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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Inclusive Education: Good Quality Education for All

Inclusive Education for All
Last week of November, over 100 education ministers from all over the world had met in Geneva, Switzerland at the 48th session of the International Conference on Education (ICE). The purpose of the conference is to assist participants in achieving quality Education for All through innovative curriculum development and its respective implementation.

This year's theme was, Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future, reaching out to marginalized groups as, HIV/AIDS orphans, people with disabilities, migrants, street children, and others. As these groups are generally excluded from the mainstream school system, the inclusive education, looks to inform the global community on ways to become more open to diversity and effectively reduce drop-out rates.

However, the EFA Global Monitoring Report of the 2009 warns, if current conditions do not change, things look bleak for achieving Education for All by 2015 as, the UNESCO goal is.

UNESCO in the Spotlight: Education and Culture comments on the reports and says: "Governments' failures to address rampant inequalities is cited as the main culprit. These inequalities stem from many sources such as weak domestic policies, the stagnation of financial assistance from donors, and a culture of political indifference...Yet much more critically, these inequalities will continue to perpetuate what UNESCO reports as a 'vast gulf' between rich and poor and will sorely misserve much of the world's population. Avoiding these issues will certainly have lasting global consequences."

We all learned this week that U.S. is living a recession and this is particularly important for the Director-General Ko├»chiro Matsuura who declared that educational initiatives often receive much less attention in comparison to other crises. "When financial systems fail, the consequences are highly visible and governments act” but, “When education systems fail the consequences are less visible, but no less real... That is why governments must act with a greater sense of urgency.”

Nobody is talking about education in the middle of the American financial crisis. Obama isn't even thinking of this fact, much less about clear ways to solve the inequality in the ways we are distributing the process of educate young citizens.

Photo credit: Henry407 ( HL )

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Life Round Here: A Global Storytelling Project

Chris Craft of is heading the Life Round Here and the requirements and how to get involved in this global student project were published in its liferoundhere09.

Life Round Here 2009 is accepting participants until March 31, 2009. Following is the invitation extended by Craft:

For those of you who remember Life Round Here 2007 you may be excited to know that Life Round Here 2009 is now accepting participants!

What we really want students to do is, Tell us, what’s it really like to live where you live.

You can use any of a wide variety of tools to create the story, from Microsoft Photostory to iMovie to Voicethread to anything else you can think of.

The requirements are fairly much the same:

1. It must involve students from 10 - 13 years old.
2. Your class/school/group must be able to publish six stories.
3. The stories must be in English or have subtitles in English.
4. Stories must be published and “watchable” by March 31, 2009.

I would also appreciate it if you would consider spreading the word. The official tag for this year’s project is liferoundhere09.

This sixth grader Spanish teacher is also working along with another voicethread, educational video. Watch the students/future teachers work here. The contents are all about basic educational psychology topics such as learning theories, theorists, and diversity. Congrats Chris!

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Fair Use: The Limitations and Circumstances of Copyright Understanding

Fair Use for Educators
Photo by miscpix
Fair use is the doctrine that allows some use of copyrighted material for education purposes without requiring the permission of the copyright holders.

However, confusion about what exactly is allowed has caused many educators and students to either avoid ALL copyrighted materials just to be safe, or to use ANYTHING without regard to copyright laws. According to a report last year from this same organization, teachers’ lack of copyright understanding impairs the teaching of critical thinking and communication skills.

Continue reading...

Findings of the 2008 National Cyberethics, Cybersafety, Cybersecurity Baseline Study

The 2008 National Cyberethics, Cybersafety, Cybersecurity (C3) Baseline Study was conducted to explore educational awareness policies, initiatives, curriculum, and practices currently taking place in American public and private K-12 settings. Participants in the survey, which was administered online, included 1,569 public and private K-12 educators and 94 technology coordinators. Additionally, 219 educators, local and state technology coordinators, and state technology directors participated in focus groups.

In the area of cyber crime, such as protecting, identifying, and responding to identity theft, predators, and bullying, less than five percent of educators said that this information is included in the state curriculum. Only eight percent said it was included in the health/safety curriculum. Twenty percent said that media specialists provide this information at their schools.

Read whole post here.

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Digital immigrants: Keeping Pace with Technology Is Hard Work Guys!

