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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Mobification for HigerEd - Fad or Future?

By Jan Felton*

Do you remember the days when we used to fear and often hate going school? Do you remember those thick fat books that used to leave us in panic, especially during our board exams? Well, those days were nightmarish for some of us and we almost craved for going out on the playgrounds with our friends just to get rid of those monotonous studying sessions.

Now, times have changed, and the reason is crystal clear. Technology has replaced not only papers but also the brick and mortar classrooms where we had spent many years. Yes, we have stepped in the digital era where not only students but academic administrators and even instructors have started believing that the ultimate source from where quality education can be extracted is a web-based learning platform.

However, it seems that it’s not only the computers or laptops that are making all the differences but new and innovative techniques like mobile learning are bringing incredible results towards polishing both teaching and learning practices. Well, mobile learning does not necessarily involve the use of mobile phones but it also takes into consideration the application of tablets, kindles and even smartphones. So, students here get the advantage of studying at one’s own pace while professionals can also continue working and study at the same time with ease.

Recently, I came across some personal views and opinions online in regard to mobile learning. From the words of an instructional designer, I discovered a new perspective towards this new learning trend. What I came to know is that:

    • Mobile learning can be so informative and well-illustrated that it can work wonders for all, whether it’s a beginner or a veteran.
    • M-learning workshops are conducted in a purely amiable manner. New age learners would love exploring these workshops to gain more knowledge and skills.
    • Initiating M-learning tools for teaching students is always a wise investment. Apart from new learning tools, responsive-design concepts can be built for students who can thereafter view them on almost anything connected to the web.
Apart from these, a lot of mobile devices like eBook Readers and kindles have been launched in the market that can educate students with absolute fun and effectiveness. Moreover, I think that mobile learning can also play a key role in bringing positive changes in our society.

Just think of those who consider completing higher studies a dream more than a reality. Enrolling in full-time courses can always be a daunting task for students. Therefore, mobile learning in this respect will stand as a brilliant alternative that will let them get rid of the increasing education costs.

So, what should be done in order to opt for mobile learning?

    • Look for an institution that allows students pursue courses through mobile learning.
    • Once you have found an accredited institution, get a smartphone. No, they are not pricey and you can easily get one within your means.
    • Get the necessary software applications installed in your smartphone that will let you access your course materials from your concerned institution.
Once done, learning will seem fun for you. Even if you decide to continue work, you can carry the smartphone along with you while traveling to office or making business trips. So, what I strongly feel that M-learning is going to be a new trend for new age learners who would surely take it as a future resolution for gaining knowledge and achieving success in life.

(*)Jan Felton is an educationist and a regular blogger on online education. He guides students and working professionals towards a successful career. Through this article, author Jan Felton shows that in this technological era everything including education has witnessed the advancement of technology thereby making mobification(mobile-edification) - a new trend for Higher Education.

Is the Laptop Outdated Since the Advent of the Tablet?

By Olivia Lazenby*

There was a time in the not too distant past when the typewriter was the height of technological advancement. Since then the PC has become a home and office staple for daily life, and more recently lost popularity in favour of the more portable and efficient laptop.

Now there is a new contender on the scene. Since its debut only two years ago, the tablet computer has taken the world by storm. Not quite a laptop, yet more adaptable than a smartphone, the touch screen all singing all dancing younger brother of the laptop is evidently here to stay. As we are still in the early stages of the tablet’s popularity, it is as yet a relatively novel device, a status symbol which is mostly used for leisure activities such as social media, watching films and taking photos. But will it eventually come to eclipse the PC and the Laptop as people’s device of choice for other tasks?

The tablet has various advantages over the laptop already. It can connect to 3G mobile broadband – a skill only reserved for a few very select (and expensive) laptops. It is touch screen. Admittedly a lot of laptops now include this feature – but most do not offer the more sensitive and responsive touch screen that the tablet offers, which can be used for handwriting and drawing. It is smaller, lighter and more portable than the laptop. Tablets often have longer battery life than laptops.

