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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How to Balance Going Back to School with Raising a Family


When you’re in college, they say you’ll have to sacrifice a social life, sleep, or getting good grades to survive. What, then, happens when you already have a family, and you’re trying to go back to school without the relative freedoms of traditional undergrads? There’s no easy answer, but there are ways to take the pressure off and help you balance your life with your schooling. Here are a few strategies to help you further your education without burning the candle at both ends.

Prioritize


The truth is, something will have to give. The trick for success, then, is choosing the right things to give up. Even though school and your family may be your chief priority, it’s easy to let your eyes slip off the prize and get distracted by things like, say, the internet. When your brain needs a break, consider changing your typical ways of distracting yourself to more positive, productive activities, like taking walks or playing a game as a family.

Make Dedicated Time for Them, and Respect It


One of the biggest challenges of juggling school and family life is not getting it all done, it’s making sure your family feels like you’re still an active part of their lives. There’s only so much time in the week to get everything done, but dedicating even the smallest amount of time for them regularly lets them know that they haven’t lost you to your new endeavor. Whether you can save a day for them on the weekends, or you can just manage 45 minutes a night to read with your kids, make sure that they have their own slot in your schedule, and that you don’t use that time for anything else that may appear on your plate.

Find a Sweet Spot


One of the easiest and most effective ways to separate school and your home life is to find a place to work that isn’t at home. This way, when you’re done working and are ready to call it a day, you can physically leave your business behind you instead of obsessing about all the things you have to do tomorrow. Separating work space and your home life should also help you to really be present when you’re at home.

Group Your Classes


One of the easiest ways to make your schedule more manageable is to lump your classes together and take them back-to-back throughout the day. Though this sounds stressful, it’s much easier than spending an entire day having to go to classes with giant breaks in the middle. Take them all in a row, and then move on with your day instead of mixing night and morning classes. A consistent schedule will keep you sane and disturb your family’s schedule the least.

Start Slow


If you haven’t been to school for a while, or you’re a bit nervous about starting, taking a few courses at a time instead of jumping all in can take some of the pressure off. Going part time will also help you to decide how much more (or less) you can handle on your plate, and adjust accordingly. Many schools also offer accredited online programs that allow you to complete courses at your own pace. This is a great strategy if you’re looking to ease back into academia.

Guest post contributed by Haley Coffman


Education & Tech

In School, Grit Is a Better Predictor of Success Than IQ

The quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that's grit, as defined by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term "grit" — and won a MacArthur "genius grant" for it.

In her research, Duckworth shows grit is actually a better predictor of success than IQ or other measures when it comes to achievements as varied as graduating from West Point or winning the National Spelling Bee as it is reported by NPR 

Can grit be taught?

The founder of the term can't come with a definitive answer. She said, "I don't think we have enough evidence to know with certainty that we can do so." Part of the problem is figuring out how to assess grit. Duckworth also said "these things are really hard to measure with fidelity."

However, many schools around the nation have embarked on their own experiments. If you are interested on learning more about grittier students you should get to know what's happening at Intellectual Virtues Academy in Long Beach, in Calif. (Jason Baehr), Lenox Academy for Gifted Middle School Students in Brooklyn, N.Y.(Joe Giamportone), and New City School, in St. Louis, Mo. (Tom Hoerr)

As for teachers, they also need to have a different approach in the classroom. The focus is always more on putting out effort than on getting the right answers. Students no longer hear "You're so smart!" or "Brilliant!" Rather, teachers will praise students for their focus and determination. "You must have worked really hard!" or "To have performed this well, you must have put out a lot of effort."

Come to reality. Some education experts do not believe that kids today are any less gritty than before. Alfie Kohn is one of them, he thinks "the benefits of failure are vastly overstated, and the assumption that kids will pick themselves up and try even harder next time, darn it — that's wishful thinking."

Joan Goodman is another detractor of the grit. Goodman says, grit may not be a character trait at all, but rather a byproduct of other traits, like confidence, courage and curiosity. And, she says, people can be gritty in some things but not others. A kid might be passionate about chess, for example, but completely disengaged in chemistry class.

All in all, grit seems like it's the latest fad in education. Even Angela Duckworth is aware of that when she states that if not consistently reinforced in and out of school, it can only have limited results.

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

Everything You Need to Know about Taking Courses from Top Universities Online [Distance Learning]

By Samantha Kirk*

Bummed about not getting into your dream Ivy League school? Perhaps you are an international student aspiring to take tertiary studies abroad but is unable to do so? Thanks to the Internet, you too can get a world-class education without having to enroll, travel for miles or spend tons of dollars to study. Study Art classes from Harvard or take on the challenge of studying Economics courses from Cornell and UC Berkeley all from the privacy of your own home.

Many sites nowadays offer videos of lectures from top-notch universities around the world available for free online. These free college courses on the web are more popularly known as "Massive Open Online Courses" or MOOCs. Non-traditional students (old returning students and stay-at-home parents for example) can benefit greatly from these platforms for it allows them to take their classes at their own pace and time.

Signing up for classes is so easy. No long lines to the school registrar and none of the expensive price tag that comes with getting a great education to expect here! All one has to do is to literally sign up or set up an account at one of the many sites that offer these classes. Other sites operate without the sign-up process and just make do by just having a database of various YouTube links to lectures. Those regularly on the move would be happy to hear that a few of these online courses are available on iTunes which they can download and bring with everywhere they go.

These different methods for getting classes also means that there are different levels of interactions between the students and their lessons. Some sites offer exercises to go along with their videos. If you want to test your skills for a particular course then this is the right path for you to take. Others provide additional features by creating online forums, web chats and video conferencing facilities together with the course material to allow for a more interactive learning experience. This is a great option for those who want to get to know their professors and fellow students for an approach that's more akin to the classic classroom setting. Depending on the site that hosts the videos, completing a program or two earns the student a certificate which they can use for career advancement.

Not all of these MOCCs grant their students college credits though, in the case of Harvard University's Extension School, online courses can be credited and can help students build on their degrees. In the renowned Ivy League school's program, students take their online and on-campus courses at the same time. Catered to the less traditional type of student, classes here are held at night to accommodate the special needs of this type of student.

Whatever your current situation calls for, there is a program out there that's meant for you. Don't let age, finances or work stop you from learning!

Interested in trying out the courses for yourself? Look for the sites below and choose the one that fits your interests and needs best:

https://www.coursera.org/
https://www.edx.org/
https://www.udacity.com/ http://academicearth.org/
http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/

Check out also some other major players on MOOCs

(*) Samantha Kirk is a consultant for some of Australia's best essay and education sites. She is currently studying for her MA in Teaching for the Early Years. Follow her on Twitter!

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