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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Super Bowl: Historic Performance of the Marching Band from Elizabeth High School

EHS Marching Band prepares for Super Bowl performance - NJInsideout.

Super Bowl XLVIII takes place this Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Super Bowl is only two days away and the Elizabeth High School marching band is getting ready to perform in the pre-game show at 2 p.m.

New Jersey has received the honor to the Super Bowl. If you don't know about the Garden State, let's refresh your memory very quickly: Thomas Edison. A New Jersey guy. He invented the first long-lasting and practical electric light bulb that will help you see what you look like now, wiseguy. The astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the poet William Carlos Williams, the suffragist Alice Paul, the singer Sarah Vaughan, the actor Jack Nicholson. Bud Abbott, from Asbury Park. And Lou Costello, from Paterson. Now who’s on first? Bruce Springsteen. A singer. Ever hear of him? Freehold.

In its 37-year history, the highly decorated Elizabeth High School band has won 23 championships in four competitive circuits since the band’s inception in 1977. The 147-member band finished their 2013 undefeated season by winning the US Bands Group 5A National Championship, as well as the US Bands Group 5A State Championship.

During its 10-minute performance at the big game (Broncos vs. Seahawks), the band will playing some familiar tunes, but the National Football League has requested it learn three new pieces: the Vince Lombardi Trophy Overture, the Vince Lombardi Trophy Procession and the NFL’s Thursday night game theme.

The band already had a sort of rehearsal on Tuesday when it performed during Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, where press from around the world gathered and reported about it.

Students as well as administrators, and the Elizabeth city community are exited about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The EHS marching band is receiving a lot of national media attention. We just hope this is a good occasion it gets invited to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City or other events of that stature.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at miltonramirez@educationandtech.com . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Milton Ramirez

8 Apps Every High School Student Needs

By Jennifer Thayer*

We are well into the spring semester and heading toward midterms and AP exams. As you buckle down and hit the books hard while navigating a busy schedule, you’ll want to equip yourself with every available resource possible. Be smart about the resources you use, though. Gone are the days of lugging around a backpack full of heavy books, planners, maps and calculators — cellphones are much smaller and lighter. Check out these eight apps every high school student should have.

For Scheduling: Studious

Featured on MSNBC and Lifehacker, Studious is a digital planner that helps you keep track of your daily class schedule, remember homework due dates and plan for upcoming exams. Add in extra information like a campus map and your teachers’ names. Also, the app automatically silences your phone during class according to your schedule.

For Studying: SparkNotes

These study guides are perfect for making your way through Shakespeare, poetry, drama and other works of literature. The app comes pre-loaded with 50 study guides, and you have access to hundreds more SparkNotes online. If you feel like being social, you can share what you’re learning with your friends via your Facebook feed, or start a SparkNotes study guide from your smartphone.

For Math Class: Maths Formulas

If you’re taking any kind of math course — geometry, statistics, calculus, trigonometry — you’ll want to download the Maths Formulas app. Described as very user-friendly, Maths Formulas covers over 100 math formulas at a high school level, many with examples to help you better understand the concepts.

For English Class: Grammar Guide 

Have a question as you’re drafting a paper or answering some reading comprehension questions? Turn to the Grammar Guide app, which offers topics like misspelled words, punctuation, capitalization, frequently misused words and more. The app also has tips for proofreading your work.

For History Class: World Atlas

If you’re taking a world history or geography class, use the Word Atlas app to learn about more than 250 countries. The app has a pointer to Wikipedia so you can brush up on facts like capitals, flags, the World Wonders and other information.

For Science Class: Periodic Table

An app with the periodic table is a must for any chemistry student. The app features the full table and enables you to view sections of the table or select an element in particular to read about. There’s also a quiz feature and audio clips to help you with pronunciation.

For Spanish Class: Easy Language Translator 

Aptly-named, Easy Language Translator translates text and voice for 79 languages. The app is fast and effective for your French, Spanish, Italian or German classes. Share or send your translation, or use the “Favorite” feature for quick future reference.

For SAT Prep: Virtual SAT Tutor – Vocabulary

Wondering how you’ll memorize those critical SAT vocab words? With the Virtual SAT Tutor app, of course! The app uses a variety of strategies, including word roots, antonyms and mnemonic devices, to help you master new words and hopefully nail the vocabulary portion of the SATs.

