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.

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EduCon 2.2 Begins Today - And You Can Follow It, Digitally.

EduCon 2.2 The Science Leadership Academy launched today its 3rd. Education Conference (EduCon 2.2) Given the interest and topics to be treated in EduCon, the event is sold out according to register section in its wiki. Conference will run Jan. 29-31, 2010.

Top leading personalities in education technology will be talking all weekend at EduCon 2.2. in Philadelphia. Organizers want to stress the content of this year's EduCon. They've posted on the website created for the conference: "And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference."

Most of the 76 sessions can be followed through Elluminate. But also on Twitter with #educon. Photos of the event can also be found here

Education & Tech Session Recommendations

We have not a chance to be at EduCon, but surely will be listening some of the conversations:

What is Smart? - The Friday Night Panel. A group of societal visionaries speak about their vision of what is smart in a panel discussion, 6-8PM EST.

2.Go. - Demonstrating 2.0 as needed. Saturday 10:00am–11:30am: Network and feel comfortable with the tools you aren't familiar yet, jargon, and philosophies being brought up during the course of the conference.

User-Generated Education - An Authentic Student-Centric Model of Education. Saturday 12:30pm–2:00pm: Question: Should a student-centric, user-generated education be the predominant learning model for this era of the 21st Century? is going to be answered.

Education Technology and Law - Stump the Lawyers. Saturday 2:30pm–4:00pm: You'll have the opportunity to discuss issues at the intersection of educational technology and the law with four uniquely qualified expert panelists.

The Caring Classroom.
Sunday 10:30am–12:00pm: Ideas to drive the manner in which presenters build a community inside and outside of their academic homes.

Wikis for a Dynamic Curriculum. Sunday 12:30pm–2:00pm: You'll clarify your expectations about learning spaces and how to use them in classroom.

Metacognition - The Real 21st Century Skill. Sunday 2:30pm–4:00pm: Carefully reconsider the importance of where learning occurs.

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The Effectiveness of Teaching Goes Beyond the TFA Characteristics

I now most of you Americans have been paying attention to the #SOTU tonight, but while I was listening to president Obama, I happen to find a good post about what are the perceptions of what it means a effective teacher in terms of Teach for America. Alesha Daughtrey and Ali Kliegman come to discuss their vision of this same concept but in public education.

In many ways, debating the comparative effectiveness of teachers prepared through traditional teacher education, Teach for America, or other “short-route” preparation programs distracts us from our central challenge in creating effective 21st century public schools. There is more variation within traditional teacher education and alternative routes like TFA than between them.(1) And indeed, a close examination of research on TFA cohorts suggests that their teaching effectiveness gains are likely due not to their individual dispositions or test scores, but to the additional training and support they receive over their two years in the classroom.(2)

(1) Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford H., Loeb, S. and Wyckoff, J. (2006.) How changes in entry requirements alter the teacher Workforce and affect student achievement. Education Finance and Policy 1,no.2 (Spring):176-216.

(2) Berry, B. (2005, October 19). Teacher quality and the question of preparation. Education Week. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from

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What Do You Think the Web Will Look Like in Twenty Years?

This is one of the three questions people who has been tagged to participate, is responding. Everything originated in latest edition of ON Magazine. So far, three very respectable professionals plugged in: Len Devanna, Gina Minks and Clark Quinn.

#20 Years of the Web looks for your own perspectives canalized with these three questions:

How has the Web changed your life?
How has the Web changed business and society?
What do you think the Web will look like in twenty years?

There will be a great discussion, we know, personally I have been on the web since 2001 and I am too young to answer these questions, but I want to continue the discussion and see what you can say about all these changes. Allow me to share with you, Quinn's ideas about our central question. He writes:

"I really think that the web will have become transparent. For most of us, the information access capabilities will be transparent: so ubiquitous we take it for granted. There just will be information wherever and whenever you want it. We’ll be surrounded by clouds that follow us that define who we are and where we’re at both physically, chronologically, and metaphorically, so that information will be available on demand in whatever ways we want.

