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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A First Definition of Cyberbullying Applied to Teachers

I read lots of information on the fly, but the article written by Doug Johnson caught my eye for the appealing context with which he discusses the cyberbullying against teachers.

Doug Johnson is the publisher of The Boo Skunk Blog. He posted a very controversial question: Can students cyberbully teachers?

To understand better the topic we want to rephrase Doug's question: At what point do the action of students become bullying?

As you might be thinking it has not a quick or easy answer. All the discussion taken on the Boo Skunk Blog turns to Rate-My-Teacher website. The same as when we are asked about the education objectives, answers will be so diverse as many teachers as we ask. One thing is true, cyberbullying is a plague, all, parents to teachers should be vigilant.

And here the discussion goes over power. The big guy picking on the little guy, as Johnson puts it. The disrespect many students are being pray of, not by teachers but stuff and in many cases administrators. Is a Vice Principal entitled to shout, give out unfair detentions or even suspend a student without a fair hearing of all the students involved? That's abusing power.

In many cases these are the reasons the poor kid in a very poorly designed strategy goes online to libel and cry for help. In other words, is a retaliation to what they are living in their classroom or school. Now, don't get me wrong, there are those little devils for whom school is a prison where they have to fight their way out. They require another kind of treatment we are not going to argue here.

There is not a proper definition to a retaliation against teachers under bullying. The cyberbullying can be easily interpreted as harassment, aggression, electronic aggression or most typically as lack of respect. You'd pick one.

Dr. Micheal Carr-Greg from Melbourne, and cited by the source of this post, as much as Nancy Willard of The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provide advice as how teachers got so frustrated for this kind of experiences. Willard has promised to release a narrated report on cyberbullying for educators.

Before this goes out of hand, try your best to have students to perform successfully and to be happy at school. This is the best way to avoid the distress to be impersonated by someone, that in some cases don't even is your student but someone else looking to make your life so miserable.

Be yourself and feel confident you will never be in this circumstances. If so, look for help among professionals on safety and share the incident with authorities and all your colleagues as much as you can. Good luck.

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Edmodo Hits Badly an Australian Classroom

I don't pretend to criticize neither the teacher nor the application. What I try to, is to show experiences from which everyone else may benefit.

Simon Job of Maths Class, lived first hand, what happens when we give a tool to students for whom it is merely a way of communication.

What we really love from Job's post, is the blame he sets on blocking social intercommunication for misbehaving of his students while using Edmodo. He also recommends some ways Edmodo could be improved to work in schools.

    Ways that Edmodo could be improved:

  • An ability to "time-out" a student who is not using the site appropriately. I changed one student’s password as she was not using the site appropriately, she just signed up with another username.

  • Set "operating hours" for your group. For example, a button for teachers to turn the discussion feature on/off – allows me to monitor my class, rather than wondering what they are talking about whilst they’re in English and I’m teaching another class. I see this as a way to slowly introduce social networking at school.

  • Provide far better user-management for teachers.

  • Some other thoughts:

  • A step too fast? Generally, the students at my school have poor social skills. We’ve identified this in the past and been actively working to improve the way they relate, respond and talk to staff and students. Maybe I took this on too early.

  • In some ways, I think this is a consequence of the blocking of everything social approach that the Department has taken. We have not really had an opportunity in the past to deal with these issues, because students have not had access to social networking online.

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Twitter Is Broad-Casty, Facebook Is More Conversational

We already had mentioned Danah Boyd in other posts. She is a a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

In this opportunity, Danah begins a conversation about practices and interface of two of the most popular social media networks. She says that, "There are two critical structural differences between Facebook and Twitter that are essential to understand before discussing the practices: 1) social graph directionality; 2) conversational mechanisms."

And concludes:

In short, the difference between the two has to do with the brokering of status. With Facebook, the dominant norm is about people at a similar level of status interacting. On Twitter, there's all sorts of complicated ways in which status is brokered. People are following others that they respect or worship and there's a kind of fandom at all levels. This is what Terri Senft has long called "micro-celebrity." Alice Marwick has been extending Terri's ideas to think about how audience is brokered on Twitter (paper coming soon). But I think that they're really critical. What makes Twitter work differently than Facebook has to do with the ways in which people can navigate status and power, follow people who don't follow them, at-reply strangers and begin conversations that are fundamentally about two individuals owning their outreach as part of who they are. It's not about entering another's more private sphere (e.g., their Facebook profile). It's about speaking in public with a targeted audience explicitly stated.

We use both services but in a very different manner. As the researcher discuss, Twitter is for us too, a broadcasting model of communication. And that is why many people sits long hours in front of their computer screens, thinking they have an audience to share thoughts and information.

If you accept that a teacher is a broadcaster in some way then, I bet you cannot use Twitter as a teacher replacement, do you?

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Educate About Malwares

Surely, you will have been wondering what happened to Education & Tech. Nothing. We decided to stop for a week to reflect on our daily practice and our uses of the internet.

That coincided with two interesting facts: one was our Birthday and the other the infection of our computer.

We had a global celebration and from here we thank all our readers and friends who are either on Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed or Hi5.

The other, was a headache: the Security Tool (ST - for I don't want to contribute to its publicity). We sometimes share our laptop with our son, 13, and this week we get infected by the malicious ST. It is so complicated that it even takes over your system and does not allows you to download any software/anti-malware to clean it.

That is when after several years of being a user of Zone Alarm, this time we were disappointed. Instead of updating its data base, they only referred me to groups where we could help.

We tried the so recommended MalwareBytes and SpywareDoctor, but both failed to install. We got the message: "Create process failed; code 2/ System cannot find the file specified." So, after trying one last time with Zone Alarm, without success, we decided to uninstall it and go for McAfee. That was when, and after doing a deep scan, we regain control of the system.

We do not use Symantec products for the amount of memory they use and the backlogs that is left after uninstalling them. But even they were attentive to update their anti-virus and post recommendations as to how to clean ST.

In several places, it was recommended to manually remove the malware, which wasn't automatically downloaded into your computer, it was the user with his own hands that did so. This the reason why the anti-virus does not block it. To avoid this tedious and controversial process we went to download HijackThis of TrendMicro and fixed the problem.

Next time, educate about consequences of not being careful of what you hit on the keyboard, not only to your students but your family members, as well.

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