Education & Tech

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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 L. Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is an instructor with UoPeople, is a 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 blogging and I'd written articles about education and technology almost every day since 2003. In the gazillion of notes, Education & Tech provides you with education news, tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

Welcome you all! Why not like our site for more updates?

2009: Year of Education & Tech

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Nominations for the Twitter Shorty Awards

Honor the world's top Twitterers in 140 characters or less until midnight December 31st. Hurry up!

Go forth and tweet your nominations!

  • To nominate someone for a Shorty Award, use the form on their site, or send a tweet similar to this: @shortyawards I nominate @someone in category #news because… (but write something of your own).
  • The text of the tweet is completely up to you. As long as it contains @shortyawards @someone #category you can be as creative with the rest as you like.
  • You actually have to write something. Just submitting the default tweet doesn’t count.
  • If you later decide you want to change what you wrote, retweet with the same @someone and #category and it’ll replace your old tweet with the new one.

Follow the nominations @shortyawards. Use the webform on the Shorty Awards site, so you don't get the nomination syntax incorrect.

Of course, you can always check what are the Education nominees here. And if you are interested, you might want to add us too @tonnet.

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The Web's Future is Multilingual

Certainly that many languages will be extinct by next century as Ethnolinguist K. David Harrison predicts but when we talk about world wide web things are a bit different.

Gone are the days in which you can launch a Web site in English and assume that readers from around the globe are going to look to you simply because of the content you're providing, is credited to be said by Zia Daniell Wigder, a senior analyst at JupiterResearch.

And that's precisely the predictions about what Daniel Sorid of The Herald Tribune just wrote today:

The next chapter of the World Wide Web will not be written in English alone. Asia already has twice as many Internet users as North America, and by 2012 it will have three times as many. Already, more than half of the search queries on Google come from outside the United States.

The globalization of the Web has inspired entrepreneurs like Ram Prakash Hanumanthappa, an engineer from outside Bangalore, India. Ram Prakash learned English as a teenager, but he still prefers to express himself to friends and family members in his native Kannada. But using Kannada on the Web involves computer keyboard maps that even Ram Prakash finds challenging to learn.

Want to know more about Quillpad Ram's Project? Keep reading...

LATER: NYT picks the story and feature it like, Writing the Web's Future in Numerous Languages.

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All I Know Is That I Know Nothing

On purpouse of New Year and the settling of goals in our daily life. You can't sit back and be happy with where you’ve come in a few short have to totally understand the benefits of continuing to grow - you raise your vibrations, you attract higher quality people, you can serve more people, and more.

Here the post we've selected to recommend as inspirational this new year and written by Rachel Rofé, The More I Learn, the More I Realize How Little I Know which to us, is an equivalent to the Socrates' Paradox [see also Spanish answers]:

My father used to have a bumper sticker in the garage that said, 'The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.'

This seems to be my life story - especially as of late. The more I grow, the more I realize I have so much more to learn.

It’s really hard for me to come to terms with this! I’ve always had the attitude that I’d like to work super-hard at first, get to desired solution, and then sit back. With growth though, it just doesn’t happen that way. It’s never-ending.

I met a guy I really, really respect back in June. He’s super-successful and full of amazing advice. I thought he was absolutely brilliant, wise, enlightened… and then I talked to his wife.

Continue to read the whole history.

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How to Add Pictures to Friend Connect Community

From Google Friend Connect Tactics:

This is real easy, add Picassa from Google to your profile. Then allow your Google Social Friends from Friend Connect to add pictures to a album you set up just for this. Then use the embed option and add the Picassa widget to the blog on a page designated just for this.

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Education, Tech, And the 2008 Year in Review

Traditional media is doing the Year in Review and we thought that is a good opportunity,to show our best work during 2008. In fact, we're probably worse than most when it comes to liking to sort, use Google Analytics's statistics, find trends and display highlights. TonNet thought it'd be fun to do a quick run through the year very soon to be completed, looking at the good things, bad, interesting, and not so much.

Below is a quick summary, including the top stories and people who were nice enough to link to us, like Stephen Downes, to whom we extend our deeply and grateful respects.

In the middle of the 2008, we posted which were at that time, our Top 20 Posts of All Time and it was Mr. Downes who linked to Education & Tech more than once.

Many other people showed some love linking to Education and Tech, but again, it was Stephen's Web who did it the most. Some other edubloggers (or edblogs) worked on the Top 25 blogs for the 2008, the Top 50 P-12Edublogs? -Technorati shake up! the Education & Tech blogroll, Best of the 2008 @ Weblogawards, and Innocents in Blogland by the Whashington Post.

We have in the right side, the Popular Posts and some of them are included in what Google Analytics tracks as the Top Content for this blog:

Edublog Awards: The Best 16 Eddies, is a recent post but as all topics in the internet, new content ranks higher.

Why developers hate the Facebook wall-to-wall, it's a popular landing for our social media avid readers.

The iPhone brings traffic, see this post about hooking one of this gadgets to the T-Mobile networks.

10 questions to ask at a Parent Teacher Conference. It seems visitors of Education & Teach are not only educators but parents, as well.

Social Networks are a great concern among cybernauts. Social Networking condemned to die was large hit.

Some have complained we don't keep focus on the thematic we cover. They may have their own reasons, yet 7 educational sites your kids will love was a success.

