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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Layoffs Planned in the Newark Education District Are Being Protested

Cami Anderson, Newark Superintendent
The Newark school system has asked the state for permission to base the job reductions primarily on classroom effectiveness instead of seniority. The request has been placed by Cami Anderson -- the Christie administration’s state-appointed superintendent in Newark public schools and a graduate of Teach for America.

Anderson would upend longstanding "first in, last out" rules governing upcoming teacher layoffs. The lay off of more than 1,000 teachers over the next three years, has raised concerns and protests not only among union officials but the community.

It it unknown if this is part of the One Newark project, but if approved by the state Department of Education, it will only come into effect within months. The superintendent will not attend anymore School Advisory Board’s monthly meetings, due to intense protests over Anderson’s plans for reorganizing NJ state’s largest school district.

Journalist Naomi Nix reports about protests against Cami Anderson's proposal to base planned layoffs of teachers on classroom effectiveness rather than seniority, replacing them many or most of them with TFA.

She cited Joseph Del Grosso, president of the Newark Teachers Union by saying: "Teachers who have been rated effective could still lose their jobs,...If (Anderson) is granted the waiver, who would oversee (the layoffs)?"

Since no more board meeting will be attended by the superintendent, the district will continue to communicate with the Newark community, including posting a monthly update on its website and on Channel 77, the Newark community cable network.

Many residents are voicing they are feeling offended by Anderson decision to the way she wants to lay off teachers and by no attending in person the board monthly meetings.

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 Innovative Technologies Serve to Increase the Effectiveness of the Learning Process

3D molecular atom
By Olga Minenkova*

It has been proven long ago that innovative technologies serve to increase the effectiveness of the learning process.

The research conducted a couple years ago by Professor Dr. Anne Bamford, Director of the International Research Agency, proved a positive effect of the use of 3D presentations on the information perception by students during the learning process. According to the published articles, the use of interactive 3D presentations in the learning process has a steady positive effect. An 86% of students showed better results of understanding and memorizing the teaching material after viewing the information in 3D format compared to those who worked with traditional two-dimensional learning aids.

No one can deny that 3D educational model is truly visionary and can provide full level of interactivity. And this new level of interactivity guarantees 3D a real future in education. It offers a glimpse of how 21st education can look like, breathing new life into an ageing curriculum.

What are the other advantages of 3D over traditional methods of learning?

    • Speed and depth of knowledge acquisition by students. The use of three-dimensional content lets the students quickly learn material, visualize and remember it.
    • 3D holds users’ attention twice as long as traditional 2D presentations. If student is wearing 3D glasses or is involved in interactive 3D presentation of material, it is likely that for some time his attention will be less distracted by his classmates and he will focus on the learning process.
    • 3D is something new and different in the classrooms. Children are into technology nowadays. And 3D offers something more sophisticated than just putting computers in the classrooms. Children should get different experience of learning the content.
    • Kids are very demanding nowadays and they expected top quality animations.
    • People learn best by doing or seeing. The research results show that the pupils have a strong preference for kinesthetic and visual learning.
    • The use of 3D technologies motivate students for self-directed learning, so they start reading books or even surfing the web to find out more about the lessons.
The use of educational tools in 3D is a remarkable method of teaching, which enables students to fully enhance their learning capabilities. It is a highly effective way of engaging and interacting students in the subject presented. High quality teaching in 3D generates and further reinforces students to gain additional knowledge of the subject matter.

There are several strategies how a teacher can implement 3D in the regular classroom.

    1. One of them is the use of 3D projection. It is comparatively easy to implement 3D animations into the regular classroom environment.

    Lifelike images provided by 3D projectors are able not only to grasp children’s attentions, but also to give an immersive, 360-degree view of data that previously could only be obtained with flat 2D images and videos. Now almost all 3D projectors are 3D ready. 3D technologies are simply implemented on devices based on DLP technology, which do not require additional adjustment and calibration. Main difference between 3D ready projectors and traditional projectors is the necessity to use 3D active glasses for viewing.

