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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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Speed Reading Made Easy!

By Johanna Bergstrom*

Have you ever known someone who could read entire books in a sitting, devour classroom materials in an evening and get through paperwork like a hurricane and still be able to tell you precisely what they read, how it was and what was important in it? This amazing skill is known as Speed Reading and while it may seem magical or a talent that only a select few have, it's actually something you can learn with some practice and the right tricks.

Don't believe me? The human brain is a fairly miraculous thing. It takes in far more information than we give it credit for, even when you think that what you see is complete gibberish:

(Credit: icantseeyou.typepad.com)


There see? Your brain just deciphered all of that with no problem, even though everything was completely scrambled up! And this is just one example of how the brain can function with information that we subjectively think is nonsense, but can be sorted out with ease. It is this ability of the brain that we will tap to make speed reading easy for just about anyone to learn.

Time to start practicing!

  • Read, read, read! You cannot practice speed reading if you don't, well, do it. People who are speedy are voracious readers; they can't eat a meal without a book and they need a good story to wind down. It's time for you to join these ranks. Read whatever it is you enjoy and read often. Another good tip here is to read in the morning; our brains are fresher then and it’s a good way to start the day.
  • Peripheral Vision. The human brain and eyes are able to take in far more information than what we think. Peripheral vision comes into play here; it refers to the idea of catching information from the corners of our eyes-so to speak. In speed reading, what you're doing is taking advantage of the fact that the brain can actually grab up the written information that comes from the side of our vision as well as in the front. Use your peripherals to read several words at a time and your speed will vastly improve.

    You can improve your vision by drawing two parallel lines three inches apart from each other down the middle of a block of text. Concentrate on the area between the lines, but try to catch the words on the other side of the lines. The more you do this, the better your vision will be. You can also use newspapers to start reading chunks at a time.
  • Do you subvocalize? Stop it! Subvocalizing is done when we use our mental voice to pronounce words we are reading. Maybe you even open your mouth while reading! Unfortunately, this will slow you down and you have to quit the habit. You can do things by reading faster than your mouth can move or mentally counting while you read to train you out of reading with your throat and just with your eyes.
  • The Power of Z! This is another neat little trick that can speed up your reading instantly. First, it relies on the fact that the brain will grab up information even if you are not directly concentrating on it. What you are going to do is read a line of text normally and then sweep diagonally over the next line and read the third line-creating a Z with your eyes. It will take a bit of practice, but it can greatly speed up your reading.
  • Look for main ideas. In nonfiction work, there will always be main ideas to get across. Track them down by using the table of contents and the first and last sentences of paragraphs. This will help you to determine which parts of the books you’ll need to skim and which need more attention. I learned this trick in university and it was pretty useful for getting through dry texts.
  • Stop backtracking. We do a lot of backtracking in our reading without even realizing it. Many people read one word, read a few more and then dart back to the first word. You can train yourself out of doing that by using your index finger to force your eyes to keep up while you trace under words just ahead of where you are in the book. This will prevent you from backtracking and will promote greater reading speed.
  • Finally, take a close look at your environment. Most people read better when they are sitting up straight and at a desk rather than in bed or on a couch --unless they are reading for fun in which case, read upside down if you like! No matter what you are reading, it’s important to have good lighting, take breaks regularly, and make sure you are comfortable. And finally, change up your readings speed as necessary; for example, even the fastest of readers will slow down for legal contracts and mathematics, but can speed up for novels, newspapers and magazines.
Speed reading is a great skill to have, not only to impress others, but also because it allows you to get through information quickly and be able to read more in shorter periods of time. It's surprisingly easy to do to, so long as you keep practicing. Train your eyes, trust your brain and take more time out to read your books! You’ll be speed reading in, well, no time!

(*)Johanna Bergstrom is a motivated woman who takes self-development pretty seriously. She is currently associated with Freedownloadb.com and mostly finds herself amongst a wide variety of reading material and business tools.

10 Things To Bear In Mind When Organising A Successful School Field Trip

By Emily Buchanan

So, you're of the mind that it would be a refreshing and, hopefully, inspiring move to take your pupils out of the classroom and into a different environment. But how are you going to make sure that your best intentions come to fruition? Have you thought everything through? I mean really thought everything through?

