pe November 2009

Education & Tech

mLearning, highered, research, academia

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?

About the Things a Teacher Will Not Tell You

Back in September The Reader's Digest magazine interviewed educators in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New York and Texas to get a first approach of what a teacher wouldn't tell you.

The article has generated almost 2 hundred comments and has been a good place to discuss matters. It also has opened a door that clearly shows the divorce among education participants: teachers, parents, students.

We expect readers not to get confused about our position in this post. One of our posts was found insulting to the teachers. We are parents but in this case we are wearing the teacher's suit.

My guess as to why teachers don't say these things out loud is because it really wouldn't change anything. First, we have administrators who will be so happy to apply legislation and then, we all are open to scrutiny by people not trained in our profession such as parents.

I should recognize that putting all kids in the same bucket is a mistake. But the same we can say of teachers. Observer will mention for example that if a teacher has kids running to "fix everything" that is a direct reflection of her inability to teach conflict resolution. Yes, many of us, teachers, deal with classrooms full of 20-25 students and teach more than one grade. Are we going to give personalized education?

Education is responsibility of all parties. It is false that problems at school should be dealt with at school and problems at home should be dealt with at home. I would not hesitate to contact a parent(I usually do) when I think problems at home are affecting school performance.

Remember this: Good students made it to college because of their own effort, some really great teachers, but also because parents gave out a bit time of day.

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How to Walk Into a Classroom And See Children Learning

You are already familiar to some of the most popular education websites and blogs, but what I would like to recommend is The Educator's Royal Treatment. The select group of authors are educators with a large trajectory in the education field.

If you pay a visit to the site you may find Ken Royal. He is the author of 15 Things All Classrooms Should Have. In no order we present a summary of the first (in our concept) 5 things PK-12 may have:

1. A teaching station laptop that plugs in easily at school and home.

2. Safe internet connectivity for both teacher and students.

3. Software for specialimpaired students.

4. Find a technology professional to work and help onsite, both teachers and students.

5. Thinking beyond what you've always done is very important.

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Students Work Should Be Published at The End of Every Unit of Study

The Innovative Educator:

During a recent visit to a school I was disappointed because although the school is noted as being a model technology school I was hearing from students, teachers, and leaders that the students had “handed in” a lot of great work, but none of it was being published. Instead their writing, videos, and podcasts lived mainly in obsolescence in a hard to find folder on their various teacher's computers or in obscurity, tattered on a bulletin board sadly with only some educator chicken scratch on it as its insignificant and sole form of comments and ratings.

For the rest of the article and "6 Ways Innovative Educators Can Move from Hand It In to Publish it Teaching" head over to Lisa Nielsen's Blog.

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10 Places for Teachers to Collaborate and Communicate Online

Collaboration and communication is one of the most important aspects of teaching and education. If you are looking for tools and sites that can be used to communicate and collaborate with other teachers, parents, and students, you can find many quality resources online. Here are 10 free sites and tools to try throughout the school year.

Teachers Collaborate and Communicate Online
Photo by kodama
TeachAde - The first social networking site designed specifically for educators, TeachAde is an excellent place for teachers to collaborate, share, and chat online. Users can browse through current resources, upload their own materials, join a group, and communicate in the forums.

We the Teachers - We the Teachers can be used to find and connect with teachers inside and outside of your neighborhood. Members can find teaching resources, share lesson plans, and join groups of teachers with common interests and teaching philosophies.

Applebatch - This teacher community and professional network provides information on jobs, networking events, continuing education. Site visitors can discuss all of these things and more in the Applebatch forums.

TheApple - Billed as the place "where teachers meet and learn," TheApple is essentially a social networking site that also offers career resources. Teachers can use the site to explore professional possibilities and network with other educators.

Tapped In - Geared toward K-16 teachers and support staff, Tapped In provides an online workplace where teachers, librarians, and other education professionals can learn, collaborate, and share over the web.

Edmodo - Edmodo is similar to Twitter but was specifically designed for teachers who want to privately and safely communicate and collaborate with students online. The platform provides file-sharing and storage capabilities in addition to several other handy features.

Engrade - Engrade is a great tool for teachers who want to be able to manage their classroom online. The tool supports private communication between teachers, parents, students, and administrators and allows teachers to post grades, progress reports, assignments, and other materials online.

Mikogo - Mikogo is an all-in-one cross-platform communication tool. It can be used for web conferencing, desktop sharing, and remote support. Mikogo works especially well for teacher training, parent-teacher conferencing, online tutoring, and homework support.

Yugma - Yugma is a free web conferencing tool that works across multiple platforms. The free version of Yugma allows communication with up to 20 attendees.

Vyew - Vyew provides real-time collaboration and communication capabilities. The platform records past interactions and works especially well for webinars, collaborative learning, team meetings, and presentations.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online degree programs for

In Education Reports There Would Always Be False Negatives And False Positives

There is not doubt the teaching career as it is now was originated as a slavery profession back in history. Anywhere I have been, the problem for teachers seems to be the same, no value in regards of their the time, effort, sweat, and even tears that goes into daily teaching activities.