    2. Another method is the use of 3D learning software. Wide range of learning programs in 3D format include a variety of tools for teaching mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, foreign languages, humanities and they offer great opportunities for teaching both school students and university students. There are a lot of free learning programs on the web, which use 3D content. Visual aids and materials in 3D format make the most difficult topics more apparent.
Here are just a few examples of how to use innovative visual technologies in the educational process:

3D solar system modeling
Astronomy: The most up-to-date 3D technologies can be used to show the objects of a solar system in an interactive and realistic manner. Solar system 3D simulators make it possible to easily move from one planet to another exploring their detailed physical & chemical information and 3D pictures, see their orbits, the sun and the moon from a point in space to which people could never go in real life. 3D technologies allows to present information in the most effective way.

Chemistry: 3D environment utilizes real-time 3D graphics that allow simulating complex or dangerous experiments, providing users with realistic but safe experiences. The 3D perception can also improve the understanding of a chemistry lesson (eg the 3D molecular forms of atoms). A 3D virtual environment for teaching chemistry adds more advantages to a traditional e-learning.

Physics: The use of 3D content in learning and teaching physics is a completely new way of exploring simple machines, mechanisms, dynamics, kinematics, thermodynamics, electricity and optics in 3D format. With 3D technologies students can get hands-on experience building, manipulating or investigating real-life 3D physics in computer generated environment, they can solve problems and even more.
3D computer generated physics object
Anatomy: 3D projections of body organs or interactive 3D presentations with anatomically accurate, high detail 3D model of human body provide students with the opportunity to easily explore anatomical structure of human body.

Conclusion

3D-Ace Studio agrees with a positive and exciting impact of 3D learning on students. It also provides high-quality 3D modeling services for different applications including educational software in 3D format for the use in classrooms. Its broad experience in 3D modeling allows them to create accurate and precise 3D models that will grasp the students’ attention.

Engage your students and give them a new source of inspiration!

(*) Olga Minenkova is a teacher of German by profession, Olga is now a marketing and research manager at www.3d-ace.com, 3D modeling and animation studio. She keeps track of the latest 3D trends and technologies, and does her own research on how the use of 3D technologies can influence difference spheres including education and science.

Education & Tech

Impact of Facebook and Twitter on Classroom Education

By Sarah Brooks*

Where the world of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr intersects school age children who are hard at work in the classroom is a place of contradiction, debate, busy mouths and fingers and of vast overarching potential. While some may argue from the dark side of social media as it applies to students, which speaks from a place which touts distraction and lack of focus as the negative influences of media upon the school, the real power comes from the positive impact of social media upon the classroom. When the assets of social media are reined in and harnessed to act as a boon which aids students in their progression of knowledge, even the banes of internet media can be used as tools to connect modern day students with the technology of their time.

Let us take the indisputable king of social media, Facebook, and examine a few ways in which the site may be used as a beacon of education rather than a powerhouse of distraction. While many schools have chosen to ban the social networking site from their in house computers, students with their elbows deep in computer skills will no doubt find a tunnel or other way to get through to the site which provides them with an online identity, friends, photos, games, music and videos. So the question of whether Facebook is a presence in the student's lives is not the issue; the heart of the future of Facebook as it applies to students is maneuvering its influence from a position of fallen focus to an educational tool. When students or teachers form Facebook groups, a virtual space is created for a forum setting that can make way for after school discussions, extracurricular work, and online collaboration among students. Not only are students more likely to use a resource like Facebook because they are already plugged into it for their social lives, but they are more likely to extend their classroom time on Facebook school groups when working on homework or a project with their classmates.

The same is true for Twitter. Take, for example, students who choose to follow a hand picked collection of their role models, influences, and educational authorities on the site which allows for short bursts of news, announcements and text. When Twitter is utilized by a student who wishes to keep up with their favorite authors, teachers, musicians, or artists, they can gain insight and deepened awareness of what is going on in the lives of their personal or educational influences.