If you read more on technology, then could be familiar with Free Technology for Teachers. Richard Byrne is his administrator and he's been nominated for an Eddy 2008 Edublog Award. Since his blog is the source for many of our posts, we strongly suggest you to support Richard, voting for his Free Technology for Teachers in here.

On Wednesday, Dec 4th., Mr. Byrne shared a note on the New York teacher's experience working with technology. Post originally was written by Catie O'Toole and we include the excerpt:

Video and audio podcasting. Virtual field trips. Geocaching...

Just six years ago, teacher Tood Cook graduated with a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Le Moyne College. Two years later, he got his master's from Le Moyne.

But the 28-year-old who started teaching business classes at North Syracuse Junior High School five years ago isn't alone.

Rapidly changing technology is a challenge for many teachers, said Harrison Yang, professor of curriculum and instruction at the State University College at Oswego.

"We just can't avoid it," Yang said. "These new technologies are already part of (teenagers') lives. We cannot just teach the old stuff and something not related to their interests and routines."

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Why Developers Hate the Facebook Wall-to-Wall

Begining of November we wrote a post arguing that Facebook could be used in the educational whereabouts. Why we hate the Facebook wall? Well, not really. What we wanted to to was attract your attention and get you to read an interesting post on this topic and first published

We also had (still have) an account in that was part of our first steps in the blogging arena and we kind of agree with Singopolyma, that wasn't a place to stay, we even had, prior to this unused account, x-journal, that closed down a while now. We loved the last part of his post and under Creative Commons atribuition, we reproduce the last two paragraphs of Singopolyma's Microblogging: The open Wall

"Now think of microblogging. Think of how you use it. Yes, there's a publication aspect to it for sure (I say what I want people to hear). There is also, however, this element of public conversation people seem so interested in. Back-and-forth between two or more people, on their own pages, archived publicly.

What's even better about this realization? I hated the Xanga comments, I hate the Facebook wall (and their new 'comment on status' feature), but I love @replies. So it wasn't the concept of public conversations I wasn't getting, but merely an implementation detail. @replies are piped through a good notification system (which for Twitter these days involved scraping a feed and re-posting it to a fake account so that I can get them via IM) so that they can be near-real-time when I have time, and are still there for me if I don't."

Thanks to Stephen Paul Weber, an expert on Web development, Desktop scripting, Linux, FLOSS, Creative Commons, and reading we've discovered the and the good use @ replies in Twitter.

What Do You Do When your Great Plans Become Shambles?

A while ago we were invited by Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge MD, PhD to become members of Wellsphere, a health community knowledge that makes its approach personal. I was offered to be featured as Top Educational Blogger. Not that I am disappointed because I really like this place, but it's not our environment. However, what we ended being selected is as Top Healthcare Blogger. So, you will find our posts also in this great Wellsphere. Thanks Dr. Geoffrey.

When do we as teachers learn how to teach?

It is an interesting question that I asked myself after years of work in the classroom. Looking back at our first days in front of young students, we are immediately placed in situations where we are supposed to be teaching/educating both students themselves and junior teachers. Surprisingly, we are given this task without any clue on how to educate at this level.

I will try to convey some of the information I've learned. You will be in a room filled with people who are interested in the how of education; how do we teach the information so that the learner will learn and retain the information. We teachers/professors have our biases about what is important and what is not. The tools and techniques that we all use are slightly and sometimes vastly different.

A good way to start is reading Taran Fedor's experiences as we cited in this post yesterday. Now, remember that teachers don’t go into the profession because they have a desire to earn tons of money, no secrets, that’s why we think it is so helpful to share ideas about how to learn the art of teaching and how to live a life that fully utilizes the income teachers do earn.

Another great resource we will recommend is a place that have good lesson plans and background resource materials. It is curriki, an online learning community started by Sun Microsystems to develop education resources. There Mrs. P of The Prudent Classroom, found a great webquest that did work with her school firewall ( as many school districts have in place blocking firewalls) within minutes. While reading her blog, I came to conclude that Mrs. P forgot to mention her second finding. I still expect she can catch this post and complete what was promised.

Don't you think It's All about Balance? What it will the route you want to take when all your great plans become a mess?

Are Schools Playing an Important Role in Supporting a Democratic Society?

PhD. Debra Satz writes in the The Human Experience from Stanford University, a very actual and sensitive post, Equality and Educational Policy. Here's an excerpt:

American schools are funded by a complex formula of national, state and local dollars and there are significant differences in the funding of the K-12 schools that students attend. If some schools are so ill equipped that children lack textbooks, trained teachers, and basic supplies, how can we say that these children have equal opportunities with their wealthier peers? How should K-12 education resources be distributed in a democracy?