At the bottom we are including an slide to share with you, what it looked like Education & Tech (Blog para lectores de español -Blog for Spanish Readers).Three are the posts in Spanish, which still continue to be of the preference of our visitors:

Aspectos positivos y negativos de la globalización.
Templates for Blogger, formerly known as Blogger Beta; and,
The musical history of a Ecuadorian legend, Don Lucho Bowen.

BubbleShare: Share photos

For great posts at the end of the 2008 and greatly promoted by users in the internet. Click the links:

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Teachers Becoming Virtual Friends With Their Students. Not a Good Step.

With Facebook truly going mainstream next year, teachers more than ever are in the disyuntiva of allowing their students to add them as friends or not, in Facebook.

Studies have shown that Facebook over passed MySpace worldwide in traffic and they will have a hard battle this year to maintain their identities. No matter what developers hate about Facebook, it's set to eclipse MySpace in the US early next year.

So, Facebook will be so popular in the U.S. but the question for educators remains, Should teachers become virtual friends with their students?

We think teachers may become virtual friends with their students, as far as both keep the relationship teacher/student at the same level. There are situations when either a student or a teacher doesn't get acquainted with one another, and then this kind of connection might disrupt into conflict. However, I still think teachers should see in Facebook a place to interact and relax. That's what the young community thinks of this social network, "You can communicate when it's not something very, very serious", to quote a student at the University of Texas in Austin and cited in Teachers face dilemma with Facebook.

There is not consensus about making students virtual friends in Facebook, yet. "Opponents fear innocent educators will be branded sexual predators for chatting with students online, while proponents caution against overreacting to a powerful communication tool.", writes Erica Mellon in the cited article.

Teachers face dilemma with Facebook stressed what Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, suggests to their members. He asked them to avoid connecting with students on social-networking sites. Most of times it would be Ok, he says, but "What do you do with that one whose parent goes nuts: What do you mean you're my kid's friend?" It all falls into what we all know as professionalism.

It's pretty easy to make a group in Facebook and start calling for adhesion. Teachers and administrators are concerned of groups like Teachers Need to Get the Hell Off Facebook. Perception is, students think that they are the bridge through what schools patrol for cyber-bullying. Adults in Facebook simply are considered creepy for some students.

Administrators think of Facebook to be like a giant family reunion or class reunion. Would you invite your students to your family reunion or class reunion? Many would expect not. Case in point, there is much you can share about family on these social networks but it's up to you, how much you share it online. You can always select which of your students are allowed to see and read what you've posted.

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Forget About Google Docs and Scribd. wePapers Is Here and Rocks!

wePapers is a new free online service, still in Beta, created by two Israeli students, launched on December, after 18 months in development. wePapers helps students, teachers and anyone seeking academic knowledge, come together to share and upload academic material, discuss what they study and mainly – find tons of quality lecturenotes and peer-reviewed articles.

This web application differs from Scribd, in a sense, beacause they claim to be "The YouTube of Educational Papers". we Papers, lets its users read documents and presentation right within their browsers. These materials can be shared with others and downloaded as you wish.

Teachers can take advantaje of this free open startup, because students studying a regular course or interested in the same topic can get together and form online study groups. Of course, if you prefer to have your documents private, you just have to protect them with a password.

Ehud and Hanan, the founders of wePapers, realized through their studies for their B.A. degrees that acing school doesn't have to involve agony. "We think everyone has something to teach, and anyone can become a teacher, a guru or a mentor. More important, we believe everybody deserves the right to learn for free and they are madly waiting for your thoughts.

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If You Aren't Into Business, Who Cares About the Twitter Search Meme

Twitter Search Meme, Who Cares?Nobody doubts that If we want schools to stay relevant in a digital age they need to keep pace with the changes in society. It just needs to be a priority, wrote Jeff Utecht last week.

Those changes are intimately linked to connections. In this field, tools as Twitter have become a priority for teachers. Diligent ones, even struggled to narrow it to a list of ten Twitter teachers you should be following.

We don't normally write about Twitter. There is a wide range of interested ones who can do it better than us, but today, we want to participate of the thread started by social media figures: Le Meur, Arrington and Scoble. They are discussing about whether Twitter should track the authority of a user, based primarily on the number of followers.

Here are the takes on his hot arena, where we are sure, only Twitter CEO Evan Williams will decide ultimately:

Sarah Lacy is grateful Loic doesn't run Twitter, and calls attention to the Silicon Valley Hoi Polloi, "Not everyone in the world who is searching something on Twitter cares what we think or knows who we are. Yes, as someone with nearly 7,000 followers, I include myself in that. If someone wants to know what only the most followed people think, he or she can just follow those people. That's how the service works."

We already stated our nonconformity with Loic Meur, If this means to let out small contributors, then I am against it.(27 DEC 08). No matter what the predictions across de web are for the 2009, Twitter will remain growing and we are not afraid, new and small participants are set aside because they don't have enough followers.

Louis Gray moves on and says that everyone is right about authority. Scoble, Arrington, and Lemeur are all right (only the three of them?) "It's important to follow smart people, yet at the same time your followers are just as important. I don't think either one is any more valuable than the other on a general level - it varies on a person-to-person experience, and that is why you see them arguing over it. That's the amazing thing behind Social Networking - there is no right or wrong answer because each individual can define their own!"

