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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EduDemic: Compilation of the 100 Free Online Learning Tools.

The team over EduDemic is doing a great job, considering that the site went live no many months now. Its editors are working hard to expand their services and develop other projects like Socially Learning and EduDatum, along the way.

Jeff Dunn, Melanie Yarbrough, Jason Blanchard and Andrew Marcinek are behind this useful website connecting education and social media.

We got in touch with Jane Hart's work before, but until now we haven't had the opportunity to post about it. During this week these guys posted a selection of the Emerging List of Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010 built by Jane.

The selected links are organized into categories:

» Sharing and Collaborating.
» Open Courseware Search Engines.
» Open Courseware.
» Online Academic Video Sites.
» Online Lectures.
» Online Reference Material.
» Social Media Tools.
» Wikis.
» Online Books and Texts; and,
» Professional Online Education Networks.

Pick the Best Free Online Learning Toos at your will here.

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What You Should Never Say on Facebook or Twitter.

Connect and share are two concepts widely spread on social networks. But as much they are popular, there are a handful of personal details that you should never say if you don’t want criminals to rob your identity.

You can certainly enjoy sharing photos, but you should know that sharing some sort of information puts you at risk. This post pretends to tells you what you should never say on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site.

Facebook handles a tremendous amount of information and online traffic. That's why ill-advised Facebook postings very common and regular among young people and students, increasingly can get your car insurance canceled for example.

As for now almost everybody knows that those drunken party photos could cost you a future job, or get you into trouble with the actual, too.

Kathy Kristof of Teaching Social Media Marketing at UCLA, lists 6 things you should never say on any social network place:

    1. Your birth date and place.
    2. Vacation plans.
    3. Home address.
    4. Confessionals. 8% of companies fired someone for “misuse” of social media. last year.
    5. Password clues.
    6. Risky bahaviors. Technology is fast evolving insurers to detect it on social networks.

Have you experienced any consequences of these misbehavior on your school or place of work?

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How to document or create a resume for informal learning? Should it be done?

There is a full range of resources to write your CV or to pursue a job. But this question makes me wonder how much of what is not academically certified can be listed on your resume.

"My growth as a learner has skyrocketed in recent years, as I became a connected learner. I believe I have learned more about teaching, learning and technology’s role in the process from self-directed, network supported interactions then I did in many of the formal educational opportunities in which I have participated. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

My children are also connected learners and participate in many opportunities outside of traditional schooling. For example my daughter participated in a writers forum, where they challenged each other in creative writing projects. They wrote, critiqued and re-wrote. She worked on theme, writing style, tense, voice, dialect, setting, etc. She is also interested in propulsion options in space and is researching spacecraft design. She is immersed in learning. My son runs a guild in World of Warcraft. He organizes a group of people, manages assets, plans strategies and often needs to assist members in getting along. He deals with personnel issues and is learning management strategies. Their school transcripts do not reflect their skills, knowledge and talents. How would my children document their learning?"

But how to include all these experiences on your resume? More of the results Beth Knittle received about this question here.

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Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools Recommended by The Journal

Which web 2.0 tools are best suited for enabling collaboration in teaching and learning?

Steve Hargadon, John Kuglin and Leslie Fisher discuss which are the three of their preference.

Hargadon speaks of blogs, social networks and synchronous live platforms.

Kuglin mentions Google Docs, SlideRocket and School Fusion.

Fisher makes her case about Twitter, TypeWith.me and Ustream.

I am surprised none of them referred to Prezi.

Links of these Web 2.0 tools are here at The Journal - Transforming Education Through Technology.

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10 Useful iPad/iPhone Apps for a Lifelong Learner

I may fall on the independent geek category but let me tell you that I don't own an iPad yet. While I read a great deal of posts, lists and recommendations for the iPad, I've found interesting the list presented by Jeff Cobb. Why? He is a person who owns an iPad, his mission is learning and he recommends out of personal experience.