However, the laptop still has some features up its sleeve that the tablet has yet to compete with. Laptops benefit from much larger storage space – meaning that work documents, large amounts of music, films and other documents can be accessed directly from the laptop rather than requiring a hard drive. They also include a keyboard as standard. A keyboard can be purchased as an extra for tablets as the touch screen keyboard option compromises the screen space for documents, emails etc.

Laptop screens are not the same as tablets – the glossy reflective surface of tablets often make it difficult to see the screen in bright light – not an issue for most laptops. Laptops include ports for USBs, CD drives and other important additions that make uploading, downloading and sharing information simpler. The tablet is fairly limited in this respect. Laptops are a more suitable option when the device has numerous users, as tablets often configure information like email accounts and social media profiles. You can easily create numerous accounts with laptops, an added benefit from a security perspective.

Undoubtedly these drawbacks will increasingly be overcome by developments in tablet technology as time goes on, however for now the laptop remains the computer of choice for work tasks and document storage. The tablet is in many ways similar to the smartphone, in that constant updates and new versions are being released. Almost as soon as you purchase one it will be upstaged by something new. The laptop still has a level of longevity.

As technology develops at increasingly rapid pace, the laptop will no doubt become increasingly outdated. For now however, it is still an up to date and valuable piece of technology.

(*) Olivia Lazenby is a technology blogger. She has a tablet and a laptop, and bought her laptop case and bag from http://www.taylorhe.co.uk/.

How We Can Connect Business And Educators?

integratED San Francisco 2013 - #isf13 By +Tom Whitby at My Island View.

Evidently there is an abismal separation between what business and industry needs from educators and what they are promptly to offer in such an environment. In New York connected educators discuss in a business settle, their work effect on education.

According to the article:

    [...] The big idea was to listen to what educators had to say. Pitching products to connected educators will not work. A big take away was that these industry people had access to researchers and experts not available to teachers. They could provide free webinars with these experts to address and inform on issues as professionals and not salespeople selling products.
    I can’t help to think that, if we as educators had these types of discussions earlier, maybe the discussion on education would not have been hijacked by business people, politicians, and profiteers. Instead of experts in the front of the room telling us what needs to be done, we could develop solutions through dialogue with the people really involved. The idea that well-intentioned endeavors, like Education Nation could continue with such little, or contrived participation from educators to balance the discussion could gain popular attention is more than upsetting.
Read the full post at tomwhitby.wordpress.com

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Ecuador Denies Legal Abortion to Victims of Rape #BAD13

This article is part of the Blog Action Day called by Global Voices on the topic of Human Rights.

Ecuador is a contry where patriarcal society still subsist. Most of the time women are heard but the person who ultimately decides is the man. Under these parameters and supported by a Catholic church, which prohibits abortion, women again are being denied a benefit that concerns only Ecuadorian women: The right to bring a new life into the world at any time they want.

This past week, the National Assembly started the second and final stage of debates into updates to the Ecuadorian Penal Code. One of the most significant changes was the project of access to safe or legal abortion services, which under presure of president Correa was finally denied.

Ecuador’s current Penal Code only allows abortion for victims of rape who are mentally disabled, leaving out millions of women in a country where one in four women has been the victim of sexual violence. Ecuadorian law imposes penalties including prison terms ranging from one to five years for women and girls who obtain abortions.

Virginia Gomez de la Torre, a leader of Front for the Defense of Reproductive Rights has said: "In the country there are 0.8% of cases that fall into the rape of a mentally disabled woman. New legal code will not support the other 99.2% of Ecuadorians raped women.



Since it is unlawful to get abortion services in Ecuador, many women still have to go through unsafe abortion practiced at cladestine locations. This is noticed by visible education leader Rosa Maria Torres, on Twitter: "Abortion is the 2nd cause of maternal death. 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence. 30% of these rapes end in pregnancy. #COIP"

Despite significant advocacy by women all over Ecuador, and a wealth of evidence illustrating the benefits of decriminalization, the government of Ecuador has not responded with a commonsense policy, argues Heather Sayette, of the HR Reality Check.

