education & tech

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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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Weighing the True Value of an Online Education: How Recent Studies Have Debunked Popular Opinions

Guest post written by Jesse Langley.

Photo by Flickr user courosa

The initial hesitance to embrace online education as a valid alternative to traditional institutions has recently made a noteworthy shift, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. The study revealed that while just 29 percent of American adults believe that an online course is just as valuable as a traditional classroom course, a substantially higher 51 percent of college presidents believe that both methods have equal value. While these results may not be classified as a substantial majority, they can certainly be deemed as progress at the very least.

Although this change could partially be attributed to the growing popularity of the programs, it may also be based on the consistently improving efficacy of the programs as well. In terms of popularity, the Pew study revealed that more than 75 percent of the nation's top colleges and universities now offer alternative online classes, essentially granting them a nod of approval. New studies that analyze the effectiveness of online courses also add merit to the value of the programs, which may help influence the generally negative opinions of the public.

Based on the same study, one in four college graduates reported to have taken a course online. Of the adults who had taken an online course, 39 percent reported a positive experience, while only 27 percent of students who hadn't taken an online course reported a positive review of the concept. Although the shift in opinion appears to be gradual, it is no doubt trending towards online options.

According to another study conducted by the SRI International of the Department of Education, there is no evidence-based reason to believe that an online course would be any less effective than a traditional college course. In fact, the study reveals that the potential for better student performance is actually in the online course's favor. The report examined and compared student performance in both online and traditional classroom environments between 1996 and 2008. Students from a variety of age groups and settings were examined, including K-12 programs, colleges, adult continuing education programs, medical training and military education.

After extensive research and observation, the study concluded that, on average, students in online courses actually performed better than those who received face-to-face instruction. Although this doesn't mean that there isn't still some value to traditional classroom learning environments, it lends credibility to the often misunderstood value and advantage of online programs as a benefit to student learning. Moreover, these studies unveil positive opportunities for busy adults who seek a quality degree program that accommodates their hectic schedules. With more and more of these studies surfacing, we can expect that the stigma once associated with online courses will shift to a more positive perception.

Jesse Langley lives near Chicago with his family where he is a writer, former educator, and social media enthusiast. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.

References:

Pew Research Center Publications. (2011, August 28). The Digital Revolution and Higher Education. Retrieved December 11, 2011, from http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2092/online- courses-students-colleges-universities-technology-laptops-tablets.

New York Times Blog. (2009, August 19). Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom. Retrieved December 11, 2011, from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/ study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom/.

Could Chewing Gum Really Boost Students Grades?

Photo by user Swamibu on Flickr


Break out the gum. It's finals time!

A new study suggests that popping a stick of your favorite sticky stuff five minutes before taking a test could actually help improve your score.

St Lawrence University Assistant Professor of Psychology Serge Onyper, the lead researcher, found that among the 80 undergrad who participated in the study, the gum-chewers did better on their tests than their counterparts.

Those with the gum experienced "mastication-induced arousal", leading to a boost in performance, but it only lasted for about 20 minutes of test-taking.

Other studies had already probed that physical activity can boost the performance of students in the classroom. In this study the researchers had found that even mild activity, like gum chewing, can have a positive effect on the brain.

Remember we have said that only works for 20 minutes. So, make sure your students spit out before they take a test. The study also found that chewing gum could actually detract away from performance due to "a sharing of resources by cognitive and mastication processes.



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The SAT: Is There a Better Way?

Beginning its reign over college applications in 1972, recent challenges to the efficacy of the SAT have caused many institutions to grant optional score submissions to applying students. Although most colleges aren't showing signs of eliminating the SAT all together, a significant portion of top schools are foregoing the requirement of the scores in applications. There are almost 900 schools that currently stand by the idea that students are more than just numbers. The trend of foregoing SAT score submissions appears to be here to stay. However, with one large portion of the application missing, how are admissions officials expected to make proper decisions on accepting and rejecting students?

In some instances, colleges ask for additional writing samples as alternatives to an SAT score submission. But for colleges that don't offer this option, an application submitted without standardized test scores can seem incomplete. Perhaps if schools allowed more alternatives to submitting SAT scores, rather than just leaving them out, it would be easier for more institutions to transition to SAT-optional submissions.

These days, modern technology has allowed us to connect with one another in ways that we have never been able to before no matter the distance. With such advances, students can be evaluated on a more personalized basis. Some universities invite applicants to send in self-made YouTube videos explaining why they should be accepted into the university. Those invites are met with an outpouring of responses, with hundreds of students submitting everything from card tricks to musical performances and "math dances."

By utilizing videos, college admission officials would be able to meet the person behind the number and get a better idea of the contributions they could make to an academic environment. In addition to the popular video submission option, students could also submit online projects, such as completed website designs, app development, digital animation projects and so on. College admissions officials could conduct more face to face interviews with students through mediums like Skype to better determine eligibility for the institution.

Not only are traditional colleges expanding their definitions of an academically capable student, but online degree programs are also giving students the opportunity to approach their education in an unconventional manner. Unlike traditional colleges, online institutions give students with busy professional and personal lives the opportunity to earn their degree while still being attentive to other responsibilities. Students can work at a more flexible pace according to their own schedules to earn their degrees.

