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 L. Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is an instructor with UoPeople, is a 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 blogging and I'd written articles about education and technology almost every day since 2003. In the gazillion of notes, Education & Tech provides you with education news, tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

Welcome you all! Why not like our site for more updates?

Venezuela Debates on a New Educational Curriculum

Latin America is moving to the left and great part of this change has been patronized by Venezuelan President. However, as we all know, changing the educational curricula means a social change, indoctrination. Laura Vidal in the GVO reports the buzz on blogs en Venezuelan media:

Part of what is attacked is the new system, which seeks to remove some competitive sports. They propose more traditional games based on solidarity and equality. Also, there is the discussion of studies on national culture and traditions, since the new project seems to highlight African and aboriginal heritage over the European. Above all, an extended and detailed study of Chavez's government and ideals are preferred over world history and Venezuelan contemporary history.

How this will affect future college education generation in this South American country?

Virtual Sports Contribute to Obesity. 'Pickup' Sports Will Solve the Problem.

Fields turn green and flowers bloom, birds return from their long winter migration. The sounds of summer soon begin, with children laughing and enjoying the most popular pastimes. Are they? Unless your kids count on organized football leagues, pee wee baseball, swimming, kids just don't seem to play 'pickup' games or get involved in elderly family conversations like before. The reasons can be as different as families we have, but taking away the enjoyment of summer and the freedom that allow kids to create, invent and discover new games and sports, we as teachers and parents, are preventing our children from discovering themselves and acquiring life skills that can ultimately improve their chances of future success.

It has often said that television is the modern day babysitter, and more and more heads of households are relying on the 'boob tube' to entertain youngsters and keep them safely indoors. As if the hundreds of channels available on cable TV aren't enough, most children now have access to computers, entertainment consoles and handheld video games.

Many (even ourselves) are choosing to play virtual sports rather than get together in the park, school playgrounds or visit your family or friend('s) for a quick game of ball. Before it gets completely out of hand and after we lose more obese children or have shootings and killings in the educational world, parents and teachers as well, should limit and encourage kids to use less time spend on using the most current technology and if necessary, encourage them to go out and play. Kids just don't do it anymore.

But once they find the computer or TV are off limits and the Playstation is put away, they will quickly realize that the best way to enjoy this summer is to play outside and have old fashioned fun. What do you think?

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Ecuador's Flooding and the Flutes in Cuenca

El Calas road in Cuenca, EcuadorThis is not the best place to write about Ecuador's affairs but I still like to read about it and i want to summarize what some people is saying about Aids for the flooding victims that thanks to incident with Colombia, it seems everyone has forgotten, except The Prem Rawat Foundation; and how foreigners conceive the 'enculturation' process that needs to be shared with others. published an article where they explain what's the role of The Prem Rawat Foundation which donated $26,000 to Montanas de Esperanza((MdE), a local non-profit in northern Ecuador, to provide relief to flood victims in the coastal village of Santa Lucia(Nanegal, Ecuador). The grant will supply 32 tons of vital food supplies to feed 1,500 families ( about 7,500 people) at least for one month. This community is one of the most severely affected areas, MdE with the cooperation of the Ecuadorian Red Cross, Regional Andean Farmers Cooperatives, the National Emergency Operations Center, community leaders and individual volunteers will handle the deliveries of aid to flood victims, one of the largest provided in Ecuadorian coast to date.

Alicia Craven is teaching English in the Cuenca's city, where a historic and colonial environment makes her write about her experiences back there and how tourists visiting Cuenca may expect to see fedoras, flutes and roasted guinea pig, which is impaled on sticks like giant rodent popsicles. There is a passage that really makes me have some fun, because it reminded me of how culturally different people can be. This is it: "One night, on a night bus, I woke to find my chariot unmoving — a 10-foot layer of mud from a recent landslide had blocked the narrow mountain highway. Naively, I went to question the driver. "Excusing me, sir," I asked in Spanish, "but is there a plan for to cope with the mountain who fall down on our path?"

"Don't worry! There's a plan!" he assured me with a smile. "We wait!" Indeed, patience paid off, and with the help of a team of shovel-toting saviors, we were on our way a mere seven hours later."

Ecuadorans can be so much lucky. Jeff Hansel from echoes the experience of a young girl back in Ecuador and in the Saint Marys Hospital. The young girl was grown in Portoviejo and unfortunately got hit by a drunk driver while she was crossing the street near her home. All help she's obtained is thanks to opportune intervention of Hands for Humanity, based in Rochester (MN).

