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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At a Mississippi Middle School Race Still Counts.

Gawker:

Thinking about running for eighth grade class president at Mississippi's Nettleton Middle School? Are you white? Because only white kids can run for president. Black kids can be vice-president, though! But only black kids. Update: They changed the policy.

A few days ago, Nettleton Middle School students brought home the following memo, which spells out the requirements for students who want to run for class office and was provided to blogger Suzy Richardson by a parent:

Okay, so obtain 10 signatures from classmates... check. Maintain a B average... check. Have "good disciplinary status and moral character"... okay, I haven't sexted anyone recently, check. White... ch... what? They must mean, like... wears white clothing? Right? Or like... the color... of their lockers? Right? Uh, well, not really.

More over the case at the original article written Max Read.

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Reflection time will help students to learn how to read

I have found an interesting article by Amanda DeCardy. She wrote a piece on her blog Some Tech Sense, where DeCardy explains how the Little Maddie, her daughter, has managed to learn technology at very early age, and now is using it to learn how to read.

While this mom tries to boost the reading on her daughter, she has come up with some questions she expect to be answered in the process. Amanda writes:

    Maddie is the youngest child in her class and needs a bit of a boost with her reading. By introducing the technology component, I am hoping to answer some of these questions over the next couple of months:

    - How does recording herself reading stories and listening to herself impact her reading fluency and comprehension?
    - How does listening to pre-recorded stories that I have made for her on her iPod impact her reading development?
    - How does her attitude toward reading change by using technology to enhance her development?

And Maddie es doing great progress as you can see in this video. Which, by the way, she uploaded it by herself with little help of her mom.

There is a lesson we as parents and teachers have learn here: "As educators, we build reflection time for our students to enhance their learning. As a mom, I believe the self reflection process will give my child the confidence to encourage her reading development."

I wonder whether this self reflection might help my 13 years boy, who still has problems with spelling. And if you know of any method of technique, I'll appreciate very much you let me know about it in the comments section.

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10 Reasons to Get Off the Cell Phone Ban Wagon

Dealing With Cellphones It Is Just Like You Deal With Scissors

We are only two weeks away from the new beginning of the school year and you could start reading lots of advice and recommendation to teachers. This is not a recommendation, this is a fact in my own terms.

Cool Cat Teacher made a case for good use of cell phones in the classroom last year. I think it is appropriate to bring the list back, now we are to begin a new journey with kids and big mess --for some of us -- with the ring tones on their phones.

Vicky Davis writes on her blog about cell phones: "They are our friend, not our enemy." For an explanation of the facts of each one of her reasons not to ban cell phones in the classroom, visit the 10 Reasons Cell Phones Should Be Allowed In Schools.

If you are in a rush as many of us, here is a recap of the list:

Cell Phones Can Save Us Money
Cell Phones Can Help Students Be More Organized
It Makes Kids More Safe
It Allows Sensitive Issues to be Kept Private
It Alleviates Strain on the Network.
It Alleviates Strain in the IT Department
It Speeds Up Information Retrieval
It Allows Us to Teach Kids Digital Responsibility and Citizenship
It Sets a Model for Effective Change and Innovation
You're fighting a losing battle.

An for other articles about banning cell phones in the classroom, don't just go yet, click here.

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How Can You Tell If a [Edu]Blog Is Worth Reading?

Lately, I have read articles which say that the Internet is going to die, that blogs are not relevant anymore, microblogging and social networks came to stay and so on.

We are not so sure about it. A while now, I also read blogs were about to disappear. It has passed two or three years and blogs continue to survive, along other ways of online publishing and Wikileaks has had the lead lately.

This is a very general view of things. But what about education, the production of contents to be consumed among teachers and students. How do you know which blog is worth to read among tenths of millions of them? Wait no more.

Terry Freedman came up with an interesting list of 10 topics to evaluate a blog (or edublog for that matter). All of them built out of experience, I think.

However, to me, this is what stands out and haven't read it anywhere else. You edublogger can be trusted, if there are another publications that show you are one step ahead on writing

Anyone can set up a blog these days, so being published no longer has the cachet in and of itself which it once did. I’m interested in whether the blogger writes for websites other than her own, or has been published in a journal which either pays for articles or which has a system of peer review. That would give me even more confidence in what they have to say.

