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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Gmail Contact List Hijacked! Apologies to All

Yesterday, when I returned from work Milton was quick to check his e-mail because the cellphone wasn't along his belt for that day. At the time he tried to log in everything was normal except that Gmail asked to input the 'word verification' to confirm that was [@tonnetisalove] account.

Still at this point he was confident everything was right. Then, he started looking into old e-mail replies that shouldn't be there. He did open two messages from old friends, he didn't see in a while, both thanking him for contact them. A quick look to left side on his contact lists, revealed that they have disappeared. There was when he came to realise something was wrong. Milton keep up scanning more messages and found a Posterous post that he haven't posted it. Confirmed, his account in Gmail had been hacked.

TonNet's 300 + contacts did receive an unusual e-mail that went:

    Dear friend:
    how are you doing lately?i would like to introduce a good company who trades mainly in electronic products. such as motorcycles, laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, LCD TV, x box, PS3, GPS, MP3 / 4, etc.
    Now the company is under sales promotion,all the products are sold nearly at its cost.
    They provide the best service and original products of
    good quality, moreover ,the price is a surprising happiness to you!
    It is really a good chance for shopping.just grasp the opportunity,Now or never!

Many friends and colleagues wrote to say that something was wrong with my email. Later in the evening, I sent an email to everyone who may have got the spam email apologising, though everyone was very nice and good humoured about it, so far.

What Milton did to prevent this to happen again. Google says it has fixed a small filter configuration glitch on their end, but many users say are still getting more than their fair share of unwanted mail as in our case. Doing a spot of research on the web, I came across @tiffehr with similar experiences. Reading her post and recommendations. First thing he did was to log out of all other sessions on Gmail (see more on Remote Logout and look out for the IP address where the last activity on his account occured. Secondly, he changed password and security question in his Google account. Third, he set permanent SSL in his Gmail account, and Fourth, he trimmed the living spam out of my contacts list.

You feel strange, unnerving to have your email account hacked. A bit personal now. I’ve used Gmail since it was launched and this is the first time a spambot has managed to crack my password. It’s all the more surprising and worrying because I always log into Gmail securely and my passwords are robust. Is this the reason Google wants to keep Gmail as Beta? Who knows. The only thing I know, is yesterday wasn't our day.

I have written our apologies to nearly everyone we know.

Until Google flaw persists we all using Gmail may be confronted with this kind of experiences. And "I’m taking the evidence that the attack is over with a big grain of salt and setting myself up to deal with a few more tiers of apologies." as Tiffehr writes.

The most I can tell is the spambot got unexpectedly lucky getting into my Google account and was not written to do much damage at all, it originated at Posterous using the classic 'Find Friends' procedure where you are asked to sign into your email account. Spambot managed to gain access to our contact list and a automatic post into this blog. If you were visiting Education & Tech yesterday, after 1 PM (Est. Time), you can certify a unrelated post was taken down.

No more spam has been received from this crappy electronics discount company who’s URL was the heart of the spam message.

For any other suggestions about what I should be watching? Please, DM me @tonnet

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Educators Can’t Keep Up With the Latest 'Technocrazes'

I don't remember where it was in the U.S. that a university required all its students to carry a iPhone or iTouch (given at the time of enrollment). Time has come where teachers and students are to be engaged using all this tools to connect and get involved in social media.

I already said quite many times, administrators and teachers are not to forbid the use of mobile gadgets in school, but allow them and tech students how to use them in education and in the classroom. Do you know why students are texting in class? Because they're bored. If we as educators do a better job of engaging them, they'd have no reason to text o violate policies of having cellphones off.

Jay Mathews of The Washington Post wrote, Texting vs. Teaching: Who Wins. The article makes a point I have often tried to make:

    Our high schools are full of secretly texting, blithely unengaged adolescents, my colleague Dan de Vise reveals today in a story on a Montgomery County proposal to let students text during lunch. Dan’s story describes the situation well. Educators can’t keep up with the latest technocrazes. They banned cellphones for awhile, then decided they were necessary for emergencies. They figured no one would use them in class, forgetting that the text function allows a flurry of conversations without the miscreants making a discernible sound.

    No one in the story asks my question: What do good teachers do about this? The best classes, in my experience, are the ones in which the teacher is holding a conversation with the entire class. Nobody is allowed to sit in a corner and dream about the prom, or text their dress choices to friends. The teacher has her eyes on the entire class, and is calling on everybody. If you are not paying attention, you are going to get caught. If the instructor is particularly good, the frequent texter decides what the class is doing is more interesting than sending another message. [Emphasis mine - MQ]

    But since such classes are relatively rare, and teaching often involves the instructor talking and students listening, it is relatively easy for texters to avoid detection, and relatively common for them to be so bored they prefer to tune out and send messages. The standard administrative response is to try a new rule--like texting only during lunch - that might or might not alleviate the problem, when the answer to almost every educational mishap or distraction is not more rules, but more good teaching.

