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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13 Major Changes to Education and Training in the 2025

The European Institute for Prospective Technology Studies asked 13 education experts to name the changes that they thought should or would occur over the next 15 years.

They were to rank their statements between 0 and 5, based on importance and likelihood. A continuation we present the 13 out of 203 statements the experts think are highly likely to occur (based on a ranking of at least 4 in the proposed scale).

Mapping Major Changes to Education and Training in 2025

    1. There will be digital library services available to students.

    2. Students will learn in organized groups, and this will be complemented by learning in loosely connected networks (like social networks.

    3. Students will do at least some of their learning through projects, and new models for project based learning will arise.

    4. Technology will ameliorate time and space barriers to learning.

    5. There will be services on the internet which will be like digital classrooms or digital learning environments.

    6. There will be an abundance of easily available learning resources, although there will still exist the challenge of finding the best and most relevant.

    7. Learning programs will be more flexible than they are now.

    8. Courses will be available in different forms (text, online, mobile, teacher based, and instructions.

    9. Education institutions will expand across borders.

    10. Learning will be more integrated with daily life.

    11. Many students will partake in Open Learning over the internet, and Open Education resources, mostly free, will become widely adopted.

    12. College and University students will routinely be able to take courses around and within their work schedules.

    13. Students will combine working and learning.

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Gates on Online Education: “It Will Be Better than Any Single University.”

Bill Gates was a guest speaker on the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA and it seems the man is not too old the predict the future. As you can remember, he was the person who back in 2005 said that high schools in America are obsolete.

Then everyone, included the media started writing, commenting and pushing for a reform in the American education which has been implemented according to each political party in the government. Even though some are on attack of the organization Gates funds, the former Microsoft CEO speaks again and people pay attention. He is not far from reality, in a few years more you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world for free. It is already happening in large and prestigious universities.

Read the analysis MS Siegler published on TechCrunch:

    {Gates] believes that no matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.

    He made sure to say that educational institutions are still vital for children, K-12. He spoke glowingly about charter schools, where kids can spend up to 80% of their time deeply engaged with learning.

    But college needs to be less “place-based,” according to Gates. Well, except for the parties, he joked.

    But his overall point is that it’s just too expensive and too hard to get these upper-level educations. And soon place-based college educations will be five times less important than they are today.

    One particular problem with the education system according to Gates is text books. Even in grade schools, they can be 300 pages for a book about math. "They’re giant, intimidating books," he said. "I look at them and think: what on Earth is in there?"

    According to Gates, our text books are three times longer than the equivalents in Asia. And yet they’re beating us in many ways with education. The problem is that these things are built by committee, and more things are simply added on top of what’s already in there.

    Gates said that technology is the only way to bring education back under control and expand it.

We are not fond of the charter schools as Gates is, but he has a point when he speaks of education on the Web. People at the Reform Symposium could not conclude favorably about online education. The criteria was divided.

Let's wait to see who was wrong into 5 more years.

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Education Data Is Now Easier to Find and Use in the U.S.

Community, parents and educators can get reliable, accurate and timely data that they can use to follow and evaluate reforms. At least, that was what Secretary of Education has said at the launch of new website:

"A key element of the Department's open government plan, ED Data Express consolidates relevant data collected by the Department from several different sources and provides search tools that allow users to create individualized reports. The data is available at "

The website provides tools that allow users to search and explore the U.S. education data, create customized reports, and view state profiles with charts, tables, and key data points for every state.

It also allows users to download their customized reports for further analysis.

ED Data Express also publishes budget figures and demographics.

A 2.0 version of the ED Data Express, it is under development and is scheduled to launch this winter. The new version will include enhanced data visualization tools and the ability to post data on social networking sites.

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16 Kick-Ass iPhone Apps for Use of Teacher Only.

Apple has moved forward in an intent to fight the piracy. As for now, you are going to be able to try before you buy.

Now teachers will have more time to browse around the Apple App Store, if not, we have edited a post over at EduDemic. where we avoid you the hassle to have a brand new iPhone 4 and not know what apps you should load to it.

