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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How the Internet Enhances Learning

Most kids go to school, but how many of them really learn? Yes, they’re taught in class, they’re attentive, they do their homework, they’re up to date on their assignments, and they study diligently for the exams and end up acing them. But then, have they really learnt anything? If you’re still scratching your head trying to understand the point I’m trying to make, then you don’t really know what an education is all about. To put it in a nutshell, education is about learning how to gather relevant knowledge as and when you need it, not about cramming what’s in your text books and vomiting it out during the exams. And today, gaining education is much easier because of technological tools like the Internet.

While it’s necessary to study what’s in your books to gain good grades, the learning that stands you in good stead throughout your life is the kind that teaches you how to learn more effectively and with the least amount of effort. To put it in simple terms, schools must teach you how to gain knowledge rather than try to cram a select sect of knowledge into your head. When learning is a way of life rather than something that we discontinue after we graduate from college, only then can we say that we are truly educated.

The Internet is a marvelous tool when it comes to fostering education and learning because it is a treasure trove of information. Children who take to the web for more than just entertainment are bound to find that their schoolwork becomes easier and exams simpler to prepare for and ace. And this is because:

    » The web teaches you to find exactly the information you’re looking for.
    » Because there are hundreds of thousands of sources, it teaches you to patiently search for the most authentic and believable sites and aggregate information accordingly.
    » You have access to various tools that augment your learning efforts and make gathering knowledge a relatively easy affair.

On the downside, there is the fact that the web is a distracting place and that it’s so easy to get lost in its myriad corridors that lead to wasted time and dodgy acts. But then again, college dorms are distracting places too; but the student who really wants to study finds a quiet corner and avoids all forms of temptation in a tradeoff for good grades. The Internet too should be used wisely – absorb all you can of its goodness and advantages in order to enhance your knowledge, and steer clear of the side that wastes your time and leads to addictions and temptations that you can do without.

This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of online degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: anna.miller009@gmail.com

Does Your Blog Content Sucks?

I have seen many friends and bloggers quit. Anyone thinking to have and publish a blog, should understand that it takes time and effort. Building readership is matter of time and good inter-communication skills. That is the reason why we found Jon Morrow's article very interesting.

In Copyblogger he writes:

    Producing great content is work. No, it’s not building a pyramid or putting a man on the moon or curing cancer, but it does take time, energy, and dedication.

    If you’re sitting here, right now, worrying about whether your content sucks or not, that’s actually a good sign. If you’re worrying about it at 2 in the morning, that’s even better.

So, start taking care of your editorial business and write what you feel is the thing that most impresses, the most searched topic and don't just add the 'via' word.

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100 Technology Blogs for #Teachers

From time to time someone makes some time aside to find, filter and compile the Best of, and the Top of something. Onlinedegrees.org has updated its former lists of edublogs for teachers. Alexis presents now the Top 100 Technology Blogs for Teachers.

This is not a list only, the author has added 2 (none or even 3) recommended posts para each featured blog. Good idea, Alexis. What you wouldn't find is Education & Tech listed. So, if you still think this blog is any worth, bookmark it, mention it on Twitter or drop us a line in comments.

First Top 10 Technology Blogs for Teachers




Although, some people think this kind of lists are a waste of time, we have been monitoring other lists, too. Take a look here and here.

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How to Develop Creative Leadership in School

Person or teacher who does not innovate is death. Fast changing technology and high volumes of information to consume, push you to innovate every day. Teachers and administrators are considered as leaders of their communities. But, leaders need to be creative.

Adventures in Teaching and Learning, writes:

    Creative leadership involves seeking new and innovative solutions to the consistent concerns we face in education. I have had the good fortune of working with some very creative leaders in my career, ones that in their own way could take a solution and flip it over, look at the other side, and then make a calculated decision. But how do we develop this creativity with leaders in our school?

