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?

Guidelines: How to Protect Your Children Online

Typically we keep reading online and offline on a daily basis. This week we started reading What Every 21st-Century Parent Needs to Know by Debra W. Haffner. While she isn't afraid to tackle the big questions, including drinking, drugs and teen sex, Debra also presents and backs all her statements on research and statistics.

We particularly like that way the author debunks the myths and validates the concerns many people, including parents and teachers, have about growing up children safe and healthy. We will continue to read this book and in a future post we will cover another topic of our interest. Today, we want to remind you of safety while navigating the electronic world. From chapter 9 in the referred book:

    - Do not forget that internet is a public place. Do not post any - thing you don't want the world to know.
    - Do not make it easy for a stranger to find you
    - People are not always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your 'friends' list.
    - Report harassment, hate speech, and inappropriate content.
    - Do not mislead people into thinking you are older or younger

These rules are posted on MySpace for its younger users. Other topics a parent should consider are (et. al.):

    - Be sure your children agree never to meet someone offline whom they have met online.
    - Be sure that no identifying details are included: no school names, sport teams' names, the town they live in, or where they hang out.
    - Look at the photos to see if they inadvertently give clues to personal information.
    - Talk to them about their screen names. They should not be too sexualized (nastygirl) or give away too much information (sweetonnet on 15).
    - Ask your tweens to think about the messages they are posting and what message they might be giving someone who isn't their friend. I am lonely, I hate life, and I love playing doctor are the types of messages that offenders are looking for in deciding whom to groom for a relationship

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Facebook Apps for Aministrators and Educators

Whatever social media gurus say, Facebook continues to be the king in the social networks, closely followed only by Twitter. Sadly, majority of teachers in our schools barely use email, and less use Smartboards, says @motherthinker. Cellphones seem far away and so is Facebook and other social networks. This post is among the countless other articles touting the benefits of Facebook, detailing the pros and cons of using Facebook in the classroom. However, as Ryann Ellis says, "concrete advice on how to use Facebook has proven difficult to find."

The following are the 9 applications the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recommends for teachers and administrators:

    BookTag: This app offers a great way to share and loan books out to students, plus create helpful quizzes for studying.
    Webinaria Screencast Recorder: Record a video for students, and share it with this application.
    SlideShare: Create presentations to send to students with this slideshow application.
    Teach the People: Teach the People is an educational platform that uses Facebook.
    Dojo Learning: Dojo Learning offers a great way to learn and create resources for learning on Facebook.
    Learn: In this community app, you’ll find Addictive Learning.
    KnowledgeBook: KnowledgeBook allows you to find and share skills and knowledge on Facebook.
    Podclass: Podclass offers a course management system from within Facebook.
    Teach and Learn: Teach and Learn offers a 3D learning space on Facebook.

ASTD also mentions some useful apps for learners and for everyone else. Are you using any of them at your school?

Professionals looking into the online education are doing a great job trying to incorporate new tech tools in schools and in the classroom. But we still are to respond to this question: Can Facebook really be used in education?

We believe so.

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Progressive Pedagogy and 21st Century Tools

edtech VISION

SLA [Science Leadership Academy, Pa.] is kid focused and community based. They want their kids to be passionate about the work they are doing. I love his quote, "School is real life – not preparation for real life." Technology is ubiquitous and invisible in their schools. Lehmann suggests that we should stop describing our schools as "Schools WITH computers" — of course we have technology – it needs to be part of everything. SLA is deliberately meta-cognitive – they want to help their students grow to be better thinkers. Assessment is authentic and transparent.

Read whole post by Colette Cassinelli.

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Open-Access Educational Model "Enhances Traditional Media"

I agree to professor Peter McPhee from Melbourne University, who says that there is not "substitute for face-to-face learning". But at the same time I deeply disagree when he says that open-access courseware as those offered by MIT rather than replace, enhances traditional educational models. It goes opposite to what collaboration means and democratization of knowledge evolves(openness).