For those who already have the most sold gadget in the market, please make sure you have downloaded the following apps suggested by Mission to Learn:

1. http://www.evernote.com. Free. Pro version available.
2. http://www.nibirutech.com/mobilerss-google-reader-iphone.html. Free. Pro version available for $2.99.
3. http://www.alphonsolabs.com. $3.99.
4. http://freebooksapp.com. Free.
5. http://www.amazon.com/kindleapp. Free.
6. http://www.dragonmobileapps.com. Free.
7. http://ww.tweetdeck.com/ipad | http://seesmic.com/seesmic_mobile. Free.
8. http://comoki.com/iwiki/. $2.99.
9. http://delicioussafari.com/bookmarks.php. Free.
10 Both pre-installed on the iPad. "Open Culture’s Intelligent You Tube Channels or educational Podcast Library, you now dial them up on your iPad. Free."

Remember these apps can also run on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

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Are Blacks and Hispanics Closing Their Digital Divide? No.

There is a challenging video posted by Mario Armstrong where he questions with deep fundamentals why this PEW report could mislead to the wrong conclusion up there where politicians take the decisions.

As we tweeted Armstrong's invitation to watch and comment the video , immediately I received a question by @POWERORGmath which was answered accordingly. Contrary to what Mario did, we thought it was worth a post to expand our views on the digital divide closing to Blacks and Latinos.

Statistics can be misleading if there are not error margin and delimitation of the investigation. As far as I respect PEW, I have to agree to what is said on the video by Mario Armstrong. The problem with the so called digital divide is not about consumption, to me is about access and ''creation as Mario puts it.

But what kind of access? The possibility to send/receive messages as the report pretends to make you believe? No. Access in terms of information. Hispanics may be having more access data, but is the quality of data they access what matters. Are they reading on their mobiles? Are they doing some feed tracking? Are they learning new things beyond handling keyboard cellphone?

As I said in my first answer to @POWERORGmath, while this society continues to enable poor people, not matter they are buying more expensive smartphones, the digital divide not only is not closing, to me is getting deeper because they are wasting money, but there is not inversion on their intellect.

Throwing the digital divide wall, according to this report means learning to use a device to text messaging and watch videos online. Even though smartphones are more about data that communication, this perception PEW is giving to decision makers, is wrong. They might have the impression the problem is getting solved and nothing needs to be done about. Terrible mistake.

The breach of digital access is not only about mobile devices y has to do with other devices, too.

Again, if we need everyone sufficient on the digital literacy, we need to change the variables of definition that sustains this statistics, otherwise we wouldn't be closing the gap but as I said it before, it may be getting deeper because of a misleading conclusion.

Wish Hispanics pay more attention to what researchers are saying about them.

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The Meaning And Measurability of Digital Participation.

Steve Mackenzie was present during a seminar at Birmingham University,United Kingdom, on Monday 19th July. The objectives of this seminar were: a)To start up a continuing dialogue between researchers, activists and policy-makers about issues of research and measurement, and b)To identify key concerns about the meaning and value of digital participation.

These are the thoughts Mackenzie posted about why digital participation is important:

    It depends on who is answering the question, but the bottom line to me is that participating online promotes social learning and learning in all its forms is a strong foundation for progress within a society. There was a strong feeling i got from our discussions on the day that one of the strong motivations was to save the government money by moving services online - which is all fine, dandy, proper and good but whoever is driving this vision must be driving with a passionate belief that being a digital citizen allows the individual and society to develop and improve both from a social and economic point of view.

    If we leave the top end knowledge workers to one side, to encourage full digital citizenship there needs to be a social, life benefit to participating which will attract interest from all levels of the community. To the individual if their are benefits to be gained economically or in terms of convenience then this will indeed be one strand of the motivation. If digital participation can have a link to offline activities that foster community and social activities that would be another important and worthwhile strand. Participating online, mixing and socializing will inevitable lead to informal social learning, but there are also fantastic opportunities to support people online who are looking to learn specific skills and competencies.