Following a considerable number of edublogs and websites dedicated to education, we can assert that very few times, posts are writing in such a way that all teachers got interested in. That is what happened with a hypothesis Larry Ferlazzo set up about how teaching attracts a disproportionately high number of candidates from the lower end of the distribution of academic ability.

Larry dugg deep into reports and documents which supposedly backed statements by Bruce Stewart on "quality of their teaching force". You can read his conclusions and the most important is that such cited statistics presented on Meet the Press "appears to be flat-out wrong."

Then, what does make a good teacher?

I recall Downes saying that he does not believe on reports ticketed as research. We all love to read or present reports without mayor explanation of methodology or lacking any basic statistical requirements to be considered relevant.

As part of nature there will be always the good and the bad. We are here talking on good teachers. Professionals that still survive after being beaten up by every newspaper, politician, and parents.

We need people of the National Council on Teacher Quality to come to struggling schools as observers, not as guests. We need research reporter to spend more time in the classroom. Only then, teacher will accept their false negatives and false positives presented on their paper work. As far as we are concerned and speaking about the quoted article, persons behind these reports have no concept of pedagogical concerns.

David Andrade has also concerns about the report: "They never seem to have real numbers or data, are written by non-educators, and the sample sizes are small. In science, we would call that a very poor experiment with useless data."

In a comment in Ferlazzos' post, Mr. Owen speaking about the subjectivity of tests to evaluate teachers, asserts: "This means that just about anyone, no matter what school they went to or what their scores on the SAT were, can potentially improve and become an excellent teacher." No need to be on Ivy Leagues.

So ultimately what does make a good teacher? Good teachers are innovative, think outside of the box, know the how to learn from failure, connect with people, and are continuous learners, writes commenter Marilyn. Good teachers look to the future, instigate conversations, and are willing to let their students guide them when appropriate.

Until we have this as a paradigm, never mind about statistics on reports. Be a good teacher!

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Teaching Experiences: From Pedagogy to Heutagogy

Learnforever Blog:

Many educationalists, and even some corporate learning and development professionals, talk a lot about pedagogy. From the classical Greek, this literally means leading the child, but it is widely understood, in educational circles, including further and higher education (i.e., education that is not for children) to refer to underlying theory of learning, including understanding how children/people learn, and how to design learning for best effect.

To read more about the other theories, visit Kenneth Fee's blog.

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Jane Hart's Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009

Jane Hart has made a tremendous effort to compile the suggestions from about 300 learning professionals. There is a slideshare presentation to read it better.

This year's list, writes Jane, "is a great demonstration of how learning professionals are making use of a wide range of both traditional and innovative tools and services both for personal learning and within formal structured learning contexts...Although some well-known tools have moved down or even off the list this year, this doesn't necessarily mean they are no longer of value for learning..."

The 10 first tools out the 100 tools for learning during the 2009 are: Twitter, Delicious, YouTube, Google Reader, Google Docs, Wordpress, SlideShare, Google Search, Audacity and Firefox.

In the internet lists are easy to read. Even when there is not proof of anyone carrying research on Twitter, this widely spread tool tops the list. The group of learning professionals worldwide really know of the power of social media technologies for learning and you must be paying attention.

Is there any other tool you think was left out or that it should be re-categorized?

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The Selling of Lesson Plans Undermines the Collegiality of Teaching.

Not precisely what I think and feel of selling lesson plans but what Joseph McDonald, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University, thinks arise philosophical questions. The article is on the Education Section of the New York Times.

Education is part of the humanities family but it is been long discussed about whether or not, education becomes a member of the liberal arts. Why a lawyer, a psychologist, can sell their services but a teacher cannot. And what troubles me more is that the content rights have to be transferred to districts which are eager to share proceeds. Are professors impeded to do business with their knowledge? No.

Please, allow capable educators to pursue the returns on money and time they invested in college and universities. Don't they pay for learning what they today know? Again, physicians, architects, are all getting their investments back. Why teachers cannot do the same? Help me understand it!

I specially like the discussion Eduaction Note Online has in about this matter. In a post written by Norm, the New York based blog, points out:

    I wonder if Professor McDonald has noticed that the ed deformers are trying to turn teaching into a commodity. It's all about competition and merit pay and performance of kids. Dog eat dog. So, why shouldn't teachers take advantage while they can? After all, what is coming is one script for the entire country. Every single teacher will be doing the same exact thing at the same time of the day.

So, Education & Tech will also be buying stuff. And who knows maybe selling it, too.

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A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation

A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center for American Progress identifies what it describes as “leaders and laggards” in efforts to reinvent our nation’s public schools. As a backdrop to the federal government’s $4 billion-plus Race to the Top competition for innovative state actions, the report calls for path-breaking approaches to school reform and teacher quality. However, the report seems to promote more status quo thinking than not — and ignores a number of key factors central to improving student learning and advancing teaching as a results-oriented profession.