This is a complex question because it involves difficult empirical issues [such as the efficacy of different resources] and disputed questions of values. While most Americans are committed to the ideal of equality of opportunity, there are very different understandings of what it means. Some people think it is simply a principle of non-discrimination. Others accept a much more demanding interpretation: opportunities are equal only when there are no differences in educational attainment between children because they are born into different families.

Read more here

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Tips for Reinforcing a Better Spelling in your Classroom

She's a graduate student at St. Peter's University, NJ and she's pursuing her Elementary Education Teaching Certification. Taran Fedor is excited to begin student teaching in January and is looking forward to enriching the lives of children. She had created a short-lived blog where she was collecting her thoughts and experiences in the school campus.

She has declared herself a 'visual learner' and from her own experiences gives credit to the positive impact of use of technology in the classroom, how to start 'geeking out' kindergartners and young students. Taran writes in regards, "My kindergartner's teacher did not use any technology in her presentation and the difference was evident."

Taran's Education Blog holds a great deal of posts about reading/writing in school and features some posts on spelling better. Since we've been searching about this topic lately (that's how we find Fedor), we would like to share with you dear readers, a video commented in the blog mentioned, its title is:7 Ways to Reinforce Spelling.

She's found one out of the tips, particularly refreshing and points it out, "One rule referred to what steps a student should take if she is having difficulty with a word. First step, try to sound it out. Second step, look up in dictionary or around the room to see if it is posted anywhere. Third step, ask a friend. Fourth step, ask teacher. I like this progression because it teaches kids responsibility, to rely on themselves first. However, it also teaches team building and collaboration by having fellow students help out when needed. (watch video)

We would like to find great blogs like this one. Recommend your blog or any other you think we should be reading. As for Taran, we want to thank her for sharing such a valuable experiences, we hope you come back to the blogging neighborhood so soon.

Education Today 12/03/2008

How to Use Twitter as a 'Twool'

If the concept of using Twitter in a commercial manner interests you, keep reading.Whack! If it doesn’t, then you can continue to send and receive tweets about how cats are rolling over and the line at Starbucks.

Top Ten FriendFeed Friends Challenge

If you're not using FriendFeed yet now is the time to jump in. FF is growing fast and attracting brilliant bloggers. Interact with famous users directly.

Most importanly, let's build up our own educational FF network.

Ten People All Twitter Beginners Should be Following

In this post Mark Hayward (follow @mark_hayward) provides a list of ten people that all twitter beginners should be following.

Is there a list for educators?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Calling All Educational Researchers: How Do We Deal With Bad Teachers?

Getting Rid of Bad Teachers
Photo by robinpiero
This post would touch some sensibilities and we would ask you to re-read it, if you are not so sure about what we meant by this or that. TonNet is a teacher as disclosure and some would consider him a good one and of course some other would say he's not. Problem is, not everyone uses the same criteria for what constitutes bad.

Teachers either swing or they don't. And bad teachers don't swing. An objective observer, can watch a teacher for a couple of seconds (well, a minute or two) and figure that out. A teacher who doesn't swing, who leads one to bang their head instead of tapping their intellectual toes, is a painful thing to watch.

But what worsen things as Scot Key of Burque Babble puts it is that, "If there aren't employee protections or a union in place, it is possible for a teacher who 'swings' to be fired by an administrator who 'doesn't swing'." We've fallen down into a tautology!

Regular people -person who are not associated in any way to the school administration, will be quick to think that we could have many more effective teachers if only the administration could get rid of the bad ones, plain simple. But this conjecture by itself proves that there is not research, because that's precisely what everyone already knows with the usual we can fix it message if only we do this.

Corey Bunje Bower is a PhD candidate and works on education policy, he has more questions than answers to bring in on, for example, trying to scope the problem he asks himself, "How many bad teachers are there? What qualifies a teacher as 'bad?' Are there more bad teachers than there are bad lawyers or accountants? Are teachers bad because they have no talent, put forth no effort, or because they attempt to harm students?...Would 'bad' teachers be more effective in a different environment? When should 'bad' teachers be filtered out?" I/we don't either have the answers but may be that some of you have a card under your sleeve.

