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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Letter from Joe the Student to the first American Technology President

Dear President-Elect Obama,

First of all, congratulations and good luck. I've been following the entire election and your every move on my SmartPhone (when I'm not in school) and I realize that you've got a lot going on so I'll keep this brief.

It is definitely an exciting time to be alive (as my dad keeps saying) and we are witnessing many firsts with your victory. Not to diminish any of the other historical milestones (such as race), but I am focusing this letter on the fact that you've been called the first "Technology President" and you are expected to break a long standing tradition of neo-luddism by having the first laptop to grace the desk in the Oval Office. Big, big things are being asked of you to help bring the rest of the country into the 21st Century.

I'm joining in to ask you (beg you really) to at least do one other thing: don't let them take your BlackBerry away. If you let that happen, Mr. Obama, then it's curtains for me. If the most powerful leader in the world has his cell phone taken away, then what chance do I have to ever get to use my cell phone at one of the places that I need it most: school?

Keep reading Bob Sprankle's complete article.

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Obama's Secretary of Education: an Educator vs. a Corporate Manager

Bringing up a person who taught in a K12 classroom and having an educator leading American education policy would be a big change from past administrations.

Author of books The Homework Myth and What Does It Mean to be Well Educated? (mandatory reads for any educator)has a post on The Nation discusses how "progressives are in short supply on the president-elect's list of cabinet nominees."

From Alfie Kohn article, Beware School Reformers and decoding what is meant by serious education reform:

To decode how that last word is being used here, recall its meaning in the context of welfare (under Clinton) or environmental laws (under Reagan and Bush). For Republicans education "reform" typically includes support for vouchers and other forms of privatization. But groups with names like Democrats for Education Reform--along with many mainstream publications--are disconcertingly allied with conservatives in just about every other respect

Kohn favors Linda-Darling Hammond, who has written a great deal about teacher training and school reform and is currently leading the education working group for the Obama transition team. She's also featured in the list we linked in this post on Nov. 7th.

We have to agree also with Alfie, respect of websites where you can promote an Education secretary candidate. The only petition, right now I know, is one for [], if you know of some other place, please leave it in comments.

Reformers want that, “reform” - they just don’t want change. We don't care who's appointed for that position, but certainly we would prefer an educator, in front of a corporate manager, even when this person knows very much about education industry.

Let's allow an educator to run and change the Education Department.

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Education Today 12/12/2008

Eureka: Poverty hurts!

Neuroscientists have found through EEG readings that children from lower economic classes have changes in their prefrontal cortex. Bad changes. This is the part of the brain that helps plan things, the control center that coordinates what you think with what you do; this is where the brain says 'Whoa, cowboy, think twice before you throw a chair at the teacher.'

We can make education work for our future

...A third of our students don't graduate from high school in four years. The numbers are even more disturbing for minority students - half of black and Hispanic ninth-graders don't graduate in four years.

These are dismal statistics. They show we simply aren't doing a good job of preparing our kids to move on to the next step. And when we shortchange our students, we undercut our ability to compete globally.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Empowering your Students. It's the Right Thing to Do

Is this a David and Goliath story? Who knows, but no matter what the outcome of the fight of these ninth graders from Georgia, they are mobilizing people same as Here Comes Everybody book that explains about what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organizational structures.

The following is the story written by Lidija Davis of ReadWriteWeb:

Teacher Vicki Davis, in a blog post on the Dream Team site said that the class had contacted Livelyzens (other Lively users) and found that there are classrooms around the world using the tool. "On a Skype call between my class and some Livelyzen's yesterday, we learned that one Livelyzen has built a translator for multiple languages to allow avatars to communicate and speak in their native language! So cool!"

Students have found an incredible learning tool in Lively, Google’s online virtual world. They have created their avatars, performed plays, and even built a virtual school. Unfortunately, this tool is being shut down on December 31, 2008. Needless to say, the students are upset. And they’re not taking it lying down.

Once students are empowered and when they really feel motivated can do wonderful things. It's our hope Google can change gears or at least postpone the shutting down of Lively. Melanie Ching of Hoopili, warns people around education industry and internet marketing, on the suggestions of the 10 ways that Lively can make money for Google. Students "suggestions run the gamut from t-shirts and avatar clothing to charging for company rooms to asking for donations. However, their “pay for eyeballs” idea is the most innovative I have heard of in a long time. Internet marketers, look out, because these students are your future competitors!"