Still, the idea that Twitter should have authority search based on the number of followers a user has, is patently idiotic. Duncan Riley jumps in and says, hey who gives a shit? "After all, Twitter couldn’t even get search right in the first place, so they had to acquire a company that was offering Twitter search. Unless there’s a 3rd party Twitter tool provider by the name of “elitist people search for Twitter” I’m not aware of they can buy to do it, I’m ranking this dead in the water…or should that be Loic’s Perrier."

So, we stop here. Better to ask you add @tonnet to your list and find out who was the very first person you've started following in Twitter. Do you still love Twitter?

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Educational Paradigm: Learning With And From Your Students

On Christmas Day, we published this post, which brought attention of someone we don't know whether he is a teacher or is he related to education, either way, he picked this post and added an interesting note.

Hellio said it out loud in his InterWeb Notes:

"OK, but go ahead and say it. Dump the classroom model entirely. Our students live in a jungle and I don’t mean a blackboard jungle. And get rid of the word 'student'. And dump ‘instruction’ and ‘curriculum’ as well. It is the teachers who are the bottlenecks not the students. It won’t matter what we call them in the near future because they will be irrelevant. The classroom will never change enough to accomodate the measure of learning that is rising to meet us. Ditch it. Move on or be moved on."

Hellio is inviting to do what we've said it already here, about re-reading Here Comes Everybody from Clark Shirky.

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Education & Tech News for Educators 12/27/2008

Be Your Own Bank.
We -predict that one of the first places that budgets will be cut will be the education system.

Social Networking Pros & Cons.
What remains to be seen is if face to face contact, and trusting personal relationships will continue. Pixels on a screen will never replace a hug or pat on the back.

Teachers Are Irreplaceable, Right Up Until The Moment They Are Replaced.
Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody needs to be re-read.

Microblogging in Education
Microblogs are important tools not only for networking, communication and learning, but also for forming communities of practices.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Playing Cops When Dealing With Research Papers

It's hard to encourage a teacher to keep working when he has to play police strategies to discover who's cheating and where. Experiences of a Uninspired Teacher are most than reflected in our practice. We were glad to read his presentation: "Comments are welcome, opinions are even more welcome, and spreading the word is welcome most of all." So, we thought it will be of great use spread word on this statement: "The problem with teaching research in high school is how archaic everything still is."

Tom believes that 'normal is underrated'. But he also asks to Stop Trying to Inspire Him. What a name for a great educational blog. An excerpt of how he's dealing with frustration when a student tells him "I'm not writin' this over" is here:

I don't think that most of my students who plagiarize realize they're doing it anyway. They usually fall into one of two categories. Either they try to cite their sources and don't do it enough or use MLA format improperly; or they don't cite anything because they "didn't know they had to do that" even though I've done a day's lesson on it and there are at least one or two pages' worth of information on hand that demonstrate proper citation. So it's either not fully grasping the concept or being flat-out lazy. And while I would do what some of my colleagues do and take the latter papers to the internet (or one of those paper-checking software tools), then highlight the plagiarized passages, it's really not necessary. That's because the papers are badly organized and horribly written to the point where if proper citation was used, they'd fail anyway (or maybe get a D-).

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Poor Grades Can Demoralize and Zap Students Confidence

How to handle it, when grades drop
Photo by Tony Crider
If you live in New Jersey, you should have received your son's report card by now. With all hopes that these grades haven't affected the Christmas gifts your dearest one have to receive, chances are you had to deal with low grades.

How do you handle low grades without giving rise to a battle?

First of all, remember that a report card is neither a measure of your child's worth nor of your parent ability. So, you have to walk a fine line between not dwelling excessively on her grades while not dismissing them as unimportant.

Schoolwork is easily followed with what some schools in NJ started just using, the PowerSchool. You can keep track of your son's information on the web. Student data, including attendance, schedules and grades are a click away. You can also set your student account to send you reports periodically to your own personal e-mail.

Still you may be confronted with low grades. Don't fall pray of angry rants and harsh criticism, in place, try to adopt a low-key , calm but serious approach to show your son what are your concerns. Bear in mind that you are the adult here and that poor grades will demoralize a child and even worse zap her confidence. Some children feel half-hearted to school work and results may also reflect this, so you will have to help him reorder his priorities.

Now is when we introduce the second step to handle low grades improvement. There must be something to praise your child's report card, then talk to your kid about the subjects he's struggling with and ask questions to identify the source of the problem.

We like to read Dr. Kenneth Shore's articles. In his When Grades Drop (, 12/08) he suggest the questions we should strenthen up:

"Is the work too hard? Conversely, is the work so easy that your child is bored and thus not putting forth effort? Is he handing in homework consistently? Is he having trouble following directions? Is he having difficulties preforming on tests? Is he having a problem focusing on class?"

Now we arrive to what we would like to call third step. Work along with your son a plan of action. You will need to get involved with the teacher to determine what your young boy needs to do differently and whether extra help is needed. Is it that you need to monitor homework more closely? or is it that he needs help studying for test?

Please, do not always follow teachers recommendations on learning disabilities, you are the person who knows better, help him organizing better for school and try a tutor before accepting classification of kid with learning disabilities.