    So underpinning effective and inclusive digital participation will be education and especially education in the new media literacies that are required to function effectively in a wide range of activities on the web. This may require a change in teaching mentality that embraces new media technology in schools. The video below will set the scene for creating digital citizens for the 21st century.

Read more at Learnadoodledastic

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Where is the value of afterschool programs?

There is some criticism about after school programs. For some these are a waste of time and money. It is not so for private organization ACE Mentor Program of America, the Construction Industry Round Table, the Pennsylvania Area Council of Boys and Girls Clubs, CentroNia and the Verizon Foundation.

Today on Senate U.S. briefing these organizations presented progress of the work they are doing to promote and provide afterschool activities in their communities.

People of the NSBA(National School Boards Association) were also present and they wrote a wrap up of the state of the afterschool programs in the United States:

    More than 15 million children are left unsupervised at the close of the school day, yet more than 18.5 million parents report they would make their children participate in afterschool programs if they were “affordable and available”. Currently only 11 percent of the cost of afterschool programs are being funded by the federal government, this according to the bipartisan senate afterschool caucus, which naturally begs the question, should this number be increased?

Of course, we think it needs to be increased. Many kids will benefit of help and tutoring in the afterschool sessions, but working parents can comply with their responsibility, given they know their kids are not home alone or on the streets.

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HS Reform: Myths that Need to Be Debunked.

I read with interest the intervention Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had at the College Board AP Conference. He does a great lay out of what is happening, what is expected to be done and his perception of the three myths affecting a national high school reform.

Secretary Duncan refers to a model of education high school is giving to its students, which is based on the 40's industrial model. He speaks about changes and gains in the major cities like New York, Nashville, Indianapolis, Newark, and Philadelphia. There is, however something it is not new to us, the fact the intentions of the government is to prepare students to college as the last and definitive goal.

Why is it taking so long to move some of these students into the 21st century?

Duncan believes the reason for this, is based on this three myths:

» The belief that setting higher standards and expectations for students will only lead more students to fail, driving up the already high, dropout rate.

» Accept that poverty is destiny. And that in the face of poverty, a school or a teacher cannot just make that much difference.

» The false idea that high school educators and counselors cannot really prepare students for careers or college because the concept of college and career-readiness is itself too elusive to evaluate meaningfully with assessments or to track with longitudinal data systems.

The current school structure still allows to reproduce information without the critical thinking, many still claim to. And as in the discourse Duncan put it, there is a top 20% that are expected to go to college, and there is another 20% that makes statistics for drop out. What remains is a 60 % of high school population that we don't know what they are going to do with their lives.

Obama's government wants to work with these students and get them to College, fighting the three myth referred. The fact is that 40% of those students do not make that 20 & 20% between colleges entries and drop outs, still need remedial classes in community colleges.

This tells us something of interest. Per years we wanted to blame one another about failings in the education structure. We forget that each level has a particular work to do and society expects each institution performs as its best. Obviously, this is not happening and we need urgently an education reform.

But Mr. Secretary, whatever the government does, there will be a percentage of high school graduates that do not know want to do with their lives. And there is also a group which decides to no to go into college because, they became parents --nothing about this have been mentioned, or simply because Wall Street has left them in extreme poverty that they can even qualify to apply for a credit, if they are really serious about college education.

The school has never been and will never be the motor over which a society is developed. Is the family. And until we have families living on poverty, the expectancy for the young people is nothing foreseeable. And that is not a myth, is reality!

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Education & Tech Now in Facebook, Too.

I have been a bit slow to build a page on Facebook. I was hesitant of the benefits a fan page could have for a blog like Education & Tech.

Same as Cool Cat Teacher, I recently have my second thoughts about a fan page. If you go online frequently you have come to realize that most pages have already included the fan widgets on their pages. It must be a reason.