In Ecuador if you don't pay medical services, up front, you definitely die. Panchi, short for Francisca in Spanish, is the mother's girl(Lidia Pazminio) and she remembers: "To come to Rochester, Panchi had to raise enough money for the flight and passports. During one fundraiser, she literally stopped cars, told Lidia's story to the occupants and accepted whatever they offered."

No everything is politics and not only Colombian issues are the concern of Ecuadorans.

(*) Picture by iAngelDJ

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Is American Education Brainwashing our Kids?

I've found interesting the post written in Refugees From the City, not only because they generously picked a post we wrote back in the 2005, but the lengthy explanation about what John the Scientist calls, Edumacation and the Southern Man.

This "L" republican libertarian, after traveling around the globe cannot say our educational system is brainwashing kids. "The educational system in this country was not set up to brainwash people." And he continues:

The US educational system was set up to cram facts down throats before kids dropped out in 8th grade. It evolved from that in the 50s with the push after Sputnik, but only slightly. In point of fact, the educational system has been dominated by liberal progressive thinkers since Thomas Dewey started preaching child-centered education and denigrating content knowledge back in 1916. Businesses have been calling for better educated workers for most of the 20th Century, and never more so than now. To claim that the Dewey-inspired system of today with its emphasis on self-esteem and lack of emphasis on content is designed by business to create docile factory workers flies in the face of evidence. In fact it’s a level of thinking akin to that of conspiracy theorists. We have a term where I’m from for people who create mental models based on stuff they read in books and never question with real observations: “educated beyond your intelligence”.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Is your educational system doing something ins this direction?

The Urgency to Hold Teachers Themselves Accountable

Free Use Photos Group The picture left-side of our post belongs to Michael Casey who's member of Free Use Photos Group in Flickr and which is a creative way to share photos that can be used freely and without restrictions. Please, join in and allow scholars, education community, bloggers and share your shots!

Stephanie Hirsh & Joellen Killion wrote a post in Education Week a few days now and they wrote something that all teachers must be concerned. Certainly, for almost a decade, efforts to raise student-achievement levels have been mostly about driving standards through the schoolhouse door, they say. In other words, accountability has meant putting pressure on educators to raise performance. But ensuring that educators have the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to help all students achieve has not been approached with the same urgency.

Teacher qualifications will work to improve the teaching force in the nation’s low-performing high schools, particularly, but at the same time it will be more challenging than closing the teacher gap at other levels of schooling, for example, in part because out-of-field teaching is more common in high schools and under this cirncumstances makes no favor to minority students.

Hirsh and Killion, continues and add, "common policy and practice focus on individual professional learning, rather than team-based and schoolwide learning; on increasing the number of staff-development days, rather than restructuring the workday; and on isolated professional-development plans, rather than those that are embedded in school and district improvement plans. This approach ensures that only some teachers and their students benefit, not all teachers and all students."

However, our fellow Kim Cofino, an international school teacher has felt and experienced that isolation and comes up with suggestions of how to help teachers become more proficient not only by instruction but experiences of what she calls the 21st. Century Educator. After putting into action her tips and tricks she declares:"I have learned more in the last year and a half than I had in the previous six and a half years combined."

The question is, how teachers can hold themselves accountable, and not only to respond to the government or the Boards of Education. Kim has created an excellent post where among other things she's doing and she's asking to do the following: join a social network, set up a RSS reader, attend conferences for free, become a Blogger and a Twitterer, develop social connection through socialnetworking and socialbookmarking.

So, unload yourself of all the pressure to get only great performances in your students and focus on your personal training, taking advantage of what now it's being labeled as Web 2.O tools.

Q&A: Have you ever tried it before?

I have loved reading some of the questions and answers from A Tipical Thoughts. While blogging and after reading so many stuff from my reader I have learned so much about fellow bloggers and the idea of bloggers like Tipp are of encouragement because they have opened up to have anything asked about them.

How much you know about a fellow blogger you read almost every day?

So, in Tipp's words "let’s have a go at it!

Ask away people. Any questions. You will get a straight answer, if I choose to pick yours.

Anyone, anywhere can participate!

Friends and family from “back home”, Bloggy friends, Real life friends.

You will probably never get this opportunity again so do it now!

Those of you who are out there who are lurking, show yourselves! I don’t care if you are an old enemy (really there are only about two people out there that would qualify for such a title so what are the odds they are you, no really, try me!), a stranger, someone from way-back, whoever- ask away!"

Just in case, I've wrote something related here.

CIBER: Youngsters View Rather than Read the Internet

Consequences of being involved in a hoax like the Psystar one, are events that must be avoid at all costs by bloggers and professional writers. We think that's one of the reason why the life of the professional blogger isn't as easy as much may be suspecting.

