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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Teacher 2.0 : Is a Buzzword Only

Lauren O’Grady wrote a great post we want to comment on. Does this mean we now have a student 2.0? Is it the answer to Teacher 2.0? Well, think again, no so quickly. In the same way as other are talking about Connectivism, she says the point of education is not about upgrades it is about connections and learning. Since when we've updated from Teacher 1.0 to Teacher 2.0 or even yet to 2.1?

We've fell in the jargon of technology and we are thinking the process of education can be somewhat compared to their vocab. As Lauren thinks, we are coming to conclude that education is or will be better if we adopt the technological conception of Web 2.0, forgetting in the process, that education is not linear in any ways.

If your living in the US, your experiences are not quite close compared with those in other countries, specially poor countries where "good teachers have and always will use whatever tools are at their disposal and work with students to achieve amazing learning." This hasn’t changed with the advent of web 2.0 tools (which btw some inhabitants in poor countries don't use and don't even know b/c of the obstacles to a truly global conversation) and professing that we need to upgrade our teachers to 2.0 is making a mockery of why most of us became a teacher. I personally became a teacher, continues Lauren, to improve student lives and to work towards the collaboration and development of shared knowledge.

The post brought by All Teachers Are Learners deserves a re-reading and a good lecture. We really like these two parts with what we also agree:

I would like a teacher which is constantly improving and always working with and for students using whatever is the best tool for the situation. Buzzwords are allowing teachers to continue talk without taking action. Dean Groom tonight put it perfectly when he said he wants 'staff to actually SUPPORT kids and not talk about SUPPORTING kids'
It also doesn't matter which school you are at, whether they are rich or poor, private or state, if students are at the centre and are in positions where decision making occurs then things change.

Why is not acceptable to be using in education the concept of teacher-student 2.0?

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Education and Poverty: Blog Action Day 2008

Education and Poverty, Blog Action Day
Photo by spankmeeehard
Many days transcurred since I signed up for the plight of poverty. It's the annual Blog Action Day. They have two immediate goals: raise awareness and raise money. Why? Because poverty is faceless and It's so easy to overlook the misery of others when we are entwined with our own. It's as easy as telling a lie and apparently it seems nobody cares about those in needy situations.

This past week I just read for example that some kids in a country in Latinamerica(Ecuador) were receiving classes under a tree because their old building just fell down and government was incapable to rebuild it as for now. Some others, can go to school, in part because they weren't fed well or simply they can even afford to buy the school supplies. I personally remember, when I was attending High School that my parents couldn't afford to pay me the quotes in order for me to go in a field-trip. I had to to watch how my other classmates could go and bring back souvenirs and showed me pictures, while I was working to try to help my parents.

I was encouraged to write this post now, when I read Doug Cloud post. He quotes Proverbs 21:13 and writes "Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard." I don't know about you but I do believe in God ( my God) Doug shares a personal experience and he puts his talent to work in favor of poverty. "If you have a web site that is devoted to helping people in need and you would like a logo, redesign, or any graphical improvement he will lend his talent to the first three people to do so." Write to him here.

Being poor it's not a crime. It's a social level people has been suited to fight harder in order to live or survive. Money counts and is the value poor people cannot trade with, but their heart. Heart is the most valuable asset people in poverty can spare and youngster going to school should be taught of. If you cannot give out money until October 15th, then speak, write and use any channels to spread word of awareness of poverty.

The heading of this blog says that was created to build hope that education still can make you rich not only spiritually but economically. That's the hope of people living in the middle class or in poverty. Education is a social stair than can make you rich, rich in front of poverty, rich in front of emptiness. Study, go to school and do your best to be up in front and then return that richness to the poor.

There is another blog that really inspired me set aside our post on education and stop for a while and talk about the faceless poverty. Catherine of Pink Asparagus has created an article where each of your comments will earn a dollar (up to $100), which she will give to a local food bank. We stopped for a while and read her post that we enjoyed particularly this part, "When I was in elementary school my friends had free and reduced lunches. Their families looked like mine: single working parent; I was the only only-child I knew though. I asked my mom why I didn’t get my lunch for free like my friends. She put it simply, we were lucky. We were lucky that she had a good job. We were lucky that she could afford to pay for my lunch. Being a kid, I probably thought they were the lucky ones, they didn’t have to remember to bring three quarters to school every day."

Don't let those in poverty down. Make a legitimate plight of poverty.

Education Equality Project Vs. the Bolder, Broader Approach

As I write, I've learned that McCain suspended his campaign to fly Washington and contribute to the economical emergency, they battle on the bailout of the 700 billions. But Obama stays, he said from Florida he won't join McCain in his decision and next Friday debate continues on.

The power of organizing schools in America depends not only of teachers and official in charge of education. It's about politicians in Washington and how much attention the Education is given by the President itself. In this elections it's dramatically important you get to know what's Education Equality Project (EEP) and the Bolder, Broader Approach (BBA). The first one is backed up by republican party as its platform to pursue choice, accountability, and incentives. While the second, represents the interest of the Democratic party that pretends school improvement, plus more resources.

"It would be wonderful if our next president could figure out how to ensure that 'schools for the poor…look and feel like the schools the wealthiest send their kids to'? " writes Diane to Deborah Meier from Bridging Differences column at Education Week. Being the time to voice your educational concerns here is what Diane would like, the next president to do, first he would propose a school construction fund to modernize school facilities. Then he might propose class-size reduction to the level that is typical at schools like Phillips Andover or Exeter (12 students per class?). And then there is the list of social programs, like good health care and nutrition.