This assertion is at Ivy League on your laptop of

For the quarter of the world's population that uses the internet, the Ivy League has never been so accessible. As Friedman argues, the internet revolution is making the world more 'flat'.

It is also creating many new possibilities in education. Teachers can use it to see how others teach, or play online videos in their own class. Students can try out universities before they enrol, or review material from a class they are already taking. MIT surveys show that 95 per cent of their incoming students have used open access courseware to try courses before enrolment.

Do you agree to the retired McPhee? Or you think the higher education one day be may provided with YouTube-style online videos such as Maris Beck reports.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators

  • Brownwood schools aim for paperless classrooms

    The district earned $500,000 with the state’s Vision 2020 Immersion grant that pays for every eighth-grade student to have a laptop as early as January. Blincoe (Brownwood Independent School District Superintendent) believes that grant probably came through largely because the district already dedicated about $1.2 million to equip all 1,000 high school students with laptops this fall.

  • Call for Papers: Technology & Social Media in education

    Some suggested topics are listed below:

    - Social and participatory media (e.g., blogs, wikis, microblogging, video sharing) in teaching & learning.

    - Mobile technologies, txting, or microblogging in learning, or implications for social justice & politics.

    - Practical or philosophical discussions on open content or open educational resources.

    - Implications & trends regarding open publishing & academia.

    - Online communities as formal and/or informal learning environments.

    - Openness and/or networks in teaching & learning.

    - Case studies of successful technology integration into learning environments.

    - Discussions of distance, online, distributed, or flexible learning models in practice.

    - Changing views & frameworks of knowledge and implications for education.

    - Social networks, participatory media, and the implications for information & media literacy.

    - Personal learning networks (PLNs), personal learning environments (PLEs) or related frameworks.

    - Other topics related to social media, technology, and education.

    The rest of my favorite links are here.
  • Being a Good Teacher Doesn't Mean You Have to Go to an Ivy League School

    Recently, I subscribed to Teachers....and teaching a very inspirational blog about stories of "teachers and their teaching" headed by Les Blackwell. I recommend to you reading the last three posts(or blogs as he likes to name them), beginning with this we are to speak about.

    In a detailed manner, Blackwell explains why he thinks that you don't have to be enrolled into an Ivy League school, to become a successful professional of the education. He relates his experiences at the university he attended and how from hating philosophy of education and statistics, he went to love them once he was hired as Teaching Assistant for a professor he meet while trying to get his doctorate, Dr. Foster.

    But what the blog inspires me is the statement that you don't have to go to an Ivy League school to get a proper education:

      First off, universities and colleges are like shoes....there are different styles and sizes for different folk. We're really at a basic question in teaching--what is the interaction between teaching and learning? How much cognition does a teacher have "to pour into a students mind" and "how much does a student have to ingest to learn?" For me an interesting question is how is a Harvard professor different from a UCLA professor or a Texas Tech professor. And who has the responsibility for the learning--the professor or the student. The word "professor" comes from the latin to "profess" or to declare publicly. Doesn't say anything about learning...

    How many times yourself, someone from your family or even your own son lose hours of sleep, thinking you are a waste of a professional if you don't happen to get into one of these so called Ivy League schools. We are not a product of none of this respectable institutions but we have to agree to Les Blackwell, there are many education schools out there where you can get your Masters or Doctorate. What it really counts is the stamina you have to pursue your ideals and keep learning for the rest of your life.

    Education only begins at schools. They certify your knowledge and may give you social status but the process of learning is continuously infinite.

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    How to Find Authoritative Web Resources for Scientific Research


    The following is a fragment of the original under the title: Beyond Wikipedia: Locating Authoritative Web Resources for Scientific Research, and reproduced under Creative Commons license.

    Check Your Sources

    Where your information is coming from is the best way to tell if it is valid. While sources with fewer credentials can be right, you have better odds of finding accurate information when facts come from an expert in the field. Reputation is a good indicator of the quality of the information that you can get from a source. If information comes from a well-respected authority in a particular field then it is probably accurate.