Taking a non-traditional approach to higher learning is one of the best ways to make education accessible to a wider range of bright and hard-working students. By de-emphasizing the importance of SAT scores, colleges are giving students the opportunity to sell their best attributes and address how these contribute to a stimulating academic environment. With these new opportunities, students no longer have to be defined as just a number.

This guest post was written by Jesse M. Langley, he is a contributor for EdTech Digest and Technected. Feedback to: jessemlangley@gmail.com

Education & Tech: News for Educators 11/22/2011

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Ana Ponce Is One of the 7 Most Powerful Educators

Teach for America has recognized brilliant educators among those working on the Charter system. One of them is the Mexican born Ana F. Ponce, who has lived by herself the experience to be educated in a public school. She says public school in America is failing Latino students.

Ana F. Ponce, CEO of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, has been portrait along other six educators at Forbes:

"Ana represents the growing number of extraordinary school leaders working to provide a transformational education that puts children in low-income communities on a different life trajectory than their socioeconomic background would predict," the website has mentioned.



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The Bilingual Education at the Coral Way Elementary School

By Claudio Sanchez at the National Public Radio

In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English, but to make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami, and so did Coral Way's bilingual immersion model.

Every morning, shortly after 8 o'clock, students at the Coral Way Elementary School pledge allegiance to the flag and stand for the national anthem. Then Spanish becomes the language of instruction. In one fourth-grade class, reading assignments, science, math and social studies lessons are entirely in Spanish. After lunch, classes switch to English. On the playground, you hear a mix.

Coral Way principal Josephine Otero questions a child on the playground: "Buenos dias mija, why are we running? Why?"

Otero is one in a long line of bilingual principals at the school who have presided over what experts consider the "gold standard" of public bilingual education in the U.S.

Listen the whole story at NPR.



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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/18/2011

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How to Interest Youth Hispanic Community In the Study of Science And Math

I am proud to be born and raised a Hispanic. There are lots of contributions Hispanics have made to the American community since Spanish was enacted a language among the American states. Since then though, many struggles have shifted to the Hispanic/Latino born or raised in North America.

But we are not going to talk about the millions of Hispanic living here. We are interested in the young kids and teens who are attending school. They are our concern, because Hispanics, despite being a large number, they have yet to gain a strong political representation.

The Educate Yourself…The Moment Is Now! initiative (Edúcate, es el momento in Spanish launched back in February 2010 in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, educators, civic and community leaders from around the country.

This article is part of the educational attainment, an issue at the heart of the economic viability of the country, which Univision Communications Inc. will patronize for seven days beginning Sunday, October 16, 2011.

Despite Hispanic students do not enjoy the same opportunities as the non-Hispanics counterparts in the U.S., many of them still are able to go to college. But not in enough numbers and only three percent of these students opt for a career in science or engineering. Why is this happening? According to a PEW report, language is a challenge for most immigrants. The study says that only 23 percent of Latino immigrants answered they speak English fluently.

Another cause could be the poor performance in school. Hispanic students typically receive about 20 points lower in science or math classes than non-Hispanic students. This leads to a very margin (four percent) of them who are considered at the end of 12 grade, proficient in math and with a seven percent well prepared in science. These disparities may relate to failed social policies, a lack of support from their parents, or related language factors, as we have pointed before.

But how the society, government, community, teachers and parents can revert this situation? This is not a matter of the Hispanics solely. Study after study has shown that students in the U.S. lag behind their peers in many other countries when it comes to test scores in STEM disciplines. This academic disadvantage means that students turned-adults are less inclined to become engineers, scientists and inventors.

Students and families need to comprehend that use of scientific knowledge benefits society as a whole, through advances in areas such as technology, medicine, healthcare, food quality and safety, better communications, and environmental monitoring. After that, research shows that youth develops a sustained interest in science and math when: (1) Their science experiences connect with how they envision their own futures; (2) Learning environments support the kinds of social relationships students value; and (3) Science activities supports students' sense of urgency for enacting their views on the purpose of science.

It's easier said, than done.

It's key to the U.S. economy to strengthen and innovate culture and education of youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We are living a crisis where the education sector is being affected by reduction of its budget. However, a strong industrial economy cannot come about without a good investment in education, research and development. This economy is knowledge-based. Then, the public funding needs to be there if we want to reestablish that solid economy we used to have here.

How many times have you heard someone saying "I hate math". Well, one reason why young people lose interest in math appears to be the way in which it is taught. The science and math curricula tends to be packed full of facts that young people are expected to memorize and with the velocity the digital natives have been growing, this model of teaching, seem counterproductive.

A survey by the Lemelson-MIT Program suggests that hands-on activities outside the classroom, is one of the most effective ways to engage youth ages 12 through 17. The same survey shows that this student population prefer field trips, extracurricular activities where they can build things and develop projects. Two-thirds of teens chose hands-on individual projects and hands-on group projects.

Some other times salaried jobs, especially in the IT sector have been drawing the younger generation away from math and science, and if this keeps growing, we are going to be short of scientific talent very soon. In classrooms, teachers need to explain to students, especially minorities, that science along math and technology play a very important role in addressing challenges associated with poverty and hunger.