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Turn your Classrooms into Learning Ecologies

Technology will never replace the Teacher. However, teachers who know how to use technology effectively to their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those who do not. Dr Scott Macleod credits the message of the inspirational slide to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.

That's how we get to read the Open Letter she wrote to all her colleagues. Dangerously Irrelevant was first to pick the gems, but we secondly, want to go to middle of the letter and extract what we consider is the key to connect and do progress in curriculum and classroom management.

From the Letter to my Colleagues:

"Want to know how a 21st Century learner learns? Ask them. You will be amazed at what you hear and if you are smart- you'll act upon it. Sylvia Martinez says we are trying to solve this 21st C PD issue in schools with 6% of the population (teachers) when 94% of the population (kids) are better positioned to help us learn what we need to know to be successful. Turn your classrooms into learning ecologies- learn with and from your students. Get rid of top down, expert driven instruction methods and nurture self-directed discovery- both your own and theirs. Turn your passions into classroom curriculum. Get excited and mentor your kids integrating your passions with core content and foundational knowledge. Help them develop a love and understanding for culture and our rich heritage. Advocate hard to get the metrics we are using to measure classroom effectiveness changed- for we teach what we measure. Leverage NCLB to push for personalization of curriculum in an effort to meet AYP and all the various needs of your subgroup populations."

21st Century Learning's letter came into, after a request from a person who asked to continue with thread that Mark Shirky started when "Here Comes Everybody" discussion took place, and same requester, "wondered whether or not technology would have a similar effect on teachers."

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Topics for Learning, e-Learning And Technology Conversations

Imagine you had a conversation about one of these 100 topics related to learning, e-learning, and technology.

If you are a edublogger, then having you post these kind of conversations is great. "I saw a post by someone suggesting ways to come up with ideas for blog post topics and they gave some examples. The examples were not all that relevant to most of the readers of this blog, but it definitely sparked a thought for me.

Almost every time I have a conversation, I learn something new. Most of the time I learn something, I write a blog post. But I don’t have nearly enough time to have conversations, learn and write blog posts. So now that some people called me influential, I’m hoping that I can leverage my influence to inspire people to have a conversation with me and help me with my lack of time."

So, here are Tony Karrer's suggested 100 conversation topics that he wishes he had time to speak to you. The following have been our takes either on learning or technology.

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Report Card Scores for Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan Gets a D.

Almost every other key Cabinet and advisory positions are higher than Arne Duncan's score. The Secretary of Education selected by Obama only is surpassed by all others, except by Rich Warren, who's gotten a F grade.

Schools Matter quotes the author of this report:

"Instead of selecting change-oriented experts like Linda Darling-Hammond, President-elect Obama went with the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. While some depict Duncan as a passionate reformer, others view him as a pro-privatization union buster who has only intensified the city’s educational apartheid. At a moment where the very notion of “public” is coming under attack, Duncan represents a disturbing move toward the educational Right."

Marc Lamont Hill asses that Obama’s Cabinet only average! Hold on a second, there is another person who pitched in, to compare the selection of Mr. Duncan as the Sarah Palin of the School System! Ouch.

Are there so many people getting wrong all the times? What do you think?

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Education & Tech News for Educators 12/25/2008

Stories on the recession and early childhood education.
Keep the human angle in mind. Every time you see a story about budget cuts, think about people and how they may be affected.

Classroom Management: Who Makes the Rules?
90% of your students will likely follow them. The 10% who don’t follow rules probably won’t follow rules set by you or set by other classmates without training and your consistency in enforcing them.

The New Digital Divide.
Whereas this divide used to refer to whether or not students had access to technology, now it concerns whether schools are using technology effectively to achieve results.

Got 12 minutes? What I Learn from Twitter.
The best news of all is this wealth of learning happened not only in 12 minutes, it is available and accessible to anyone twenty four hours a day, seven days a week! Ohhh did I mention this is all free?

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Shhh...It's Santa... But,...Is there a Santa Claus?

"There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus." - Author Unknown

September, 1897 Dear Editor:

I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun it's so.' Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance, to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

What will happen with these ‘absolute’ rules from our editors, parents, teachers, and representatives, if they suddenly change?

Russell Foltz-Smith of Social Mode, elaborates the answer, “Well as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone (another stellar admonishment that the end justifies the means…) why not have Santa, the Easter Bunny and a Virgin Mary?”

Merry Christmas to All of You Dear readers!

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Contribute to the Big Education Ideas of the 2008

The New York Times released last week The 8th Annual Year in Ideas and they dedicated three of them to the education: Kindergarten Redshirting is Bad in Many Ways, Two-Tier Teacher Contract, and The One-Room School Bus.

Many have accused administrators as much as educators to be full of theoretical axioms, which hardly can be take to reality. Isn't ideas how society has developed and transformed all the time? Well, there are many ideas people who is compromised with education would like to promote and carry it to practice. A standardized curriculum for all students in well developed countries may be one or as Alexader Russo suggests:

"A couple that come to mind include unionized charters (like Green Dot) that could finally unlock the innovation-security puzzle, open-source software and textbooks that could free districts from costly budget items, "artsy" charter schools that emphasize enrichment as well as remediation, turnaround efforts (they're back!), and - perhaps the biggest idea of all - the idea that real-world experience still counts."