Here's a handy list of things to bear in mind in order to make your school field trip that crucial mix of educationally stimulating, safe, correctly administered, and - don't forget this one - fun for everyone involved!

First of all, lets get the more tedious parts out of the way. Yes, of course there are tedious bits. You weren't forgetting those were you?



1. Get verbal consent from the Head before you start planning

You've had the idea. It's a good 'un. But make sure you get the key people on board with your idea at the get-go. The Head can advise you on past experiences with the school on field trips, he or she may even have some really good suggestions. Either way, they will be able to give you the green light to organise it and give you any guidance you need.

2. Plan for back-up in case of emergency

It's more than likely that your field trip will pass without incident. Most things do in life. But make sure there are people in-situ who can support you. Taking your pupils to somewhere like Kingswood will ensure this. At least then, should the unlikely event occur, you are in an excellent environment to deal with any eventuality.

3. Get informed on Health and Safety

You know this is important and yes it is also supremely dull. But just make sure you are well briefed. No need to go overboard and get the cotton-wool wrapping out. Just be informed. Be sensible. Be safe.

4. Think about Cost

This may not come as a news flash but there it's a difficult economic climate out there. This is affecting everyone, parents especially. Don't go suggesting activities that are going to count out a lot of pupils. Take time to assess the costs involved. What are the low-cost options? Are there any ways you can get funding from the school or education authority to make sure everyone can go?

5. Make sure the parents are aware of the logistics Parents, generally, are in favour of the idea of field trips. They know the benefits. But make sure you send them adequate communication explaining what you are planning, why and what they need to know so that they can adapt their schedules accordingly. Make sure everyone knows where everyone is going, at what time they will start, finish and eat, how they will eat and what the transport arrangements are. Get their written permission.

Ok, so that’s the more process-driven stuff out of the way. What about the more exciting stuff?

6. Is the opportunity unique?

What is the nature of the field trip? Is it really something that the pupils would only experience if you organised it for them? This is crucial to making it constructive and memorable. If it is unique, you stand much more chance of getting everybody on board with the idea.

7. Set objectives in advance

Make sure you've got a clear idea of what you want everyone to get out of the field trip in advance. This will help give structure and clear value you to the trip. It will also help you maintain focus during the trip when minds have the opportunity to wander.


8. Think about how the activity translates class-room learning
The best field trips will re-contextualise a particular sub-strand or topic within your subject and shed a different light on it for the students. In this way, students can find a new perspective on a topic which might have previously left them disinterested. It will had richness and breadth to your subjects and can re-energise the students on the return to the class-room.

9. Make it fun AND educational

Perhaps the most important point is this one. There is plenty of research which suggests, like the best class-based learning, that the optimum way to make sure the field trip is a success is to make sure it is fun and as well as educational.

10. De-brief

You need to learn too. What went well? What could have gone better? How might you do things differently in future? Get feedback from the students. Make it better for next time. Share your thoughts, the successes and things you’ve learned with your fellow teachers.

Think about all these things carefully, get planning and you can make your school field trip an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved.

"Social Media Is Serendipity On Steroids"

Forbes:

"Social media is still a maturing platform that requires a full commitment; it demands your time and high-levels of responsibility. If you are active on social media only to increase your number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections – and not to offer any real value during the process – then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. The goal is to add value to the audience that you are serving. This requires work, but more importantly it requires you to value yourself. And if you don’t value yourself, you are being irresponsible to those who expect value from you. In a world where perception is increasingly being confused with reality, we don’t need more people being catfished.

Unfortunately, there are many self-proclaimed experts and thought-leaders whose sole focus is to leverage social media as a “self-promotion” platform rather than using it to engage with meaningful and purposeful intentions. The reason most people don’t engage with social media the right way is because they don’t value themselves enough to stand for something of significance that they can share unconditionally with others. Instead, they mismanage their valuable time, thus further devaluing themselves."

This is an exerpt of the original article written by Glenn Llopis and first appeared on forbes.com

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Milton Ramirez
 
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