Hispanic families are living below the poverty line and suffer from the higher unemployment in the country. And unfortunately the concentration of students coming from Hispanic families live in neighborhood where teachers reject to go to work for many reasons, among them safety. The descendants need to be aware that through their careers they can contribute to economic development, creation of employment opportunities, reducing hunger through enhanced nutrition, improved cash and subsistence crops, and if they look back to their roots they can even offer a better soil management and efficient irrigation systems.

To get young Latino successful in school, parents need to have control of the time kids have after school. They are immature enough, to not manage their own time, Hispanics believe in a strong sense of cohesion and family and it has to be reflected in school, too. With millions of Hispanics living in the U.S. we need to have more political representation to enable policies to our own benefit. Young Hispanics should remember they do not have to be a genius to become an inventor or a scientist, each one of them just have to have "ganas", the desire to learn more and to want to improve people’s lives with their ideas.

It does not come as a surprise that Los Alamos, New Mexico, has the highest number of people with PhD’s per capita in the country, many of whom are inventors and scientists. They seem to have a full understanding of the societal impact that STEM professionals have, this city has worked hard to show today's teens how important it is to invent and innovate.

Ultimately, authorities, teachers and parents have to transform into role models and classroom mentorship, so young people get interested in learning science and math, at expenses of our own effort, time and money.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/16/2011

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A Student Reports From His Classroom - Elizabeth Public Schools

It’s been more than a full month of school since it started and boy do I have a lot to say about high school. I’m in a new school so it is taking a little while to get used to, the kids, teachers, and most importantly the work! Last year, in eighth grade didn’t seem too hard for me and this year I’m expecting it to be quite a challenge. I also have a really good schedule this year:

English I - Italian I - Physics - Geometry - Gym - World History - Lunch - Criminal Justice - Jazz Band and Concert Band.

I think this a really good schedule, for various reasons. One of the most obvious thing to realize is that I have lunch seventh period (the other two lunch periods are fifth and sixth) and all my academic periods before that. I think this will allow me to do my homework at home and not do it in lunch time the very next day. Also, I have English I, first period of every day, considering I will be fresh and ready for reading and writing, which to my former teachers, one of my best subjects.

Geometry is the class I have around the middle of the day and I really like that because it’s one of my favorite academic subjects. At this point of the day, I’m very active and my brain seems to be working at its best there. I plan to do very well in this class so I can not only please my parents but myself as well. My father being a high school math teacher himself I don’t think he expects anything but the best from me. Also my mother is an accountant which involves a lot of math usage.

The other classes I don’t really mind when I have them. What matters is that I have some old friends and newly made friends. High school is a time where it can be really fun but challenging, with the work becoming harder than before, new friends, and more responsibilities . My physics teacher, looks like she means business and my gym teacher seems like she is going to make gym more fun than it already is. My world history teacher seems like he is going to be my favorite teacher this year. This is because he is a funny Irish man, who has a really powerful voice that I like.

The class I have after lunch is criminal justice. The teacher, who was a real lawyer, I heard that his class is really hard but it seems like it too. This is the begging of the end of my day. After this class I get to go to my favorite class, jazz band! This is my absolute favorite class of the day, hands-on and hands down and no doubt about it. This is the one class that can cheer me up no matter how crummy the rest of the day was. I play the alto saxophone in jazz band and it’s probably one of my passions. What’s even better is that right after having jazz band I have concert band which is still playing music just a different kind.

This is what my freshmen year of high school is going to be like each and every day until June of next year. After only a month of going to school I am really starting to get used to it and think that this is really going to be a good year, not only for me but for the entire class of 2015. I look forward to the next four years because this …. Is the beginning of the rest of my life.

This article was contributed by Bradley Ramirez, a freshman student at the Lower Academy in the Elizabeth Board of Education..

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/12/2011

  • The Media Bullpen

    Big foundations to create mediabullpen.com to check "accuracy" of media (i.e. whether their point of view prevails). Media control by $.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/10/2011

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Jobs Was a Leader In Revolutionizing Education And Tech

There are thousands of pages written after Steve Jobs passing, but in about education, Emmeline Zhao of Huffington Post has contributed with the best tribute. Here's an excerpt of what I just mentioned:

    ...Jobs' legacy and influence on education has expanded from typography and word processing on iMacs to the beginnings of a completely new system and revolutionary methods of teaching and learning through the use of gadgets like iPhones and iPads in classrooms -- in addition to what we now consider the more traditional computer. Jobs' story has come a long way since his company donated Apple II computers to 10,000 schools in California in 1983.

    Schools across the country have joined a movement that trims textbooks in schools, replacing them with the lighter, sleeker iPad. The introduction of tablet computers are expected to cut costs for school districts long-term, and host a multitude of new ways students can interact in learning and complete assignments -- shifting the learning process from the rigid lecture to a more dynamic collaboration.

    But even as his products have seeped into the pores of industry, Jobs was one to note that technology isn't an instigator of change -- people like teachers are. People, he tells Morrow, are the ones who ignite and fuel curiosity, things that machines cannot do. The marriage of technology and human momentum through learning is what has and will shape the future of education.