High school students can easily turn their iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4 cellphone from T-Mobile into an educational resource by downloading any of these eight apps.

(*) Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who loves sharing helpful ways people can utilize technology in their day-to-day lives. Follow her on Twitter to see what other tips she comes up with.

Education & Tech

Apply These 5 Productive Apps To Facilitate Project-Based Learning!

By Alisha Ellis*

Project-based learning (PBL) is a productive way among students to execute projects. It helps students work on strategies, share resources and discuss ideas related to a project. This type of learning facilitates the learning process and comes handy for students to share knowledge and information. Project based learning tools allow students to coordinate information across their networks so that all members remain on the same page.

This article will focus on apps that can be utilized to assist students in project-based learning:

PBL - wiki.monroe.edu
1. BaseCamp: It tackles all issues that get in the way while accomplishing projects. It complements the concept of project-based learning in its true sense. Basecamp provides everything from data storage services to chatting and online discussions, students can do all these tasks using only a single space. With this app, students can access their works through any digital outlets. Now students can acquire latest information, refer to files and make timely decisions for their important projects.

2. Animoto: This app offers an innovative way to share your ideas to your audience. This tool uses Cinematic intelligence technology to produce videos and slide shows. Students can use it to create high-quality videos. The good thing is that students can create any video via a simple procedure. No need for complex steps. No more hassles of uploading and downloading. Just add your pictures, choose your caption, select style, put a music theme and click 'produce'. Finally, students will get a video that they can share with their fellow classmates and teachers.

3. Glogster: Glogster can be used to showcase important elements of your project. It incorporates multimedia elements to create a graphic blog that will project your work to your audience. With Glogster, you can compose a poster by adding images, embedding infographics or using videos. You can then share this creation with your viewers. This application is best for presenting ideas of a proposal or assignment for your final year project.

4. Kickoff: It offers real-time activities for project-based learners. Using this collaborative platform, students can engage in shared tasks or join group discussions to exchange opinions. In this way, students are able to manage their tasks, organize their resources and schedule dates. Similarly, students can get feedback and share thoughts on a project by initiating productive debates.

5. MindNode: This app is meant for users on the go who can use it for mind mapping purposes. It empowers students to note down any idea when and where they encountered it. All they need is to feed that thought to their iPhone so that they can work on them later. It integrates iCloud which means students. can simply get access to all their mind maps using any device.

(*) Alisha Ellis is addicted of writing articles on different topics. She is an assignment writer at Assignment Arena. Find her on Facebook.

Education & Tech

How to Create a Profitable Distance Education Program.

The emergence of online learning, or web-based education was looked upon like a miracle by some, while for others it was nothing more than an insignificant event in the long history of education and web. The proponents of distance education use various reasons such as its wide reach, and cost effectiveness to disarm the critics. In fact, there is already enough commentary on the web discussing the cost benefits of distance education. In these resource-scarce times, there is a fresh emphasis on the potential of e-learning.

What are the benefits of e-learning?

From the numerous advantages that e-learning offers, the prominent are given. An examination of each follows:

- Cost effective
- Time saving
- More effective learning
- Lower environmental impact

Lesser stress on environment

Learning on the web is an effective way for organizations to introduce a check on their carbon footprint. The lower CO2 emission per student than conventional campus-based university courses, reduction in the amount of student travel (fuel savings) and elimination of energy consumption arising out of student accommodation (in case of residential institutions) are the major savings. Although computers and networks are not environment friendly, yet the CO2 emissions arising out of a computer usage are significantly lower than traditional classroom.

Does e-learning saves time?

The obvious benefit of e-learning is its faster delivery cycle than the traditional instruction delivery methods. There is virtually no limit on how fast learning can be imparted to the student as the entire course is available online and it totally depends on the learner’s ability how quickly he or she can absorb the contents being transmitted.

Lower costs?

A large number of scholars believe that the primary benefit of online education is cost can be distributed over a large number of students, resulting in lesser expenses for educational institutions. There are a number of case studies available online that have proved the lower cost argument for e-learning. The cost dynamics have a high dependence on student enrollment numbers, another reason that e-learning is considered cost-effective because there is a reduction in training time known as learning compression. What contributes to this reduction in apprenticeship time?

