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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Why Education Cannot Depend Upon Technology

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the best online schools. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

The use of technology in education has certainly helped bridge the gap in learning for many students in recent years. However, many argue that the widespread use of technology is going to make or break education in the future. While this may be true to one degree or another, education cannot depend upon technology for several reasons, a few of which will be explained below.

Funding Problems

Securing funding in education is becoming increasingly more difficult. As millions of people lose their homes, valuable property taxes that contribute to the educational systems around the country are being lost in the process. Funding for high technology is simply not going to be an option for many districts in the foreseeable future.

Additionally, if a school district is able to secure funds, technology continues to evolve at a staggering pace. Machines in many classrooms are nearly obsolete, and the rapid development of technology makes it cost-prohibitive to replace aging machines on a regular basis.

A Matter of Dependence

Becoming dependent upon machines is something that many students will find out soon enough. While it is certainly necessary to use technology in education, dependence should be avoided. Mathematical skills, writing, and reading should be encouraged outside of the technological realm. Students need to be able to rely on themselves and not technology to complete simple and complex arithmetic, as well as writing.

Reading is another aspect of education that needs work, as evidenced by standardized test scores around the country. Hands-on texts provide students with opportunities for note-taking, highlighting, and other study methods encouraged when consumable materials are used in the teaching cycle.

Balance is Needed

Using technology in the teaching cycle certainly helps engage students, but moderation is key. Just as our daily lives have become increasingly more dependent upon technology, we still have to learn valuable reasoning and decision-making skills. Critical thinking skills should be taught alongside technological applications.

Technology is also a fantastic way to provide enrichment and can be used in projects as well. The key to using technology successful in education is balancing out opportunities for learning with and without it. There is no need to become fully dependent upon either traditional or technological teaching models.

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Obama 5 Main Points to Reform Education, But Without Enough Details

President Obama made his first big speech on Education today. (see transcript) The Big question is how is this reform going to happen, because he failed to give explicit detail as how he pretends to really change education in the United States.

Among other things, he said that in up to 150 school districts, good teachers will be paid more if their students do better, but he didn’t explain how his administration will identify good teachers or measure student achievement. He also encouraged schools to extend the length of their day and year but did not specify how to pay for the change in times of recession. And he challenged governors to adopt higher standards in their states, but he left open the question of whether those standards should be the same from state to state.

Fordham’s latest study, The Accountability Illusion, is precisely illustrates the mess caused by the 50 different sets of standards. It can be let open, we need to avoid the actual state of our schools in what Amy Fagan identifies as a "rather idiosyncratic, random and opaque" system.

No all agree on what is positive signal or a negative and "lofty rethoric" of President Obama. We think it's a good start but it needs to be implemented. Only then, we will be able to see results and judge based on those, and not only on words.

For more buzz on Obama's mayor intervention about how education is so valuable in economic crisis like this we live in, please read round ups presented by Joanne Jacobs (Obama backs merit pay, charter schools) and Alexander Russo's OBAMA: Big(?) Speech On Education Today

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Are Charter Schools Admitting Students Randomly?

First of all, let me tell you how I did get to this topic. BackType made some updates to its service and one of them are the "alerts". We've set up our alerts on education and this is how we got to a great example where people who comment are really a ton worth.

Actually, the post was a relate of a personal experience lived by Steve Sailer. He just happen to discover that Charter Schools are faking the lottery selection of their students. The anonymous who left a comment on this post, should be read and all bloggers are encouraged to write short posts to be rewarded with such a meaty commentaries. Read by yourself: This is what Mr. Sailer wrote, "You often read articles about charter schools whose students do wonderfully on standardized tests even though admission is by random lottery." And this the reply [Bolded is ours]:

I'm not surprised by this in the least, and it traces back to the fundamental reality of how teaching talent is allocated in public education. The simple rule is that good schools have good teachers because they have good students. Good schools are not made by good teachers; good teachers are attracted to schools where there are talented students to begin with. Schools with academically talented and motivated students will attract and retain teachers who are both skilled in the classroom and knowledgeable about their subjects; that such schools are often located in communities with greater incomes and thus provide higher salaries is simply a bonus. (Although, the salaries don't need to be high--only high enough.)The exceptions to this rule are the small but significant minority of 'martyr teachers' who deliberately seek out tough assignments to 'make a difference', and those who grew up in a community and feel strong ties. There exist a number of teachers who strongly desire to teach in the very school system that produced them.

But for good teachers who don't fit into those exceptional categories -people who have natural talent in the classroom (not necessarily the techniques taught in ed school, either, I should add) plus a strong background in the content, teaching in a school with little or no naturally good students is going to be a frustrating experience.

Schools where the majority of class time is spent enforcing discipline are not going to attract or retain strong teachers.

