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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Ravitch: "Public Education Is Not Broken"

The National Assessment of Education Progress, has demonstrated that levels of student achievement have been rising, incrementally but steadily, from one decade to the next, since 1970. And those scores are now at their highest point ever recorded, says Jonathan Kozol of The New York Times. Graduation rates are also at their highest level, with more young people entering college than at any time before.

Diane Ravitch was very vocal of the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing. But Ravitch recently has changed her mind. And she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools. Her new book, Reign of Error:The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools debunks the idea of replacing public schools with for-profit institutions. She spends time countering traditional narrative about test scores, graduation rates and the achievement gap. Details on these two interviews: NPR & Washington Post.

There is also another book recently released and it is written by two prominent educators as well. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom, by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager. Andrew Walters of Hack Education compares both publications in detail and arrives to the following conclusion:
This is one of the weaknesses of the book [Ravitch], I think, something that gives it a structure that makes Reign of Error read like a long list of political talking points rather than historical narrative. I’ll admit I’m biased here when I say “skip the solutions!” as I’m working on a book that raises far more questions than it gives answers for. But I see great value in penning a detailed critique about “what’s happening” or “what’s wrong” without having to provide prescriptions for “what’ll fix it.” Unlike Invent to Learn, which as a guide must make very practical and doable suggestions, Ravitch’s book isn’t a guide and so doesn’t really succeed in fulfilling the conventions of that genre. It doesn't really work as "history" either. It’s more stump speech than scholarship.
As to me, I think that more profesional educators are on call to write, denounce and publish not only their research but their profesional opinions on something they are the most prepared people to talk about. If you are a teacher I'll suggest to buy both educational books.

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Colleges and Universities Using Social Media More Than Ever

By Desmond Daniels*

Social networks are the realm of the 18 to 24 year old demographic, with 98 percent of that age range having a profile on at least one social networking site, according to Statistic Brain. Colleges and universities utilize social media in a variety of ways to reach current and potential students for information, marketing, and educational purposes. The Chronicle reports that many colleges and universities still view social media marketing and outreach as a sideline task instead of something a dedicated employee can tackle. However, innovative and effective efforts by forward thinking colleges and universities are starting to change this viewpoint.

Ways Universities Utilize Social Networks



Ed Tech Magazine reports that the major categories of social media usage focuses on engaging alumni, sustaining a brand image, increasing awareness of the school, and engaging current students. Social media sites provide colleges with a way to directly interact with students on their home turf, and directly present their messages where students look every day. While many universities keep their social network profiles active, there are a few schools that go above and beyond typical social media usage.

Other interesting ways that schools use social media include Twitter accounts to talk directly to faculty, and video conferencing for open office hours. Some schools even use Pinterest to share information that's relevant to their students. This gives the school a way to engage with students, without having to push marketing or other branding efforts directly. Recipes are especially good, as are resources that help students live away from home.

Princeton



Princeton's magazine The Princeton Weekly uses social networking to share personal stories from students and alumni, as well as interesting articles on a number of topics relevant to Princeton's area of study, according to Social Media Today.

Notre Dame



Notre Dame knows that college graduates have a tough time after they get out of school, but graduates from this school have a lot of support through a private Linkedin group for alumni. This group allows post-graduate students to network even if they aren't near campus, opening up job opportunities that are essential in this economy. The group also helps the alumni to stay connected with each other, even when they are thousands of miles apart.

Penn Foster



Penn Foster College is a university that focuses on innovative distance learning opportunities for busy students, professionals, and people returning to college. Penn Foster on Linkedin utilizes the professional social networking community in order to keep in touch with students. It helps them connect them with employers, and tracks students that came from pharmacy tech school, or studied criminal justice, for example, who went on to open up their own companies.

Cornell



If you really want to know what a university is like, you ask the students directly. Since potential students don't always have friends in a particular university, Cornell makes student run blogs available to give an uncensored view of what college life is like at this school. This social media venue also allows the students to interact with each other and keep up with news around campus.

(*) Desmond Daniels is a graduate student and freelance from Phoenix, Arizona. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Daniel is pretty outgoing, a gentleman, humorous, and loves music. He’s also the content advocate for BlueFirePR and the liaison between their Content Team consisting of in-house journalist, copywriters, and a fantastic editing team.

Dr. Montoya: More "Rigorous Core Courses" in High School

I’ve read a number of critiques about standardized testing, mostly from educators. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing wrote that most state exams overemphasize low-level skills and thinking. Alfie Kohn meticulously discusses some indisputable facts on the subject. Another educator commenting about this matter is Larry Ferlazzo, citing David C. Berliner and Yong Zhao, he offered his own response to the standardized test critiques & potential alternatives.

You might think once Arne Duncan conceded that "there are serious flaws in standardized testing", the fight was over. No so fast.

USF Education former professor Rick Ayers blasted the merited criticism from Secretary of Education. His post in the Huffington Post is an excellent almost bullet point critique of the 'rigorous' word mentioned by James Montoya, vice president for higher education, of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The College Board has simply discovered the obvious, that students with certain privileges do better on the SAT. It simplifies a very complicated problem and supposes that all the country accepts students to schools with the same social economic background based solely on the students education necessity.

Here goes a nice nugget from Ayers’ post:

Any high school senior would tell you, though, that Montoya has very likely confused correlation with causation. Yes, those kids who take the full college prep core courses and take the PSAT are going to do better. And, guess what? The kids with access to well-funded schools that offer effective core courses also come from upper middle class and wealthy neighborhoods. You could as well conclude that children who eat steak and lobster regularly and attend country club dances in the summer do better on the SAT so we should provide more steak and lobster and country clubs.

But if you like that excerpt, read the closing of his article again:

The SAT and standardized testing industry reign supreme over our schools; they have set the curriculum and the goals that administrators bow down to; it is their watch. With standardized testing narrowing and dumbing down the curriculum, reducing it to test prep and rote learning, it is no surprise that young people are more bored, more disengaged, more resistant. Instead of abandoning the tests that have done so much damage, the College Board proposes that we cede more power to them. This is just, to invoke a favorite SAT word, unscrupulous.

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