Ditto. As we like to write on Twitter.

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Teaching Standards: Teachers Should Be Able to Question Their Own Actions With this Model

Gotham Schools

The path toward teacher certification is laden with demands that prospective teachers prove that they’re sensitive, socially conscious, and self-critical. If a national group of education agencies has its way, those demands could soon extend throughout teachers’ careers.

Teachers and others would do well to look at the "Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue," released in July for public comment. Developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), the new teaching standards (separate from the Common Core State Standards that have been in the news recently) retain much of the language of the 1992 teaching standards, with some reordering and rewording to match the “new times.” Whereas the 1992 standards were intended for beginning teachers (and adopted by 38 states), the new standards are for all teachers.

More at the orignal post written by Diana Senechal

Leadership And the Elaboration of School Principles.

Edna Sackson of What Ed Said blog, discusses a topic of vital importance to administrators and school in general. Once you have declared what is your mission statement, what follows is to explain what education community believes about a particular school and the education is been carried out.

Sackson explains she is working on a Primary Years Programme school, and bases her list of principles and reflects on Simon Sinek’s TED talk about successful leadership. This a key point for educators. There are some teachers who haven not realized they are leaders, aware or not, they play a significant role in the community, where the school has a social impact.

Simon Sinek, writes the editor of What Ed Said, "highlights the importance of knowing WHY we do things and the importance of prioritizing the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ and ‘how’ in business, or leadership… or teaching."

Immediately, she asks for comments and suggestions on the list of principles she is working for the school she works on:

    » We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests.
    » Learning takes place through inquiry: questioning, exploring, experimenting and problem solving.
    » Learning takes place when we make connections between previous and new understanding.
    » Learning for understanding occurs by acquiring skills and knowledge, constructing meaning and transfer to other contexts.
    » Learning is active and social and best takes place through collaboration and interaction.
    » Learning takes place when we feel secure and valued and are able to take risks.
    » Learning needs to be challenging, meaningful, purposeful and engaging.
    » Learning includes meta-cognition and reflection, and requires learners to take ownership of their learning.
    » Learning is continuous, lifelong and ever-evolving.

What I have to add is that this is a good example y practice for those involved with curricular design. What I value is the consciously inclusion of the word learning. Everything else should match with the objectives the institution has to serve its zone of influence.

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Is it legal for schools to fine students for using a cell phone?

While many would be happy with this policy, some others still will argue cell phones are effective tools for learning. It seems in Canyon, Texas, and in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, they don't think cell phones should be used in the classroom.

In the Canyon High School, students are to pay a fine of $15 if they violate the district cell phone use policy. That is something Wesley Fryer could probe with this attached picture.

In a moment where everyone agrees on the tendency of the Internet to become the mobile source of information, I still can't understand how administrators are incapable of dealing with cellphones in their classrooms.

I am sure they can ban them all the way down, what I am not sure is whether are they supposed to impose fines to this poor kids, which undoubtedly will be parents' money.

Do you have any other experiences of school districts charging fines to students who bet to use their cellphones on their premises?

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Milton Ramirez

Homework wars: How can parents improve the odds of winning?

Education Research Report:

Children are more likely to do their homework if they see it as an investment, not a chore, according to new research at the University of Michigan.

Most children in the United States say they expect to go to college, but there is frequently a gap between students' goals and their current behavior, according to the study conducted by U-M graduate student Mesmin Destin and Daphna Oyserman, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), School of Social Work, and Department of Psychology. The gap can be especially wide among low-income and African American students, the study says.

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Read the original document written by Jonathan Kantrowitz

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4 Tips to Prevent Students Hack Into School Network

There is not doubt kids are way tech savvy than adults. How to they perform this task? By trial and error. As any kid, they love to try new things and in this process they may get into trouble even without knowledge.

Digital Directions (Education Week) ran a history about this situation in several states in the American Union. In the article, they cite people involved with the Cyber Security for the Digital District Leadership. They as experts call for a "digital citizenship and ensuring strong authentication measures and passwords are the most important ways to prevent threats."