Now, the editor of Cool Cat Teacher Blog it's arguing of what is wrong with empowering students. Nothing, I would say. When I was an student it was normal to adhere to the riots and protest on the streets, no here in the United States, though. Students have to have voice and power, and teacher are on call to teach these rights to their students. You all teachers do know that "teaching is a harder job that running a multi million dollar cell phone market." Let's help those nighth graders, many more students and faculty interested in this kind of application. Spread word and write a post on you blog, make sure teachers and students are being heard.

Important. Do not start posting anything about the lively issue, until you read theFive Reasons Why Google Should Reconsider Lively posted by Vicki Davis.

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127,800 Public, Private and Parochial Schools on Health Risk

The potential problems that emerged were widespread, insidious and largely unaddressed.

Using the government's most up-to-date model for tracking toxic chemicals, USA TODAY spent eight months examining the impact of industrial pollution on the air outside schools across the nation. The model is a computer simulation that predicts the path of toxic chemicals released by thousands of companies.

The air outside 435 other schools — from Maine to California — appears to be even worse, and the threats to the health of students at those locations may be even greater than those children at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in this Cincinnati suburb along the Ohio River.

USA TODAY used it to identify schools in toxic hot spots — a task the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had never undertaken.

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Education Today 12/11/2008

Babylon's History Swept Away in US Army Sandbags

Fragments of bricks, engraved with cuneiform characters thousands of years old, lie mixed with the rubble and sandbags left by the US military on the ancient site of Babylon in Iraq.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Social Networking Condemned to Die. The problem Is Commitment.

"Facebook is nothing more than a new version of America Online, with lots of calories but not much nutrition."

While millions of children growing up in poverty and whose fates are really laid out like this post shows, they are so unfortunate to be born into an educational system that is blatantly discriminatory and unconstitutional and ignore what educators who invest a great deal of their time and energy, are doing to allow their identity to be merged with services like Facebook and other social networks, that Peter Schwartz thinks are condemned to die.

I came across this great piece in The Huffington Post:

The lack of commitment, "Creates a major problem for Facebook, and for other Web 2.0 social networks. Facebook has created loyalty without value, quantity that drowns quality. Who can say that MySpace or adult versions of Facebook such as Linked In are any different?"

We agree with these points and precisely that's the reason we've quoted Schwartz. He continues, "There is no filter for quality. Websites built around or dependent upon user-generated content all too often resemble online versions of talk radio". My question though is whether the author of the original post refers to citizen journalism, when he says, user-generated content, which according to our understanding goes beyond what he is talking about.

If Web 2.0 dies missing education, it will nonetheless leave a remarkable legacy. "Social information and knowledge sharing technologies such as those one finds on Wikipedia, Flickr, some edublogs out of the echo chamber, and even the New York Times and Global Voices websites, are incredibly efficient ways to harvest useful opinion and knowledge.

What are you're takes and your take aways?

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The Future of Education: Tonight Edu-Blogger Meetup

In just an hour and half @tofugu of eduFire will be hosting an interesting reunion with very prominent bloggers in the educational field. What they going to discuss is The Future of Education and you are still on time to subscribe for free in here.

The Meetup is meant to give those in the education industry a chance to get together, network, learn and talk about the future and what it holds. There will be presentations by a few chosen speakers (TBA), topics to discuss, and opportunities for networking all around.

Here is a list of the current invitees.