Schools with class after class of students who are not only indifferent to the subject matter at hand but also personal and intellectual betterment in general are not going to attract or retain strong teachers. The added frustration of sitting in endless meetings discussing strategies on how to change this seemingly immutable situation doesn't help either.

So what are your options if you are passionate about your subject and teaching, but you want more than being a glorified babysitter for willfully ignorant hooligans?
Basically it's wait for an opening at a better school, wait for an opening to teach AP courses (and as many of them as you can), or go to a private school. (Or quit!) Subpar schools have good teachers from three groups: martyrs (most school reform initiatives are predicated upon virtually all teachers behaving this way,incidentally), community-ties teachers, and good teachers waiting for positions elsewhere. Everyone else is usually incompetent and/or just collecting a paycheck. No 'regular' good teacher is willingly making a career there.

Chronically low-performing schools can throw money at the problem, although that really only makes them competitive amongst the martyr group; their gain of a few good martyr teachers is another district's loss. And the lowest performing schools will have few community-ties sorts as well, for the simple fact that the community is too dysfunctional to have ties to -anyone with sense left as soon as he or she could. And as far as attracting the other sort of good teacher- forget it. No low performing school district can offer salaries high enough to attract significant numbers of good teachers, and they'd lose in a bidding war with more affluent districts anyway. An extra $10,000 and the possibility of getting assaulted by a student? No thanks.

But it's not necessarily about money -Catholic schools usually do better and usually pay far less in salaries and benefits than public schools. All teachers, to some extent, possess that martyr instinct; the best of them usually could make a lot more money doing something else. But Catholic schools do have something else -discipline and parents who desire their children to learn. No government entity forces a child to attend a private school -someone else cares enough to send him there and see that he learns. Most people do not realize this distinction, but the reality of America is not that we have compulsory education; it's that we have compulsory attendance. No one can make you learn, no matter what edu-theorists say.

The bottom line is that policy makers don't get it because they can't get it. And even if they do get it, they can't say it. Good teachers are attracted to well-run schools that pay decently, enforce discipline, and where most of the students (or at least their parents) expect academics to be taken seriously.

My wish is that you too, can get a comment that length and same as important. I've learned a lesson this past weekend. Who will that anonymous?

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"Mr. Cal" Is an Exceptional Math Teacher!

I guess you all remember the great inspirational video about Jorge Escalante. Los Angeles Times' article just remind me of those great math teachers that you can find rarely nowadays.

Sam Calavitta presides over what may be the noisiest, most spirited math class in the nation and in the video you watched testimony of Stephen Yoo attending Fairmont Preparatory Academy, he says Mr. Calavitta also known as "Mr. Cal" is recognized as a teacher who can change students, not only in school but out of school, Stephen gives credit to the former engineer who has won a national honor for his energetic commitment in the classroom. "I had never been used to putting everything I had into math, because it was relatively easy. But this year I've learned about effort, and I really appreciate that."

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On the Creativity and Asserted Selection of Your Son's School

Schools where the majority of class time is spent enforcing discipline are not going to attract or retain strong teachers.

Teachers talk about creativity in theirs school as it's something that can be learned. Creativity is about holding onto it and providing it a space to flourish, instead of squelching it with forms of education which numb our minds at best and kill our spirits at worst.

Living in a free-market version of welfare. The question of creativity can be easily extrapolated to the actual distribution of free software: (1) To get tax payer subsidies for your feeble programming efforts, you just write crap software (numb minds) and, (2) Sell it to taxpayer funded schools (spirit at worst). (3) Profit! (Creativity).

My point here is that there are so many things wrong with creativity and education that pointing a finger at one single part of a whole system and giving it more credit for the current state of everything seems to distract from what's really a more complicated set of causes.

This on purpose a quote of Peter Hitchens whereby he says, for some parents school choice is a joke, because their kids didn't do into the school they wanted.

Bring back support for Elementary Schools we should say to address the situation onto American schools, means you're giving the rich a free secondary education at the expense of the poor. States using money from the Stimulus Plan should try to solve this by opening more Pre-Kinder, Kinder and Elementary and bring down the point of them as diminished. This doesn't even get into the dirty tricks schools themselves use to make absolutely sure they get good table results.

Has anyone considered what the effect of giving less money to worse schools and more money to better schools might have had? It seems like a brilliant exercise in evidence-less policy making rather than evidence-based. Reminds me of a video No Future Left Behind.

On another note; anyone that looks at what teachers write on their message-boards would find a good reason to consider home-schooling, a bit popular now. I wouldn't let a lot of them teach prisoners, never mind children. Maybe it's not the system as much as it is the people; teaching is now a job, not a vocation. Who's to blame?

Back in the 2006 when this blog was written solely for Spanish community, we cited a note one of our students wrote on his notebook: school = prison; religion = ignorance.

With this kind of management of creativity, distribution of enrollment, and a school selection done on the basis of daddy's wallet and not based of the child's ability, who needs community college attendance for free! It really beats me.

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