However, nothing is granted as far as technology evolves progress and hits the neurons on students' young minds. But, if you are an IT or an administrator you better follow this 4 tips outlined by Katie Ash in edweek.org


    1. Update often. "Acceptable use" policies, which outline what students and faculty are and aren’t allowed to do on school computers, should be reviewed frequently, and all users of the school network should be educated on what the document contains, as well as the consequences for violating it.

    2. Stay secure. Be sure that each person who uses a school computer has to log in. In addition, using role-based access can help prevent students from accessing secure parts of the network.

    3. Create separate networks. Insulate the student network from the network used by teachers and administrators, making it more difficult for students to hack into data they shouldn’t access. Keep computers up to date. Use antivirus software as well as security patches that are released.

    4. Talk, talk, talk. Promote open communication between students, parents, teachers, IT staff, and administrators so everyone knows what to look for to prevent hacking. Using IT solutions to protect school networks is essential, but educating all the people in the school is the first line of defense.

Share your experiences with this bright but challenging students in your school.

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Cyberbullying: Help Teachers Start to 'Feel' Risk Differently Rather Than Just Conceptualising it.

Evan MacIntosh comments on this PEW report and we found it worth sharing these lines:

According to the PEW research, bullying does happen more at school than online. This is apart the fact that some parents are still clueless about this problem.

    School is by far the most common place youth report being bullied (31%) versus elsewhere (e.g., 13% online)


    The prevalence rate of Internet harassment (both perpetration and victimization) appears to be stable (2006-2008).

    The majority (59%) of Internet harassment comes from other minors

    Youth who report being harassed online report a myriad of concurrent psychosocial problems offline, too.

    What does this all mean in terms of the risk of sharing and communicating with the wider world web?



    It would seem that the problems associated with sharing on the web are a) very small in number and b) related to bullying going on already in school. But more importantly, the web provides an environment through which to collaborate that is, in many respects, safer than the physical environments of the school institution. What else have you spotted in this research and how does it relate to your own perceptions of risk?

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Teacher Turnover Affects School [No Research Available Yet]

I have been criticized by getting into hot waters with education research, however, Corey Bunje Bower force me to that again. In an excellent post, he cautiously says that "it seems logical to me that the amount of teacher turnover in a school would affect the way that school operates."

But you don't need to be a researcher to read nature, either you have been in a school where you saw at that, or you know someone coming from an institution where teacher turnover might be significant.

"We do have some limited evidence that it matters, at least in high-poverty, urban schools, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of other research on the topic," writes Bower.

Unfortunately, education is not the only field that is underfunded to do progresses on research. A while now we already referred with great emphasis on education research, and today we have to repeat it, educators need to move forward, and as Bower is working the abolish grades, other teachers need to take the lead in other areas, as well.

And look out for the strength of his closing paragraph:

    Teachers matter -- and we shouldn't allow those who don't care to remain in the teacher force -- but schools matter too, and we need to think about how firing teachers might impact a school before we decide it's a good idea.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 08/15/2010

  • Dragontape is a webapp that enables you to create mixtapes of your favorite online videos, so you can watch them as a continuous show. The tapes you create are accessed through a single URL, so you can easily share with friends or embed them in a webpage.

  • Shotty offers the possibility to let you modify the taken screenshot with tools like crop image, unsharpen a region to make text unreadable, highlight text like with a marker or to draw rectangles. Of course you can add text on your screenshot.

  • Using the various forms of feedback from people that use Calculator Soup and good website development principles, I strive to build calculators and content useful for academic and real world applications that are easy to use online.

  • AlwaysOnPC gives you a complete virtual computer pre-loaded with over 40 apps that you can access and use from any PC, Mac, iPhone / iPod Touch and now from iPad and Android smartphones.

  • Create free online polls without signing-up


  • The rest of my favorite links are here.

    Readin' & Writin' + Rich Guys [Cartoon]

    Another great cartoon that educators will understand. Hat tip to @DianeRavitch







    Published by Boston Globe and used without permission.

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    Book: How to Become an Architect of Learning.

    This post is long due. Back in February I was ready to post it but once our old web address faded away, we decided to put it on hold, until now. I think is fair to comment on this book after the author kindly sent it to me to review.