Education & Tech
Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day
Tech Learning
The Bamboo Project
the rapid eLearning Blog
Learning Circuits
Free – Web 2.0 for Learning Professionals
An eLearning Experience
Learning Matters!
Sarah’s Musings
Adventures in Educational Blogging
E-Learning Journeys
Kapp Notes
The EduBlogger
Discovery Through eLearning
Interactive Multimedia Technology
Hey Jude Learning in an Online World
The Power of Education
Ed-Tech Teacher
Scott H Young
Traveling Ed Man
School 2.0 in SF
Experiencing e-Learning
Presentation Zen
Ideas and Thoughts
Active Learning Blog Carnival
Gaming & Learning
Open Education
WebTools For Learners
Scherlund’s e-learning Blog
Online Learning Update
Clive on Learning
Elliott Masie’s Learning TRENDS
Infinite Thinking
Applying for US Schools
Joanne Jacobs
Pick the Brain
Informal Learning
Learning is Messy
Education Week
Advanced Education
If bees are few
Liquid Learning
Happy Schools Blog

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Top 100 Performing High Schools in the U.S., 2009

Nationally, out of 21,069 high schools, the top 100 schools (0.5%) were identified as Gold medal schools, and 504 schools (2.5%) were awarded Silver medals. These are the results of a US News & World Report just released which list the 100 best high schools in the United States. From the US News & World Report website:

U.S.News & World Report—in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education and data research and analysis business that provides parents with education data on—analyzed academic and enrollment data from more than 21,000 public high schools to find the very best across the country. These top schools were placed into gold, silver, bronze, or honorable mention categories.

Introduction and methodology is in For a complete list of Gold: Top 100 Schools Nationwide here.

A good resource for parents and administrators that provides a clear, unbiased picture of how well public high schools serve all of their students.

Useful for citizen migrating internally in the States and all those concerned parents looking for the best place to enroll their sons throughout the public educational system.

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Media Development: Access and Voice in New Technology

Cappucino is at the Global Forum for Media Development, nearly 400 people from around the world who work to support media in their own country or others, you can watch webcast here: or follow #GFMD08. Warning - liveblogging ahead, inaccuracies and typos guaranteed.

The Media Re:public contributor reports on the Access and Voice in New Technology - Athens, Greece December 8, 2008:

Ivan Sigal is explaining Global Voices and the challenges of serving an audience online. James asks how they’re going to sustain the work. Ivan says it’s very tough, they’re working on building on their community-driven project to make a new strategy.

Eduardo Avila explains Voces Bolivianas, a project to get marginalized people in Bolivia blogging. James askes about whether this work is staying in the blogosphere or is it being picked up in mainstream media? Eduardo says it’s getting out more in the developed world, because he is Global Voices editor and features the work of Voces Bolivianas there so more people know Christina (Bolivian blogger) outside Bolivia than in.

Keep reading...

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Education Today 12/09/2008

Differences In Math Success MAY Lie In The Language of the Student

What if our students have a built in disadvantage in math based on the language they speak?

What if speaking and therefore thinking in English hampers our students mathematically ability?

Author Malcolm Gladwell in his new book Outliers:The Story of Success, explores these interesting questions.

What can we learn from voices of resistance?

Learning may look different in a connective environment, but some traditional learning principles may be valid in certain circumstances. Resistance will help us evaluate those pedagogies and how they apply.

7 stupid mistakes teachers make with technology

I use stupid under fairly constrained conditions. To me, a stupid act has a degree of willfulness about it and is serious. Making an error once is ignorance; making the same mistake multiple times is stupidity. Unfortunately, I see stupid acts and beliefs related to technology in schools all the time.

Falling Into The Tech Trap

It’s not enough just to introduce a new tool, run a training session or two, and then expect that everyone (or even the majority) has picked it up - or that they have the motivation or confidence to “figure it out.” This is why we need ongoing, “just in time” professional development. Not just for the tools we’re introducing this week, but for all of the tools we have at our disposal.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why You Can Be Against the Edublogs Awards 2008

In technology you've noticed that new things come quicker and quicker, so people in the social media are to introduce them to their audiences quicker and quicker. And everyone seems quite easy to fall into this tech trap. We introduce something once or twice, assume that everyone understands how they can use the tool to improve instruction, and then move on to the next thing. But not everyone can catch up at the same speed, "most of our colleagues are still working on figuring out the initiative from the week, month, or year before." asserts, Kim Cofino of Always Learning. If they barely have time to figure it out on new technologies, how they going to be able to get into a edublogging award?

But how this is linked to the Edublog Awards 2008? Thing is passionate bloggers do not need to fall prey to wild-eyed fervour on the edublogosphere; rather they have to engage with their subjects deeply, knowledgeably, critically, sometimes emotionally, but always with commitment and authenticity. John Conell of in his blog stress what we are saying here, "Some of the best blogs I read are written by people with whom I disagree on pretty much every issue they discuss, but I enjoy them because I know they are written with passion and because they force me continually to question my own assumptions."

