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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Why Some Students Don’t Care

By Nancy Parker*

Ten years ago a student’s life was a little different. Students were more motivated, focused and dedicated to continuing their education past high school. Nowadays, it seems that middle school and high school students are more reluctant to do well in school and less inspired to head off to college. We can start to point fingers at parenting and bad schools but it’s hard not to see that perhaps technology and the media is the aiding culprit in this disappointing euphony.

It’s no groundbreaking news that most students have never really wanted to study; studying has been a pain for students for decades. What student wouldn’t rather go see a movie over finishing a report for English class? The past ten years a lot of things have changed in technology. With these great inventions come some negatives. Texting on cell phones started in the mid 1990’s but wasn’t available for most phones until about 2002-2003. Texting has become such a phenomena in 2008 and affected all aspects of in the communication world; texting is the number one way to communicate for teens. With texting comes another distraction: social media, most specifically Facebook. Facebook has over 900 million active users and counting.

Students have more opportunities to distract themselves than they did 10 years ago. There weren’t as elaborate gaming systems, touch screen tablets and interactive blog and websites as readily available. Humans are naturally social creatures that yearn for attention and a need to feed their curiosity on knowing all. Today’s technology distracts students on many different levels by offering them the ability to always be one step ahead of the game. With the endless and enticing options that technology offers students, it’s easy to see why they prefer to play than to study.

Studying distractions leads to lower grades, in which turns to less motivation for students, coupled with the social and society standards it’s no wonder students don’t believe that education matters.

Where scripted television and reality television shows center around over abundance and being successful without the hard work, kids and teens think this is the norm. With teen celebrities dressing, acting, partying, tweeting and putting themselves out there for the whole world to see, it influences the na├»ve. Some teens honestly believe that they can make it big by doing a reality TV show or being part of ‘get rich quick’ idea. What our students are exposed to on a daily basis directly reflects their lack of motivation in school.

Having cell phones and iPads, watching reality TV isn’t bad. But it’s all about how you handle these technology tools and the messages being delivered from television. It’s ultimately up to the parents --and why not teachers, to help and guide their child through their educational career. No one can tell you how to raise your child but there are ways you can keep your child in school and on a path for success. Options you can take are setting guidelines, limits and rules on technology usage. Sitting down with your child and actually communicating about societies messages can help them in their future.

So turn off the TV and tweet, text, messages on Facebook and have your student sit down for a good conversation. It’s not the students fault that there are distractions and certain beliefs being thrown at them via media. They grew up in a time where texting is the norm and young celebrities posting photos of themselves doing drugs is acceptable. Help them and guide them. Bring them back to what a real student should be doing; preparing for the real world with valuable educational and real life lessons. Help your student become a kid again.

(*) Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, and Babysitting, find a nanny tips etc. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 AT gmail DOT com.

How Mixed Neighborhoods Could Save America’s #Schools

The Hechinger Report

Educators have a mission to prove that schools serving poor students can be great. So it's hard for educators to say that the only way this school can be great is if it's economically integrated.

In a former Atlanta slum, low- and middle-income families now live side by side -- and send their children to the same excellent school. Is this surprising model too good to be true?

During the half century that Theresa Cartwright has lived in the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta, she has twice seen the area's schools undergo a complete transformation. In the 1960s, black families like her own moved to the neighborhood's Craftsman bungalows and a new public housing project, driving out their white, middle-class neighbors. When she was in second grade, her elementary school was all black. By the time she was in sixth grade, the projects were so violent they had earned the name "Little Vietnam" and her mother refused to let her go to the failing local middle school.

You can read more of this article here. Or get more updates from Sarah Garland on education reporting.

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Teacher's Guide to Social Media #Infographic

Muhammad Saleem, a social media strategist, reach to us to share a useful compilation of information. The infographic provides an overview of potential uses for popular social media sites, and its usage is broken down into four overlapping categories: Connect, Curate, Notify, and Teach.