    Check The Date

    Even information from a reliable source can be out of date. While many facts stand the test of time, when it comes to scientific information new research and knowledge often leaves old studies either useless or just not as current as you want your information to be. Many sites can hang around on the internet long after their useful lives so you need to look into this. Information that is a year old may not be of as much help to you as information that is only a month old. Remember that.

    Find Collections Of Reliable Sources

    Authoritative web resources for scientific research can be found, but you must be careful. Your research is too important to be undermined by utilizing a bad source along the way. Luckily, there are steps you can take. You can check your sources, check the date the site was published or updated, and you can utilize sites like Intute that gather quality sites for you. These are some easy ways to help ensure that every web resource you use will be of the highest quality.

    Read complete article by Thomas Rheinecker.

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    8 Ways Schools in NY Are Using Wikis

    Lisa Nielsen of The Innovative Educator brings to attention of her readers, an interesting post about how schools in New York are using wikis to "increase communication, collaboration, and enrich instruction."

    She lists and explains 8 possible ways to get to this point:

    1. Decrease disruption of instructional time with digital daily announcements.
    2. More efficient and effective team meetings and planning.
    3. Collaborate on important documents like school comprehensive education plans.
    4. Enhance school professional development using a wiki.
    5. Share and collaborate on curriculum maps.
    6. Save trees /save time and unclutterize your room or office by posting school resources
    7. Know where everyone is when schedules/programs are posted.
    8. A portal for all your lessons.

    For the explanation of what is a 'Wiki' and how to get started seting up your own free school wiki in 30 seconds, please visit The Innovative Educator.

    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.

    The Challenges 21st Students Are to Face

    David Warlick comes to the conclusion, after two polls and his own experience, that teachers can do good without technology, term defined by Alan Kay as anything that was invented after you were born.

    If teachers in this century are not required to use technology at their disposal, then what are the students challenges, bombarded with plenty of information, gadgets and application used not only in the classroom but out of their live experiences?

    Warlick gives us insights as to what the 21st students are to comply to be considered literate:

      This changes what it means to be literate. It changes what it means to be a learner. Today, being able to read and write and pass a test are not enough. They are not nearly enough. Today our students must become information artisans, able to learn, work, play, contribute, and prosper in a new and constantly changing and enriching information environment, and do so in a way that conserves the planet — rather than consume it. We can not do this today by scratching and printing on pulp-based paper. Teaching and learning must be digital.

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    How to Build a First-Class Educational System for the U.S. History

    We always focus on the process of education, talk a lot about technology in and out the classroom but very few times an educator or journalist has the courage to voice his/her concerns about the color of skin or race of children attending American schools. Esther J. Cepeda takes the lead and makes her point to stress that 'colorblindness' is necessary to fix education in U.S.

      It is the year 2009, folks, there is absolutely no reason why the National Center for Education Statistics should be releasing a report about a Black/White achievement gap for U.S. school children to the exclusion of Hispanic students, not to mention Asian and many other ethnicities.

      And no reason why newspapers and television and radio stations across the country should be reporting on this admittedly sad state of affairs (see Illinois numbers here) while excluding the context of every other struggling kid in the U.S. – be they poor and white, from a foreign country, or Latino.

    Esther says that even when Hispanic community has grown to overpass the African Americans, still American media lacks of interest to make those comparisons we were used to between White vs. Black. Shouldn't they be posting headlines about a special report highlighting Hispanics? Esther, continues (bold part is ours):

      U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a statement Tuesday in which he said: This report makes clear that … when schools serving children of color are primarily staffed by less experienced, less effective teachers, the effects are tragic.

      He is wrong because the part about less effective teachers is a true statement for every child, even poor white or Asian ones.

      And that’s how we need to look at this problem if we have any hope of fixing it. Enough of trying to overhaul our education system while looking at the issue through the prism of a black/brown/white/blue-eyed/brown-eyed divide.