Another idea would be, how can any educator explain himself, why someone who worked inside the public system cannot be in charge of Secretary of Education!

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Mass Digitization to Create an Open Digital Library for Scholarly And Public Use

Maura Marx has founded the Digital Library Program at the Boston Public Library and has been instrumental in securing the Library's support of Open Content principles. Maura is also the Executive Director of the Open Knowledge Commons, who last week introduced the OKC. What is the OKC? It's a new organization born out of the Open Content Alliance and dedicated to advocacy for and development of an open digital library of human knowledge.

The following is an excerpt of the announcement first appeared in Open Access News:

"...In funding start-up operations for the Knowledge Commons the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recognized the need to broaden the community's effectiveness beyond the research and development phase of mass digitization and to create a sustainable open digital library for scholarly and public use. This will be a very interactive session; comments and feedback on the OKC agenda will be encouraged and welcomed.

Maura...began her career in Europe doing development work in cultural heritage institutions and later worked in the U.S. technology sector before coming to libraries and the open content movement. She holds a B.A. in German from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in Italian from Middlebury College and an M.S.L.I.S. from Simmons College."

This is particularly important for teachers, since understanding participation in online communities is one of the important areas that will help educators and others who are interested in developing and maintaining effective learning communities.

Findings in Leadership at a distance: Research in technologically-supported work's book provide more clues about creating effective online participation, but we still have way much to learn. It is particularly important for us as Education professionals, to understand more about the relationship between online relationships and online community building. OKC is just a good example and a great project we expect have 100% positive results, as all Berkman Center for Internet & Scoiety Projects.

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More Basic Research on Arne Duncan Discussion

Dr. Stager, a contributor of The Huffington Post, a teacher educator, education journalist, speaker and school reformer wrote a letter to Santa, asking for something special, comments on his Huffington Post article. "I think I've been good, even if the Hooked-on-Phonics(R) folks think I've been naughty!", he states.

Obama practices social promotion, is the title of his post in HuffPo where he establish that "social promotion is a godsend to urban school superintendents in this age of privatization." Whole post is a critic of the nomination of new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

We are not going to comment on his post but in place we will reproduce part of his Judy L. Harris-Hooked on Phonics(R)netiquette dispute:

"A curious cartel of billionaire bullies, power hungry politicians and tough-talking school superintendents wage an eternal battle against social promotion -- for the good of our children of course. Social promotion, a divisive political term with no basis in reality, like partial-birth abortion, is one of the most popular talking points among the the most vocal critics of public education. The "end of social promotion" has caused tens of thousands of kids as young as 3rd grade to be left-back, despite overwhelming evidence that this practice harms children and increases the drop-out rate."

Henry Thiele, weights in and writes a Basic Research on Arne Duncan. He calls everyone to stop acting against an educational primer as Duncan is. Withhold judgment until you learn and see more, adds one of his commenters.

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The Secret to Success in Blogging Is to Share Good Ideas and Be Consistent

Last Friday, Moving at Speed of Creativity was down and people who reads and follows this blog was concerned, so they quickly demanded attention by his editor, Wesley Fryer. After this experience, Mr Fryer wrote an interesting post explaining what is the psychology behing his blogging experience, which is interesting to read because almost every edublogger that I know, once they start blogging, it won't ever stop.

Two reason are given by the great Fryer. He as every other edublogger, loves to learn, and one of the best ways he learns is by reading and writing. Wesley aspires to be a digitally relevant change agent in education in local as well as global contexts.

"One of our important responsibilities and obligations as true teachers is to help students choose the latter path in learning, rather than the former." is written in the Blog of Wesley Fryer.

Why we've picked this post? Simply put, because we also write almost on a daily basis and we thought this is a good chance to find out why nobody reads our blog, how come that we spend time compiling information, assuming that "too much blogging CAN be a bad" still people is coming back, leave comments and many still complain that nobody reads their blogs.

We think edubloggers should strike a balance between their on/offline lives, given this is often challenging. We are sure that if you are a passionate blogger-reader-writer, then you are into the 'digitally relevant' group of educators. But first try to understand these:

"You need to have good ideas to share. This does not necessarily mean having all the good ideas yourself, it can also mean serving as an aggregator and sharer of good ideas (and especially hyperlinks) of others. [additionally] you need to be a consistent voice. How is authority and trust built and maintained over time in the blogsophere? I think one way, and perhaps the most important way, is via a consistent voice."

What all this mean? It means that you are sharing ideas from a consistent philosophical and pedagogic perspective, and when you publish a daily post, it also means that you share frequently.

What keeps you posting on daily basis? What doesn't?

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Edublog Awards: The Best 16 Eddies

I wish I could have listened the Eddies yesterday but I was on a familiar duty. Although being nominated is a huge honor in itself, Education & Tech wasn't among those Best Blogs in Education.

However, Angela Myers, one of the winners, wrote a post prior to the event, she's put it in this way: "The fabulous team at EdTechTalk will be providing a web-based audio stream of the event. The landing page for web based listening and text based chat will be There's also a Facebook page for those of you over there, and there will be live updating over @ Twitter."

Miss W. in a comment left at the page created to present all winners, she asked: "Any chance in future for a student award as they don’t have the PLN that adult bloggers have? Even under primary/elementary, middle, high and senior high school. Remember these are the bloggers of the future we should be helping to grow."