A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media
Via: OnlineColleges.net

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Top Sites for Renting Textbooks Online


By  Amanda Watson*
 
Ask any student about one of the most ridiculous education costs they face, and textbooks will surely be high on the list. Your first experience buying books as a college freshman can be a bit shocking as you end up walking out the door of the bookstore with a $500 receipt in hand. And the worst part? Don’t expect to get more than half of what you spent back when you return the book used three months later. When there are so many other costs that college students need to attend to, these prices seem more than steep and are definitely verging on downright wrong. Luckily, there are now ways to bypass these high prices altogether by utilizing offers from some of the newest technology and web companies. Book rental companies have sprung up like wildfire in the past few years and have become efficient and cost-saving ways to get the books you need for college. If you have yet to try an online book rental, check out some of the most reputable:

1. Chegg.com

Chegg is one of the more popular book rental sites out there. Students can rent or buy textbooks in a variety of different states, from used and torn to perfectly new. The site also buys unwanted textbooks from students and claims to pay some of the best prices out there for used titles. Chegg has also expanded to offer course reviews, grade distributions and homework help to all students.

2. BookRenter.com

BookRenter was founded by college student, Colin Barceloux, who was disturbed by the high cost of textbooks and the fact that they would so quickly lose their value after the initial purchase. While working as a mailman on campus to earn extra money, he noticed huge amounts of books left behind by students or marked as without value by the school library. He began to collect and sell them online. Realizing that buying and selling books online, term by term, was equivalent to renting books, he soon came up with the idea to start a book rental company.

3. Ecampus.com

Ecampus is a very well-streamlined site for book rental. Students can rent books, get them directly delivered, and then return or sell them once their rental period ends. Students can also sell their own textbooks to Ecampus and get paid instantly via direct deposit.

4. CollegeBookRenter.com

All you need to do is choose an item, input how long you will need it, and then check out. The site provides different rental periods that coincide with most school schedules. To return a book, you simply log into your account, print out the shipping labels provided by the site and drop off the books at a UPS location. Users can choose between used and new textbooks. They can also sell the book after they use it, if they decide not to do an exchange and pocket the cash.


(*) Amanda Watson is a blogger who loves to share her passion for online higher education with her many readers. She gladly dispenses online mba advice and shares her wisdom for all things related to getting a degree online. Send her an email at watsonamanda.48@gmail.com.

Stumbling Blocks For Teachers Not Getting On The Edtech Bus

It's not difficult to find leaders who possess many stumbling blocks in their repertoire of excuses to not get on the eLearning-digital-tech bus. But the biggest one always seems to be fear -- fear of the unknown, fear that they will be accountable for everything that happens, and fear most of all that they will lose control because the students know more than them. I think, writes Kimberley Rivett on a post first appeared on Education Rethink blog.

And Rivett continues: There is a real need to demystify this for teachers and school leaders so that there is a real shift in thinking to 'we are all teachers and we are all learners' in every classroom and school. Once this occurs, we have less resistance and fear. Teachers and leaders need to exit their own schools and visit schools who have managed this paradigm shift in practice, not just in theory. And I don't mean the best schools or the model schools, I mean the ones that are on a journey and are making mistakes but are running with the excitement of change.

There are many reasons teachers are hesitant no to use technology in their classroom. Tech allows teachers to break free and connect with students in new and exciting ways. But the problem is not coming only from teachers. The concept teacher-student makes me think of the learners, and when such learners come from traditional learning backgrounds, a teacher also needs the right attributes and skills to help them overcome their prejudices. "Engaging" I think is more sophisticated word for this matter.

Photo by Judy Baxter on Flickr


Some  tech tools are labeled as 'fun.'  And while this might be true, when confronted with resistance to change, technology is going to be useless, at least your passion for education is present and you are able to find a balance between technology and traditional methods, but too many people argue 'balance' by mentioning 'paper pencil.' Also the word fun have many interpretations and in  this case could be understood as entertainment. In such case  we (I am also a teacher) aren't teachers, we're entertainers, which devalues the profession to a degree and could explain some hesitation on implementing tech.