    Autism as Academic Paradigm

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    Education & Tech a Nominee as One of the 'Top 100 Language Blogs 2009'

    Update: We have been informed that Education & Tech hit the 3rd spot, only behind Jose Picardo and Steve Dembo. Yay!

    On June 22, 2009 LexioPhiles called for nominations of the Top 100 Language Blogs 2009. Since then, we've been kindly reminded that Education & Tech was among those nominated under the category 'Language Technology'

    education & tech - <-- This is how you will see our site highlighted, scrolling down to middle of the voting page.

    Marc Lütten, the person behind LexioPhiles says, they have received 473 nominations for the top 100 language blog 2009 competition. For each category, they have admitted 100 blogs into the voting phase.

    The 50% of the final score will be based on user voting. So, we are asking your support to make to the finals on July 28. Voting just started today and winners will be announced July 30.

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    Duncan Has to Explain Why He Did Hype Inflated Test Scores

    The Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, a supporter of Duncan, revealed its research (pdf doc) results which has key findings about contradictory Chicago schools reports issued by Obama and Duncan.

    The report's findings are "reminiscent of revelations from Houston in 2003, when state investigators found that 15 high schools had under reported dropout rates under former superintendent Rod Paige, who by then was George W. Bush's Education secretary."

    And to refresh your memory, the USA Today continues: "In December, Obama said that during a seven-year tenure, Duncan had boosted elementary school test scores "from 38% of students meeting the standards to 67%" — a gain of 29 percentage points. But the new report found that, adjusting for changes in tests and procedures, students' pass rates grew only about 8 percentage points."

    Should we assume the President was misinformed again?

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    10 Free Site Exploration for Teachers

    I haven't being able to compile large lists of online resources in order the post them here in Education & Tech. Despite of spending lengthy periods of time filtering and collecting information, I have almost never published lists as today we pretend. Most of our collection are laid on Delicious, Diigo and Twitter

    The following are few of our recommended websites to explore and learn along other colleagues and students, in no particular order. If you are a teacher find a way they can help you seed your curriculum in some way, enhance your website, or even inspire you:

    1. Easy Test Maker - Is a free online test generator to help you create your tests. You can create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer and true and false questions all on the same test. You can also insert instructions and divide your test into multiple sections.

    2. Etherpad - This is a shared writing pad tool. Start a new writing pad, then send the address of it to anyone you want to collaborate with. You both can write on a document, chat about it, brainstorm together, etc. It’s not a word processor but a collaborative tool to work on something together.

    3. Shortyawards - Useful now that many educators and specialists use Twitter. Search who is professionally 'tweeting' in Education or find more Teachers on Twitter.

    4. Wetpaint - If you’ve considered blogging or wiki-ing but haven’t gotten started yet, check out Wetpaint. It is a very accessible Wiki site that resembles a web page and is easy to use and edit, with a nice layout and design.

    5. Pivot Stickfigure - A great free tool that my son still loves. It is a very simple yet smart piece of software that allows students to animate a stickman using a frame by frame technique. A good supplement to those boys who love anime and manga fighting.

    6. Teacher Led - Teacher Led offers a large collection of interactive white board resources and games on one of the subjects most teachers and students have concerns, math.

    7. - Explode your video library resources. Use qualified sites to fulfill your video cabinet with thousands of professional clips to enforce class concepts. I know it is not the only one, but it is run by professionals.

    8. Merlot - Here teachers post their lessons and then get reviewed by peers. Covering all content areas, you can dig into high caliber lesson material for your new lesson or to revise an existing one.

    9. Phonevite – It is an award-winning voice broadcasting service that sends out free phone reminders and alerts. You can send these reminders to yourself or to students, colleagues, and parents. One alternative is Google Voice.

    10. Free Tech 4 Teachers – This is a blog specialized on tech in the classroom. Not long ago I turned onto this site, which has excellent new tools featured constantly, and serious lessons attached to the posts.