    Whether you've read it or are thinking to read a book during these few days remaining to the beginning of a new school year, Kevin D. Washburn's production is mandatory to read. We are about to explain why I recommend this book, if professional development is your core.

    The Architecture of Learning by K. D. WashburnThe Architecture of Learning - Designing Instruction for Learning Brain of Dr. Washburn, offers an alternative teaching philosophy to the traditional textbook methods you surely have read so far. He offers an amazing overview of concepts related to learning, instruction, curriculum, and assessment.

    For instance, the blueprints you will find in the book, provide a general framework for designing instruction, so that the essential learning processes are all engaged with the proper focus on the type of subject matter. It definitely speaks wonders of the “learning” process, largely way beyond a memorization activity.

    The author offers concrete suggestions for managing the less-familiar approach, "learn by thinking and and think about what we learn." All pages have plenty of specific grade-level examples to spark creative ideas about how blueprints, a concept introduced throughout the book, can be used in many different content areas.

    Dr. Kevin D. Washburn however, warns of his developed 'blueprints'. They should not be used for every topic in a teacher's curriculum, he writes. The core psychological processes, experience(ex), comprehension(co), elaboration(el), and application(ap), are to correspond to each one of the learning skills related again to experience(EX), comprehension(CO), elaboration(EL), application(AP), and intention (IN).

    All these processes match a binary combination: EX,ex...IN,ex; EX,co...IN,co; EX,el...IN, el; EX,ap...IN, ap. If you are familiar with basic coordinated points on the Cartesian system, I am pretty sure you will be following me.

    Although this book is primarily aimed at teachers, it is a very informative book for anyone who wants to learn about learning and thinking (specially critical thinking). Additionally, what we like about Architecture of Learning, is the well elaborated set of questions every chapter is accompanied with.

    If you want to become an Architect of Learning, let me tell you this book is published by Clerestory press and you can get it here.

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    La Scuola Che Funziona: The Teachers' Manifest.

    Tell me you don't find this Manifest challenging, true and valid in your own experiences. As always, is the great Stephen Downes who takes the pat on the back for this. However, it is John Connell who does my day with his closing paragraph citing the Teacher's Manifest:


    Luciana Guido has done an English translation of the original Manifesto degli insegnanti and we share it here:

    • I love teaching. I love learning. This is why I’m a teacher.

    • I will teach to promote in every way a sense of wonder at the world, which is inborn in my students. I will teach in order to be overtaken by them. When I am no longer able to do that, I will release my position to one of them.

    • I will teach by demonstration and example. The acknowledgment of my mistakes will enlighten my way.

    • I will join my students in their discovery of the world around them, favouring and encouraging among each of them curiosity and inquisitiveness, questions and passion.

    • Being unable to convey truth to my students, my endeavour will be to get them to live in its pursuit.

    • I will foster in my students the commitment and will power to constantly improve themselves and to never give up when faced with difficulties. I, too, will keep updating my training and knowledge.

    • I will strive to make the school the world, and not a prison.

    • I will not convey to my students fixed, pre-packaged ideas. I will be lead by my world view but it will never be a law for them. Questioning and constructive criticism will be the pillars of my educational action.

    • I will promote studying for life and oppose studying for grades.

    • I will gather assessment factors, and refuse simplistic and mechanical approaches that do not take into account the starting point, progress, commitment and overall improvement of each student.

    • I will fight for the school to be everybody’s school, a school where each student can learn according to his/her own pace and path. I will see that my students choose me rather than put up with me.

    • I will help my students light up the future through reading about the past and fully living in the present. I will help them live in the world as it is, but not tolerate leaving it as it is.

    • I will remain faithful to these tenets at all moments of my educational activity, ready to face and overcome all formal and bureaucratic obstacles in my path.

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    Linda Darling-Hammond Speaks of the Factory Model School.

    Thanks to Dangerosuly Irrelevant we got information of the interview Linda Darling-Hammond gave to NPR journalist Darren Gersh back in the 2006. There are many questions she responds to explain the reform is happening at the Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California.

