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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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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