Read more here.

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While Teachers Quit, Disrupters Remain Still and Happy

We found this post bookmarked in the old archives. It is a way of work for us to bookmark interesting information to look it over when we are not in a rush. If it wasn't for we had to reload our bookmarks, this post probably will never be commented.

I don't quite remember exactly when was the last time I read on Twitter that teachers were to quit their jobs. If is not for the recession, there would be plenty at this moment.

I came by Jane Byers Goodwin's blog, she is an experienced teacher in the public education system and she goes by @Mamacita on Twitter. Mrs. Bayers has written twice the post I am about to mention and Jane has good reasons to do it, it is time to stop rewarding the brats and disruptive kids in our schools. But as she says, problem begins at home when brats and bullies happen to be the very same parents. Read clearly, I am talking about the kids who can not help themselves to go to school or at least make a elemental effort to complete their assignments.

I will speak for myself, I was working on a Catholic school back in the 2003 and I had good reasons to relate to many teachers in public schools. A small but significative proportion of teens, youngsters or pupils just don't want to be at school. They say they are attending school not because of their own sake, but parents compelling them to do so. Under this circumstances, a teacher feels as he chose the wrong career, and for some, the solution seems to be to change level of work, form high school to elementary school or middle school. Unfortunately, that is not a solution, they are landing a new problem.

And many as Mamacita Jane writes, opt to leave their jobs:

    ...If you are not a teacher, it’s hard to comprehend the heartbreak these teachers feel: they love their students; they love teaching; they love every single thing about their jobs...except for the fact that they are required to endure what nobody else in any other profession would ever consider enduring. They’re required to watch the bright and promising students injured and taunted and threatened by 'other kinds' of students, and they’re required to see those 'other kinds' of students rewarded for things the nice kids do daily. They’re required to give exceptions to the undeserving and nothing to the deserving. After a while, their nerves are shot and their own self-esteem is in the dirt. Decisions they make are overturned, their authority is questioned and shot full of holes. Daily. They’re not paid enough to put up with this crap. Nobody is. This kind of thing should not even EXIST in our public schools. In the olden days, students were expected to behave and required to behave, and any kid who chose to 'act up' got punished at school and punished again at home for disgracing the family. Kids who continued to 'act up' were expelled. Life is full of choices.

    I taught public school for 26 years and my salary peaked out at 49,300. After 26 years. It became sooo not worth it. A hundred thou a year would not have been worth it. The constant disruptions, the constant expectations that certain kids would not be held accountable, the constant accusations of favoritism and wrongdoing and the 23-minute lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the study hall with 48 non-participatory boys, many of whom had to sit on the floor because the room was too small for that many desks, the indignant parents who demanded...actually, demanded ANYTHING. Nice people do not DEMAND. And if someone is DEMANDING an exception, he/she is not a nice person. Teachers don’t leave because of the money. People don’t become teachers for the money. People become teachers because of the dedication and the love, and teachers leave because there is absolutely no support any more.

You are waiting to hear about a solution. Ask parents to assume full responsibility of their sons, so teachers can concentrate on dealing with teaching rather than babysitting or police students.

Until society, parents and after that teachers and administrators aren't able to straightforward their responsibilities, we will continue to pay tribute to those who act negatively, kill not only imagination but people and appear on TV not to educate but to abuse the social image they have.

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Can We Really Enforce Differenciated Instruction in Our Schools?

I was attending the all popular now #edchat and organized every Tuesday at 7 PM EST. on Twitter. It has been a great opportunity to know more participants, but also to learn a bit more about Differentiated Instruction (DI).

If you missed the online session, here we give you the opportunity to catch some tweets which we believe are worth reading:

    We must not confuse DI with constructivism. Both are helpful, but they are not the same thing. @CorinaFiore

    Criterion referenced tests do not force one dimensional teaching and are not designed to cause failures. @BeckyFisher73

    Main objective of DI is to provide a learning environment that will maximize the potential for student success. @NMHS_Principal

    Differentiated instruction without differentiated assessment is all talk. @TedPugliese

    There is great power in choice. @blairteach

    True differentiation is the opposite of standardized curriculum and testing. @concretekax

    I've found that when I give my students options, they have a hard time figuring out what to do. They're used to being spoon fed. @jswiatek

    I DO remember when we used to talk about creating life long learners! Did we succeed? @haretek

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Larger Schools Had Built an "Innovation Prevention Department."

The Independent

With his tips on tagging Web site bookmarks, shortening URLs and installing browser applications, Tony Vincent may have sounded at times Wednesday like he was talking to a group of Web developers.

But Vincent was talking to teachers, and the theme of the workshop was just as much about engaging students as it was technology.

Students are engaged in learning when it involves qualities such as choice, affiliation, novelty and variety, and a focus on products, Vincent said. The explosion of teaching technology on the Web fits right in with those values.

"Those Web 2.0 tools have so many of the characteristics of what engages students, because they do get to interact with each other, they do get to create," he said

Read on the original article by Mark Coddington.

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