- Students are free to go at their own pace, without worrying about the pace of the slowest member of the group.
- There is no time spent on questions or queries which are irrelevant to other members of the class.
- Time saved during travel to and from the learning center.
- Learners are free to learn what they need while skipping elements of a program they do not need.

Thus, owing to the concept of learning compression, e-learning can deliver the same amount of instruction or information as in a classroom by taking 25 to 50 percent less time. Time saved is reflected in the form of lesser expenditure.

Creating a profitable e-program?

Those who reject this argument have their rightful reasons to do so. Online courses are not restricted by any classroom size and per students costs decrease as student enrollments increases. However, reaching this threshold is hardly an easy thing to achieve and even more difficult is to maintain, as the number of competing programs continue to grow each year.

A major reason why it’s expensive and challenging to create a profitable online education program is due to the institution’s focus on initial fixed costs, ignoring variable costs. Whether it is an engineering program or management studies course, initial costs include designing the perfect schedule, developing and creating effective instructional materials and the technological infrastructural costs. But when factoring the total costs, you should also consider that an educational institution also counts continuing costs, better known as variable costs such as course updating and revision, research and development, and the ever-changing technological infrastructure.

In order to create a well-meaning, truly profitable distance education program, an institution has to keep in mind all these factors.

This post was brought to you by Saurabh Tyagi. He is a writer at Shiksha.com, whose expertise lies in online management studies programs. He took to writing at a tender age of ten, when he submitted his first essay for the school magazine. Although an engineer by qualification, he has kept his creative flame alive and still writes and guest blogs.

Education & Tech

10 Must Read Books That You Can Re-Read Now That You Are Older

Reading books can be such a relaxing endeavour, and sometimes re-reading books can makes us understand things we missed the first time. We all have our favorites, and sometimes the only way to revive a memory or a feeling is to re-read a book you haven’t thought of in years. You are older now, wiser, and your mentality is a lot more mature. It might surprise you but the books you read when you were 15 years old might have a great impact on your actual perceptions. The following 10 must-read books should definitely be included on your 'to-re-read' list:

1. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

If you read this book when you were in your teens, now it’s the perfect time to give it another go because you definitely didn’t like it in the first place. The story revolves around Holden Caulfield, a 16-year old child who quits school and leaves Pennsylvania for New York. Enticing, heartbreaking, and truly emotional, the book will certainly help you understand some things you couldn’t when you were younger.

Old book, old chair by Gayle Nicholson on Flickr 2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’s best and most enticing books, Great Expectations, tells the story of Pip, a child who grows up in misery but struggles to become a real gentleman someday. The book is additionally focused on Pip’s great love Estella, whom he loves but will never have. There have been so many movies made after the book that it’s almost impossible not to relate to the character and plot.

3. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Related in the simplest, most enticing language, The Old Man and the Sea is Ernest Hemingway’s most lasting works. The plot is centred on a Cuban fisherman and his utmost ordeal – an agonizing, relentless battle with a gigantic marlin nestled in the Gulf Stream. The classic novel won the Nobel Prize in 1954, so it’s definitely worth a re-read.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Another classic novel you just have to re-read is Pride and Prejudice. The plot centres on two main characters – Elizabeth Bennet and the aristocratic Fitzwilliam Darcy. Mostly preferred by women, the book tells the love of these two characters for whom the barrier between pride and prejudice must be overcome in order for them to live their love story.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Acclaimed by generations and still one of the best novels of the 20th century literature, The Great Gatsby focuses its storyline on the wealthy Mr. Jay Gatsby and his great love for the superb Daisy Buchanan. Exquisitely crafted in the 1920s, the book will certainly bring back some old memories from your youth.

6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

An instant bestseller, an unforgettable story of youth, and a Pulitzer Prize are only 3 reasons for you to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s novel is mind-blowing, dramatic, compassionate, and deeply moving. It relates to the roots of our human behaviour by interconnecting feelings of cruelty and kindness, experience and innocence, hatred and love, pathos and humor; translated in more than 40 languages and sold in 14 million copies, you could easily read it over and over again every year and still not get bored.

7. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby Dick is without a doubt one of the most respected and widely-read books in American literature. It centres on the story of Captain Ahab and his remorseless chase of the Moby Dick, a great white whale who managed to mutilate him on their last encounter. Mixing a symbolic allegory with conflicting principles of brave determination, re-read this book is a must.

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell’s allegorical novel might not have been among your favorites in high-school, but you’ll certainly love it now that you are older and more mature. Although the story happens on an island and it centres its attention on a couple of kids fighting for survival, the underlying message reflects on the events leading to and throughout the Stalin period prior to the Second World War.

9. Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Brontë

A love story in the wildest, most passionate and almost demonic sense of the world, Wuthering Heights is deeply focused on the love between the beautiful Catherine and Heathcliff, her stepbrother. After wrongfully assuming that his love is not shared, Catherine makes Heathcliff leave only to come back after several years a polished, healthy man looking for revenge. Extremely provocative and vindictive, Wuthering Heights is a genuine masterpiece that will entice your senses each time you re-read it.

10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

After being thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Edmond Dantes is confined in the If fortress (Château d'If) where he learns more about a great treasure hidden on the Monte Cristo Isle. Determined to escape and find it to build a life, Edmond starts a quest to destroy the men who unjustly sentenced him to prison. Hugely popular and internationally hailed, the book will surely bring back some really good memories.

This article is drawn by a blogger and freelance writer, Edward Francis. He writes on various topics and posts them at top quality blogs. He also writes for a site http://www.lovereading.co.uk/ for getting a large variety of books.

Education & Tech

Education & Tech: News for Educators

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Open Source Solutions Like Cloud and Consortia Can Save Money to Schools Weakened Budget.

By Katherine Switzer

There are many costs associated with Information and Communication Technologies [ICT] to schools who are always spending heavily on ICT so as to be able to come up to the requirements of children who are using those systems for academic purposes.

It has been witnessed that there are quite high costs associated with ICT and therefore there have been suggestions from some quarters about how schooling institutions can help save costs on technology.

Cloud computing by Daniel*1977 on Flickr

Open Source


Using open source operating systems is a great way to save costs because they are all for free and do not require any volume licensing as do conventional operating systems such as Windows. If a school were to use Windows OS over all the computers that run over its premises, it would have to pay a heavy amount of money to Microsoft to purchase the license for the volume edition of Windows that can be run over multiple computers.

In addition to that, the license would also have to be renewed on a yearly basis.

Compare this situation with using a Linux based system, say, Ubuntu, to replace the Windows OS that is used in schools so as to cut costs, which is all for free, every year of the calendar!

There is no doubt that the amount of cost savings would be phenomenal and the school would be able to benefit immensely from the expensive licensing for Windows.

Cloud Computing


Cloud computing is another area where costs can be saved when documents are saved online in remote locations using cloud computing apps such as Dropbox or SkyDrive so that there are hardly any expenses that are needed for storage of data for purposes of the school.

The amount and hence the cost of storage of data would come down to a minimal, and that would surely be a level of cost that any school can bear with ease.

So, cloud computing is another very intelligent way to save costs related to technology and redirect the budget elsewhere for a higher return on investment relatively.

Consortia


In the same manner, cost savings can be made by making good use of consortiums that can ultimately be of high benefit for the schools.

Making good use of consortium for the purposes of a school using technology as a tool, means that academic sources are pooled together in an online environment such as a Virtual Learning Environment [VLE], which can be remotely accessed by any user using the World Wide Web so that research papers, books, journals et cetera, are all available online in one singular space.

This collection of online libraries or VLE which are used by different schools and universities is what can help any school save additional costs, such as in terms of costs for printing academic material because it can be accessed whenever required using the internet.

Then, these are three ways in which academic institutions can save up on their costs and make things better for themselves by employing these budget-saving strategies to help them manage the same level of academic tasks in a much smaller budget relatively.

Therefore, this advice can be of great benefit to schools and they would make a wise decision by pondering over these suggestions and then acting upon them to help them save thousands of dollars annually that would otherwise have to be spent on information and communications technology needlessly when the feat can be accomplished in less effort, time and amount comparatively.

(*) Katherine Switzer is a writer at iPhone spy apps. She loves to cover latest trending topics in education and technology. You may follow her on Twitter @kathrineswitzer

Education & Tech

Fair and Effective Discipline in American Schools

Sporting a new design today, The New York Times reports some changes in the way students get disciplined in American schools.