Below is a helpful list of apps that will save you hours of App Store-hunting and hopefully help you organize your short in school day a bit better. We have taken only two categories which are the ones we think are the most interesting for dedicated teachers:

Document Tools

These applications can make it easier to view and create a variety of documents, whether you need them for class or to keep your business organized.

1. iZoho: This mobile office suite lets you create and access documents and spreadsheets.
2. PDF Reader Pro: Download this application so you’ll be able to read PDF files over your iPhone.
3. iSpreadsheet: If you need to be able to examine spreadsheets on your phone, try out this application.
4. DocViewer: Want to read over your paper one last time before you present it? This app lets you see the document right on your phone.
5. QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite: Check out this mobile office suite to handle a wide variety of document types.
6. Readdle Docs: This application is all about helping you organize your documents from email, your computer or the web.

Taking Notes

Jot down all those brilliant ideas using these iPhone apps.

1. Evernote: Create text, photos and audio notes and sync them with your iPhone and computer with Evernote.
2. Thumb Jot: Use this tool to jot down all your thoughts and notes as they come to you.
3. iTalk Recorder: This app will let you record notes or anything else you want to remember.
4. Dexy: Check out this app to jot down some free form notes. Simply type in the text and later you can bring it up by searching for parts of the text.
5. Napkin Genius: If you prefer to jot down ideas in drawn form, you’ll be able to do so with this app and share and save your completed works.
6. YouNote: Take notes in audio, text, photo and drawing format in this helpful app.
7. VoiceNotes: This recording application can make it easy to leave yourself audio reminders.
8. Writing Pad: Instead of typing out letters, this application allows you to draw them on the screen to write notes.
9. Note2Self: Leave yourself notes in audio or text format with this helpful application.
10. Margins: This application is an ideal tool for students or researchers. It allows users to jot down notes about books, indicating the page and quote as well as your note.

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Can We Compare a Teacher to a Midwife?

It is no stranger Educational institutions are mostly conformed of female members, as the the base of its faculty. We called attention to an article on the Philosophy of Teaching in which the author, Maryellen Weimer, compares the activity of a teacher to a midwife in real life.

Wiemer declares she is not the first person speaking of midwives philosophy, in 1986 the Harvard Educational Review already published an essay by William Ayers on the same topic.

This is the description of a teacher midwife:

    She has attended many other births, been with many other students as they have gone through the arduous process of learning. It is a joyful, exciting event, but not without pain—sometimes the pain is long and intense, causing the learner to despair and lose hope. But the midwife understands. She knows that sometimes progress is slow. She also knows how much more pain lies ahead and what the learner might try to ease the discomfort and expedite the process. The midwife offers encouragement; her presence is reassuring.

Is our understanding that this approach - or Philosophy - as Maryellen wants to believe, is a teacher centered discourse. As much as interesting it sounds, what we think is that both social media and technology, do not allow these days to compare a teacher to midwife.

After, "They strive to figure out the best way to help, support, guide, and encourage the mother. Birth and learning require both teacher and mother to expend effort. They work together, but they tackle the problem in different ways." The only benefit is received by the student.

This perception neglects the fact that students can also contribute positively to each one of the struggles a mother/teacher might have. And in the other hand, there is the student centered learning, which opposes completely the so mentioned teacher as midwife.

Which is your personal philosophy of teaching? Forget about that one on the education books.

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10 Social Media Competencies for K-12 teachers.

Doug Johnson is the editor behind The Blue Skunk Blog. If you are not subscribed to it, it is time you do it. Its editor makes the best effort to keep you updated about topics on education. Jonhson got inspired by a post written and published by Dean Giustini in the first place, where Giustine builds the Top Ten Social Media Competencies for Librarians.

Taking that post as a reference, The Blue Skunk Blog develops its own, to bring up the Top Ten Social Media Competencies for Teachers.

Add to list whatever you think it was left out:

    1. Help students use educational networking tools to solve information problems and communicate digitally with experts, peers and instructors.
    2. Know the major Web 2.0 categories and tools that are useful in the K-12 setting. Know which tools are provided/supported by one's school.
    3. Use educational networking sites to communicate with teaching peers, students and parents.
    4. Navigate, evaluate and create professional content on networking sites.
    5. Use online networking to create, maintain and learn from a personal learning network.
    6. Know the district networking guidelines, follow netiquette, conform to ethical standards and interact appropriately with others, especially students, online.
    7. Understand copyright, security and privacy issues on social media sites and share these understandings with students and professional colleagues.
    8. Understand the importance of identity and reputation management using social media and help students understand the long-term impact of personal information shared online.
    9. Create and follow a personal learning plan to stay informed about developing trends, tools and applications of social media.
    10. Participate in the formulation of school and district policies and guidelines related to educational networking and social learning.