    It sounds like these High Schools were designed for the economy of the time. How much thought went into the design of these high schools? Asked Gersh:


    Linda responded: The factory model high school as we now call it was designed in about 1910 or 1920. The idea of that comprehensive high school was to cream off about 5% of the kids for specialized knowledge work. They would go off to college and fill the very small number of jobs that required that kind of thinking. The rest of the kids were supposed to be prepared for the farm, the factory, the mills – for you know, fairly rote kinds of learning. And over time vocational programs were put in place and other kinds of general programs.

    The notion of these schools was that they were to select and sort kids, decide who was going to go where in the economy. Most of the work was not going to be thinking work. And we were going to crank them out on this assembly line process.

    To read all other questions and see how this accompasses to actual reform, click here.

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    "Plagiarism is a learned sin, [but] it is not a philosophical issue."

    Stephen Downes comments on the New York Time's post: Plagiarism Is Not a Big Moral Deal

    He writes succinctly:

      I know I'm not supposed to like Stanley Fish, but I can't help myself. Though he and I may come from very different perspectives, he routinely turns to arguments so simple and yet elegant it's hard not to be appreciative. Today's column in the New York Times is a case in point. "Plagiarism is an idea that makes sense only in the precincts of certain specialized practices and is not a normative philosophical notion," he argues, neatly cutting off all debate about whether ideas can be original, whether people can own words, whether it is moral to cite these words, whether computers make the whole issue moot. That's all irrelevant. "If it is wrong to plagiarize in some context of practice, it is not because the idea of originality has been affirmed by deep philosophical reasoning, but because the ensemble of activities that take place in the practice would be unintelligible if the possibility of being original were not presupposed." Lovely.

    I don't like the comparison with sports rules that Stanley Fish does. What a sport has to do with academics. Worst the mention of politicians. Once I remember we were using math logic to unscramble politicians message, and what we found was incoherence. Since then, I don't pay attention to politicians at all.

    But what I do agree with the author in the NYT is the 'persuasive rationale' on students. Ultimately, that is precisely what they say (or think) Who cares? As far as they get grades, that is enough for them. We need to change that perception in at least a 50 % of our student body. That is the challenge.

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    Technology in the Classroom as a Head Start of the New School Year.

    Since we got our new web address, this blog is pursuing some change of the kind of content we offer. Before February 2010, even when the brand pointed as an Education & Tech blog, we were very much focused on pedagogical issues.

    We want to turn this out. We want a balance between education theory and technology applied to education. In this segment there are very few blogs that really stand out, on of them is Free Technology for Teachers. This is by far a very well know edublog, but if you happen to land this page and still haven't heard of it, do yourself a favor and subscribe to it or follow its updates in any of your most convenient ways.

    Today, Richard Byrne, editor of Free Tech for Teachers, came up with a very interesting post dedicated to his colleagues getting ready for the new forthcoming school year. The headline reads: 11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year.

    Here are the suggestions:

    » Get your hands dirt with blogging - Try blogger.com, edublogs.org or kidblog.org.

    » Build a Wiki with your students - Recommended: wikispaces.com, pbworks.com, wetpaint.com.

    » Build a website - Use weebly.com, webs.com, yola.com.

    » Create videos without investing any money - Think of animoto.com and jaycut.com.

    » Create maps to tell a story - Google Maps and Google Earth are handy. Here is a great example of what to do with maps.

    » Backchannel in your classroom - Understand what backchanneling means and practice with this sites: todaysmeet.com, chatzy.com, edmodo.com and presently.com.

    » Build your PLN joining a social network - Twitter is a great tool. Plurk follows and of course any network of educators on ning.com

    » Save information using bookmark services - Up front is delicious.com, diigo.com and bookmarks.google.com.

    » Teach your students there are other search services beyond Google - wolframalpha.com is only one of the many sites they can find.

    » Have Your Students Create Podcasts - Work wonderfully for this matter: audacity.sourceforge.net, aviary.com/tools/audio-editor, and drop.io

    » Take care of your Inbox overload - Google Docs, Zoho Writer and Office Web Apps.


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    13 Major Changes to Education and Training in the 2025

    The European Institute for Prospective Technology Studies asked 13 education experts to name the changes that they thought should or would occur over the next 15 years.

    They were to rank their statements between 0 and 5, based on importance and likelihood. A continuation we present the 13 out of 203 statements the experts think are highly likely to occur (based on a ranking of at least 4 in the proposed scale).