In this internet era almost nobody will be asked to create a project without technology. However, a person needs to see how teaching and learning with tech can transform a classroom. A person needs to have time and connections to get the support and updates required when talking about the ever changing technology. Unfortunately,  most PD is being done by telling without coaching, modeling and mentoring. Then, don't blame teachers if they decide to abandon such interest for technology and return to traditional education.

Still and being super positive about the impact of technology in the process of learning, we need to deal with   the variations of fear. The fear of students not actually 'learning', or fear of my class was a 'wasted time.' Not to mention a symphony from the 'stuck keys' noise on the computer, students drawing penises in MS Paint, and KKK images as iPad wallpapers. Not wanting to deal with this hassle is enough for a teacher to head to the photocopier for grammar worksheets, writes on the same topic Tom Panarese.

You can head overJohn T. Spencer's article to check his 11 reasons why teachers aren't using technology. But I also would like to transcribe three more objections Michael Doyle has found on this topic:

    1) Infrastructure (and the software available) often sucks. Big time. Until the folks in charge learn enough not to get suckered by every shiny colored folder promising great things, or until administrators learn to trust open source, this will remain a problem, BUT....
    2) If teachers acted as professionals, and took the time to learn how to use the tools (and no amount of PD can replace simply screwing around with a program), the admins will be forced to suckle from the big vendors who promise (*cough*) support.
    3) Criminy, these are tools, but too many of us can't even use a pencil effectively in a classroom, and the e-tech stuff just amplifies our incompetencies. (Is that a word?)

All this topic hasn't been comprehensibly researched, it's open for discussion and you can keep up with the conversation and even suggest some other reasons why you as an educator feel demotivated to use technology in your school.

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Obama vs. Romney: Where They Stand on Education

By Amelia Wood*

There's been a lot of talk about how President Obama and Mitt Romney differ when it comes to issues like healthcare, gay rights, and the economy. In the midst of all the talk about these hot button issues, both candidates will occasionally throw in their two cents about educational matters. However, if you're not particularly tuned into what the president and his opponent are discussing on the campaign trail, you may not be exactly sure where each of them stands when it comes to education. It turns out that Obama and Romney agree about a few key things regarding education, but they also disagree about a handful of important things as well. Here's what you should know about their stances:

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

 What They Agree On

     1. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree that teachers' unions should have less control and that ineffective teachers should be let go. Additionally, each candidate has asserted that merit-based pay for teachers should be taken into consideration.
    2. Obama and Romney are both in favor of increasing the number of charter schools nationwide to give students and parents more educational options and to create healthy competition among educators. Obama has already provided grant money to states that foster the growth of charter schools.
    3. The current U.S. president and his opponent both would like to revise certain parts of the No Child Left Behind Act to give the federal government less strict control over the education policies of individual states. Obama has already limited federal control by issuing waivers to 26 states that agreed to measure their educational improvement in ways that differ from the metrics outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act. If Romney becomes president, he plans to give states additional control to create their own standards and evaluations.
    4. They also both ardently believe that standardized test scores should be factored into teacher evaluations.
 How They Differ