The new measure looks to benefit primordially minority students. From data collected by the Education Department,  the Times writes, minorities particularly black boys and students with disabilities face the harshest discipline in schools. There is no mention of the Hispanic alumnae which usually also needs to be disciplined.

Due to the violence experienced in some schools nationwide, these institutions hired more security personnel  to the benefit of attendants to those buildings. Human rights groups have been watching the drastic increase of criminal charges to the students under these circumstances.

Teachers know well that creating a positive school climate, is a hard work. But the guidelines are set and very much clear: "A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct," has said Mr. Eric H. Holder one of the responsible -along with Mr. Duncan, for the guidance package released today.

The arrests reduction and good climate of discipline within schools includes counseling for students, coaching for teachers and disciplinary officers, and sessions to teach social and emotional skills.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at miltonramirez@educationandtech.com . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Milton Ramirez

How to Give New Life to Old School MS Computers

By Jay Geater*

At a time when recognition of technology and its possible educational benefits is growing, for some schools, the digital divide is widening every day. Many schools in low income areas are facing the cold hard fact that, thanks to archaic computers, their student body is lacking important technological knowledge.

Until the disparity can be solved by the U.S. Department of Education, many schools are stuck with outdated machines and wired connections. So how can school administrators and its IT department make the most of these increasingly slow dinosaurs and help their students to succeed in the digital age?

By increasing the speed of their current machines.

Why do computers slow down over time? As new software is released, more memory and hard drive space is needed to run it. When said software is installed on older computers, the machine slows down drastically.

Depending on the situation, speeding up an old computer can be a relatively simple task.

Doing Things the Easy Way


There are several things that can be done to increase a computer’s speed. Here are three effortless ways that can be performed by almost anyone:

  • Start by cleaning up the disk. Uninstall unneeded programs and delete space-hogging files that aren’t strictly necessary. Even if there is plenty of space, clutter can still slow things down. Some programs create temporary files meant to be sorted later. These files can be eliminated with a program cleaner. Finally, run Disk Cleanup and defragment the drive. This will almost always take a few seconds off boot time and application loads for any computer.
  • Put a damper on any programs that run at start-up. Click Start > Run and type msconfig at the prompt. Click the Startup tab and uncheck any programs that don’t need to run at start-up. Be careful not to disable any anti-virus programs or system components.
  • Run a full anti-virus and anti-spyware scan. If you don’t have a good anti-virus program, check out PC Magazine’s review of free programs here.

The Big Guns


If a computer is still running sluggishly after completing the above steps, it might be time to try something a little more drastic. Some of these steps might require a professional.

  • Upgrade the RAM. This will make almost any computer run faster. Older PCs rarely have enough RAM to run the memory-devouring operating systems and applications of today. Add a high- capacity stick of quality RAM and watch that slow-moving computer take off!
  • Reinstall Windows. If upgrading the RAM didn’t do the trick, it may be time to wipe the slate clean and start again. By reformatting the hard drive, reinstalling applications, and restoring data files from a backup, a huge difference can be seen in the way the operating system moves.
  • Upgrade the hard drive. When all else fails, it’s time to replace the hard drive. Since magnetic disks degrade over time, some performance issues could be caused by a failing hard drive. Upgrading to a new model will solve almost any problem, although it may be costly for multiple computers.

Keep Up That Hustle


To keep a computer working at a decent speed, some tasks need to be performed daily, weekly and monthly.

  • Clear cookies and other temporary web data. Web browsers respond quicker when they’re not bogged down with junk. Clear temporary internet files daily or weeks to keep your browser functioning beautifully.
  • Check for malware and spyware weekly. An infected computer is not only slow, it’s dangerous to other computers in the network.
  • Install automatic updates. It’s recommended to check for new operating system updates a few times a month. Many updates help close security holes and improve certain aspects of the operating system.
By using simple fixes to extend the life of old computer, low-income schools with thin budgets can focus on getting their students the other supplies they need to learn.

(*) Jay Geater is the founder and CEO of Solvusoft, a producer of PC utility software. When he’s not working hard on doing good things in the world of tech, he’s salivating over fast cars and even faster motorcycles.

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