    "You need a person. Especially with computers the way they are now. Computers are very reactive but they're not proactive; they are not agents, if you will. They are very reactive," he said. "What children need is something more proactive. They need a guide. They don't need an assistant. I think we have all the material in the world to solve this problem; it's just being deployed in other places."


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Milton Ramirez

Education & Tech: News for Educators 09/26/2011

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How Multitasking May Impact Learning.

Hack Education

Multitasking: it may be a productivity buzzword, but is it actually a valuable skill or is it a damaging distraction? There are numerous claims about whether or not the ability to juggle several projects simultaneously and switch back and forth between tasks is good or bad — for productivity, for cognition, for memory. And a new study released this week adds some more data to the debate, particularly in light of how multitasking may impact learning.

Professors Rey Junco and Sheila Cotten will present a paper at the Oxford Internet Institute this week that examines how multitasking impacts college students’ GPA. According to their findings, using Facebook and texting while studying were negatively associated with GPA. Interestingly, emailing while studying was positively associated.

“Engaging in Facebook use or texting while trying to complete schoolwork may tax students’ capacity for cognitive processing and preclude deeper learning,” they write, “while emailing may be directly related to learning. Our research indicates that the type and purpose of ICT use matters in terms of the educational impacts of multitasking.”

Read more about multitasking on Audrey Watters' Blog, here.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 08/21/2011

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"Real education is [not] looking up factoids about the world."

I haven't updated this blog for a while. And there is a reason. It seems the internet more and more is becoming a echo chamber, everything that is said by let's say an authority, then is criticized or commented internet-wide.

However, we still can find very original content and ideas as Daniel M. Russell reflects. He relates to a Doonesbury cartoon to discuss and explain the fundamentals of education.

Russell goes on to plainly disagree with the misconception of digital literacy applied to education. In place he suggest we should mention 'information literacy'. The term 'digital', suggests the expert on research, is a descriptor and says nothing about strategies and tactics. Beyond that, not all information is digital, some of it is not, and the concept of information literacy transcends any particular medium.

Know when to stop searching and find a human expert on the topic.



The understanding of the process of finding information is vital. That's why you should know when to stop searching and get help from the experts. From SearchResearch blog, read some other gems about what is wrong with the so discussed education reform, because they are leaving out these basic concepts:

"Rapid lookup is a great tool, but it’s NOT education or learning in any meaningful way. The framework that organizes all those factoids and inter-relationships IS education—it places all the bits and pieces into context and lets you understand the structure and functions of the world.

In general, someone needs to teach students that just looking up X isn’t the same as understanding the context of X—where does X come from, why is it important, what super-categories of X exist, does X vary from culture to culture?"

And the dealing with the over saturation of information on the web. "The rise of increasing amounts of online information should INCREASE our teaching of information literacy, not decrease it. Sure, many K12 teachers teach a bit of how to work in an online world, but the education is spotty and in many cases not especially good."

A sophisticated learner then, is not just the one who knows how to look up something, but someone able to ask the right questions at the right time to advance his understanding. Paraphrasing the the author this great article, the research scientist, Daniel M. Russell.

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Should Students Wear Uniforms to School?

It’s very common to find members of the Board of Education and many students around this country debating on whether uniforms are for the best or are only used for other reasons. Each side has some very good points but still many schools are beginning to use uniforms. Other schools are either about to hop on the boat, “S.S Uniforms” and leaving the lonely boat of non uniforms. The thing is why should or shouldn’t students use uniforms?



“MOM! What should I wear to school today,” asked Junior as he woke up from bed.

“I don’t know honey just pick anything that you feel is appropriate,” responded his mother. The only problem was the Junior was very indecisive about what to wear. This is his problem each and every morning before going to school. However his cousin Charlie doesn’t have this problem. Why, it’s because he wears a uniform to school instead.

Charlie on the other hand has the problem that the uniform rules are too strict. Sweaters must be worn at all times and the pants are a problem in the summer. It gets too hot outside and the dark khaki pants and wearing the uncomfortable sweater doesn’t make him feel cool, but as if he was in a microwave all the time. He envies his cousin Junior and Junior envies him.

Something most people don’t often realize is that the uniform debate is two extremes of the same coin. On one side we have children who have problems picking out what to wear and on the other we have children who detest uniforms with a passion, because of what they look like or how they feel. This can be used for many of the arguments on either side pro or anti–uniforms.

Pro- uniform people tend to use some pretty excellent points. For example, it’s great to know that you won’t have Junior’s problem on picking what to wear to school. School bullies will not pick on their peers for what they wear, and all because they have uniforms. Gangs wouldn't prosper in this environment either.

Anti- uniform people have quite some things to say themselves. Some people I know are anti-uniform and it’s mostly common among children who go to school. The frequent point people make that are anti-uniform include things like expressing themselves, more freedom and so on and so forth. But something that caught my eye was something a student said, “With uniforms we can’t have any sort of diversity. We should be proud of who we are and what we are. We should be able to wear what we want and how we please.” I believe this is true to an extent, however there is a limit.

