education & tech

mLearning, teacher, scholar, social media

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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Challenging Monolithic Instruction in North America

Technology rich curriculum activities at Skowhegan Area Middle School (ME)Since this post is about a a book I am reading throughout chapter four, at this point, I should include a picture or video of the Disrupting Class' book but, be generous, and allow me to include in place a video of what it might be into a few years the new schools in the United Sates. The subtitle of book says How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, however experiences shown in the book are part of the U.S. and thematic is about America disruption of traditional school.

I'm writing this very inadequate tribute to change in education based on Clayton M. Christensen's book and coauthors Horn and Johnson. When I was preparing to become a teacher one of the most critics I had received from my professors was on Alliance for Progress and how this had been challenged the education in Latin America. Our governments weren't ready to introduce technology in schools and it was seen as an intrusion of the region's interests. Today, things have changed and the internet has lift barriers not only of understanding but learning, as well.

Here in the United States, school has been lately challenged because critics are saying that even when classrrooms are equipped with computers, international standards of testing are being unfavorable to American students. Christensen using what most of educators don't like much, have education linked to industry processes, has teamed with two other great people to apply his Innovation Theories on the educational industry (as the modeling Chirstensen uses to validate his disrupting theory of changing schools in America).

A short version of the Innovator's Dilema is: "the logical decisions that management makes in order to sustain success ultimately are the same reasons they lose their positions of leadership (thus the dilemma). That's because once established, most technologies over time foster improved performance -- these are sustaining technologies. But occasionally these sustaining technologies are up-ended by disruptive technologies. In many cases the disruptive technologies actually had worse performance in the near-term and generally underperformed the sustaining technologies in the mainstream market, so these are not 'break-throughs' in the performance sense. But they are generally cheaper, quicker, smaller, and simpler than the existing competition -- they concentrate on a few features that new fringe customers heavily desire and they ultimately disrupt the status quo marketplace" Learning Technology []

So, taking a cue from Bill Gates' 2005 critique of the American school system, Clayton applies his theory of disruptive innovation to a much-needed evolution in educational technologies-offering new opportunities and challenges for the business community.

Many of us having been proclaiming for years that the 'sky is falling’ on traditional models of instructional delivery, but Christensen uses his plotting theory to provide a logarithmic graph (vertical axis needs to be arranged -so that .0001, .001,.01,.1, 1.0and 10.0 are all equidistant) postulating that by the year 2019 student centric technologies will displace over 50% of classroom instruction. I love his statistical inferences, and adds:"The S-curves are sometimes steep; other times they are gradual. But disruptions almost always follow this pattern: the initial substitution pace is slow; the it steepens dramatically; and, finally, it asymptotically approaches 100 percent of the market" (p. 96)

Online courses can give students more choices, for starters. Many schools in the US, especially rural schools (as Skowhegan School in ME), don’t have enough students to fill advanced math and science courses or to offer multiple choices for foreign languages. Those proposed, disruptional online courses will allow students in those schools to take subjects that simply wouldn’t be available to them otherwise, seems to agree Christy Tucker.

We are about to start reading chapter 5 and surely the conclusions of this books as ourselves are going to be definitely controversial and will undoubtedly upset some. What is great on this books is the introduction of the innovation concept even when this is a borrowed concept from industry. We do agree with statements made by author of Disrupting Class, and as they, themselves recognize it's something that wouldn't happen in the overnight, since we still have many myth to destroy ( Online teaching is mostly good for introductory or low level courses) and a whole bunch of work to do.

The following is a question still hasn't been answered: Do we not already have Web 2.0 tools that can be used in combination with one another to create an environment where this kind of user-developed product can be created and shared?

Also to read:

- Will Technology save education?
- Disrupting Class, Today.
- When students design their own learning.
- Comparing Finn and American Education.
- Service Oriented Virtual Learning Enviroment.
Florida: Tecnology Integration Matrix.

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Skype: How to Join to a Skypecast

I don't quite use Skype and certainly sometimes I feel afraid to use it, because I don't feel so much familiar with the protocols. I am frequently connected via GTalk (tonnetisalove ID). So, I thought it will be great to share with you Wesley Fryer's post, step-by-step, on how to host and join a skypecast.

Tonight is being held (as all Wednesdays) the next skypecast for a Storychaser Brainstorming Sesion. In a previous post, Fryer list four steps to join a skypecast:

"1. Set up Skype: If you have not already, download and install Skype. Be sure you have a RECENT version. Currently version 3.2 is required for Windows users to join Skypecasts, as far as I know version 2.7 for Mac users. (It is free but you’ll need administrative rights to install new software on the computer you are using.) Log in with your userid and password to Skype. Make sure your microphone is plugged in and working.