    1. President Obama thinks more teachers need to be hired and the number of students in each American classroom needs to decrease. Romney, on the other hand, thinks that class size has no effect on student performance and that we need to focus on hiring better teachers instead of more teachers.
    2. Romney strongly believes in issuing school vouchers to give students a chance to attend the private, public, or charter schools of their choice. Obama doesn't think vouchers are the solution, and he thinks that voucher programs could actually hurt public schools as a whole by providing more support to private, religious schools and less much-needed support to public education programs.
    3. As a part of his work as president, Obama ended the relationships between private banks and federal student loan programs. In doing so, he was able to collect a substantial amount of money that would have gone to subsidize those private banks. With the money saved as a result of this arrangement, the president was able to increase the number of need-based Pell Grants issued to low-income college students. Mitt Romney believes that private banks should be allowed back into the equation.
    4. Romney wants to reverse Obama's recent legislation that would shut down for-profit colleges that aren't able to produce a substantial number of graduates who are able to become gainfully employed. He believes that the federal government should have no control over which higher education programs exist. Additionally, Romney has praised the work of some for-profit colleges, asserting that they are lowering the overall cost of higher education and producing a more skilled workforce in the medical and technology sectors.
 As the debate over how to reform public education continues to heat up, it should be interesting to see how Obama and Romney's views on the matter change and expand. Let's just hope that, no matter who wins the presidential election, educating the future leaders of our country becomes an even bigger priority in the White House over the next few years.

 (*) This guest post was written by Amelia Wood, a blogger who specializes in articles on medical billing and coding schools. Feel free to reach her at amelia1612 AT gmail DOT com.

How to Help Prevent Pregnancy among High-School Students

By Dana Vicktor*

Teen pregnancy continues to be a big problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC, 367,752 babies were born to women ages 15-19 in 2010, the last year for which data is available. That was a record low for women in that age range, and a drop of 9 percent from the previous year.

However, the CDC noted that the rate of teen births remained "substantially higher" than that of other western industrialized nations, and that teen births create significant social and economic costs, including:



  • $11 billion per year in taxpayer programs, including health care, foster care, and increase incarceration rates
  • Increased high-school dropout rates
  • Increased unemployment rates among teen mothers
  • Increased reliance on social programs by these young mothers


Teen pregnancy is also often bad for both the mother and the baby, as most young mothers have limited access to health care or do not have the maturity to keep appointments or tend to prenatal care. Teen mothers are more likely to have low birth-weight babies, who are prone to a host of health problems. Children born to teen mothers are also less likely to receive the nutrition, health care, or developmental support that they need.

Finding ways to prevent or reduce the number of teen pregnancies is critical to reducing these social, economic, and health problems.

Here are a few ways that educators can help play a role in preventing teen pregnancy:

Educate about the Risks

As educators, you are in a prime role to help make teens aware of the dangers of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other consequences of sexual activity. You can teach teens about responsible sexual health, including using contraceptives and being tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Provide Counseling

Depending on your role or your training, you can either provide counseling to teens or push for programs at your school that provide it. Counseling can help teens understand when to recognize that they are ready for sexual relations, how to choose their partners, and how to make responsible decisions about romantic relationships.

Counseling should also focus on the underlying problems that can lead teens to engage in risky behavior, such as problems at home or emotional insecurity.

Push for Support Programs

If your school or community does not already have them, you can work to introduce them. Support programs can include those that provide free contraception like condoms or birth control or that provide free or affordable health care.

Support programs can also include positive activities that can provide an outlet for teens, such as sports programs or community theater. While these programs won't be teaching teens about making healthy sexual choices, they will provide them an outlet for expression and for building up their self-esteem and sense of belonging so that they don't seek unhealthy activities to get a false sense of fulfillment.

Encourage Parental Involvement

Parents are the biggest influence on teen behavior. If parents are involved in their children's lives and are providing a positive role model, teens are far less likely to be involved in risky behavior.

As educators, you can talk to the parents of your students about what their teens are doing at school and how they can get involved. Hold conferences where you ask about what's going on at home then provide information about local support services to help make it easier for them to be more involved with their children.

Teen pregnancy is a problem that affects everyone. Teen mothers become adults who struggle with getting an education and rising to the level of their peers. The children of teen mothers struggle with health and education problems.

Finding ways to help prevent or reduce teen pregnancy is critical. Educators can play a role by promoting sexual education, offering counseling, encouraging the adoption of support programs, and encouraging greater parental involvement.

(*) Dana Vicktor is the senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in communications and sociology. Her current focus for the site involves stem cells and being pregnant.
 
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