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Teachers Afford to Work for Less Money in Exchange of Better Working Conditions

If teachers are so important, why do we treat them like widgets?

Public school teachers burn out because of poor working conditions, writes Greg Forster of the Friedman Foundation on Pajamas Media.

The study found that public school teachers have -something most teachers know or realize, lower job satisfaction, less autonomy, less influence over school policy, less ability to keep order, less support from administrators and peers, and less safety

    All this helps explain why public school teachers are less satisfied with their careers. Private school teachers are much more likely to say they will continue teaching as long as they are able (62 percent v. 44 percent), but public school teachers are much more likely to say they’ll leave teaching as soon as they are eligible for retirement (33 percent v. 12 percent).

    And there’s a reason why “burnout” has become a staple topic of discussion when it comes to public school teachers. For example, they are twice as likely as private school teachers to agree that the stress and disappointments they experience at their schools are so great that teaching there isn’t really worth it (13 percent v. 6 percent).

It's not the teachers stupid! Keep reading...

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Education Today 06/02/2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward: How the Economic Downturn Continues to Impact School Districts
Classroom technology and connectivity are highly valued teaching tools in the modern classroom. When made available to instructors, students benefit from links to the world outside. When used effectively, these tools give students familiarity with computers and technology.

Imprompu thoughts on m-learning
Few users are going to use a mobile device to work on a lengthy, formal self-study course; but they are likely to use it view videos or slide shows, listen to podcasts, read very short articles, contribute to collaborative learning activities, ask and respond to questions, and generally to engage with their network.

Retro reform idea - Merit Pay
EdSec Duncan, for example, has a big pile of money he wants to use to “incent” and reward excellence “based on student achievement” because he believes that a quality education for every student is a civil right.

Traditional Schools Turn to the Lessons and Strategies of Progressive Schools to Lower Costs
Parents, do you have a professional skill? Donate your labor/skill to the school. Use weekend time to help with campus maintenance. And, of course, students can participate in all manner of campus projects and maintenance.

Research: Smaller tasks, more often
"Brain research shows that permanent learning only takes place when research activities are assigned frequently enough that students can exercise and develop the essential skills of critical reading, writing, higher-order thinking, and presenting ideas and opinions with a purpose."

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Social Media in Improving Education

Much has been said and discussed about the potential business benefits that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking sites offer; they’re not just social media any more, but also marketing tools for your products and services. The question now is, can these sites that were developed so people could share details and information about themselves, help in the field of education?

Every child who knows their way about the Internet is sure to have a profile on MySpace or Facebook, use Twitter to connect to friends, post content to YouTube and photos to Flickr, and use the net to chat and stay in touch with friends. Ideally, this makes social media the perfect tool to harness in the quest of improving education, because the children are already familiar with the technology.

While there are various third party applications on Facebook that are useful for students (like HeyMath which explains difficult mathematical theories and FlashCards that allow you to create flash cards that help in preparing for an exam), most students do not spend time on them and prefer to hang out on the site looking at their friends’ profiles or updating their own and taking one of the million idiotic quizzes that Facebook has to offer. There are various educational videos on YouTube and intellectual discussions going on in Twitter, but that part of the social media does not appeal to the kids.

What needs to be done to change this situation and cause a turnaround is to increase awareness of these educational tools that will help children do well in school and in the real world. Once they get over the initial reluctance to search social media for useful information and applications, they’re likely to rope in all their friends as well and get them to try using social networking sites for learning too.

With teenagers and children, it’s often a policy of “follow the leader” where most of the kids tend to ape the most popular person in class. So if they are targeted by the teachers and made to realize the efficacy of such applications and use them to improve their learning, it’s natural that the others will follow too. And social media will find a new use, one that is actually beneficial to the younger generation.

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of online engineering degree at her blog The Engineering A Better World Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email

A Comment on "Cellphones in the Classroom"

Little by little teachers and citizen are taking into account how important it is for our kids (students)to use what they know, some times, better than us: The cellphones.

Jesse Moyer weights in and says:

    I think we can all agree that this type technology; cell phones, smart phones, etc.; are here to stay. Why would we leave it up to our courts to educate students on the proper uses of these devices? Now, some may argue that it is the parents’, and not the school’s, job to teach their children how to appropriately use this technology. I would whole-heartedly agree, and maybe the parents of the teens in this case did; maybe they didn’t. Either way, why wouldn’t we want to take the opportunity to educate and train our young people to use devices that will be part of their lives and, in some cases, a large part of their lives for years to come?

    ...I believe students should learn to use these devices in proper ways, and I think our schools can be a major factor in this education.

Teachers, raise your hand please...

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