Many of them are already part of our daily subscriptions and reading. But from Education and Technology, we want to congratulate all these innovative educators and champions. Visit, leave them a comment and hit their subscription button.

The 16 winners of the 2008 Eddies are:

1. Best individual blog: The English Blog.

2. Best group blog: SCC English.

3. Best new blog: Angela Maiers.

4. Best resource sharing blog: Free Technology for Teachers

5. Most influential blog post: Order for Closure.

6. Best teacher blog: The Cool Cat Teacher.

7. Best librarian / library blog: Hey Jude.

8. Best educational tech support blog: Teachers love Smartboards.

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog: eLearning Technology.

10. Best educational use of audio: Ed Tech Talk

11. Best educational use of video / visual: Steve Spangler Blog.

12. Best educational wiki: Flat Classroom Project 2008.

13. Best educational use of a social networking service: Classroom 2.0

14. Best educational use of a virtual world: Discovery Education Second Life.

15. Best class blog: Extreme Biology.

16. Lifetime achievement: David Warlick.


Given the criticism these Awards have received, we ask you to read two very interesting posts on this thread: one from Stephen Downes and the other from Doug Belshaw.

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History of Students Who Decided That Online Videos Supplement Their Learning

The story was ran originally by eSchool News and unfortunately for us, as for yourself, these sites don't allow comments, at least, you are a registered user. Back in the 2007 we've expressed our thoughts on the service provided by YouTube. The article en mention says that students turn to online videos to supplement readings and lectures more frequently these days. It couldn't be different, nowadays we have plenty of resources online to help students (and teachers) with education technology, and students particularly enjoy pretty much social networking.

Great places where students can find supplement to their readings, classes and lectures are: YouTube, TeacherTube, MathTV and others. No wonder YouTube is getting hundreds of hits from young students looking for math help and educational videos.

From the Technology News for Today's k-20 Educator

"Math videos won't rival the millions of hits garnered by laughing babies, but a YouTube tutorial on calculus integrals has been watched almost 50,000 times in the past year. Others on angular velocity and harmonic motion have gotten more than 10,000 views each...

On tutorials posted to YouTube by the not-for-profit Khan Academy, for example, reactions include: "Now why couldn't my calc instructor explain it that simply?" and "I was just about to leave my physics course. You saved me." One viewer went as far as to declare to the man behind the videos: "You are god of mathematics!!!"

The 5 Ways to use Web 2.0 in the Classroom was an reflecting post of what means to be populated by this post, but surely, in the educational field educators can always come up with something new and creative. What uses are you implementing in your classroom with educational videos?

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Fair Use Call for Huffington Post. When in Doubt, Ask for Permission

I’ve always found the model The Huffington Post was using kind of interesting, but as Duncan Riley, we also presumed that it was done with permission; we now run a small about of content here at Education & Tech on the similar basis, although not always with permission from the authors upfront.

Both Wired and The Inquisitr are running the new. Since we are being printing extracts, lately, we would like to ask our readers, what is their take on this syndication practice long being used by The Huffington Post.

Riley explains that this trick might be considered as Fair Use:

"Running 2-3 paragraphs of a longer post with a link back may constitute fair use, but not adding to the content and running it whole (even if only part of the post) starts to get fishy on the fair use part, when considering that fair use in this context would normally be considered when quoting in the context of unique content."

Desperately waiting for your replies. Thanks.

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Education: The World Indigenous Peoples' Conference

Last week 3000 delegates from around the world shared their experiences at The World Indigenous Peoples' Conference: Education at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. There has been little coverage by the mainstream media and surprisingly little activity in the global blogosphere that I’m aware of.

Carbon Media produced excellent video for National Indigenous TV (NITV) that is available at Black Tracks. Their 5 episodes include interviews with leading keynote speakers and conference delegates.

A sample of the video interviews

Read whole article here.

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Plagiarism: Preventing Bad Use of your Blog Contents

We have put out our 2 cents before on plagiarism. Yesterday while we checked our Google Reader subscriptions, we came across to Richard Byrne's experiences about someone stealing contents of his blog.

Some still are holding up that Blogging as a Method of Communication May be Over, but Byrne goes forward and mentions the three mos popular platforms to create blogs "If you're a teacher just beginning to explore the use of technology in the classroom". He also asserts why he decided to stay with Blogger Platform.

Blogger is well known to operate and allow lots of splogs maintained thanks to services like this one. But we have to protect ourselves of been plagiarized. The question, is how to detect plagiarism? Learning from Free Tech for Teachers, we now know of how to detect and prevent this problem, unfortunately on the rise.

We can add to the list: Find the e-mail of people who plagiarized your content. As for what we would like to use (not frequently but we do sometimes run a quick monitoring), these are our 5 cents: Duplicate Post Checker, PlagiarsimDetect and Copyscape.

We’ll be happy to give you any legal approvals you need whether you like our content. But I want you to steal my content.(in a good way) In fact, all our contents are available via Creative Commons license so you can use it wherever and whenever. Of course, we'd like a credit, yes, but it's not a demand.

I am sorry, this post ended full of links. This is what to do when someone steals your content, please don't get me wrong with the paragraph before.