    Mapping Major Changes to Education and Training in 2025

      1. There will be digital library services available to students.

      2. Students will learn in organized groups, and this will be complemented by learning in loosely connected networks (like social networks.

      3. Students will do at least some of their learning through projects, and new models for project based learning will arise.

      4. Technology will ameliorate time and space barriers to learning.

      5. There will be services on the internet which will be like digital classrooms or digital learning environments.

      6. There will be an abundance of easily available learning resources, although there will still exist the challenge of finding the best and most relevant.

      7. Learning programs will be more flexible than they are now.

      8. Courses will be available in different forms (text, online, mobile, teacher based, and instructions.

      9. Education institutions will expand across borders.

      10. Learning will be more integrated with daily life.

      11. Many students will partake in Open Learning over the internet, and Open Education resources, mostly free, will become widely adopted.

      12. College and University students will routinely be able to take courses around and within their work schedules.

      13. Students will combine working and learning.


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    Gates on Online Education: “It Will Be Better than Any Single University.”

    Bill Gates was a guest speaker on the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA and it seems the man is not too old the predict the future. As you can remember, he was the person who back in 2005 said that high schools in America are obsolete.

    Then everyone, included the media started writing, commenting and pushing for a reform in the American education which has been implemented according to each political party in the government. Even though some are on attack of the organization Gates funds, the former Microsoft CEO speaks again and people pay attention. He is not far from reality, in a few years more you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world for free. It is already happening in large and prestigious universities.

    Read the analysis MS Siegler published on TechCrunch:

      {Gates] believes that no matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.

      He made sure to say that educational institutions are still vital for children, K-12. He spoke glowingly about charter schools, where kids can spend up to 80% of their time deeply engaged with learning.

      But college needs to be less “place-based,” according to Gates. Well, except for the parties, he joked.

      But his overall point is that it’s just too expensive and too hard to get these upper-level educations. And soon place-based college educations will be five times less important than they are today.

      One particular problem with the education system according to Gates is text books. Even in grade schools, they can be 300 pages for a book about math. "They’re giant, intimidating books," he said. "I look at them and think: what on Earth is in there?"

      According to Gates, our text books are three times longer than the equivalents in Asia. And yet they’re beating us in many ways with education. The problem is that these things are built by committee, and more things are simply added on top of what’s already in there.

      Gates said that technology is the only way to bring education back under control and expand it.

    We are not fond of the charter schools as Gates is, but he has a point when he speaks of education on the Web. People at the Reform Symposium could not conclude favorably about online education. The criteria was divided.

    Let's wait to see who was wrong into 5 more years.

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    Education Data Is Now Easier to Find and Use in the U.S.

    Community, parents and educators can get reliable, accurate and timely data that they can use to follow and evaluate reforms. At least, that was what Secretary of Education has said at the launch of new website: ED.gov

    "A key element of the Department's open government plan, ED Data Express consolidates relevant data collected by the Department from several different sources and provides search tools that allow users to create individualized reports. The data is available at www.eddataexpress.ed.gov. "

    The website provides tools that allow users to search and explore the U.S. education data, create customized reports, and view state profiles with charts, tables, and key data points for every state.

    It also allows users to download their customized reports for further analysis.

    ED Data Express also publishes budget figures and demographics.

    A 2.0 version of the ED Data Express, it is under development and is scheduled to launch this winter. The new version will include enhanced data visualization tools and the ability to post data on social networking sites.

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    16 Kick-Ass iPhone Apps for Use of Teacher Only.

    Apple has moved forward in an intent to fight the piracy. As for now, you are going to be able to try before you buy.

    Now teachers will have more time to browse around the Apple App Store, if not, we have edited a post over at EduDemic. where we avoid you the hassle to have a brand new iPhone 4 and not know what apps you should load to it.

    Below is a helpful list of apps that will save you hours of App Store-hunting and hopefully help you organize your short in school day a bit better. We have taken only two categories which are the ones we think are the most interesting for dedicated teachers:

    Document Tools

    These applications can make it easier to view and create a variety of documents, whether you need them for class or to keep your business organized.

