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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

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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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SAT Makeover Does Not Impress Critics

The College Board is a huge nonprofit organization, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue, and despite intense criticism in the past, it had done little, in Les Perelman’s estimation, to bring about meaningful change. Perelman, former director of writing at M.I.T. has been one of the exam's harshest and most relentless critics.

David Coleman, the president of the College Board wants to address deep criticism coming from different sectors in education. Since college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced this week a fundamental rethinking of the SAT. Coleman criticized his own test, the SAT, and its main rival, the ACT, saying that both had "become disconnected from the work of our high schools."

Historically, the ACT has been taken by high school students in the West and the South, while those on the East and West coasts have tended to take the SAT. Students' performance on tests like the SAT have played a big role in which colleges and universities they got into. But as NPR's Eric Westervelt reported, a new study raises questions about whether standardized tests are becoming obsolete. Why? Because some 800 of the roughly 3,000 colleges and universities in America make SAT or ACT submissions optional.

I was talking to my son, and he was sad no SAT revisions will available for him since changes go into effect on 2016, while he is becoming a senior next year. Or as TIME's Leon Botstein puts it:"The new changes to the SAT are harmless."

Bob Schaeffer of FairTest.org, is another vocal critic of the SAT. He was not impressed with the SAT's new direction, either. Anyway, here are some of the upcoming changes:

    - The test will return to being scored on a 1,600-point scale, rather than 2,400 points.
    - Prevents cheating by issuing each exam taker his own custom SAT with unique questions and answers.
    - Students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers.
    - The scoring system, reverts back to old 0.5867-point scale with two separate 0.29335-point sections.
    - The test will replace traditional essay portion with new multiple-choice essay section.
    - The essay portion of the test will be optional and scored separately.
    - The SAT exam will include a passage from "founding documents of America," such as the Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address and the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."
    - No more "obscure" vocabulary words.
    - Removes several questions about what the student is wearing.
    - The exam will last three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the optional essay.
    - Eliminates stress by reminding test takers that whatever college they’re admitted to, they still won’t be able to get a job.
    - SAT will be available in paper and digital forms.
    - A calculator will be permitted only in certain parts of the math section, as opposed to all of the math section in the current exam.
    - Test will include at least one silly, fun question.

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Milton Ramirez

9 Free Ebook Resources for Literature Students

By Mishca Hayes*

College students, especially those studying literature always find the need to look for good literature resources. This is also true for those taking research-intense courses. While you find most books you need in the library, there's no doubt that you use the internet to find resources for class discussion or papers.

Here are 9 sites where you can get good resources for free for your English and Literature classes.
iRiver Story eBook Reader Review by Andrew Mason on Flickr
eBook Cafe
eBook Café has classic literature ebooks available for download and online viewing. It mainly contains classic literature with a list of authors on the right side. The selection is thin and doesn't have a search feature to the site, but it should be good for those who would like to read classics in between serious non-fictions like Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Deterring Democracy by Noam Chomsky, which you read for a paper.

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg has gotten really big since its inception in 1971 by founder Michael Hart. With 27 thousand pieces of literature, it is now the leading resource of downloadable ebooks, for your subjects and personal joy. In fact, many other literature sites you find online link back to Project Gutenberg for 'more' resources.

Fiction eBooks
Fiction eBooks has a selection of literature, mostly classics from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Ebooks on this site, however, are only viewable online.

The site has lists of literature according to recipients of literary awards like Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Award. However, because the collection is thin, it does not have all books listed in these categories, hence the lack of links to the books.

Online Books Page
Online Books Page is another comprehensive source of literature online by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. It claims to have a million books, but many are other forms of literature such as short stories, essays, and studies. Many of these resources were imported from other sites, namely Project Gutenberg and Hathi Trust Digital Library among others. These are the ones in their 'extended shelves.' The rest are curated by team members.

Planet eBook
Planet eBook is another site where to get free classic literature for those taking Literature 101, but has no intention of continuing to higher or advanced literature subjects. It has more than 80 ebooks available for download and online reading.

Tuebl
If you read on a mobile device like iPad, Tuebl is one of the resources you must have. It has a wide selection of ebooks, classic, modern, and those written by unpublished or independently-published writers.

On the homepage, you will find lists such as 'Popular Authors,' 'Trending,' and 'Newest Additions.' You can also search via the search box. Here's a tip for you. If you're a bookworm so much that you'd read anything, scan their 'Most Downloaded' list and spend a day or two downloading all interesting books you see. For example, I am already at page 150 and so far, I've downloaded Dickens and Hemingway classics, Vonnegut and Kerouac modern classics, and an assortment of books by writers unknown to me among others.

The Literature Network
Most of the collection includes the usual classics like Moby Dick to some of Paolo Coelho’s books. They also have other types of literature aside from novels such as short stories, poems, and plays. The Literature Network does not only offer free ebooks from the site, it also has a comprehensive list of other sites where to get them. Other interesting features in the site are quotations by authors and quizzes about the books they have if you want to test your knowledge on them.

Get Free eBooks
Tagged as 'all the books you need,' Get Free eBooks is a comprehensive resource with 100 ebook categories. This includes topics like photography, finance, and crafts among others aside from the usual fiction, classic, writing, and young adult.

When you click a title, you will be directed to another site where you can download it in the format you like for free. The usual formats you will find are mobi for Kindle, epub, html, and pdf.

Hathi Trust Digital Library
Like The Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust was collaborated with the noble purpose of providing and preserving digital literature for users, mainly the academic community.

Its digitized literature are mostly available for online reading, but some may be viewed through their mobile website. If you're a member of its 80+ partner institutions like Harvard University Library and New York Public Library, you can download ebooks as pdf.

There are many more sites, but based on experience, these 9 sites are the best. Tell us where you get free ebooks!

(*) Mishca Hayes has a degree in literature and writes full-time at best essays uk. She starts her day with coffee and a good book. Whenever she gets time off, she travels and practices photography.

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