However, Twitter catch-up should be a game always played after the homework is done at the end of the school day. Most of the problems with distraction that spring up between students and their favorite websites are based on social media taking valuable time away from homework or classroom time. While it is likely necessary to keep student's hands off access to Facebook and Twitter during classroom hours when they are expected to be in full attention mode, educators must remember that the social media hubs do have their place and can help make books and learning both cool and popular in the eyes of students.

Sparknotes, for example, is a social and educational site dedicated to students and by students who are searching for user-friendly supplement to their classes. Sparknotes supports both Facebook and Twitter which gives students a way to access bite size bits of news about online learning guides, testing, aids, and book notes. Educators who choose to utilize the resources of Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr rather than shunning these valuable social media tools to the back of the closet not only gain favor in the eyes of their students, but ensure that they are keeping up with the proverbial Joneses in terms of education and technology.

(*) Sarah Brooks writes from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to: brooks.sarah23 [at] gmail [dot] com

Education & Tech

If Snowden Is Indeed a Traitor He Betrayed the Cops, Not Us. If He's a Spy, He's Spying for the People, Not the State

The Day We Fight Back, #StoptheNSA
Revelations surrounding the surveillance practices of the NSA and other Western government intelligence agencies may have made 2013 the year the Internet lost its innocence within democratic states.

There is absolutely no question, mass government surveillance is a global problem. Many say If don't do anything wrong there is nothing to worry about. That's not that simple.

This kind of programs violate our right to privacy and infringe on our rights to freedom of expression adn association. Our students need to know that mass surveillance harm the freedom and openness of the global internet they enjoy today.

And it goes against our most democratic values.

If Edward Snowden hadn't told us the NSA was gathering this evidence, and the DEA was using it, we'd never have known. So, "If Snowden  is indeed a traitor he betrayed the cops, not us. If he's a spy, he's spying for the people, not for the prison state..."

Today,  February 11, 2014, individuals, civil society organizations, and thousands of websites are coming all together to take stand against mass surveillance.

If you are an educator, please make your voice listened whether on your classroom, the Web or even the streets.

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

Why Utilizing Technology at a Young Age is Necessary

By Vera M. Reed 

These days, technology is everywhere. We may not have self-driving hover cars yet (come on, 2020!), but when taken into consideration, our lives are pretty 'futuristic.' We can video chat people on our iPhones, we can dictate text messages, and they even make communicator watches like James Bond had in his heyday.

What does this mean for future generations? Well, each coming generation is going to need to be more and more tech-literate. Some school districts spend millions upon millions to get iPads for their students: Technology is a near inescapable part of our children’s generation. As such, it’s important to make sure your kids are tech-literate -- after all, the earlier the better!

Kobe drawing by Marcus Kwan on Flickr

Tech at home
These days, it’s not uncommon to see a baby or toddler working an iPad -- kids start at an increasingly younger age to learn skills such as using a touch screen. Older kids can use programs like Mouse Practice to start picking up the old point-and-click techniques -- and there are also tons of fun game-based typing tutorials available online. Art programs are another fun way to introduce younger kids to computers and other outfits of technology -- it’ll help prepare your kids to create their own vector art when they get a little older.

Tech in the classroom
Now that technology is more widely available for most students, many classes are incorporating more and more technology to their curriculum. Students learn applications like Excel, which is useful in almost any professional setting. Interested students can even participate in specialized magnet programs where they get a professional-level training in tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. And of course, the Internet has been used as the research method of choice for the better part of the last decade.

Technology and the future of education
Already MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are having an effect on how traditional classrooms are being run: many classes are taking on the MOOC model -- lectures are watched online at home, and class time is more efficiently used for teacher-supervised group projects and one-on-one student-teacher time. It actually makes a lot of sense -- if the teachers aren’t spending the whole period lecturing, they can spend more time with each student, and make sure each child’s needs are being met.

And that’s just one example -- technology offers such easy access to almost limitless knowledge that it’s difficult to list all of the benefits. With the widespread use of tablets and computers, some schools are even doing away with textbooks -- using material accessed online saves money and trees. In fact, computers are to textbooks what calculators were for slide rules.