So, reading the announcement Cool Cat Teacher is on Facebook, I decided to give a try. Let me tell you that I have my personal page but I couldn't even manage how to get an advertisement like those presented on the linked post.

Why this is good for teachers?


Vicky Davis quote:

    Finding how to make a page was a BEAR. I had to go to the help at the bottom right of facebook and click on "Make a page for a business or organization." I do plan to make a "Teacher page" for my students to follow. It will have a different purpose.

    Fundamentally, teachers should keep their Friends and students separate for many reasons, most importantly in the US, if you want to keep your job. (As if we become a distraction, we can be fired!)

I don't pretend to use Facebook to promote new ideas. I just want to benefit of the social network being the first in the world delivering traffic online. That's enough for us.

As you can see on the left side we are doing our first steps. Please, do us the favor and follow Education & Tech on Facebook.

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Teachers: There Is No Need to Keep Your Heads Down

This is an interesting post by Damien Riley on teaching without recognition. How many times a teacher has felt like nobody cares about what he/she is doing and the only reward for him is a test score.

Think hard and comment. From Dynamite Lesson Plan:

    Teaching has a lot of small "instant gratification" moments where you can assess kids right there in the lesson and see if they "get it." I have kids write on white boards and hold them up for me. At that point I can see the percentage of mastery. There is no better feeling in those moments than telling the class they have "100% mastery." They clap and say "yesssss." It’s really a great part of the job. Harder moments are after your kids score low and you don’t have a chance to assess again. In the past I have made the error of reviewing quickly and reassessing hoping for high results. The hard truth is that in those times, you must spend a length of time keeping your head down teaching without recognition. All the while you should hold on to the hope that your quiet labors will pay off in your students’ public scores.

Ahem...did we mention tests or assessments? Open to discussion.

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7 Days to a Better EduBlog – Day 1

We are so delighted Change Agency released its mini-course under Creative Commons license. If you still don't know what CC means, let me tell you quickly, it is an authorization to reproduce contents given you cite the source.

During the next six days you'll be learning among other thing this:

    » How to “design for learning” when it comes to your blog theme, layout, and addition of widgets, plugins, etc.
    » How to create a variety of posts that increase engagement, encourage reflective dialogue, and provide opportunities for your readers/learners to explore topics more in depth.
    » How to establish a blogging schedule that gives your readers/learners support in their learning and a clear expectation of your blog’s focus.

I strongly recommend you enroll in this mini-course or bookmark and save the link so you can come back later. If you really are serious about blogging --in the future you'll be full of excuses, then follow the instructions, go and watch the suggested examples and most important of all, do the tasks.

Day 1: Blog Layout & Design for Readability & Usability

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When Education Turns to Be a Battle on the Sex Differences

It has been a productive morning for us and we really had a head start. While tweeting our stuff, it came into our time line a suggestion to read @MCiscart's article. Interesting since Mathew is a new teacher and what I love from a new entry educator is that any one of them fight commodity and establishment.

After reading the article, which I greatly recommend, I've spotted these two questions:

    Do you think there’s something wrong with a guy changing a diaper at home and or in a classroom environment? If so, why?

    Would you be okay if your wonderful daughter walked around for an hour before someone changed her potty soiled diaper, all because the male teacher was the only one around and waited for a female, for fear of being seen as some sort of deviant?

I am going to talk as a parent in the first place and as an educator after. I have a daughter, 22 years now, and when she was little, I was the one who loved to change diapers ( not only those Huggies you know, but the cotton hand made by my wife, too). I even wash them up.

Now, I am not working with toddlers and I have never done that. But I guess I would feel a bit hesitant to let my daughter to be changed her diapers by an unknown, to the family. However, as we are used to in this country, kids are under care of baby sitters most of time so, having my daughter taken care by a professional would be ok.