Of course, I have my own opinion on this but it’s MY own point of view and that is why I have provided some points of both sides, pro and con. I am not here to persuade any of you but rather to inform which is my only objective. The decision must come from you, the reader, to look at the data given to you and study it, come to your own conclusion.

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Milton Ramirez

Education & Tech: News for Educators 06/29/2011

    Administrator

    Show you administrators my collection of Administrators blogs,nings sites to encourage them: http://tinyurl.com/yb37etj #edchat

    Paul McKean's Public Library | Diigo

    An Edtech Diigo Account You May Want to Follow (over 7000 bookmarks) http://bit.ly/g09WfP #diigo #iste11 #edtech #elearning #lrnchat #edchat

    webinar on education and innovation: How is U.S. i

    @educationweek webinar on education and innovation: How is U.S. investing in effective school improvement? http://t.co/3nHHA5o

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 06/21/2011

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One Year After Relaunching Education & Tech!

I have been lazy lately and defaulted Education & Tech. It has been close to month that I decided to take a break and almost a year since we relaunched this blog.

Today we want to celebrate those 12 months anniversary of educationandtech.com. And the best way to do it, is to show you a group of the most popular post in Education & Tech, since it was presented last year during the month of July.

We are still in process to regain our PR. Now you can read this publication on Facebook, Twitter, and Kindle. Any help with its promotion will be greatly appreciated.

Here is the Education & Tech most popular posts




Thanks for your support and readership. If you want to come back, please bookmark this page or save it on any of your personal social networks.

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If Students Don't Learn, That's Because They Fall Short On Sleep

Some studies relate sleepiness in the classroom due to obesity.But a recent analysis by Dr. Helene Emsellem, a sleep researcher with George Washington University in Washington,says it's all due to shorter hours of sleep in our teens.

What some parents and students do not realize, the expert explains, is that certainly during the day, they're gathering information. "But they're really not learning it till they sleep on it", said Emsellem.

This explains why most high school students are chronically tired. As for now, a typical high school senior sleeps an average of seven hours, when what a student needs is 9 1/4 hours sleep.

Next time you see a student falling asleep in your class, don't blame them. Blame their home. Parents are responsible to ensure their sons go to sleep on time. No caffeine for them and less light at the time to sleep. Short naps lasting 20-30 minutes work as well, during the school week.

But do not postpone sleep time to the weekend. A teenager typical habit on the weekend creates even more chaos in their sleep-wake cycle:

"Even if you catch up by sleeping in late on your weekend mornings,...by doing so, it makes it harder for you to fall asleep by 10 or 10:30 on Sunday night. And you start all over again, sleep restricted."

As parent you can verify now, why your teen wakes up tired, grouchy, irritable. He/she simply is so exhausted!

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Top 10 Highly Successful Study Habits for Students

Successful students aren't born that way. But they achieve their success by applying effective students habits.

So, if you have a kid or student who is able to breeze through school with a bit of an effort, don't get discouraged. Work with the young person to develop each of these study habits, and you'll see their grades go up and their ability to learn and assimilate information improve.


    1. Don't cram all studying into one session
    If you want your child/student to become a successful one, he needs to learn to be consistent in his studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

    2. Set a schedule of study
    Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule.

    3. Study at the same time
    It's important a student plans the time when he is going to study but they also need to create a consistent daily routine. Your child/student will be more mentally and emotionally prepared when he studies at the same time each day and each week. The process will become part of his life.

    4. Study time should have a specific goal
    Studying without direction is counterproductive. Every time a student starts studying, set a study session goal that supports his academic goal. (i.e. Memorize the Pythagorean Theorem in order to ace the exercises on the upcoming Math test).

    5. Do not procrastinate
    Once a study session is schedule, resist the temptation to accept procrastination. Very common and easy when a child has other things to do, lacks of interest or the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate. It also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

    6. Prepare the most difficult subject first
    Since most effort and mental energy is consumed with the most difficult subject, he should start with it first. Starting with the most difficult work will greatly improve the effectiveness of his study sessions and his academic performance.

    7. Have notes and review them alongside your child
    Your child must first have notes, if needed go over these notes with him. If not, review your child notes thoroughly to make sure he knows how to complete the new assignment correctly.

    8. Find a place where student won't be disturbed
    Do no tolerate multitasking. If a student gets disturbed, he 1) loose his train of thought and 2) he gets distracted. Before your student or child starts studying try to find a place without any gadgets and a location where he does not get disturbed.

    9. Learn how to manage groups and implement it effectively
    Students who get good grades are familiar with study groups and they perform effectively. But groups need to be structured and participants must come prepared. If not, it'll be a waste of time. Working in groups, though, enables a student to 1) get help from a better prepared classmate, 2) complete assignments quickly, and 3)help other students and himself to better internalize the subject matter.

    10. Review schoolwork over the weekend
    Review notes, class materials and homework over the weekend. This way your student will be better prepared to continue learning new material at the beginning of each week, which in time, build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired previously.


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Milton Ramirez

Report: Students in Interactive Class Are Nearly Twice as Engaged as Counterparts in Traditional Class.

A study lead by Louis Deslauriers, a post-doctoral researcher at UBC's Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) has found that "interactive teaching methods significantly improved attendance and doubled both engagement and learning in a large physics class."