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    Social Media in the Classroom

    This post was contributed by Tara Miller, who writes about the online teaching degrees. She welcomes your feedback at TaraMillerr00 at yahoo dot com

    Many high school teachers have recently opted for keeping their homework assignments and grades online, making full use out of the many social media mediums that have infiltrated their students’ lives. The increase in Twitter usage has additionally opened up a new outlet for teachers to post revisions to homework assignments (given that their students check their site daily), as well as keep in contact during extended breaks.

    Social media has led to a new form of communication and thereby a new realm in which to educate students. With the easy accessibility of this advent in technology, teachers and students are able to trade information between each other through a much easier forum, even allowing students to work from home on days where they cannot attend class. This has been seen frequently on college campuses throughout the years, albeit in a different format, but has picked up among high schools around the nation. As a high school teacher, you undoubtedly have learned that your students are Facebooking, Twittering, and MySpacing throughout the day, so why not incorporate learning into it as well? While they may have to create a separate account or “block” you from seeing certain things, your students in your advanced and upper level classes can take advantage of this newfound technology by quizzing themselves on your sites or similar methods.

    These types of social networking sites are not the only way in which to apply social media to your teaching methods. Building a blog can additionally be a way in which to reach out to your students beyond the classroom, and provide a way to assist them with homework. Having a blog for every class and subject you teach can be a different and beneficial way to teach a subject in this technological age. Social media has provided this generation within an enhanced way to communicate, thereby knocking down previous barriers or block which made it difficult. Those students who are avid learners and wish to know more about every subject will be the ones who will benefit the most from a classroom blog; it will allow them to either navigate away to other links, or simply figure out your opinion on the particular event. With this method of communication, your class will grow closer together and you will be able to reach out to the entire audience, even hear the input of students who may be shy to speak in front of class. As a teacher, most social media sites have provided you with an exciting new way to enhance your teaching and fully penetrate your students’ minds.

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    Professional Development Is a Waste for Teachers

    Before July 4th I went to the public library in the neighborhood and picked a book by Christopher Witt: Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint I always thought a teacher has to be a good speaker and needs to know how to sell his/her image and ideas. I am not going to comment on the book but I am trying to connect the role of leaders explained in this book with two post in Why Do You Ask a blog written by Ric Murry

    Murry wrote a interesting post (sadly without any comments yet)on why he knows teachers aren't any good today. No even after NECC09. Ric Murry says that, "Schools have become breeding grounds for experiments for businesses, vendors, college professors, or publishers to make quick turnkey money by convincing teachers that they are not capable of doing their job without constantly changing how they do their job."

    In other words, all the time a teacher spends attending Professional Development(PD) doesn't go beyond a "systemic indoctrination". Classroom teachers -there are teachers doing business independently- no longer believe they are able to lead without someone telling them what to do. The energy teachers have when they start working vanish, after a period of time we all become followers rather than leaders.

    Of course, this image, aura and conduct is quickly perceived by students, who "feel the energy we project, they will seek to become the class 'leader' because the one thing they have learned for sure is that their teachers will not know how to lead them.", continues Murry.

    Christopher Witt writes in his book that leaders (teachers to this matter) have to match their message to their reputation but most importantly, they have to imitate no one! Teachers are to be unique and use their natural enthusiasm and knowledge to shine through. Be a highly effective teacher!

    Until we continue being the 'social animal' of which Cesar Millan speaks, being referenced by Ric Murry in his post, teachers will be waiting for someone else to tell them what to do, how to do it, when to do it. Classroom teachers can do better, no matter if they still have to go to the PDs; otherwise "districts that provide system-wide, school-wide, department-wide PD [will] waste the time of teachers, the money of the tax-payers, and deteriorate the internal motivation of their best teachers."

    What wish you can do to be a better teacher and stop being a follower only?

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    20 Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

    Skype in the classroomMuch buzz has been receiving the uses of the iPod Touch in the classroom lately. However, Skype is too, a free and easy way for teachers to open up their classroom and their students to a world way beyond their campus. With Skype, students can learn from other students, connect with other cultures, and expand their knowledge in amazing ways. Teachers and parents can also benefit from Skype in the classroom(vid).