I have to accept that most of our teachers are female, but I don't think it is only a sex motive, there is money. We are still under the disbelief that education is a career poorly paid and there are other places where men can do better. If it was sexist, then why a parent or even a female teacher has not concerns when a male son is being raised or educated by a woman?

I would not tolerate my little one walks dirty around the corridors just because a well trained male professional can't attend her. Certainly that we heard the news of some teachers involved in sexual incidents, but that's an insignificant percentage. We need to trust our educators, as we trust our babysitter, or a neighbor or any relative looking after our kids.

As for Matthew Ciscart, don't give up. You are just in the beginning of this beautiful but so full of disappointments career, called education.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 07/16/2010

"Families can be a support and resource for children as they enter school, or they can be a source of stress, distraction, and maladaptive behavior," says Melissa Sturge-Apple, the lead researcher on the paper and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

Steve Wheeler, does great doing an explanation of the evolution of Web 3.0.

In Cory Plough's resources, there was a link to TweepML.com, a web site that allows you to easily create lists of Twitter users. You click the link and you immediately start following every Twitter account on the list. It's a real time-saver, especially for teachers who want students to follow everyone in class, or if you want to introduce folks to certain "twitterers" in a particular area, such as Moodle Mayhem.


The rest of my favorite links are here.

Reform Symposium e-Conference, July 31- Aug 1st., 2010

We received an e-mail (from which we are thankful) from Kelly Tenkely. She wants everybody to know that between end of July and 1st day of August, a group of enthusiast educators will be holding the worldwide e-conference The Reform Symposium, which is a free online conference for educators, administrators, parents and students.

This year the e-conference is focused on innovative practices in education and what role these practices can play in educational reform. Behind curtains are Shelly Terrell, Chris Rogers, Jason Bedell, and Kelly Katenkely. They are the organizer of this very much expected e-conference.

There are an excellent lineup of 24 presenters, many of whom you will recognize from our growing PLN and continuous conversations at #edchat.

Don't forget to mark your calendars!

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Monitoring And Building Your PLN , Using 5 Tools Only

Everyone of us has personal learning system to cope with the information overload. A few days now, I answered the question How do I get the information we share with our PLN? I am ashamed when I receive Twitter followers notifications and what I find on their time line is this: I'm trying to figure how Twitter.

Not that they can post it or show themselves as beginners, but as the author for the idea of this post wrote: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." People looking for social networks and PLNs, first need to sharpen the information grounds with the most basic tools to get acquainted to.

For those who seem to be in the first steps to get immerse in social networks like Twitter or need to start building their own Professional Learning Network, Around the Corner has paraphrased Bernie Dodge's work and lists the 5 tools to keep your PLN very simple:

    1. iGoogle - Although I'm not a big iGoogle user, it can be a valuable tool to organize content visually, easily on the screen.
    2. Google Reader - With the ever-changing world of tweets and plurks, it's hard to imagine that reading blogs and other sites via RSS is all that "up to date." But when you consider that Reader and Reflective writing of blogs go hand-in-hand, Google Reader is a great choice, not only for consuming content but sharing it with others.
    3. Plurk - Although an avid Twitter user, I'm convinced now that Plurk fosters conversations that allow for deeper reflection. Rather than rapid white-water Twitter, Plurk's more placid approach avoids pandering to sharing bits of information for the sake of sharing it, and focuses one on analysis, evaluation, collaboration.
    4. Diigo - Combine Evernote and Delicious and you get Diigo.com, a fantastic social bookmarking and annotation tool that makes it easy to remember content, annotate it, as well as share those annotations, web page highlights with the world via social media (plurk, twitter), blogs, and more. Not only that, it can do it via email, web slides, and/or RSS.
    5. Evernote - Allows you to capture bits of web sites, sounds or voice notes, images, and text and to retrieve it again when needed. Use it selectively to distill what you glean from Google Reader and Twitter. It's also a great place to draft ideas for lessons and presentations, or preliminary responses for school assignments.