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Education Today 12/17/2008

Hard Work And Technology Improve Achievement

They [kids] know now that when they say something it will be welcomed and discussed - the relationships in the classroom are fantastic.

Social Media vs. Knowledge Management

Taking the best of Social Media, Knowledge Management, eLearning, User Assistance (and others) and combining them together gives us Enterprise 2.0 solution

UK survey shows e-learning's the downturn winner

Less surprising is the increased interest in e-learning, blended learning and mobile learning, which is already reflected in high levels of activity among developers.

A balance between teaching skills and content

Memorisation of facts without the skills is obviously a waste of time, and I understand that you need the skills to locate, manage and synthesize the freely available information to create knowledge, but we still need a knowledge of some content, surely, otherwise the skills are free floating and without context.

Seven brilliant things teachers do with technology

Things i see teachers do that just make me marvel and feel proud to be a part of the profession.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

First Reactions on Barack Obama's Post for Education Secretary

We've been following the selection of Secretary of Education during these weeks and today the outcomes are visible for all to see. Traditional media is writing a great deal of stuff on the new nominee.

We were expecting president-elect picks to this position a career educator but it seem we got all wrong. In place, he selected a buddy of yours and an attorney as professional. While results are expected to come after Senate confirms Arne Duncan, NPR(National Public Radio)says his nomination "is expected to be well-received among many educators as well as the 1.4 million-strong American Federation of Teachers."

We are fond of AllThingsConsidered and today, they aired an interview of Chester Fin, Jr.,who offers his insights on the appointment. He said the post of Mr. Duncan is "a little bit mistified" and talking about Duncan's Chicago Schools' experience he added, results are "modest but positive". The problem is Mr. Duncan doesn't have a lot of 'Washington experience"

Details of what other people is writing on Obama's pick for Secretary of Education, are here. It's completely visible that not all are welcoming Obama's basketball buddy from Hyde Park:

Steve Diamond is a law professor and this is what he thinks of his colleague Arne Duncan:

Education Secretary-nominee Arne Duncan is seen by most as far more interested in privatization of schools than tackling the deep set social and economic context which creates the "achievement gap" in America.

David Boaz of Cato @ Liberty states that he doesn't know much about Arne Duncan but stress this:

In seven years running the Chicago public schools, this longtime friend of Obama was apparently not able to produce a single public school that Obama considered good enough for his own children.

Sarah Karp looks into Duncan's track record and among other thinks she points out:

...Little has been done to shed light on district spending decisions, particularly construction and renovation budgets. CPS continues to gather input on capital needs through public meetings, but it has not laid out a clear spending strategy nor has it ranked renovation priorities from school to school. Community groups have long demanded, in vain, for just such a plan.

Still one of the most respected journalist joins in and drops a bomb to Democrats. "You may have won the election, but you're getting CREAMED in the transition", writes G. Palast, and he explains why is so horrified of:

The ill philosophy behind the Bush-brand education theories Duncan promotes, "Teach-to-the-Test," forces teachers to limit classroom time to pounding in rote low-end skills, easily measured on standardized tests. The transparent purpose is to create a future class of worker-drones. Add in some computer training and - voila! - millions of lower-income kids are trained on the cheap to function, not think.

We haven't see much of these critics on the other nomination, but this one, where -as Palast put it, in no other cabinet department is the lack of expertise, lack of accomplishment, lack of a degree in the field found acceptable but in Education.

Is Mr. Duncan a truly reformer? Is Arne Duncan, the candidate whose selection would bring about real change or is he a bad decision?


Trutout needs your help. Check as well, its Obama's Betrayal of Public Education? Arne Duncan and the Corporate Model of Schooling

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Teachers: Linux Is a Free Operating System in Both Cost and License

This post comes from a thread about a Middle School teacher who cared about her students. She was making her case on what she thought it was something illegal.

Ken Starks of HeliOS Solutions, who advocate, support and use Free Open Source Software and Linux in particular, follows up on this matter:

"...The consensus began building about 24 hours ago when I published a blog strongly chastising a teacher who emailed me. She made, what I considered to be, some amazingly ignorant statements, statements that I felt attacked the very core reason for my existence. It made me much angrier than it should have.

I'm human, so sue me.

No wait, scratch that last line...don't sue me. It is being discussed.

Her tone didn't help her case much. She insinuated that I may had done something illegal. We build/refurbish computers for kids who are financially disadvantaged. We also build and present computers to kids of high achievement. To even hint that I am involved in anything that approaches breaking the law is not only silly, it evokes emotion better left un-evoked. I've worked for years to bring the level of success, however limited, we have now. The last thing I need is to lose it all for something silly.

So instead of crafting a measured, count-for-count personal response, I chose to share her obvious ignorance with members of the Linux Community. It was meant to illustrate the maddening ignorance and bias a Linux Advocate faces in a Microsoft Windows world. It was also meant to digitally spank the hand of the offender. It was a good direction to go I thought."

Read whole article here, and make your very own conclusions.

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Helping Digital Natives Not to Fall into Captivity

Empowering your students, is the right thing to do, was the title of a post we wrote last week in support of a group of 9th grade students in Georgia. They've stepped forward to keep working with media and also designing videos where they show what is Lively like. They have created a Facebook group that you can join to promote Keeping Lively Alive.