From the production side, we’ll be creating information by our actions that will be aggregated and mined for useful ways to serve us. We’ll have new models of learning that integrate across technologies and space to develop us in meaningful ways to empower us to achieve the goal we want. And, most likely and unfortunately, there will be information to continue to try to sway us to do things that others would prefer we do. I would hope, however, that we’re moving in a positive direction where we slow down our progress to the point we can make sure we’re bringing everybody along."

I haven't been tagged, so feel free to tag yourself up and participate with more ideas. We all will be happy to read them.

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School Conversations, "What Does That Culture Look Like?

Although I don't always see the conversations David Warlick talks about in this post, I think it's a good start. It'll be quite possible that you see conversations in most schools or educational environments, but you might have to agree with me that it happens but in not all schools.

During this week, I read an note where the results of a study showed poor performance of students attending 'poor schools'(read neighborhood schools). The article was referring to the American schools, not to even mention the same structures overseas.

Is it true that many of us are heavily using Twitter, Facebook and Google, confused by many as hubs or gatekeepers in the media, when they merely represent tools to communicate ideas online. Such tools are not always in reach to everyone. Costs of internet connection are still high and even when American schools all have access, it's the distribution of the access which concern me more.

D. Warlick sketches 10 suggestions for administrators for promoting these kind of conversations in the 'building and beyond.' All of them valuable but in the assumption we've got rid of the neighborhood schools. What I do appreciate is Warlick's vision to encourage what I'd prefer to call the Theory of Learners, learn anything new daily and make it a way of living.

Struck me the suggestion No. 3: "Make frequent mention of your Twitter stream, RSS reader, specific bloggers you read. Again, this should not be limited to job specific topics." Yes, some mega media moguls are already jealous of social networks as Twitter. They are scared to hell to think people is paying more attention to a Twitter stream than a professional view in the so authorized media.

Let's keep it simple, build conversations whenever you are but do not forget the gifted and talented but graciously poor people.

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Recommendations for Uses of Video in e-Learning

I suppose you are already familiar with VuRoom, a plugin to be used with Skype. You might need it in the future, if you you pay attention to Jennifer Wrigley's recommendation for using video effectively in e-learning.

In a detailed post, the editor of The Spicy Learning Blog, writes that videos are effective if "used in the right way."

There are thousands of videos available but we need to manage time and effort to benefit not only ourselves but students. Here's, without further interruption,

10 Tips for Using Video Effectively in e-Learning.

1. Keep videos short and to the point.
2. Use videos for emphasis.
3. Make videos interactive.
4. Follow up with questions or a summary.
5. Use videos to demonstrate how to, or how not to, do something.
6. Use actors not real employees.
7. Be creative.
8. Include a transcript.
9. Be technically clever.
10. Make videos downloadable elsewhere.

For a complete list of our recommended education videos click here.

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Destroying Traditional Teacher Figure to Raise Passionate Students

Tonight, I've missed the regular session for edchat. Hundreds of educators, administrators and community interested in education, meet up on Twitter to discuss about the student ownership of learning. A good example can be mirrored from @lanwitches' article.

There, we show probe that learning can happens in an interconnected environment. Skype is only one example. Silvia Tolisano, the article's author, wraps up perfectly: "Technology is not about replacing learning nor teaching. Technology is a tool to make learning and teaching possible in ways that it never was before nor that we had ever imagined."

We believe ownership in students can be gained when they feel part of the process. Such participation needs to go beyond hands-on experiences but solutions to real life small problems. We have to identify the objects of attention and interest of our students, re-design the curriculum and have always in mind that teaching and learning is a 2-way street.

When teachers were never shown how to use new technologies for education, they tend to be reluctant to use the technology available. Teachers, as much as students have to work their way out to own the whole process of learning, using all tools at their disposal. If training is needed, we have to take and enforce it.

Kristen Swanson thinks that success of #edchat is due to "we own it" and "If it were directed from "above" we would not be as passionate."

Same can be true for our students, they need to observe a facilitator, a leader, rather than a plain teacher, as we were accustomed to.

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What Do You Do About Students Who Talk During Your Lectures?