It’s certainly the wave of the future. Getting your kids on board earlier will only seek to make their path easier -- learning tech from an early age will give them an edge in almost every avenue. By the time they reach adulthood, it may even just give them that extra push they need to secure that cherry first job!

However, you should also read some cons about use of technology by young children.

(*) Vera M. Reed is a former educator and current writer, editor, researcher and designer living in Southern California. She particularly enjoys writing on the relation between technology and education, and is a frequent contributor for AdultLearn.com, where she writes on everything from Bachelor’s to doctoral degrees.



Education & Tech

Pros and Cons of Traditional PC vs Mobile Typing

The world is quickly becoming digital, and many people start typing on various kinds of mobile devices from a very young age. You can't go a day without seeing a picture or viral video of a small child, often as young as 2 or 3, plugging away on an iPad or smart phone. While typing on mobile devices does have its benefits, there are a number of pros and cons to typing on PC vs mobile typing.

Traditional PC Typing


Pros: 
    1. Speed. You are never going to reach the same words per minute speeds on a mobile device that you would on a traditional keyboard. Even an average typist can generally reach speeds of 40-50 words per minute on a traditional keyboard, with many practiced typists reaching upwards of 70-80 words per minute.

    2. 10-Key Numbers. Full sized keyboards are going to come with an attached number pad which allows for quick and easy number entry. On most mobile touch-screen keyboards, you have to switch to an entirely separate screen to access numbers and symbols, which can significantly slow your typing speed.

     3. Use all your fingers. A standard keyboard allows you to use all of your fingers, which is much faster than typing with just your thumbs or just your forefingers. Proper touch typing techniques require the use of all 10 fingers and most touch screen mobile keyboards simply do not have enough multi-touch points to be able to accommodate that.

 Cons: 
    1. Portability. The main problem with traditional PC typing is that it is not portable. Even if you break out a laptop or netbook that you can carry with you anywhere, you still resign yourself to sitting in one spot while you type. Even the most lightweight netbook would present a challenge if you chose to walk and type at the same time.

     2. Learning Curve. Proper touch typing can take weeks to learn and months to reach peak speed. This is one of the main hurdles that prevent users to even trying to learn how to properly type. Though the skill will serve you in more ways than one, many people don't want to invest the time in a skill they may or may not actually use.
 

Mobile Typing



 Pros: 
    1. Portability. Mobile typing, especially on smart phones and other small devices, allows you to continue your conversations or thoughts no matter where you are, whether you are sitting, standing, or walking. While walking and texting is not recommended, it does provide a very convenient way to continue your typing regardless of the situation.

     2. Learning Curve. Anyone, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, can pick up a mobile device and text or type on it with very little effort. While learning how to navigate predictive text may be a bit of a chore, it doesn't take much practice to be able to hunt and peck with your thumbs.

     3. Predictive Text. This has been around since the advent of texting, in the form of the T9 text language. It allows users to enter just a few letters of a word, and the phone or mobile device will provide a number of possible completions for that word. While it has been the bane of many in the form of the infamous iPhone auto-correct, it is a great way to increase the speed with which messages are completed.

 Cons: 
 
    1. Speed. Even the best mobile typists will be hard pressed to reach anything above 30 words per minute. This is only slightly faster than the average words per minute speed for a hunt and peck typist on a traditional keyboard. Because the user is limited to only using their thumbs to type, it slows down their potential words per minute speed accordingly.
     2. Size. Even on a large smart phone, like the Galaxy Note, the on screen keyboard for mobile typing is tiny. While ideal for teenagers or people with small digits, they become increasingly difficult to use for people with large fingers. They are also harder to use for people with long fingernails for the same reason.
There are a large number of pros and cons to each style of typing. Personally, I've found that my knowledge of proper touch typing skills increases the speed of my mobile typing, simply because I know the location of each key on the keyboard by memory, so I don't have to spend time looking for them. While both are good styles, both will not work for all situations, and it is up to you to judge which style of typing will work best for you.

This article has been written by Adam Fort, an education advisor and enthusiast.

Education & Tech
 
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