The study is mentioned by the Education Research Report.

"Students from the experimental class uniformly scored nearly twice as well in a test designed to determine their grasp of complex physics concepts (average score 74 per cent vs. 41 per cent, with random guessing producing a score of 23 per cent. Attendance in the interactive class also increased by 20 per cent during the experiment."

The source also quotes the study published this Friday 13, 2011 in Science:

"There is overwhelming evidence how much teaching pedagogy based on cognitive psychology and education research can improve science education," says co-author Carl Wieman (Associate Director for Science of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). "This study further shows that we can achieve individual attention without individual interaction, and that even in a large class, the positive effects of a tutor or apprenticeship model can be achieved by using evidence-based teaching methods."

Two classes of an undergraduate physics course with approximately 270 students each were taught by highly-rated, professors with decades of experience.

"In addition to the objective measurements of engagement, attendance and test scores, we also surveyed students and found that these teaching methods generated a lot of excitement in class – which makes for a great learning environment," declared Deslauriers, lead author of the study.

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Let's All Educators Have an Eval System for the Press.

I certainly concur about the NY Post reporters, Norm Scott blogs. He says that too many reports coming from the NYT are being indexed by Gotham Schools. Too biased?

Teachers, as well as parents, and all people involved in pursue of a better education in America, should start evaluating the reports of the reporters covering stories they were involved in. Way to go, Scott!

    Given the nature of the attack on teachers I suggest you check the work of the journalists reporting on education. How many events are so poorly covered, often with misinformation and certainly misinterpretation?

If you live in New York, this is a blog Norm Scott suggest you must be following: Untamed Teacher.

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There Is a Large Gap Between School And Technology

Despite the fact that we now have leaders speaking about the benefits of using the technology in the classroom, the gap between technology and education persists. More involvement is needed. One swallow does not make a summer!

Education is a large category which includes a good deal of topics. That's why today I picked only the school. In a environment where time is money and those who don't keep up are left behind, technology is up to date. But is this happening at school?

There is a different story. There is a real dichotomy, writes Suzanne Korf of The Gazette from Montreal, Canada:

    Take your average teenager and picture his home environment. He most likely has a computer with high-speed Internet and loads of gigabytes, and probably does his homework while downloading movies and answering text messages on his cellphone, with his favorite tunes blaring away on his iPod.

    Now picture his school environment.

    It hasn't changed all that much since we were in school. Aside from the same old buildings now even more in need of a makeover, in the average classroom, teachers still lecture in the front of the class, writing notes on a blackboard and using static textbooks as materials. Sure, there may be a computer and perhaps even a SMART Board in the classroom, but kids must feel like they are in a time warp. Some of the rules are archaic, too.

    For example, cellphones are banned on school property, even during lunch and recess. hey are taken away if hey accidentally fall out of a pocket if a child so much as looks at it to check the time.

    Perhaps these detested phones could be embraced as a resource. With most teenagers having phones with Internet access, in a classroom of 30 kids I would bet that this would make the equivalent of 15 personal computers in the class. Kids could pair up to look up information, share and discuss it.

    At work, we often refer to our BlackBerry during a meeting to see if an update is available or to share information. Why shouldn't our schools reflect that?


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Evaluations on Well-Executed Classroom Observations Do Identify Effective Teachers

Education Research Report

Cincinnati’s teacher evaluation system pinpoints link between teaching practices and student achievement

A new study of Cincinnati’s Teacher Evaluation System (TES), a rigorous evaluation program based on classroom observations, finds that teachers receiving high ratings (as scored by trained peer and administrative evaluators) are more effective in promoting student achievement growth. For example, a student who begins the year at the 50th percentile on the state reading and math test and is assigned to a teacher in the top quartile in terms of overall TES scores will perform on average, by the end of the school year, three percentile points higher in reading and two points higher in math than a peer who began the year at the same achievement level but was assigned to a bottom-quartile teacher.

Read more at Jonathan Kantrowitz's blog.

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10 Current Proyects Bill Gates Has to Change Education

Bill and Melinda Gates put a hefty portion of their billions into philanthropic efforts involving development, healthcare, and – of course – education. The foundation that bears their name sponsors a number of amazing opportunities for impoverished or otherwise marginalized individuals to thrive academically and vocationally, whether they be accessible inside the walls of a classroom or a library.

Here are at least 10 of their current projects and strategies that they have in place to ensure that more students across the world obtain the education they need in order to thrive and help build and reinforce their communities.

1. Sponsoring Thrive by Five.
2. Calling for Financial Aid Reform.
3. Providing Access to State-of-the-Art Technology.
4. Promoting Flexible Postsecondary Education.
5. Building and Promoting Libraries Worldwide.
6. Providing a Multitude of Grants.
7. Intensive Partnerships.
8. Access to Learning Award.
9. Providing a Multitude of Scholarships.
10. Sponsoring the Native Lens Program.

For an explanation of each one of the projects and strategies, please head over Online University Lowdown.

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Happy Spring Break to All Our Students

Spring break is something that many children look forward to, no matter what shape or size, or even grade. This break is the beginning of the end of the year for most students and teachers. The school year is zipping by and it’s the last break we have in the year, so the children make it count.