As I've noted in my post mentioned, we don't use iGoogle, Plurk or Evernote, but rely heavily on Google Reader and many aggregators. Which are yours?

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Do You Still Think There Is 'Privacy' in the Social Media Sites?

"Privacy settings are a joke," writes Maggie Cary commenting on the all time surveyed privacy in Facebook, and all other social media sites. Whatever you post online assume it is public and treat it as such.

"Anything you think is private can be copied, pasted, and shared with the world. Yeah, I am seriously suggesting that you don’t trust any system on the Internet or the people with whom you are communicating with to keep your words or photos private," Cary states.

But what is important not to savvy internet users only but most of social networks newcomers is the list of DON'Ts recommended by Liza Wiemer and cited by Cary.

Head over to Classroom Talk to learn about the 7 Things You Shouldn't Be Doing in Facebook.

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The Impact of Spanish-only Preschool Classes on Young Latinos

Esther J. Cepeda:

Hold your breath for Latino members of the Illinois high school class of 2026. Who knows what recent changes in how they are to be taught will do for them.

Or to them.

New rules requiring pre-school English Language Learners (ELLs) to be educated according to the same standards as for kindergarten through 12th grade ELLs were adopted last month by the Illinois State Board of Education. The rules, which are expected to sail through the final legislative process in time for the 2010-2011 school year, will make Illinois the most prescriptive state in the union for identifying and educating English Language Learners.

This will affect hundreds of thousands of ELL students -- the fastest-growing segment of the study body in Illinois.

Read more at 600words.com

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Who Are You, What Are You Doing and Why Do You Keep Looking at Me?

If you are familiar with memes you already know what all this is about. If not, let me quickly tell you that what memes look for is engage readers and make your readership grow. And that is precisely what we need right now. Since we switched web address, I am pretty sure many got lost and some others don't even know we do exist.

I read hundreds of feeds and tonight I found Prof-like and Acadamnit. They both pledge to the meme started two years ago by Ed Yong.

"Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments." - Acadamnit.

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Teachers Who Changed the World

This is a list of the 10 Teachers Who Changed the World, no the traditional ones but those who change not only students and their lives. These people are historic personalities who served their time and excel what they knew most.

We live in a period, where every person who call himself an educator, should think and reflect on every one of this historic figures: Confucius, Socrates, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Fröbel and more.

The introduction of the original post begins saying:

    There isn’t a person among us who hasn’t had their lives touched by a particular teacher. Teachers inspire us and help us realize our full potential. They help us to reach our goals, whether these goals are personal, professional or academic. Throughout history, teachers have improved our quality of lives through education and have done so without the need for praise or personal recognition. It is their dedication and hard work that improved the lives of their students and enriched the community in which they lived and worked.

How many of us are the dedicated and hard workers teachers which this introduction tries to highlight?


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Why I Haven't Been Updating this Blog

Back in February, 2010, I lost my primary domain miltonramirez.com for reasons I already explained back then. I've been waiting to recoup my old address until June. According to disclaimer held by Google Apps, once you lose your domain you have to wait 180 days to it goes publicly on demand.

The time has passed and why I found out was the old miltonramirez.com now belongs to another registrant other than the original which bought it in February. As I said then, and I repeat it now, the registration of web address is a whole scam. Watch for your site and if you fail to update your registration on time, forge it. They will ask for an eye of your face.

So, beginning break school period and with good spirits on Independence Day I want to officially notify you of my new web address: educationandtech.com Please update your bookmarks, links and subscriptions. As much as I deplore to cause you this inconveniences, I didn't have another way around.

If you happen to have me on your blogrolls, the redirection of milt.blogspot.com is up and working.

Since I have to update scripts and applications used in Education & Tech (now more SEO efficient) you'll probably find some dead links and bugs. I am working thoroughly to solve these issues. But, I would appreciate you e-mail me to let me know of any problems.

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