A reader writes in to ask what I do about students who talk during my lectures. It’s a good question, as the problem seems to be getting worse the longer I teach. Whether I’m getting more boring (likely), my students are getting more unruly (perhaps), or the classroom culture is becoming more and more like the comments section of Matthew Yglesias’s blog (I doubt it, but maybe), I don’t really know.

As for the question, at the beginning of every quarter I talk to my students about my expectations of them, including my desire that they not talk during lecture. Honestly, I no longer care if they sleep, read, or surf the web. So long as they don’t keep other people in the class from listening to me and maybe learning (I can dream, right?), and so long as they’re somewhat respectful of me, we’re cool. Which is to say, I prefer that they not snore loudly while sleeping or make a big show of reading their friends’ facebook pages. Other than that, though, whatevs.

But a few years back, I singled out some backward-ball-cap-wearing kewl kidz for repeatedly talking and laughing during classes in the latter part of the term. They were recidivists, in other words, and should have known better. They had initially ignored my subtle looks and later my not-so-subtle glares. And they were clearly going to keep up their shenanigans until I smacked them down. So I did. I didn’t say anything too terribly harsh, something along the lines of, “Please stop talking during class. It’s incredibly hard for me to concentrate when you guys behave in this way.” And they stopped. For the rest of the term. Mission accomplished, right?

Well, I later wished that I had talked to them individually*, as the punishment - public humiliation - seemed to outstrip the crime. So since then, I’ve either tried to pull people aside after class or make an announcement, to the whole room, without looking at the offending parties, during my lecture: “You’ll recall that on the first day I said that I really can’t stand it when people talk during class. Please try to keep that in mind, okay.” And that seems to do the trick. But I’m open to new ideas, as the older I get, the more crowded my lawn seems to become.

* Of course I felt guilty. Because I always feel guilty. (Seriously, always. It never stops.) Put another way, one’s approach to classroom management is almost certainly going to vary depending on one’s personality. Not to mention one’s gender, which obviously has a huge impact on how one approaches these issues. So while I’m a guilt-ridden Jew, I’m also a relatively big** guy, which means that I probably have to deal with less of this crap than many other people out there do.

** Fine, fat. You’re so mean. This is supposed to be a safe space, you know.

Syndicated from Discipline and punish.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Mirroring Your Students, A Way to Gain Their Trust

This not an specialized piece about educational psychology but the result of a reading we have been into during these days. After many years in the classroom, and working primarily with teens, watching them the very little interest they have on academics other than music and personal care, I've come to the conclusion that teachers need to walk the walk and let students do the talk.

How many brains do you have? The answer is a bit tricky but if you took college biology, you know the answer isn't one but three. Human brain has three layers: a primitive reptile layer, an evolved mammal layer and a final primate layer.

In this set of interactions are the mirror neurons. It was in 1990 that Italian neuroscientists Giacomo Rizzolatti, Vittorio Gallese, Leonardo Fogassi and their colleagues at the University of Parma, found that a monkey's brain could transform the actions of the experimenters into motor programs that the monkey would use to perform the same actions. That's what Christian Keysers, part of that team, calls mirror neurons.

If we are able to manage these two simple manifestations, we can get our students attention. Mark Goulston in his book Just Listen, writes: "You cringe when a coworker gets a paper cut and cheer when a movie hero gets the girl." This happens because you are mirroring those actions to think that they actually occur to you, which in a way, it really happens.

If we avoid the 'amygdala hijack' in these hyper active young people, our students, you are now playing the role of a teacher, watching but listening, working but mirroring their necessities. if they feel loved and cared, they will return the same amount to you. And if they cooperate, there are plenty of reasons to conclude students would like to copy your behavior and ultimately reproduce what you are doing in the classroom. Teaching and learning.

Have you succeeded being kind to your students, or is it, that being rude has been a better choice.

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Ed Reform: "Unions v. Race to the Top"

Is the Obama Administration going to side with school reformers, or will it reward state and local teachers union affiliates that defend the status quo? This is a question states are asking as they prepare their applications for $4.35 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants. Some guidance from Education Secretary Arne Duncan would be helpful.