Break is a time where all students do exactly what you think they do, be lazy and go hang out with friends. Work is hardly ever done during this time and it’s not for the best, it should be done but not the day before. A little bit every day will help the finished products, which will also teach children a healthy working habit.

A lot of your students always have a Facebook status saying, “Oh God. I have to finish (a project/homework assignment/ etc.), I shouldn’t have procrastinated.” What I do not understand is that this happens every time the day before a vacation ends. If you realize that procrastination isn’t going to help why you guys didn’t you do your (homework/project/etc.) before? I myself ask this very same question sometimes.

When you really think about it, You're the only one to blame for not doing your work. You were so caught up in having fun with friends, playing games, and being lazy, that time just passed by. You hadn’t a care in the world until that very day before the end of vacation. Sometimes you do your work before the end of vacation, sometimes you don’t and you get really angry at yourself.

Although us teachers may be on break the work does not stop here, oh not by a long shot. Being an eighth grader, for example, you may feel like you're at the top of the world because you're graduating this year. However, there is much work to still be done and things to learn. An entire marking period is left to go through and no student should forget that.

Although students may not always make the best decisions, they try to make the best of it. Even though their vacation have just started every one of them plan to make a good one and also to do their work. Let this be a year where students like you and all your other students, realize that procrastinating isn't the way to go but doing a little bit at a time.

Vacation is a time to relax a bit but no one should forget that there will be always something to go through after it. No matter what, never forget that students all like fun and games, but there is a time and a place.

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Is Your Handwriting Clear, Clean And Beautiful?

I have serious issues when using my own handwriting. Sometimes I feel the need to sent notes to parents or even ask someone to edit my writings. The only problem I have is that those letters really suck.

When my son asks me to write clearly when I have to send notes to his own teachers. Y feel like learning my ABCs. He complains that usually the homeroom teacher has to call him out to explain what the recently handed in letter really means. I don't blame my son. I blame technology.

Is there a considerable number of you still reading cursive books anymore?

Besides that, I hardly remember the last time I sent (or received) a handwritten letter. I don't use it neither to my friends, nor to my parents. What I can tell you is that tonight I sent at least ten emails, wrote on fifteen Facebook walls, and tweeted two dozen times.

Some schools mandate its students to learn how to use handwriting properly. Before, students weren't allowed to get a library card before they could write their own name. Today, in place of that, my son has been taken to the computer labs and I, personally, used to take him over there. He was never taught how to master his handwriting skills.

Can you understand why so many kids aren't writing clearly on their homework and reports? And not only kids, there are a good deal of Baby Boomers with the same problem. I personally envy those who have handwriting that flows elegantly over the page instead of looking like hastily scribbled notes, writes Jennifer at Study Blue. Which makes feel a bit relieved.

I also wish most of my students --- and of course, myself--- have taken the time to perfect their penmanship instead of allowing technology to deter them from focusing on this fine art.

Is this happening to you and your students? Share your experiences.

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Social Media Is Changing the Way We Communicate. [Infographic]

Whether you like it or not, infographics are becoming a powerful e-learning tool. There is a whole lot of them around the web and we as teachers should build our own ones, and take them to the classroom. But in the meantime, we have to accept that social media as it is, it's changing the way we communicate.

Course Hero explains how the education industry seems to be picking pace as things are getting social in schools and universities.

Click it over to see it in full display




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5 Bookmark Tools Every Educator Should Have

With the internet increasingly growing, it's important all educators learn how evaluate information but also how to keep record of parts they think are the most relevant in their careers or for future reference and possibly research.

The following are the tools we've evaluated and we think it'll help our colleague educators:

1. Freelish.us. This is a social bookmarking service, similar to the almost dead delicious. Licensed under GNU, a General Public License. It lets users store URLs – bookmarks – with tags to make them easy to organize and share. You can subscribe to other users' bookmarks and get a stream of interesting things to read in your inbox.

2. Snip.ly. This site allows you to highlight text on the page, then generates a new url that features the text you highlighted. You are going to be able to share this new url (via email, Twitter, or Facebook) and the recipient will see the webpage you shared with the highlighted text featured.

3.Sorify. Still in private Beta, Storify is a new platform for curating social media content. It's a resource for finding news and information. And if you need to tell stories that incorporate a mix of links, videos, and social media, give Storify a try.

4. Curated.by . Curated.by bridges the gap between Twitter Favorites and social bookmarking. It allows you to create “bundles” of tweets which are similar to folders of favorites. You can curate (i.e. add tweets to a bundle) either in the website itself using multi-column view of your timeline – thehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif Bundler or by adding the Google Chrome extension which will add a “Curate” button to your regular Twitter web view.

5. Socially Learning. Technically this site works as a social network, but not for everyone. All members are teachers, education administrators, students, and other like-minded people. You can share your favorite links and watch as other users vote them up or down. The difference between Digg and Socially Learning is that this site is for only educational links.

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Education & Tech's Editor Interviewed by Global Voices

This past week, I was interviewed by Global Voices Online. Even though that questionnaire was general and more about Milton Ramirez and blogging, there was one question about education. Here's our appreciation about Latin America education environment:

How do you view the dynamic of technology applied to education, above all in the Latin American setting?