After listening a couple of keynotes during the The Reform Symposium (#rscon10), the most important conclusion I got was: All teachers are learners. Whether you are convinced or not about this fact, at least reflect on the process all your students are living and get to it from a different angle. Social Media helps you to step ahead on you career.

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Milton Ramirez

Bias can be present [in standardized tests] but not be detected by even the top experts in the field.

Education Research Report:

Overturning more than 40 years of accepted practice, new research proves that the tools used to check tests of "general mental ability" for bias are themselves flawed. This key finding from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business challenges reliance on such exams to make objective decisions for employment or academic admissions even in the face of well-documented gaps between mean scores of white and minority populations.

The study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, investigated an amalgam of scores representing a vast sample of commonly used tests, including civil service or other pre-employment exams and university entrance exams.

"Test bias" means that two people with different ethnicity or gender, for example, who have the same test score are predicted to have different "scores" on the outcome (e.g., job performance); thus a biased test might benefit certain groups over others. Decades of earlier research consistently found no evidence of test bias against ethnic minorities, but the current study challenges this established belief.

Read more about this report here.

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Who Is a Digital Literate?

Wikipedia defines digital literacy as "the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology." While Gillen & Barton decide that 'digital literacies' are the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies.

As you can see, with this category occurs exactly the same as to the definition of Web 2.0 or 3.0. Everyone with a sufficient background thinks he has the authority to define these concepts, but at the end, there is yet a common ground.

Terry Freedman, asks a question you might have been asking yourself, What is digital literacy? And while our conception falls in between, it is important to point his definition en terms of curriculum and behavior. Freedman writes that digital literacy should not be seen defensively:

    A digitally-literate person will be able to express herself by creating a presentation, a podcast or a video. She will be able to validate data before putting it into a model, and then verify the results of the modeling process in terms of the accuracy and plausibility of the data.

    A digitally-literate person will be able to use software applications in elegant and efficient ways, and even perhaps in ways that could not have been foreseen by the program's creators.

Terry seems to panegyric what Microsoft recognizes as digital literacy: "Teach and assess basic computer concepts and skills so that people can use computer technology in everyday life to develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities."

What I do agree with the England native is that no student should graduate from school "without being knowledgeable enough to be safe online." Assuming all teens behave in the very same way, because Madrid (Spain) digital natives seem to have grown up taking care of their own privacy. Americans are relentless to privacy, even when teachers tear apart their shirts to make sure students understand the value of privacy online.

Finally, I want you to read what is happening when England's government oversees the digital literates in this country (bolded is ours):

    Teachers tend to teach technology up to the limit of their own knowledge, and that this effectively holds children back. In my experience, where technology is taught by non-specialists, this kind of "dumbing down" goes on as a matter of course. It's not deliberate: teachers don't know what they don't know. It's therefore not a criticism as such. If I taught English, it would almost certainly be superficial, because I'm not an English specialist, even though I've been speaking the language for over half a century. Why should we assume that if we send someone on an interactive whiteboard training course and give them a laptop for producing their worksheets, and they book their vacations online, that they're qualified to teach technology?

Since I am not an expert on digital literacies, I should not been writing about this topic.

What do you think?

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“Transformation may be the easiest thing to do politically, but it’s the hardest to do technically.”

Many U.S. schools that are using federal funds to turn around schools are opting for the "transformation" model, which requires the school's principal -- but not its instructional staff -- to be replaced.

Educators say that is the least disruptive model of the options made available by the Department of Education for recipients of School Improvement Grants.

The other models are the turnaround method, which requires the replacement of at least half of the school's teaching staff; the "restart" method, which would turn the school into a charter; or "closure," which shutters a school and moves students to a better-performing one.

See more of Lesli A. Maxwell's articles at Education Week.

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