Both parties have different agendas on education and sexual education. The Democratic party this fall has made a slight change on its platform, they wil "stake out a few positions that unions have long opposed." (Greg Toppo, USA Today,2008-09-02) These issues include "paying teachers more if they raise test scores, teach in ‘underserved areas’ or take on new responsibilities such as mentoring new teachers." As a disclosure, we should say we're in support of unions, so we don’t think that unions oppose paying teachers for taking on new responsibilities, what we know is that they have usually fought the idea that teacher pay should rise or fall with student test scores.

We just approved a comment from someone who said he would replace 'a couple of teachers for machines or robots' To be fair with the visitor, we should agree with Diane. Politics are changing. But we would like to open the questions to a ulterior debate or comment:

"Is this the future? Is this the new face of the Democratic party? Will it be a future in which schools are run like businesses, in which unions are ousted from the workplace (as they have been in most of the private sector), and in which pay-for-performance is the rule for teachers, principals, and students?"

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Perspectives on Education: The 2050 Will Be Neural and Networked

This video last 35 minutes but it pays to watch it. Paul Nussbaum, Eric Grant, Marc Prensky and George Siemens met up to talk about the synapses, social networks and school: what developments in brain research and computer technology tell us about the classrooms of the future. They are hard on the language of learning.

Will this video answer all or in part, any of the questions, posted by Doug Belshaw.

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Education Today 09/23/2008

Educators Should Care About Open Source Software

Many people reading this post will be educators. Not only does ‘free’ usually sound good to schools, but the philosophy enshrined in OSS should appeal to. Students can contribute to these communities and projects, and real-world learning experiences can be had. Show them the alternative to capitalism.


Roundup of the results of research to better understand learning theory, learner preferences and engagement, and educational outcomes.

Video: Learning Theory Lectures

Five of these video lectures have picture in picture and the other 3 rotate between me and the slides.

Cost of these educational videos = zero, nada, nothing.

Language of Learning: Is it Grown or Built?

First of all, let me start with a question. What kind of language should we use if central educational language is focused either, on "growing" learning or "building" it?

As you've already perceived, this discussion is about two currents: Connectivism vs. Constructivism. And I am bit off-base because that was an issue that psychologists fought about 20 years or so. You might also remember the Theory of the Gestalt that was that era when we, as educators were discussing all this stuff in how people(students in this case) are internalizing knowledge.

We are a week into the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Course. For those unfamiliar with what we've mentioned, this is a massively open online course led by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. No record disclosed but we also believe, around 1900 people have signed up for the course, so it really is huge and so hard to follow the conversations. I wonder how the organizers are doing to handle such a massive demand.

Stephen has stated that learning throughout Connectivism it's not other thing than "the process of making connections." But people who believe themselves working into the Constructivim, think "building implies structure and order"

We are not going to argue about any of these two conceptions about learning. Although, we've been working into both of them. How come? It all depends, of course, of the conceptions a teacher has on how the process of learning is happening. Let's assume the mapping on our brain still is incomplete, so I cannot conclude that learning is a connection of ideas or whatever for that matter, but at the same time it will be too early to say that internalization process of knowledge is built in a constructivist way as Christy Tucker implies.

Will Connectivism vs. Constructivism continue until we see the future of the Education in the 2050?

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Literacy: How to Teach Parts of Speech

I've been trying to read much as I can about how to teach elementary students to grab the fundamentals on writing. During this past week, I've attended also the first PTA meeting and the visitations to the classroom where my kid will be learning this year, but at the same time we (my wife and I) went to the meeting organised by the Board of Education to recognise perfect achievement of students in the last year State evaluation test (NJ ASK). Our son was one of the achievers with a perfect score in math and there were about 60 students who received the Exceptional Academic Achievement Certificate from Superintendent of Schools. However, what surprised me was that only on single female student gain the perfect score in language!

So, it shows to me that something is going throughout the State. I do recognize the spelling[es] is an issue in most of kids, but I am no so sure if the kids are the ones failing. I think either methods are not reliable or teachers are confronting the process in a way that it's not practically interesting for very young students.

There is where Apple Distinguished Educator's post came just in hand. Mathew Needleman from Creating Lifelong Learners share with us "an engaging activity for teaching parts of speech through song." He says this method is credited to but also recalls to have seen it anywhere else. The system consists of ask students to complete a chart of all parts of speech. Example as follows:

"The green, hairy, monsters, the green, hairy monsters, the green, hairy, funny monsters stomp through the forest.

This works well as a sponge activity before or after recess/lunch. I leave the chart up and refer back to it. When we need a verb, for example, I might say, “Remember, action words…the green ones on our chart?”

You can repeat this activity when starting a new unit as a way of getting student familiar with the new vocabulary for each theme. I don’t require that they use fossil vocabulary, for example, when on the fossil unit but some of it naturally creeps in and makes its way to the chart."

Even when I've checked some literacy links I still will purse for more information on how to help students as the one I have, to achieve easier and better on the problems of writing (with or without) purpose.

Do you have any tips on your head or have you found any interesting link about this theme? Glad to hear from you.

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