And now that we are talking about professionals, do you remember you've been told many times the Gen X. are all literate about the Internets? Well, don't fall for everything you hear, particularly on the Internet. A recent study shows that this same generation are only capable of viewing but not technically reading, they rely too much on search machines and don't exercise what in the American schools is called critical thinking.

...Research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now becoming the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors.

I am ashamed how these conclusions can be applied to big cities where broad band is accessible. My question is, what about those other cities where they don't even have dial-up. Latin America, for example has a very low Internet coverage and I don't want to quote what's happening on other regions where this service is still a luxury and they have to spotlight through radio waves.

What's Worst: Abandon a Weblog Or Stay in the Echo Chambers?

Two posts of fellow bloggers had been in our spotlight, not the one about selling a Twitter account which bids in eBay over pass the one thousand dollars and going up!

One of these post was written by Sumesh and he claims that most bloggers are only echoing the blogosphere, in fact, he says "Blogs like TechCrunch and ArsTechnica often get inside scoops of upcoming events, and post them to their blogs." but justify at the same time, that echoing for large blogs as the well know TechCrunch.

This assertion comes in had with that one written a while now by Rubel and that we commented here. Certainly we have to agree with both Sumesh and Rubel about the laziness and the echo chambered situation; unfortunately, as the same Steve wrote on these days about how the blogosphere was plagued by marketers which of course damages the quality of what's been said in the blogosphere, because those persons are interested not in info and freshness of content but hits and advertisement. Some had make prognosis of the over saturation of Internet into ten years. How this spam blogs and mirrors and the best cases are helping to this phenomena? I invite you to scratch an answer.

Now, if blogosphere is being affected by unimportant blogs, what will happen with those who decide to migrate platform, erase a blog or simply open an account, but after a few days or months decide it is not worth to keep writing on their respective pages? The answer is being elaborated by a prestigious Spanish network, the Spanish Blogger Union (UBH - June 2009), the editor of this mega blog thinks nobody should erase a blog and her post is addressed particularly to free hosting blogs such as Blogger and Wordpress. Carmen, the editor suggests, she'd found many cases where old domains were re-owned for people who are not doing a good use of the Internet. When people erase a blog in Blogspot, somebody else can get the subdomain, a matter that it's not an issue in Worpress because they don't allow new users to take over old subdomains.

From our personal experience, we can add not only you shouldn't erase your blog but when editing content don't just change it, write o note that explains you had introduced some change either, the post or title of a post. Why? Because it will be prejuicial of other bloggers who already wrote a link back to you.

Have a wonderful weekend and please, head over lifestream and follow our conversations there.

Yahoo Index Tools Web Analytics

Not everything has been bad news for Yahoo!, Microsoft still wants to own it and now AOL wants to survive. I know, many of you already are familiar with the faulty e-mail storage, the nonconformity from many users about the video feature in Flickr and other stuff we don't to get in detail.

Bloggers are not marketers even when Steve Rubel thinks the blogosphere is now plagued by marketers, bloggers still need the web analytics , we hope Yahoo! provide not only for enterprise service but publishers as plain bloggers, looking to catch up with the 'me too' tendency in Google.

Mel Carson, brings in the note and for further information please head over his post.

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Pulitzer: A Dominican Makes Room for His People

Heavy Sounds and The Abstract Truth, guides me to an interview of Junot Diaz who's been awarded as first place in the Pulitzer Fiction category. His book, for now in English only, will available in Spanish to the ending of this year. The author recognizes have been raised in NJ, in a poor latino neihgborhood and that The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was inspired on her mom. Even though, he's a professor right now and many Dominicans living around tri- state area are very much happy.

Our congratulations to all latino residents in the U.S. and particularly two fellow bloggers: Planeta Atavex [es] and B@b@ [es].

Where And How to Start Feeling Younger Than Ever!

Video produced and distributed by UTPL under MIRADAS

This is the story of a foreigner in Loja, who discovered that growing older not necessarily means being invisible to the opposite sex.

She went to a party where, for the first time, she received not a glimmer of attention from any man there. She was happily married by then, but still, she remembers how stunned she felt to go unnoticed. Suddenly, she was out the game. After years, she confess, she loves male attention as much as ever.

This was an experience in Loja's (not far from Vilcabamba) not much crowded immigration office. Holding her ticket, she sat for about one hour, resigned to a long wait. A young man, half her age had completed her paperwork and asked her if she was married or single. She said 'single' and watched as he checked the box marked 'divorciada'. Wait. "Actually, I am a widow" she pointed out.