To understand better what these students are doing, we want you to read and article appeared today, written by Evgeny Mozorov of the Herald Tribune. The author refers to a recent three-year study by the MacArthur foundation. This study found that the Internet helps young people to become "competent citizens in the digital age", which in turn, techie junks are labeled as Digital Natives.

American and Western Europe experiences don't always work elsewhere. What's going on in other societies?, says the article.

Are they [Digital Natives] the "digital renegades," ready to leverage the power of social networking and text messaging to topple their undemocratic governments? Or are they "digital captives," whose political and social dissent has been significantly neutered by the Internet, turning them into happy consumers of Hollywood's digital marginalia?

The digital natives were expected to be in the avant guard of this movement; Facebook was supposed to make the Little Red Book irrelevant...To the dismay of most policymakers and technology enthusiasts, this has not happened...

Mozorov's post is about politics, but we can extrapolate it to what these students are doing at Digiteen Dream Team. They've mastered skills to be present in the internet, dissent and make activism a tool, so they are able to bring Google to its knees, fighting their Lively petition.

We are not so sure they can get Google to change their decision. The company may have good reasons to shut down Lively. What we are completely sure is, these teens are changing the way students can make themselves heard. Use of classroom technologies bring new dimensions to the administration of schools and teacher's ethics. Don't you think?

Again, if you are for educational reform and empowering students go over Livelyzens, to see what students can do with their Lively citizen project.

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What to Do About Rising Costs of College Education

In the U.S., students who can not afford the cost of college and the accompanying expenses, they need to take out loans and/or seek employment. Federal loans bear low interest rates and payable only after the student graduates. There also grants like scholarships and private loans to augment the federal loans to cover whatever else might be needed by the school.

But things have changed lately, in the middle of this economic turmoil students at Higher Education are faced to get the money (some colleges are now costing over $50,000 per year) because their parents can afford it anymore, nor in the private colleges, neither in the community ones. Morgages are not being paid back and there is not credit offered by banks.

What college students can do to do about it?

The following are the recommendations posted on CampusGrotto, a news site that covers a wide range of College related topics:

"While this problem is pretty much out of the students’ hands, students can keep the price tag of college down by attending an in-state school, which are on average about $10,000 cheaper. Many students across the country are transferring away from expensive colleges, to attend more affordable colleges. Its almost as if the current state in the price of higher education is forcing many to go to a local community college first, not only to save money, but because that is all they can afford."

With the extreme price of tuition, it may be time we start question the non-profit status of many universities. Colleges should use up more of their endowments to help keep the cost for students at a reasonable price. Increasing the availability of student loans -if they happen to get them, is not the answer to this situation.

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Business and Education: Future of Education Industry

Last week, we attended a eduConference at the Education Revolution and it was a great experience. Joseph of Teach Street Blog, wrote a note on the event and gave us a link back, that we want to show appreciation. The discussions focused on what members of education industry can do the help the progression of education and the tools that are out there to enable us to do so.

The education presentations tried to cover The Future of education and were referred to: 5 Free Weeb Tools for Collaborative Learning presented by Koichi C., Biggest Success Stories of the Web 2.O by Jon Bischke and Multimedia and Teaching presented by Alan Cohen.

Out there, in a field different than educators are familiar with, there are people who often think that business and academics can't walk together, and yes, there definitely is a big divide between schools and corporations. But Ramin, of SuperCool Blog think that's precisely part of the problem - because if entrepreneurs and educators unite, that's a very mighty force for the good of the world.

The eduFire conference is a good example to show that business and education should go hand in hand. Let's face it, that's one of the main purposes of school. To prepare you for making a living later on. What school does at this moment, is "churning out factory workers", in a time when even demand for these workers is diminishing so rapidly.

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Teach for America Is the Raw Path Darling-Hammond Still Has to Walk

Recently we spoke on this post, about the pending decision of the President-elect of who will be nominated to Secretary of Education and how it was important to advocate for an educator and not any corporate manager involved with education.

The New York Times, today continues its scrutiny of the possible names to be picked by President Obama. This time Sad Dillon, stresses on the uncertainty of such nominations, considering none of the two national teachers unions have endorsed a candidate yet.

In our first cited post, we talked about Linda-Darling Hammond's candidacy, but it seems, many are looking into the "controversial figure partly because of her longtime criticism of Teach for America and what we already told in that post, "Dr. Darling-Hammond, is influential, clever and an enemy of genuine reform."

From the Uncertainty on Obama Education Plans:

Will [Mr Obama] side with those who want to abolish teacher tenure and otherwise curb the power of teachers’ unions? Or with those who want to rewrite the main federal law on elementary and secondary education, the No Child Left Behind Act, and who say the best strategy is to help teachers become more qualified?

We still don't think should favor nobody that isn't working in the classroom. Though, Randi Weingarten, the American Federation of Teachers' president, has stepped up and said that Arne Duncan, "actually reaches out and tries to do things in a collaborative way.” Is this meant that this organization is dropping endorsement of Mrs. Hammond?


Weingarten wasn't so wrong, today (12/15/08)it has been learned through the New York Times that President-elect Obama, will make the official announcement tomorrow appointing for Education Secretary, the superintendent of schools in Chicago: Arne Dunkan.

Chester Finn, president of Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based, education think tank, offers his insight on the appointment. Listen podcast at NPR.

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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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