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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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.

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