    1. iZoho: This mobile office suite lets you create and access documents and spreadsheets.
    2. PDF Reader Pro: Download this application so you’ll be able to read PDF files over your iPhone.
    3. iSpreadsheet: If you need to be able to examine spreadsheets on your phone, try out this application.
    4. DocViewer: Want to read over your paper one last time before you present it? This app lets you see the document right on your phone.
    5. QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite: Check out this mobile office suite to handle a wide variety of document types.
    6. Readdle Docs: This application is all about helping you organize your documents from email, your computer or the web.

    Taking Notes

    Jot down all those brilliant ideas using these iPhone apps.

    1. Evernote: Create text, photos and audio notes and sync them with your iPhone and computer with Evernote.
    2. Thumb Jot: Use this tool to jot down all your thoughts and notes as they come to you.
    3. iTalk Recorder: This app will let you record notes or anything else you want to remember.
    4. Dexy: Check out this app to jot down some free form notes. Simply type in the text and later you can bring it up by searching for parts of the text.
    5. Napkin Genius: If you prefer to jot down ideas in drawn form, you’ll be able to do so with this app and share and save your completed works.
    6. YouNote: Take notes in audio, text, photo and drawing format in this helpful app.
    7. VoiceNotes: This recording application can make it easy to leave yourself audio reminders.
    8. Writing Pad: Instead of typing out letters, this application allows you to draw them on the screen to write notes.
    9. Note2Self: Leave yourself notes in audio or text format with this helpful application.
    10. Margins: This application is an ideal tool for students or researchers. It allows users to jot down notes about books, indicating the page and quote as well as your note.


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    Can We Compare a Teacher to a Midwife?

    It is no stranger Educational institutions are mostly conformed of female members, as the the base of its faculty. We called attention to an article on the Philosophy of Teaching in which the author, Maryellen Weimer, compares the activity of a teacher to a midwife in real life.

    Wiemer declares she is not the first person speaking of midwives philosophy, in 1986 the Harvard Educational Review already published an essay by William Ayers on the same topic.

    This is the description of a teacher midwife:

      She has attended many other births, been with many other students as they have gone through the arduous process of learning. It is a joyful, exciting event, but not without pain—sometimes the pain is long and intense, causing the learner to despair and lose hope. But the midwife understands. She knows that sometimes progress is slow. She also knows how much more pain lies ahead and what the learner might try to ease the discomfort and expedite the process. The midwife offers encouragement; her presence is reassuring.

    Is our understanding that this approach - or Philosophy - as Maryellen wants to believe, is a teacher centered discourse. As much as interesting it sounds, what we think is that both social media and technology, do not allow these days to compare a teacher to midwife.

    After, "They strive to figure out the best way to help, support, guide, and encourage the mother. Birth and learning require both teacher and mother to expend effort. They work together, but they tackle the problem in different ways." The only benefit is received by the student.

    This perception neglects the fact that students can also contribute positively to each one of the struggles a mother/teacher might have. And in the other hand, there is the student centered learning, which opposes completely the so mentioned teacher as midwife.

    Which is your personal philosophy of teaching? Forget about that one on the education books.

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    10 Social Media Competencies for K-12 teachers.

    Doug Johnson is the editor behind The Blue Skunk Blog. If you are not subscribed to it, it is time you do it. Its editor makes the best effort to keep you updated about topics on education. Jonhson got inspired by a post written and published by Dean Giustini in the first place, where Giustine builds the Top Ten Social Media Competencies for Librarians.

    Taking that post as a reference, The Blue Skunk Blog develops its own, to bring up the Top Ten Social Media Competencies for Teachers.

    Add to list whatever you think it was left out:

      1. Help students use educational networking tools to solve information problems and communicate digitally with experts, peers and instructors.
      2. Know the major Web 2.0 categories and tools that are useful in the K-12 setting. Know which tools are provided/supported by one's school.
      3. Use educational networking sites to communicate with teaching peers, students and parents.
      4. Navigate, evaluate and create professional content on networking sites.
      5. Use online networking to create, maintain and learn from a personal learning network.
      6. Know the district networking guidelines, follow netiquette, conform to ethical standards and interact appropriately with others, especially students, online.
      7. Understand copyright, security and privacy issues on social media sites and share these understandings with students and professional colleagues.
      8. Understand the importance of identity and reputation management using social media and help students understand the long-term impact of personal information shared online.
      9. Create and follow a personal learning plan to stay informed about developing trends, tools and applications of social media.
      10. Participate in the formulation of school and district policies and guidelines related to educational networking and social learning.