Amanda Klasing, an America's women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch has it all clear as to where the goverment has fault its own females. "Women who are victims of rape should not then be made victims of the government when they choose to terminate pregnancies", they are the queens of their own bodies.

But what it perfectly sums up this topic is what the none catholic women feel about the unchanged legislation on abortion in Ecuador is a piece written by Diana Maldonado Lasso on Facebook. She complains of the weak position adopted by some women lawmakers:

    "Absolute Shame! Women who tried to "fight" to decriminalize abortion, to have sovereignty over our bodies and that nothing or nobody impose us an unwanted pregnancy ... back away when "the king of green sun" gives them two curses.
    What kinds of women fighting for the rights of other women are blindly obedient to the patriarch? How life of thousands of Ecuadorian women are put in hands of fearful women? Is this how they want to make a revolution? Rather it is fear of the revolution they would likely live if daddy throws them out for misbehaving. We lready see what matters for this sexist and chauvinistic we have for "top dog", by way of example... to present Viviana Bonilla as a candidate for Guayaquil's Major, which was highlighted? The beauty and youth ... that is, intelligence and ability do not count. A National Assembly where nearly half of the assembly members are women, haven't been unable to assert human rights regarding women due to fear. We are critical of machismo and patriarchy and had not realized that these were embedded into those who should fight against them."

Ecuador still has a long way before its citizens really experience gender equity.

Other two articles about Blog Action Day can be read here and here.

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How Can Teachers Enhances Their Teaching Efficiency

Excellent teachers are not only excellent instructors or tutors but they are also competent planners and thinkers. Such teachers understand the importance of lesson plans(syllabus) and use these tools to enhance their teaching proficiency. These tools allow them to understand how they can plan their teaching method for a single lesson. Without this important tool, they can’t put across the information the way they should.

The main purpose of a lesson plan is to equip the teacher with a detailed guideline that contains a set of carefully-organized instructions. These instructions allow the teachers to ensure that the information is well conveyed to the class and comprehended by the learners in a genuine manner.

Some people believe that lesson plans are only for school teachers since whenever we hear the word "lesson", the image of a teacher conjures up in our mind. A carefully designed and organized lesson plan can also be used for different training purposes other than teaching. Nonetheless, to write a good lesson plan, you may need to bear in mind the following guidelines.

    » First and foremost, you need to identify the goal. The goal is generally what you want to teach your class or what type of lesson you would like to convey to them. Ensure that the topic you want to teach to the students is specific enough to fit in your plan. Remember that the more you narrow down your topic, the easier it’ll be to plan the lesson.

    » Now identify the prerequisites you require for teaching the lesson. Ensure that the nuts and bolts that you require should be suitable for every student in the class.

    » Next, you’ll need to determine the methods that you would like to use to deliver the lesson to the class. For instance, consider how you would want to present the lecture to your students in a way that can keep their interest intact while putting across the lesson productively. Also, ensure that the methods you use should be appropriate for teaching the subject.

    » After outlining the prerequisites, materials or methods in your lesson plan, outline how you want to assess the students. Assessment is necessary to check how much understanding students have gained on the lesson. Therefore, think of different ways through which the assessment tests can be carried out effectively and carefully.

    » Once the syllabus is outlined, write it in a proper document and make two to three copies. It is observed that some academic institutes ask teachers to submit their lesson plans for different classes. So, turn in one copy of your plan to the school and keep the other copy for your own use.

Guest post by Kristine Agurella. She is an online writer, works as a content editor at Assignment Labs. She has also worked with the various consortium of teacher training associations in the past few years.

Do We Still Need More Research About Impact of Technology in Schools?

