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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Teaching Teachers Technology

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of distance degree students. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com

Being a teacher is difficult on its best days. In some states, teacher salaries barely exceed minimum wage once you consider the amount of time put in throughout the school year.

In the face of low pay, standardized tests, and increasing demand for better technology education for students, teachers are at a crossroads between what they can realistically achieve and what needs to be done to ensure the success of students. This includes how to learn all the new technologies being lobbed at them by well-intentioned corporate sponsors and school boards.

Some considerations for improving technology training for teachers:

Provide adequate training for teachers for new technologies. As teachers are not always the most tech-savvy group, they sometimes need extra guidance and training; school districts must provide the infrastructure for this. This means increasing tech support and IT personnel to facilitate the process.

Educators are overburdened with so much responsibility that it can be difficult for them to see technology education as anything other than another responsibility. A paradigm shift will need to occur before the idea is fully embraced. This will take more than an edict from school administrators, but real dialogue and data to support how technology changes the classroom for the better. Improved technology planning and solidified curricula will also help.

Parents can be enlisted to lend a hand to help with training and support. Many parents are in technology-related fields and can offer guidance, reassurance and even services.

Teachers willing to improve their technology education skills should be compensated. It's that simple. More money can be a great catalyst and technology education is important enough to the future of this country's students, that there should be more incentive to embrace it.

Learning new technologies can be difficult and time consuming. While it's great that schools are seeing more computers come into their classrooms, if no one knows how best to leverage them for educational purposes, they may quickly become large, dusty paperweights.

It really does take a village and whether we're talking about parental involvement, increased support from the district and school board, or better compensation for highly-committed teachers, the argument should focus on the best ways to improve technologies in the classroom. And, right now, we're just not quite there.

Reference: The Condition of Education 2000 –2008

It's great when you find statistics about education and to say the truth, we didn't have notice of this place. The Condition of Education is an integrated collection of the indicators and analyses published in the annual Condition of Education reports from 2000-2008. The reports come from the US National Center for Education Statistics.

Each year has a theme such as mobility in the teacher workforce, home schooling, reading and non-traditional undergraduates. Key indicators include participation in education, learner outcomes, educational progress and educational contexts - primary, secondary, etc. Online versions present the headline findings and graphical information. Detailed breakdowns of individual indicators are available as PDF files.

A user guide gives detailed information on the background to the studies including a technical guide to the research methods used. The site also includes a glossary of terms defining how they are interpreted in the reports and a bibliography of related publications.

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Thanksgiving Is Plenty of Family Fun Activities

Next weekend, all American families will have family gatherings and they are likely to have a houseful of guests. The problem is, the family is always made out of different generations, olders have a good time talking and eating turkey but youngster don't even eat roasted turkey but they lack of the social skills and feel like the only pleasure lays on browse the internet or kill time messaging.

There are good resources out there for those still looking for the holiday greeting cards. The Official Google Docs blog, for example, reminded readers of the many templates available for Google Docs users. Teachers can use the Google Docs holiday themed templates to have students create holiday greeting cards and newsletters through which they can develop letter writing skills.

Also, the Google Docs templates for students and teachers contains good templates for creating quizzes, attendance rosters, grade books, research reports, bibliographies, and many other useful templates.

Now, at the beginning we said that these family gatherings are full of different generations. Kris Bordesa author of Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself recommends the following activities that can bridge the generational gap with the vantage of saving great memories this year on Thanksgiving Day.

- Gratitude guesbook, so all your guest can leave a picture and a note for you.
- People Poll, Make kids tio find someone who fits a certain bill.
- Getting to know you, trade candies in exchange of things most of guests don't really know about this person.
- Photo op, picture-telling about the olden days!
- Guess who? A variant of hide and seek to warm up the long-distance relatives.

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Semantic Web: Web 3.0 in Education

EQ -Educause Quarterly is an online education quarterly journal for those involved in information and technology services in university and college settings. The journal can be received by members in print or online, until 2009, when it will only be available online.

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4 (October–December 2008) has been released and one of the authors is Jason Ohler who is President’s Professor of Educational Technology and Distance Learning at the University of Alaska. He's published The Semantic Web in Education and we want you to read the whole article going over Educause. However, using his Creative Commons license, we will reproduce a extract of what his conceptions are, respect of the forthcoming Web 3.0 in Education:

Currently, Googling the term global warming returns a gazillion hits, many of which link to complex data resources that link to other resources and so on. Unless the topic is supremely important to you, you won’t explore much beyond the first 10 to 20 hits returned in a Google search. The presumption of knowledge in this approach to information gathering and evaluation is faulty, if not potentially dangerous in its limitations.

One vision of a well-developed semantic web includes a search feature that would return a multimedia report rather than a list of hits. The report would draw from many sources, including websites, articles from scientific repositories, chapters in textbooks, blog dialogue, speeches posted on YouTube, information stored on cell phones, gaming scenarios played out in virtual realities—anything appropriate that is accessible by the rules of Web 3.0. The report would consist of short sections that coalesce around knowledge areas that emerged naturally from your research, with keywords identified and listed conveniently off to one side as links.