    After listening a couple of keynotes during the The Reform Symposium (#rscon10), the most important conclusion I got was: All teachers are learners. Whether you are convinced or not about this fact, at least reflect on the process all your students are living and get to it from a different angle. Social Media helps you to step ahead on you career.

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    Milton Ramirez

    Bias can be present [in standardized tests] but not be detected by even the top experts in the field.

    Education Research Report:

    Overturning more than 40 years of accepted practice, new research proves that the tools used to check tests of "general mental ability" for bias are themselves flawed. This key finding from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business challenges reliance on such exams to make objective decisions for employment or academic admissions even in the face of well-documented gaps between mean scores of white and minority populations.

    The study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, investigated an amalgam of scores representing a vast sample of commonly used tests, including civil service or other pre-employment exams and university entrance exams.

    "Test bias" means that two people with different ethnicity or gender, for example, who have the same test score are predicted to have different "scores" on the outcome (e.g., job performance); thus a biased test might benefit certain groups over others. Decades of earlier research consistently found no evidence of test bias against ethnic minorities, but the current study challenges this established belief.

    Read more about this report here.


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    Who Is a Digital Literate?

    Wikipedia defines digital literacy as "the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology." While Gillen & Barton decide that 'digital literacies' are the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies.

    As you can see, with this category occurs exactly the same as to the definition of Web 2.0 or 3.0. Everyone with a sufficient background thinks he has the authority to define these concepts, but at the end, there is yet a common ground.

    Terry Freedman, asks a question you might have been asking yourself, What is digital literacy? And while our conception falls in between, it is important to point his definition en terms of curriculum and behavior. Freedman writes that digital literacy should not be seen defensively:

      A digitally-literate person will be able to express herself by creating a presentation, a podcast or a video. She will be able to validate data before putting it into a model, and then verify the results of the modeling process in terms of the accuracy and plausibility of the data.

      A digitally-literate person will be able to use software applications in elegant and efficient ways, and even perhaps in ways that could not have been foreseen by the program's creators.

    Terry seems to panegyric what Microsoft recognizes as digital literacy: "Teach and assess basic computer concepts and skills so that people can use computer technology in everyday life to develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities."

    What I do agree with the England native is that no student should graduate from school "without being knowledgeable enough to be safe online." Assuming all teens behave in the very same way, because Madrid (Spain) digital natives seem to have grown up taking care of their own privacy. Americans are relentless to privacy, even when teachers tear apart their shirts to make sure students understand the value of privacy online.

    Finally, I want you to read what is happening when England's government oversees the digital literates in this country (bolded is ours):

      Teachers tend to teach technology up to the limit of their own knowledge, and that this effectively holds children back. In my experience, where technology is taught by non-specialists, this kind of "dumbing down" goes on as a matter of course. It's not deliberate: teachers don't know what they don't know. It's therefore not a criticism as such. If I taught English, it would almost certainly be superficial, because I'm not an English specialist, even though I've been speaking the language for over half a century. Why should we assume that if we send someone on an interactive whiteboard training course and give them a laptop for producing their worksheets, and they book their vacations online, that they're qualified to teach technology?

    Since I am not an expert on digital literacies, I should not been writing about this topic.

    What do you think?

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    “Transformation may be the easiest thing to do politically, but it’s the hardest to do technically.”

    Many U.S. schools that are using federal funds to turn around schools are opting for the "transformation" model, which requires the school's principal -- but not its instructional staff -- to be replaced.

    Educators say that is the least disruptive model of the options made available by the Department of Education for recipients of School Improvement Grants.

    The other models are the turnaround method, which requires the replacement of at least half of the school's teaching staff; the "restart" method, which would turn the school into a charter; or "closure," which shutters a school and moves students to a better-performing one.

    See more of Lesli A. Maxwell's articles at Education Week.

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