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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Tips for Forming a Successful Online Study Group

By Kay Winders *

Some students who take courses online can begin to feel isolated from their fellow students if they don’t take proactive measures to actively participate in online discussions or to reach out to classmates. Some may just not know where to start – after all, you can’t just hang out after class and casually ask a passerby about this week’s assignment.

Forming an online study group is a great way to get to know online classmates better, as well as learning the material better and getting more support for your studies. However, you will need to make some special considerations when forming an online study group in order to ensure it’s a success. Here are a few
tips:

Select Members Carefully

The success of any study group – whether online or off – depends in large part on its members. Each person should be committed to the success of the group and should be able to meet regularly and contribute fully.

Start by reaching out to classmates who seem active in classroom discussions. Or ask a classmate whose work you admire in the class. These students are more likely to be valuable and dependable members of your group, which will bolster its success.

Choose the Right Medium

There are a number of ways for you to hold a virtual meeting online: Video conferencing through Skype or Google chat, discussions through online forums or e-mail, or special programs such as ThinkBinder.

Determine what the best outlet will be to ensure that all members can attend and that you can do the work you need to do. For example, if you choose video conferencing, do all members have a web cam to participate? If you choose a software provider, do all members have the technical capacity to download it?
Make sure you are all on the same page before you make these decisions.

Set a Schedule

Keep your study group focused and make sure you’re prepared for big upcoming tests and projects by setting a schedule. Not only can you ensure that everyone is available when it’s time to study by working out the scheduling conflicts ahead of time, but you can also make sure that everyone is adequately prepared to
make a meaningful contribution to your study session.


Also be sure to set an agenda – or mini schedule – for your individual study sessions. This will keep your discussion on track and help ensure that you meet your goals for the session.

Pre-Load Study Materials

Once you have your schedule set, make sure that members know to pre-load their notes and other materials before the study session begins. That way all members will have access to the same materials so that discussions are facilitated more smoothly. After all, you can’t have a productive conversation when you’re referencing materials that not everyone has.

Create a space online where group members can share this information. There are several possibilities, including Drop Box, Google docs, and similar services. Make sure that everyone has usage rights or the login credentials to access the materials.

Choose a Group Moderator

Finally, make sure that your study sessions stay focused and on schedule by appointing one member to be a group moderator. This person can oversee the agenda you have set for the meeting and ensure that discussions stay on topic and that you meet your goals.

You may consider appointing rotating group moderators to distribute the responsibility so that one person doesn’t feel pressured to do more work. A rotating moderator can also give you the opportunity to figure out which member can do the best job of leading the group.

Forming an online study group is a great way to build relationships with classmates while also strengthening your understanding of the material. When you form your online study group, follow these tips to make sure it’s successful.

Have you formed an online study group? Share your tips for success in the comments!

(*) Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for http://www.badcreditloans.orgwhere she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.

Taking Action Against Bullying in the 2012

Most students are coming back to school again this year and it's just time to remember that we all have a right to live our own lives, but in peace, and it's also a right to go to school without being hassled.

Bullying means disrespect. Showing respect for other people means accepting their differences and treating them the way you'd like to be treated. Unfortunately, bullying is the exact opposite.

In the process appears four subjects: The bully, the target, the bystanders, and the ally. When you're getting picked on all the time, it's hard to feel good about yourself. Bullying can affect a teen in middle and high school, in all kinds of ways. Some symptoms may include: Aches on their head and stomach, absence of concentration in class,can't sleep, low self-esteem, depression, skipping school and the most dangerous of all, thinking about hurting themselves or others.

Last year, the media covered a variety of cases where young students lost their lives as a consequence of bullying. One thing is teasing (a playful thing you do with friends) and another is taunting (which is meant to hurt someone's feelings). Both terms mean making fun of someone, but under this situation they're quite different.

Fortunately, two media specialists from Maine had published a book which aims to help parents, students and teachers this year to combat what Kay Stephens and Vinitha Nair called Cyber Slammed. That's precisely the name of their book: Cyberslammed: Understand, Prevent, Combat And Transform The Most Common Cyberbullying Tactics.

Authors focused on six different tactics and ways parents and educators can be informed, and armed to protect their children. The two main references used in the book were http://www.cyberbullying.us/aboutus.php, http://stopcyberbullying.org/, and netfamilynews.org, along with Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard (Hinduya, S & Patchin, J.) Of course they used other techniques and surveys.

Some of the bullying activities are very subtle, which is why teachers and other adults often don't notice that it's happening at all. There are four common kinds of bullying: Physical Bullying, Verbal Bullying, Social Bullying, and Cyber Bullying. The aforementioned book talks about cyberbullying, understood as a bad use of technology to threaten, harass, or hurt someone, spread rumors or pass on someone's private information.

Since most teens who are bullied often don't want to tell adults what's going on, Stephens & Nair propose free workshops(In Maine only) on a series of internet safety. They also have created a digital learning network. Writers suggest these six tactics of self-defense are what is missing from today's cyberbulying curricula:

Using the Internet

1. Digital Pile On. Ganging up on someone on chat forums or Instant Messaging.

2. Rating Website. Using Internet polls to get bystanders to vote for their "ugliest," "fattest," "dumbest" peers.

3. Imposter Profile. Creating a website or social networking profile to deceive others to assume it is genuinely owned and maintained by the target.

4. Haters Club. Spreading mob mentality on websites or social networking sites to persecute an individual.

Using Cell Phone

5. Sexting. Taking or sending an explicit photo of oneself and forwarding it to friends or potential suitors.

Using a Digital/Video Camera

6. Videojacking. Videotaping a target without his knowledge/approval and uploading the video to a popular video-sharing websites.

The money you spend buying this book is well worth it. Each one of the tactics is accompanied by a guide to conflict resolution for the teacher and 'inmediate steps' to be taken by either adults or students. One of the sections I love most is the Tech Defense which elaborately shows you what do in the event that you need to help and defend a teenger in your school with lawful, and practical strategies.

 
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