and calculus among middle school math educators, goes beyond career expectancy.

The following were the results found in the study, applied to elementary and middle school math teachers:

"On the elementary test, students from Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan scored far above their counterparts in the United States. Students from Germany, Norway, the Russian Federation and Thailand, scored about the same as the Americans, and students from Botswana, Chile, Georgia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland and Spain scored well below, the report said.

On the middle school test, American students outscored students in Botswana, Chile, Georgia, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, the Philippines and Thailand, the study found."

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How Smartphones Could Unleash Childhood Creativity

"American children now spend 7.5 hours a day absorbing and creating media"

I have to thank @hello_maklein for the reference to the very interesting article in fastcompany.com. It clearly shows why it is important teacher and service ones get in touch with what is going on technology.

As the article says, there is a huge difference between the revolution caused by television and the big leaps that handhelds are forcing people to do. "They are tools for expression and connection, not just passive absorption."

Anya Kamenetz, the article's author, writes that studies and pilot projects show smartphones can actually make kids smarter:

And as the search intensifies for technological solutions to the nation's and the world's education woes -"Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age," as the title of a summit at Google HQ last fall had it- growing sums of money are flowing into the sector. The U.S. Department of Education has earmarked $5 billion in competitive school-reform grants to scale up pilot programs and evaluate best practices of all kinds. Major foundations are specifically zeroing in on handhelds for preschool and the primary grades. "Young kids and multisensor-touch computing are a huge area of innovation," says Phoenix Wang, the head of a startup philanthropic venture fund called Startl -funded by the Gates, MacArthur, and Hewlett foundations- that's entirely focused on educational investing. Google, Nokia, Palm, and Sony have all supplied handheld devices for teaching. Thousands of new mobiles -- not just smartphones but also ever-shrinking computers -- have come into use at schools in the United States and around the world just in the past year.

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iPhone OS 4 vs Android: Why Open Source Matters!

I came across this well balanced post about the latest announcements from Apple. As everything coming out of Apple's headquarters, seems like it is the perfect thing to take and to do. I am not an Mac user, but as far as I respect their products, I thing there are great mobile solution in the market, other than iPad for example.

Brad McCarty concludes Android is the winner among smart phones operating systems, and he explains why Apple has lost the game:

We users shouldn’t have to wait years for basic features, or for nagging problems to be fixed. We should have the ability to find something that works better, if we don’t like what you’re offering, and we should be able to use it on our existing device.


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Milton Ramirez

Server error [1503] in Diigo

Most of my online findings are posted on Twitter (if you are not subscribed to @tonnet, is time to do it. This is not the only place acting as a repository of all my bookmarks, comments and posts. There is wide range of sources, some listed at the bottom end of my contact page.

All those places are unlimited, in terms of content and tagging. Education & Tech, however, has a specific core knowledge, in here we talk, discuss and republish education information. As such, beyond Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed we also post some links on Diigo.

For 5 consecutive months we haven't been able to use one of the most important features in Diigo, its Auto Blog Post. Prior information is tagged under roundup. Yesterday, was the day we reinstate a fresh auto post from Diigo.

What happened? Out of nowhere I begun to receive this message: Sorry, server error [1503], I took no further steps for I wanted to discover by myself what was happening. I try this and that and I even thought all that was related to the incident where I lost my personal web address. No, far from that.

In Diigo's homepage there is an option called 'tools' under this option, among others is the Auto Blog Post. I've set up my Blogger account and no luck until I remembered Blogger has been updated its platform a while ago and old accounts were upgraded but not the API I suppose. Since my blog is old enough, I decided to try using not the 'New Blogger Blog' option but the 'Blogger Blog,' meant to old hosted blogs. Voilá! I had solved my problem.

As a reference, let me tell you that I had set up my blog before and made no change to the settings. Since I don't quite remember how the settings were performed, I assume I did it in the same way. So, if you ever happen to run into this kind of trouble, try the other way around to old hosted blogs in Blogger.

It worked for me.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 04/05/2010

  • Imagine Bethany as a teenage softball player, she is good, but lacks confidence. She can hit home runs, but the minute the count isn't in her favor, she crumbles. With two strikes down, her Dad yells from the crowd, "You hit like a girl." In her head, she yells back, "What is that supposed to mean?!?!" as she hits a home run.

  • This is perhaps why you can’t learn a stick anymore than you can do ICT to someone. His point was – imagine if teachers could apply and re-apply one tool to so many situations I guess. Made me smile.


    The rest of my favorite links are here.
  • The Real Power of Twitter

    Learning with 'e's:

    ...The more you connect on Twitter, the more connections you get. For me, the value of Twitter is in tapping into its social critical mass. I think that most people who try Twitter and fail to see its value don't give it enough time. If they persisted and put some time into developing their contacts and connections on Twitter, they may discover that it pays them back for the time they have invested. To do this they can use lists, following those who are good value and produce useful content, while at the same time tweeting content that others may find useful.

    No, Twitter is not so much about the information and useful links you can gain access to. Twitter is powerful because it allows people to share their emotions - you can gain a window on their everyday experiences, and that often helps you in your own daily struggles. I am often encouraged by people who share snapshots of what is happening in their lives right now. It's an important dimension - I have made many friends on Twitter whom I have later met and strengthened my friendships with. Self disclosure is a risky thing, but others often reciprocate. It can all be summed up by a quote from one of my favourite authors: Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. - C. S. Lewis

    An extract of the original post: Why Twitter is so powerful written by Steve Wheeler(@timbuckteeth)

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