The information in the report would be compared, contrasted, and collated in a basic way, presenting points of agreement and disagreement, and perhaps associating these with political positions or contrasting research. Because the web knows something about you, it also alerts you to local lectures on related topics, books you might want to read, TV programs available through your cable service, blog discussions you might find relevant, and even local groups you can contact that are also focused on this issue. Unlike a standard report, what you receive changes as the available information changes, and you might have wiki-like access to add to or edit it. And because you told your agent that this topic is a high priority, your cell phone will beep when a significant development occurs. After all, the semantic web will be highly inclusive, providing a common language for many kinds of media and technologies, including cell phones. The net result, ideally, is that you spend less time searching and sifting and more time absorbing, thinking, and participating.

Readers and visitors shouldn't miss reading the current issue of EDUCAUSE, which is available for free on their homepage.

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Ninth Grade Determines a Student’s Success in High School

Seema Mehta writes an article in Los Angeles Times about taking sink or swim out of 9th grade. The article states that ninth grade determines a student’s success in high school. If a student does poorly in the first year of school they are likely to drop out of high school for the 10th grade.

"A study released last week found that if students don’t start taking college-prep requirements in freshman year, they are less likely to meet the requirements for admission to California’s public universities", writes Mehta.

We think the idea of building ninth grade schools or have programs to help ninth graders adjust is great. Helping incoming ninth grader adjust to high school will definitely curve the dropout rate among ninth graders. At the age of these ninth graders so much is going on with them physically and mentally because of the effects puberty that extra guidance and attention would help the transition. As educators, we do think this could be costly and maybe hard to implement in all school districts nationwide but this could work, definitely. You as a parent, would think that in this effort student, teachers and administrators will work together more closely to assure that student achieve and adjust so they will continue through school.

All these efforts are great and should be tested and possibly adopted, but it need work on how to make sure that students are not only getting the attention they need but also the things they need for academic success. Will next Secretary of Education, be able to cope with this matter?

There are some questions that flow in my mind, though, what happens when they enter the tenth grade? How are they introduce to the tenth grade without the support of the teacher and administration they previously had? Would that be the same as entering the ninth grade but in the tenth grade? How would that transition work?

Can you make up to any of these questions? Glad to hear it and read them all.

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10 Questions to Ask at the Parent Teacher Conference

What questions you should ask at the parent-teacher-conference
Photo by Frazzled Jen
I was invited to attend the first parent-teacher-conference this year and I though it 'll be useful if we can jot down some advise for parents who have to be confronted to the brevity of such conferences.

Imagine, the letter I received says that I have been scheduled for a parent-teacher-conference on Nov. 2Oth from 1:15 -1:20. And it's due to "an overwhelming positive response" from parents. With such a short time, neither the teacher can present a complete review of your child's academic progress, nor a parent can ask some concerns beyond reviewing his child's schoolwork and textbooks.

Considering all these aspects, we want to suggest some of the ten questions we think are the most interesting we you met your child's homeroom/lead teacher to exchange information and so develop a good working relationship. Remember thought, parent-teacher-conference is a two-way exchange of information. Cross off what questions you'll pick for your next meeting at school:

1. Do you give test or benchmarks on a regular basis? - It's important to learn about the frequency so you can help at home. Is he doing accordingly?

2. What is your homework routine? - Ask about what it'll be the time students should spend on homework each evening and what is expected from parents in helping your son in this kind of activities.

3. What are the topics students are learning in science and social studies? Our school this year started mixing Language and Social Studies in the same class, but science is part of the core of curriculum same as math.

4. Does my son appear anxious about any aspect of school? - Be sure not always they walk out home happy to go to school, so might be something they don't like at this place. Be careful with bullying inside the school bus.

5. What are his academic strengths and weakness - We adults find some things easy to learn and some others more difficult, like us, kids have their own strengths but of course the parts where you should offer support.

6. What about his academic skills, how does he compare with his classmates academically? - Don't accept the typical "he's doing good". Ask the teacher how he compares with other students not only in the classroom but other classroom where other students interact. Is he above, at, or below grade level?

7. Is he having any behavioral or social difficulties? - This is a elementary school scenario but remember some kids get to puberty a bit early. Ask the teacher whether he/she considers unusual this difficulties for this age. Has the teacher noticed any sudden changes in his behaviour or mood?

8. What are the school programs your son can benefit? - My son takes Sport Clinics and enjoys to be enrolled on swimming clinics. It might happen that your school also offers academic programs like gifted and talented, after school tutoring, instrumental music or help with homework hotline.

9. How you as parent can help at home? - We all are busy persons but when we talk about your son's education, you have to make some room for it. If he needs reinforcement of any skills, ask for a tutor suggestion or what would it be the materials, activities and strategies the teacher suggests.

10 Best time to contact teacher during school schedule - Should I set an appointment? What is the procedure to be followed in case I have to pick early my kid. Can I reach you by phone and at what time. Most teacher find impersonal communications as the e-mail works better.

Article written taking the advise from a psychologist in Mercer School, NJ., Dr. Kennet Shore.

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