Greg Anrig is the author of Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence That Collaboration Builds Effective Schools. Anrig and others are widely quoted on this article on the fact that there is very little research on the impact technology use may have on the binomial teacher-student. However, the author agrees that effective use of technology depends on good human relationships. From the article:

What concerns him most in the promotion of education technology is the assumption that just handing kids new devices will be sufficient for them to make gains in learning, when there is no research showing this to be the case. Jack Schneider, an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, agrees.

[...]

"Relationships are what matter in schools. Any deep exploration of successful schools reveals relationships to be at the core — whether at private schools, public schools, elementary schools or high schools," he added.
Full story at Hechingered

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Teaching Career Tips: 12 Highly-Informative Blogs for Aspiring Teachers

By Peter Grew*

Teaching is indeed a very rewarding profession. After your parents, your teacher is the one who influences your life to a great extent. Today, the Internet provides a plethora of resources for aspiring teachers who are interested in developing new ideas, increasing their knowledge and improving their skills.

Here is a list of some popular blogs that are usually maintained by teachers who regularly post important and edifying content related to education and teaching:

1. EdWorld Community

Jason Cunningham’s has been helping educators for more than 15 years. As an aspiring teacher, you can use this blog to connect with the community of experienced teachers, understand the best practices in teaching, chat with professional educators and learn a great many things from their immense expertise.

2. Speed of Creativity

This is more than an educational blog. Here you will find information about technology, entertainment and education. Wesley Fryer shares the most exclusive information about the latest technology and its use in a classroom environment. As a fresh teacher, you can learn a lot about the use of technology for improving the learning process.

3. Cool Cat Teacher

This is more than a teacher’s blog. Vicki Davis shares her insights into different aspects of education. So if you are a promising teacher, you can find here expert comments on technology, lesson plans and the latest developments in the education sector. The blogger has the knack of writing that can engage parents, students and teachers on a single platform.

4. Bell Bulldog Readers

Created by teacher-librarian Mrs. Hembree, this blog is particularly helpful for fresh teachers who love reading educational stuff. Here they can find information about technology and book reviews.


Photo by Choconancy1 and used under CC

5. Globicate

Globicate is a platform for educators and students educating them about global issues, geographical and cultural awareness, etc. It informs the teachers about the universal methods of teaching and makes them more aware of the cultural differences in education. Heidi Befort provides expert comments on what fresh teachers must know to be more effective as educators in a classroom with foreign students.

6. Kleinspiration

Kleinspiration is a forum for fresh and experienced educators alike to share knowledge and skills regarding education, technology and the current affairs in the world of academia. Erin Klein is a teacher, author, parent and she commands this valuable website.

7. The Principal of Change

The visionary of change, George Couros is an innovative academician who gathers all the experts from the education sector on this forum. Using this blog, new teachers can learn about the innovation in education and technology.

8. English and Literacy Blog

Want to teach English? Find out the most valuable information about English language on Miss D's blog. With interactive posts like slides and infographics, you will know exactly what you will need to do to become an excellent English teacher.

9. A Principal's Reflections

This is yet another place for talented teachers to make the most out of their teaching abilities. At this blog, headed by national recognized educator Eric Sheninger, the fresh teachers can learn skills about leadership, best practices and learning systems that can benefit the students.

10. Scholastic Administrator

Scholastic is the brain child of writer Alexander Russo. On this blog, fresh educators can find the latest information and news about the teaching methods and numerous education systems. It is a paradise for the people who seek career in teaching profession.

11. 21st Century Collaborative

As the names suggests, 21st Century Collaborative invites the fresh teachers to learn the innovative methods of teaching. This platform focuses on leadership skills, innovation and motivation to prepare the teachers for the 21st century classroom. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is the resposible for this site.

12. Teach For U.S.

An online community for teachers, Teach For Us reflects the education system of United States of America. It is a best forum for aspiring teachers to know the various aspects of the education system in the most powerful country in the world.

(*) Peter Grew is a professional dissertation writer at Dissertation Empire. He is also an author who loves to write blogs related to education. For more info contact him on Twitter.

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.
 
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