    Follow the link below to learn how you can take advantage of the power of Skype in your classroom, particularly the two section under: Promoting Education and Skype Ideas for Teachers and Parents

    Photo: Skype with Iceland.

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    Digital Age: The Future of Learning

    We woke early today and started browsing the most recent tweets. We came across to an interesting report, licensed under Creative Commons: The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age by Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg with the assistance of Zoë Marie Jones. The discovering of this study was possible thanks to Jasom Flom.

    Thanks to funding from the MacArthur Foundation, both report's authors, "investigate the internet’s transformation of shared and interactive learning. They suggest the following 10 principles as 'fundamental to the future of learning institutions' as Flom writes in his post.

    These are the 10 Principles for the Future of Learning:

    1. Self Learning.
    2. Horizontal Structures.
    3. From Presumed Authority to Collective Credibility.
    4. A De-Centered Pedagogy.
    5. Networked Learning.
    6. Open Source Education.
    7. Learning as Connectivity and Interactivity.
    8. Lifelong Learning.
    9. Learning Institutions as Mobilizing Networks.
    10. Flexible Scalability and Simulation.

    We think these principles would be the Decalogue of all teachers. Special attention has to be put on #s 3, 6 and 9. Is it a coincidence that we've selected all multiple of three?

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    White House CTO: Uses of Technology in Pedagogy at Heart of Education Reform

    The Journal:

    "Technology is core and essential to the strategies we are using to reform education." That was the message from both Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the United States Department of Education, and Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer in the White House.

    Sitting comfortably in overstuffed chairs on stage at a packed meeting of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), these two top Obama administration representatives spoke and responded to questions for 45 minutes about the importance of technology in education.

    Chopra said that technology in education is less about hardware and software and more about what we teach, the method in which we teach it, and professional development and support for educators. He emphasized the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and the need for greater access to digital content. Whenever he gets a chance, Chopra has his iPod plugged in his ears tapping lectures from MIT, Stanford, and other sources. It is about having a constant "learning environment," he said.

    Read the rest of the article by Geoffrey H. Fletcher

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    Education & Tech 07/01/2009

    NECC ‘09: Blogging Best Practices

    Decisions about your blog: Is it transportable? Where are you going to host it? What’s the policy (your policy) on comments? What’s my school’s policy on sharing? What topics will I cover? Is it under Creative Commons? Should I have a group blog? what colors, designs and templates should I use?

    Great iTouch Apps for Primary Students 

    Yesterday here at NECC I learned about three fantastic applications for younger / primary age students from an Australian teacher who has 8 iPod Touches in her classroom currently

    Taste of Tech - Your Daily Dose of Digital Delicacies

    On the bloggers’ cafe and how amazed was John Schinker to keep running into EdTech celebrities

    NECC09 (Day 3) - New NETS, New Resources | Technology Times

    In this session, ISTE gave some folks an opportunity to showcase their products that had earned the ISTE Seal of Alignment.

    Writing in the 21st Century @ NECC09

    Kathleen Blake Yancey wrote this great piece about writing in the 21st century, so I was not going to miss this session! How is literacy different now?

    Can public schools fundamentally reinvent themselves?

    You can't have innovation in instruction without innovation of assessment (to which David Jakes pointed out that the curriculum then needed to change too)- Until we see a model that described an educated person in a variety of ways we are going to continue to have problems

    Transferring Students Hinders Achievement

    Student transfers are students who are transferred from one class and teacher to another class and teacher within a school year. Interrupting a students schedule and flow with one teacher causes the student to lose focus on the material.

    Edubloggercon 2009 Notes and Reflections

    I learned and shared and questioned and pondered. It was a wonderful day. I have a hard time believing that the actual NECC conference (for which I am paying big bucks) will live up.

    The rest of my favorite links are here.
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