Teachers unions in Minnesota and Florida are currently threatening to withhold support for their state Race to the Top applications, which are due later this month. So is the school boards association in Louisiana. This matters because the Administration has placed a premium on states garnering "local school district support" in order to win a grant. Not having union buy-in isn't fatal, but it definitely hurts a state's chances of getting federal funds.

Check out original post by The Wall Street Journal

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Google Wave Seen As Teaching Tool in Higher Education

Some local college officials are jumping on board "Google Wave" to see what the new technology might mean for education.

This jazzed-up version of e-mail provides a centralized Internet location to write, edit and even translate text to or from foreign languages, as well as deposit photos, videos, maps and more. People can collaborate live on the same "wave," or string of communication, and can watch each other type.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse could use Google Wave to build on its international education goals, allowing discussion with classes in other countries using the translation tool, said Jim Jorstad, UW-L director of educational technologies.

Read whole post here.(

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Edchat Receives National Recognition


Every day on Twitter, educators discuss issues they’re facing, share advice and pass on resources. But as Tom Whitby found out when he started debates on the social network, conversations can be hard to follow, especially when they’re mixed in with a bunch of tweets from other people.

That’s where the hashtag edchat comes in. Whitby worked with Shelly Terrell and Steven W. Anderson to provide a time, a place and a tag for educators to talk about major issues.

To change education for the better and exercise your voice, head over the Covergence Magazine and read complete article by Tanya Roscorla

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In Ed. Reform, Many Teachers Are Not to the Task

The Journal

A report released in December by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (CFTL) indicated that in California, where schools are pursuing ambitious education reform, while many teachers are well qualified to take on the demands of such an effort, many more simply are not up to the task.

"The Status of the Teaching Profession" offers current data on the supply, qualifications, and distribution of California's educators. The 2009 report includes the results of a survey of high school principals throughout the state regarding their views of their respective faculties' preparedness for the growing demands of 21st-century education.

Read in its entirety the complete article written by Scott Aronowitz

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#Edchat: Do Interactive Whiteboards really promote Interactivity in the classroom?

This is the answer hundreds of teachers wanted to respond in the regular #edchat held all Tuesdays on Twitter. It is true that teachers sometimes are reluctant to change and as Devia Stefaan puts it in this comment, the change needs to come from the inside of teachers and institutions.

Mary Ann Bell agrees the Whiteboard is interactive. (IWB) Users can be contributing directly by input both at the computer and at the board, she writes, to refer just one of her dozen reasons she thinks IWBs are a success. "The interaction that transpires between the person at the computer, the users at the board, and the computer itself is a unique and very adaptable arrangement," Bell concludes.

For people who may still be unfamiliar with the term, an IWB is a large display that connects to a computer and a projector.

Robert J. Marzano is an authority in IWBs. In his Final report on the evaluation of the Promethean technology, he (along to Haystead, M.) found that even when these tools have become popular over the last few years, "in 23 percent of the cases, teachers had better results without the interactive whiteboards."

Some of the most interesting tweets we grabbed out of the #edchat, were:

1. I prefer to use the term "Interactive" as exchange between persons OR mutual manipulation. IWB tends to be one way - @mattguthrie
2. With all technology a lot of hands-on PD is necessary. Teachers need training to learn how to foster interactivity. @cybraryman1
3. The "interactive" part of the IWB is between content and user. Student interaction depends on good design -like all other instr @geraldaungst
4. Without teacher training and support Interactive White Boards will be more of a white Elephant. @tomwhitby
5. The term 'interactive' in IWB refers to intellectual interactivity rather than physical interactivity... yes?? @Mrs_Dem

Conclusion: IWBs will promote interactivity in the classroom but it is limited to availability of equipment, the presence of a well trained faculty and the wish of all school involucrates to move out of the comfort zone.

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Why Teachers are Reluctant to Use Technology

There’s no doubt that education without technology is unthinkable in today’s world, so when we come across teachers who are still reluctant to use technology in the classroom to augment and add to their teaching experience, we wonder why. But if you think a little harder and try to understand why their reluctance comes to the fore, you’ll know that it is because:

  • They are scared of their ignorance: Most teachers, especially the ones who have been in this field for a good number of years, don’t know how to work technology and because of their fear of anything that’s labeled hi-tech, they don’t even try to learn. They prefer to do things the old way because it is familiar and they’re used to it. For them, making a change to something that is totally new is frightening. They fear to even attempt to learn it because they think they will not understand it and that this will cause them to lose face amongst the students and their peers.