Mr. Keenan, the editor of Adventures in Teaching and Learning, suggests we work on these fronts: Reward creativity, reflect creatively, refine creative actions, remove creative barriers, and restructure creatively.

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PLN: What is in it for you?

There is a interesting video hung at e-Learning Acupuncture which you should watch.

Eric A. Tremblay 'dissects' his PLN and I thinK is a practical way to show others how do we use and collect information.

How do we get the information we share with our PLN? There is more than one aggregator, some communication tools for interacting with professionals in my field and a few archiving tools for saving information.

Aggregators:

1. Google Reader Before I switched to Google Reader, my main aggregator used to be Bloglines. No anymore. We rely heavely on G.Reader to aggregate RSS information and it gets checked twice daily.

2. There are 3 other independent agregator we check out on a daily basis: Popurls, Pageflakes and Alltop.

Communication:

3. Gmail is our the place where we read most of our interchange. I have more than one account but all of them are forwarded to a single one. It acts like an e-mail client and archive at the same time.

4. Twitter is my home base. But it is only fed at nigh time and on weekends.

5. Facebook is the the place where i share and interact with people who are not related to the education business. It is more dedicated to friends and people in the media.

6. Skype is used for talking and interviews with close friends, family and people I chose to interview for our social media activities. MSN Messenger is used, too but in a lower level.

Archiving:

7. Delicious is the place where all my links go, those that weren't sent out throughout Twitter.

8. Friendfeed collects all our tweets, delicious bookmarks and any other media source i find on my way. In a minor scale I use StumbleUpon.

9. Posterous allows me post gems if find on the internet, on the fly. It doesn't have to be about education or technology. It is about anything and everything.

Blogging:

Some might think I am writer, I still think of myself as a learner. For the list of our blogs visit our profile in Google.

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"Online Relationships Give Us Easy Access to Vast Quantities of People"

Kevin Jarret wrote a thought provoking article in his blog. He questions: Hooked on technology? Or, on relationships (and learning?. He paraphrases Kimberly Young, a leading researcher at St. Bonaventure University, investigating the addictive nature of online technologies and the effects they can have on people’s regular lives.

Here are his questions:

  • Do you frequently form new online relationships with teachers outside your district?

  • Do colleagues in your district question the amount of time you spend using technology in your classroom?

  • Are you more likely to e-mail a distant colleague or use Twitter to seek an answer a question than ask someone in person?

  • Imagine you’re engaged in an online activity and a colleague stops by. Are you able to immediately break away and give them the attention they deserve?

  • How much more likely would you be to choose to spend time exploring ideas and issues online via your personal learning network rather than interact with your local colleagues?

"Online relationships provide like-minded educators with a free, 24/7, all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge, but because WE define it, the selection often isn’t very well balanced. Most people tend to load up their PLNs like oversized plates at the local buffet, piled high with the stuff we enjoy the most – people who do the same kind of work, who work at the similar schools, who think the same way we do, or who like the same things. The result is a lack of variety in terms of intellectual perspective in our PLNs. It doesn’t mean the information is flawed, it just means it’s not as balanced as it could be. And it exacerbates the tendency to overconsume, and therefore, appear 'addicted,'" writes Kevin.

I have been always concerned about what many call echo chamber or closed circuit. Aren't we leaving precious information out when we decide to solely follow our own personal stream on Twitter? Depending on what your answer is, you'll have to confess how able you are to handle the constant flow of information as much as the quantity. Once you put your anwerr on perspective, then drop me a note here or Kevin's post.


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Internet is constantly changing, Why a 'living Internet'?

The Online Safety & Technology Working Group(OSTWG),released a report under Youth Safety on a Living Internet. Internet safety is not just about technology or even content, it’s about behavior, sociality, and every bit as much as content.

Anne Collier reported about the findings on NetFamilyNews. She served as co-chair of the OSTWG.