I would like to have a sufficient foundation to be able to voice my opinion about that which happens in Latin America. Unfortunately, my knowledge in closely related to my environment, the United States. Now, that does not exempt me from stating my own criticisms about what I know about education in the rest of the world.

Historically, in Latin America, one of the countries that has distinguished itself in educational material is Argentina. And those who want a first hand example simply have to read Tiscar Lara [es], Rosa María Torres [es] or Diego Leal [es].

Despite many efforts, however, our countries have not been able to liberate themselves from UNESCO and the surplus from the Alliance for Progress. It continues to glorify two tools as though they're some sort of magical cure for all of the problems with technology in our schools: projectors and PowerPoint slides.

Our educators still believe that technology is something imposed upon us by the empire –the United States. This could not be further from reality. Technology and the curriculum are the mediums. The educators are the ones who are called upon to bring this synchronization to life. And in a world that is so high tech, it's a sin that elementary and high schools, as well as universities, do not bring themselves up to date on these materials.

The problem with everything is the funds and with the crisis enveloping every corner of the Earth, the implementation of technology in these centers goes from being extremely limited to totally absent.

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How Can Educators Capture Youth's Attention?

And one more question: How can educators captivate students love for school when home life is so tough and at times impoverished?

School as we know it is a safe place for the children it serves. We can capture their attention by instilling in them that there is someone that does care about life. Showing children a new path and direction we can help them open up their eyes to things they have never explored before.

Almost most teachers are willing to go the extra step to help find interventions for their most troubled students. It takes hard work to get a child to gain trust and open up. It even takes teachers to act like parents of these children. But in the long run it pays to do that.

Many need confidence that can be gained by celebrating their successes. In other cases, teach those students simple tasks as how to get stains out of their uniforms (yes, in this part of the U.S. students already use uniform)when others can not do so, shows an educator do care about these children. And they notice it.

Schools are safe heavens because children, in most of the times, spend more time in school than they do in their own home.

What are you doing to gain attention and love from you own students?

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 04/02/2011


The rest of my favorite links are here

School Structure: Don't Blame the Others, Blame Yourself

If you are a teacher, you may have heard countless times that the previous level teachers are responsible for ensuring that you have now, in your class, unprepared students. Well, that's what Tom Whitby discussed in his blog today.

According to my curriculum classes, that's what is known as fracture of the education system. The fact that each level try to exist separately and nobody is responsible for interrelations with others, is really an issue.

It is a complex state of the education. But I think every teacher should begin by looking for its role in the educational system and not just in their own educational level or class. This is what we need to do, according to our appreciated Whitby:

    We need to discuss more about what we expect and what we need from teachers of other grade levels. It would also be great if we could all spend a day in the shoes of an educator on another grade level. We need to understand where our students came from in order to take them forward. We cannot be drawn into this teacher against teacher battle that is being stoked by politicians. Sharing and collaborating amongst educators is much more positive than the alternatives. Those who close themselves off and engage in empire building hurt all educators. We need to consider the whole picture in education for our students. We need to be educators first and not grade level labeled. We need to enter kid’s lives as a team, not have kids meet us as separate entities. I know this is the ideal, but shooting for higher goals beats where we many view us today. Again, this post was not directed at you but all those other educators who fall into this description.

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Why Do We Need More Face to Face Communication

The fact we cannot see the face of the other person while we interact using social media and tools like Facebook or Twitter, it can be contributing to "more senseless violence in the world." Why? Because "We don’t know how to interact with each other," writes in a interesting article, Ray Ebersole.

    We need to talk to each other, we need more face to face communication. We need to teach our children how to communicate with others as people with emotions. Because of social media and email we talk to others the same way we write an email or the way we tweet, without others feelings in mind. Do a quick practical test yourself.

    Look around as you walk or are working, how many people have their cell phones out checking email, tweeting, texting? They aren’t looking at the people around them, they are transfixed on a gadget, an inanimate object. Now, look at your Facebook and Twitter account, how many “friends” or followers do you have? Do you really have 1,463 friends? Do you really have thousands of “Followers” that you really know?

I have been writing about education and good uses of technology in the classroom for quite a while. I have been doing it both in English and Spanish, and what I"ve noticed is most people nowadays is embedded in technology wherever I go. This means I have to agree with the author in the mentioned article, "There are a lot of great things that technology and social media can do for us, but we need to use them in moderation or we are going to become exactly like the movie WALL-E."



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Are Teachers Being Overpaid? That's a Falllacy

Now that almost everyone, even those without enough authority and knowledge, speak and write about education reform, it is healthy to read a favorable, well written article in the New York Times. Nicholas D. Kristof makes a case for American educators, something many are afraid to shout in these precise days. Teachers, here and worldwide are underpaid whether we consider the standards comparative to others careers.

I'll invite to read the article in its entirety, but to me the most powerful paragraph is this one: "You might get the impression that we’re going bust because teachers are overpaid."

That’s a pernicious fallacy. A basic educational challenge is not that teachers are raking it in, but that they are underpaid. If we want to compete with other countries, and chip away at poverty across America, then we need to pay teachers more so as to attract better people into the profession.

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