  • Kids understand technology better: Children pick up anything easily if they put their minds to it, and so it is with technology. Kids these days have a radar that is intensely tuned into technology and they learn how to do things faster and more efficiently than adults. So when teachers think that the kids are going to know more about technology than them, they feel inadequate and are nervous about looking like fools in front of the children they teach. They fail to have confidence in themselves and let their inadequacies overtake them.

  • Not enough effort goes into training: Most schools impose the technology on teachers without adequately training them to use it. It’s like being thrown into a swimming pool before you’ve learned to swim – you panic and flail and want to rush out before you drown. You fear going near the pool again because you don’t want your mouth and ears full of water before you make it to the edge. But if you learn swimming the proper way, your fear disappears and you get the hang of it. You learn how to breathe underwater and how to float using your limbs, and as time goes by, this becomes routine and something you don’t have to try hard at. Technology is similar – the more training given initially, the more likely it is to be understood and mastered.

  • They don’t realize its advantages: Teachers don’t understand that technology, when used in the right way, can help their work and aid their teaching efforts. It makes their job easier and quicker. But because they don’t realize the advantages that it holds, they turn against it.
If teachers are prepared for technology in the classrooms and given adequate training in using the equipment and various applications, there’s no reason why they should exhibit reluctance to use it to the advantage of the students and themselves.

This guest post is contributed by Shannon Wills, she writes on the topic of Online Engineering Degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Pedagogy of the Oppressed - Paulo Freire's Legacy

We have been too inconsiderate to not even mention in this blog to one of the of the most prominent figures in education, to those names that I can recite from memory and that we learned in our Philosophy of Education classes.

And who better than Henry Giroux to write about the Brazilian. A decade has passed since the death of Paulo Freire (May 2, 1997) and yet his ideology and principles are still alive. You just need to re-read his Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Giroux is right when he writes: "Since the 1980s, there has been no intellectual on the North American educational scene who has matched either his theoretical rigor or his moral courage. Most schools and colleges of education are now dominated by conservative ideologies, hooked on methods, slavishly wedded to instrumentalized accountability measures and run by administrators who lack either a broader vision or critical understanding of education as a force for strengthening the imagination and expanding democratic public life."

The legacy of Paulo Freire's work and the Promise of a Critical Pedagogy is very well summarized in this paragraph as to why H. Giroux thinks Freire's ideology caught fire worldwide in education:

Unlike so many intellectuals I have met in academia, Paulo was always so generous, eager to publish the work of younger intellectuals, write letters of support and give as much as possible of himself in the service of others. The early eighties were exciting years in education in the US and Paulo was at the center of it. Together, we started a critical education and culture series at Bergin and Garvey and published over a hundred young authors, many of whom went on to have a significant influence in the university. Jim Bergin became Paulo's patron as his American publisher, Donaldo [Macedo] became his translator and a co-author and we all took our best shots in translating, publishing and distributing Paulo's work, always with the hope of inviting him back to the US so we could meet, talk, drink good wine and recharge the struggles that all marked us in different ways. Of course, it is difficult to write simply about Paulo as a person because who he was and how he entered one's space and the world could never be separated from his politics. Hence, I want to try to provide a broader context for my own understanding of him as well as those ideas that consistently shaped our relationship and his relationship with others.
Education is not neutral.

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Streams to Become the Trend on 2010?

Internet Time Blog:

Blogging has been an important part of my life for ten years but now I’m wondering if the party isn’t moving on.

Like classrooms in training, blogs will always be around. But also like classrooms, blogs are ceasing to be the primary source of value.
Blogs are author-centric in a world that’s increasingly about relationships. Blogs are slanted toward me, me, me, me, me; the net is inexorably moving to us, us, us, us, us. Dialog trumps monolog.

Certainly one of the 2009 favorite posts written by Jay Cross.

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