2. Website log in: Log in to the main Skype website. You’ll need to be logged in to join the Skypecast when it begins.

3. At the start of the Skypecast (7 pm US Central time tonight) click on this link to visit the Skypecast page. Click the link “Join this Skypecast” which will appear once the Skypecast start time has passed. On a Windows computer you should be presented with a dialog window which asks for your permission to launch an external application (Skype) and you’ll need to click yes to authorize that. Then you should be in the Skypecast. We’ll do introductions for at least the first ten minutes, so if you join late that is fine.

4. Be ready to participate! Depending on the number of participants we have, we may have everyone’s mic on or mics may be muted to minimize background noise. If mics are muted, you’ll want to click the button in the skypecast window which shows the names of all the people online to virtually “raise your hand” and ask to speak. In Skype 3.2 for Windows, this is a button in the Skype window which says “Ask for the mic.” As the skypecast moderator, I’ll unmute participant mics individually so you can speak and have the floor! We should also have a skype chat window available which can be used as a backchannel to ask questions, share ideas, and further challenge everyone’s multi-tasking abilities! I’ll do my best to keep up with the backchannel, but it certainly can be challenging to both read text chat and talk about an idea at the same time."

Check out preparatories before skypecast begins, here.

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Education Today 08/05/2008

50 Must-Read Up and Coming Blogs by Teachers

Great compilation of educational blogs, many you might be following and reading but, there are some other syou still have to check out.

Unfortunately, -education & tech isn't in that list!

Blogging as a Method of Communication May Be Over!

Sarah Perez from ReadWriteWeb has written an excellent post on what is the future of blogging. Before, she says, "the main way to publish your own personal thoughts and opinions for the rest of the web to read," was blogging, and continues "blogging started a movement that democratized the web. Everyone could be a publisher. But now, blogging as everyone's preferred method of communication may be over. What's taking its place? Lifestreaming."

We do agree with some of her commenters, Blogging it's not the same as Lifestreaming. The process of Lifestreaming will probably appeal to people who are less concerned about writing as their primary output and who do more with audio, video, and images. It may also be more suited to people who share freely and easily as opposed to saving up bits and ideas and then posting. And we don't think either, blogging will be replaced by this new tendency, not in a short period of time.

There are many people who write not because they want to be on top of Google searching of the even care about Technorati rankings, these people will sustain blogging as it begun; no matter that lifestreaming develop and some look for some voyeurism, blogging will persist a long while. All experienced bloggers, making or not profit of blogging are using different channels of distribution but, it doesn't mean they are moving ( as Sarah tries to show you), they promote their contents. That's all.

Now, we do agree with Sarah on this paragraph, it's becoming hard for bloggers to attract readers, because they are getting used to Friendfeed on the sort, so blogging need to be reinvented, not as a mere democratization of the www but as a disruptive process to communicate. Here's the paragraph:

The simplicity of a lifestream is ideal for our information overloaded age. Lifestreams are short and sweet, yet still provide the same insight into a person's life as yesterday's casual personal blog did. A video here, a photo there, and today's web citizens can voyeuristically peer into anyone's life and get a sense of who they are. Long-form bloggers, on the other hand (myself included) require time and attention to read, but with so many publishers out there, people just aren't reading content like they used to - they're just scanning text and moving on. For new bloggers, this means getting readers is harder than ever - your words are getting lost in a sea of noise. So to stand out, several are turning to the lifestream instead in order to get noticed.

Do you think Blogging will be replaced by Lifestreaming at the Friendfeed style?

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You Are Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution!

This is an interesting post that needs to be featured, the rule doesn't apply to school or education only, but it's valid to our daily activities, as well. Normally, when you have an issue, a difficult situation, a problem, most of the times you start looking to the other side. However, there are occasions when your social role doesn't allow you to do that, let's say you are a parent and find yourself in the middle of a conflict with your teenage, can you you look around and pretend there is not a problem?

Here is the moment that requires to you, "being part of the solution" because it "is the only viable option."

Teaching in the Middle, is a new source of educational matters to us and this post written on Are the Obstacle or the Answer make us subscribe to it, immediately. Patrick Woessner, is heading this page and we would like to reproduce his questions about the topic but applied to schools. What will it be your answers:

"When websites are blocked, are students more likely to ask the school to consider opening them and state their rationale or simply use the Tor network to bypass the filter? When an application doesn’t work properly and a lesson fails, are teachers more likely to pursue an after-the-fact solution with the IT department or simply forgo using that program again and opt for the low-tech “Plan B”? When updated equipment is required to provide an optimal learning environment but the budget request is declined, does the technology staff demonstrate the undeniable need or prepare to make do with what is available?"

As for me, many times I've felt compelled to stay as part of the problem, to be honest, but we have to move on and accept we are being lazy in this side and wish to give out the best of ourselves to help in the solution. I cannot let down, my son just because I feel like looking to the other side...

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