However, we cannot blame teacher unions in its entirety, they are not the powerful protectors of tenure countrywide in the United States (Texas is one case). If anybody has paid any attention to education news they would hear about 'problem' teachers who are not 'fired' but whose contracts were not renewed. No review by a union representative or the like. All teachers sign a contract when they are hired that is basically set up to get rid of them at will. Is it that way any regular business works? If you don't perform, HR will probably transfer the employee, if not, you will be terminated.

It's likely that the solution is no simpler than the problem. Teachers all know who the bad teachers are. So do students. So do administrators. So do parents. So do union officials. Challenge is how do we get rid of bad teachers, in a organized and timely manner.

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Karyn Romeis on Smart Boys, Bad Grades

Karyn Romeis leads her L&D consultancy called Learning Anorak Ltd. but she also writes on her Karyn's erratic learning journey. We should nominate her for the Eddies as she calls it, but we are not making those list, for now.

There is a post of hers, that we really love it and we would like to share it with you. It's on the school experiences of her son. The heading said: Good teacher, bad learners? and she stressed, "I must remember that one if ever I run a workshop that doesn't go over well."

We don't pretend to make a presentation of her blog but to share with our readers, a blog that really deserve to be read. Today, she's suggested some interesting tips for parents and it's on the issue: Smart boys, bad grades. Karyn refers a link where you can easily spot that "the underlying reason boys get worse grades and attend higher education in declining percentages is because boys have different biological and neurological characteristics than girls". You should go over her blog and read her 'checks' for every item, we are solely going to list them:

1. Ask your boy, How was your day?
2. Every day, tell your boy, You are a good kid.
3. Allow and encourage computer work.
4. Minimize punishment for behavior that does not hurt others.
5. Give him $10. Immediate, unexpected reward is great reinforcement.
6. Advocate for your boy.
7. Talk to teachers.
8. Talk to your doctor.
9. Guys are critical.
10. Explore alternatives to your current school.
11. Talk to school counselors.
12. Ask about modifications.
13. Talk to other parents. It helps.
14. Let your boy know what is up with Smart Boys, Bad Grades.

Long list. But smart boys deserve the attention they've earned. Make sure you read the comments in the bottom of Karyn's post, as well.

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Evidences of the Never Ending Discussion of Digital Natives

We've been tracking the developments on something still isn't probed scientifically:The myth of the digital native. About a year now, we cited an article written by G. Siemens and his Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants. We are still in a level where there is not enough empirical evidence to support the notion of netgen, digital natives, or millennial learners.

A study conducted by Anoush Margaryan and Allison Littlejohn at Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities in the UK concludes among other things " that students’ attitudes to learning appear to be influenced by the approaches adopted by their lecturers. Far from demanding lecturers change their practice, students appear to conform to fairly traditional pedagogies, albeit with minor uses of technology tools that deliver content." See PowerPoint presentation for more on The Myth of Digital Native: Students' Use of Technologies.

If this were educational research we should go a bit deeper and on more findings. However, it seems still things haven't changed in a way that we can conclude as many, included myself can say that net-gen is a group which is globally, connected, socially-networked and technologically-fluent.

That's why we have to go back to June, during the 2008. Was in this month that George wrote a post saying that he was in support of changing education for two different reasons (differing from the 'changing learners' of Mark Bullen):" 1) the changed ways in which we can access, interact with, and create information, and 2) the changed ways in which we can access, interact with, and connect to each other."

We haven't heard more discussion on this topic. Chris Lott was the only one who wrote a post on this Net-Gen Nonsense:

"The two points with which you [G.Siemens] conclude your post... are changes in learners, and they are changes that happen as a result of living in a very different and quickly changing technologically mediated environment than others. Fight it all you want, but those learners are different. It has nothing to do with age and the biological origins are at best unclear… but it is immaterial. Anyone who pays attention to their students can see this in the divide they face within their classes between the haves and knows and the have not/know nots. Whatever the label, a host of educators nod in recognition of the characteristics regardless of the question of the origins, which has always been my central point in this debate: I don’t care about the reasons as much as I care about the solutions, and I won’t discount what I see and experience because the research (which hasn’t been an enviable guide when it comes to education so far, but that’s a different discussion) isn’t there or isn’t unclear. A refutation would make a difference, but there’s an obvious reason why there isn’t one, and I don’t mean the philosophical bit about proving a negative."

Looking forward to hear or read what had been your empirical findings.

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