We have ever been in a competition and we are not even ranked well in Technorati because they are useless. We haven't made a list of nominations, of course, there are people who I like and respect deeply. A continuation, taking word from Ed.D. student and webmaster of and, Doug Belshaw, we quote his three powerful reason why we (Doug and I) are not writing blog posts, begging readers to vote for our edublogs:

  • They foster competition instead of collaboration and co-operation.

  • They’re promoted by people who have vested interests.

  • It’s very easy to rig them.

Support technology and keep peace with it, learn about the 21 Century Literacies and keep blogging on education or if you want, write over important pieces of you!

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Live: State of 21st Century Literacies

Angela Maiers is inviting (we do so) to join the EdTech Talk Live- It's Elementary, tonight at 9:PM ET. (right now). Maiers will be a guest tonight next to: Alice Mercer, Angela Maiers, Jose Rodriguez, Lisa Durff and Maria Knee

In her post, the Maiers Educational Services' head, ask herself: "When I think about literacy, the ability to read, write, speak, listen, view, investigate, collaborate, and communicate, what contexts will our students be engaging in those practice in the twenty first century?"

Join in to this productive conversation in webcast # 27 at EdTechTalk. or download the 76:48 min. file here.

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Students Using Technology When Given the Ideal Environment

For any school in the BSF programme, being forced to undertake a 'decant' period is not easy at any stage. Whilst old schools are demolished and new schools built, staff and students end up in modular 'villages, or 'part in part out' of existing buildings with swapping around as parts are developed. Occasionally they are slightly more fortunate are going into empty buildings, such as old primary schools. I am fortunate to visit a variety of sites and really admire the resilience, ingenuity and determination of students and staff in these situations.

Visiting such a school recently was a really pleasant surprise, with a few odd quirks. Temporarily in a primary school building, despite the older students having the stair handrails nearer their knees than waists, the way the staff had livened up their learning environments was refreshing. Of course, for these students this is the only chance they have - and the school had really done a great job in ensuring it is the most positive experience possible.

Learn more about the exciting experience seen by Gareth Long.

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Internet Key to Avoid Depression in the U.S.

When FDR took office in 1933, one out of four American workers was jobless. We're not there yet, but we're trending in that direction, after learning this ending week about employment report, which shows that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September - for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months.

Not to get scared away, but this data begs the question of whether the meltdown we're experiencing should be called a Depression.

The new website created by President-elect Barack Obama is among the 20 key event during the 2008 and cannot be the other way. These days they release the contest of under Creative Common license.

This week they launched an ambitious plan, asking Americans all across the country to host health care community discussions over the next few weeks to get input and ideas from their friends, family, and communities.

And the remarks of President-elect Barack Obama in his Radio Address on the Economy of Saturday, December 6, 2008 he was straight to signal that he intends to "renew our information superhighway."

Next President thinks internet key to economic recovery. Re-quoting RWW, "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance when I'm President - because that's how we'll strengthen America's competitiveness in the world," is credited to Obama have been said.

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Evolution: Basic Male Tool Kit Is Under Threat

Many years people has been complaining about pollution and no precise result had flourished. Al Gore leads the most powerful organisation to fight this human retreat and we as bloggers and educators are on call to spread word and teach of the dangers of contamination of our skies. We cannot wait seated, watching how feminization of our males occur as consequence of polluting our habitat.

Evolution is being disrupted by pollution, which damages genitals and the ability to father offspring, says a new study still to be detailed tomorrow as The Independent cites, men are becoming day by day hermaphrodites:

"'This research shows that the basic male tool kit is under threat,'says Gwynne Lyons, a former government adviser on the health effects of chemicals, who wrote the report.

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them.

Many have been identified as "endocrine disrupters" – or gender-benders – because they interfere with hormones. These include phthalates, used in food wrapping, cosmetics and baby powders among other applications; flame retardants in furniture and electrical goods; PCBs, a now banned group of substances still widespread in food and the environment; and many pesticides." [read more]

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