There are a great deal of findings, but we want to present two we consider of particular importance:

The Net’s everywhere. This is in terms of both location and devices. It may be filtered on computers at school, but much less on the cellphones a rapidly growing number of students take with them to school, where it’s tough to enforce policies concerning devices that fit in pockets.

Constantly changing. That goes for the Internet, its content, and its users. These dynamic conditions mean that 1) once-and-for-all, one-size-fits-all solutions don’t exist, 2) it’s tough to regulate or legislate behavior, and 3) we need a very large “toolbox” with a diverse array of “tools” for protecting kids at different developmental stages and in different situations (we have that, and their numbers and effectiveness are growing, but there’s always room for improvement). Those tools include education, law enforcement, many types of “parental control” technologies, content

A report every parent and educator should read. We agree with the closing of Mrs. Collier: "Safety on an increasingly lifelike Internet that’s embedded in kids’ lives needs to be kid-centric, not tech-centric."

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Does the Internet Make You Smarter? Yes!

I guess you still remember when the Internet was shaken by Nick Carr when she wrote: Google is making us stupid. It was a year ago. Now, pundit Clay Shirky has taken the question back, but he concludes that Internet, no only Google, is making us way smarter, or at least better equipped on writing and reading.

According to the NYU Professor, there are three reasons to think that the Internet will fuel the intellectual achievements of 21st-century society.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"First, the rosy past of the pessimists was not, on closer examination, so rosy. The decade the pessimists want to return us to is the 1980s, the last period before society had any significant digital freedoms. Despite frequent genuflection to European novels, we actually spent a lot more time watching "Diff'rent Strokes" than reading Proust, prior to the Internet's spread. The Net, in fact, restores reading and writing as central activities in our culture.

The present is, as noted, characterized by lots of throwaway cultural artifacts, but the nice thing about throwaway material is that it gets thrown away. This issue isn't whether there's lots of dumb stuff online—there is, just as there is lots of dumb stuff in bookstores. The issue is whether there are any ideas so good today that they will survive into the future. Several early uses of our cognitive surplus, like open source software, look like they will pass that test.

The past was not as golden, nor is the present as tawdry, as the pessimists suggest, but the only thing really worth arguing about is the future. It is our misfortune, as a historical generation, to live through the largest expansion in expressive capability in human history, a misfortune because abundance breaks more things than scarcity. We are now witnessing the rapid stress of older institutions accompanied by the slow and fitful development of cultural alternatives. Just as required education was a response to print, using the Internet well will require new cultural institutions as well, not just new technologies."

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No iPhone -> iPad Tethering

An interesting excerpt from TechFlash:

    Responding to a question posed on TechFlash by Steve Rubel, an AT&T spokeswoman told us via email today that it won't be possible to tether the iPhone to the iPad to share Internet access with the Apple slate, citing the fact that the iPad doesn't have any USB ports to enable a wired connection between the devices.

    Wait a second, what about Bluetooth? Apple own support page makes it clear that the iPhone allows wireless Bluetooth tethering. But in another TechFlash comment, Mac expert and Seattle journalist Glenn Fleishman notes that he "discovered in testing that the iPad includes the Bluetooth profile required for tethering, but it is not enabled."

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What Is the Easiest Way to Get Rid of Backgrounds on Stock Images?

Once in a while we find really valuable information among our feeds. Today has been that day:

As I researched this topic, I quickly discovered why we’re all so frustrated: there is no silver bullet technique for background removal. On the one hand, removing backgrounds from photos can be tedious and time-consuming work—often with only so-so results. On the other, if there’s any one thing that sets apart a standard-looking presentation from an exceptional-looking presentation, it’s the visual integration of images into the slide background.

Still, Trina Rimmer made an investigation, and at the end she came up with great video tutorials for 5 tools that she commonly uses: PowerPoint, Fotoflexer, Paint.net, GIMP, Aviary.

For the explanatory video tutorials, please head over M!ndFlash Blog.

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