"Oh, señora", he said, "I am so very sorry. Please accept my profound apology. I have made the most egregious error". Now here he was, spotting her in the back of the room and waving me up to his window. The bunch of visa-seeking gringos parted, then, she floated by, to be received by a courteous Ecuadoran male who took his time explaining the final steps in the visa renewal process. She will be able to come back into two weeks to pick up the visa, he concluded. "Until then", he said, taking her hand in his and cocking his head ever so slightly. "que le vaya muy bien, señora".

This expression in Spanish means, "I hope that all goes well for you" and it's a standard good-bye in Loja and Ecuador. To the 70 and something old American woman, it feels like a resurrection from the dead. It hasn't been too long ago that she waited in a store in the States and her testimony goes about a middle-aged, balding clerk, who helped a 20-something, long haired blonde pick out a flat TV screen. The clerk was all charm with all information on every set in sight. When she finally got her turn, the employee barely made eye contact and offered minimal data on only the sets I asked about. Of course, she didn't buy a TV and walk out feeling upset and humiliated.

In Loja and the little town of Vilcabamba, She is born again into a world of easy-smiling men who give her a two handed hello or a peck on the check and people who always take the time to chat. Part of all this is custom; regardless of their sex, people stop and exchange pleasantries. A typical "hi, How are you?" flyby is a bad form for Ecuadorean culture; you learn at least to stand still and wait for an answer.

What you can experience down South Ecuador is more than good manners. Men you don't even know smile openly at you, make eye contact and say, "Buenos dias." Occasionally, they will give you a sly up-and-down glance as you pass on the street. The top video, at the beginning shows you the point of view of people living in Vilcabamba and this story reflects how nice and polite Vilcabamba residents are and continue to be.

The other day in Vilcabamba, the man behind the counter at a small hardware store felt free to place some extra gaskets on the hand of the history's woman and declare, "No charge , seniora. I ask only that you return soon to look at me again with your beautiful and rare green eyes around here". She had to laugh at this nonsense.

Remember, if you happen to come to Ecuador, go Loja and ask to be driven to Vilcabamba, you won't see only ancient people but surely you will feel younger as ever!

This post was inspired on the video shown up here and in Remember Sweet Things by Ellen Greene.

Ideas And Experiences On Uses of ITC in the Classroom

Tom Barret is really serious about his ideas and thoughts on using educational technology in my classroom.

Follow up the link and get knowledge of his last post on Twitter as a teaching and learning tool.

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Milton Ramirez: Education & Tech Editor's Portrait

Yesterday, while I was reading our Google Reader subscriptions, I got knowledge of the decision of a fellow blogger about to quit blogging. BlogBloke, has been in the blogosphere many years now and while he's still looking around to make his final decision, we have to congratulate to have him around with such a good information and constant updates in his old and new web address. BB way ahead you will get to know, what's next for you.

Eduardo Avila, is the Regional Editor in Global Voices for Latin America and his advice when you don't have anything to write is to make an interview. Not that we don't have topics to write about, but I want to share with you an old interview that Jamila Lopez wrote about Mr. R. back in September 2002. The Editor of this blog was working for St. Mary's HS and The Hilltopper is the internal newspaper for students and faculty in this institution.

The document was published in the Vol. 6, No. 1 of The Hilltopper and started something like this:

Mr. R. is from Ecuador where he resided until just four years ago when he decided to come to the United States with his family.

In St. Mary's he teaches Math and Spanish. Mr. R. decided to join the St. Mary's staff because he wanted to do what he really likes, teaching. Since Mr. R. has been in St. Mary's he has been mostly impressed with the discipline of the students, the warmth of the teachers, and the way things are organized.

Mr. R's educational background consists of being licensed in math and physics from the Loja National University. He also has a Doctorate in Educational Science and a certificate in Secondary Education. Mr. R's teaching style is the Socratic method, which is basically quick question and quick answer. And, finally, he likes to research things scientifically and socially. He likes to find out what is within a person or action.

In his personal life Mr. R. enjoy hobbies such as reading books as well as write them; he even has five unedited books on educational research, which is his passion. He enjoys movies and likes to get acquainted with a lot of people. But, most of all, he enjoys the time he spends with his family and traveling to discover new places.

What he remembers mostly about his high school experience besides the learning, is trying to think of pranks for his teachers.

From this blog we want to greet and thank Ms. Malko, Mrs. Sobon, Mrs. Paterek and Nick Maruschak for all their support and coaching during those days in the St. Mary's HS.

TeacherTube: Twitter in Plain English

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