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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Top 10 U.S. School Districts in Digital Technology 2010

The seventh annual Digital School Districts Survey by the Center for Digital Education of and the National School Boards Association (NSBA)is out since last October.

The Top Ten-Ranking Winners of the 2010 Digital School Districts Survey were:

Large Student Population Category - More than 15,000 students:
1st Clark County School District, Nev.
2nd Prince William County Public Schools, Va.
3rd Frederick County Public Schools, Md.
4th Cherokee County School District, Ga.
5th Cleveland County Schools, N.C.
5th Colorado Springs School District 11, Colo.
6th Gwinnett County Public Schools, Ga.
7th Fayette County Schools, Ga.
8th Las Cruces Public Schools, N.M.
9th Denton Independent School District, Texas
9th Loudoun County Public Schools, Va.
10th Blue Valley School District, Kan.
10th Richmond County School System, Ga.

Mid-sized Student Population Category - 2,500 up to 15,000 students:
1st Howell Township Public Schools, N.J.
2nd Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, N.C.
2nd Oconomowoc Area School District, Wis.
3rd Geneseo Community Unit School District 228, Ill.
4th Fayetteville Public Schools, Ark.
4th Township High School District 214, Ill.
5th Lowndes County Schools, Ga.
6th Andover Unified School District 385, Kan.
6th Barrow County Schools, Ga.
7th Jones County Schools, Ga.
8th Vineland School District, N.J.
9th Marietta City Schools, Ga.
9th Roanoke County Public Schools, Va.
10th Jefferson City Schools, Ga.
10th Madison County School District, Ky.

Small Student Population Category - Less than 2,500 students:
1st Springfield Public Schools, N.J.
2nd Springville-Griffith Institute CSD, N.Y.
3rd Hanson School District, S.D.
4th Maine Regional School Unit 21
5th Gooding Joint School District #231, Idaho
6th Tornillo Independent School District, Texas
7th North Mason School District, Wash.
8th Chickamauga City School System, Ga.
9th Orange City Schools, Ohio
10th Fremont County School District 24, Wyo.

Hats off to

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The Internet: American Faith in Science And Scientific Institutions

One of our followers on Twitter sent me an e-mail with this question:

I'm a freshman in college, and I'm writing a term paper that is going to argue whether or not the Internet is assisting in and accelerating the erosion of American faith in science and scientific institutions.

Is very deterministic to think my response will be address only to what happens in the U.S.

The word science is a term belonging not only to the academy. Unfortunately, that same word is used in other circles to legitimize knowledge that otherwise is only empirical.

That necessity to legitimize vulgar science in the name of the science, it is not a reason to point to the Internet as the sole cause. On the contrary, I think the web has contributed not to the erosion of science but to the foundation of it.

It is thanks to the Internet that people themselves and without having to go to a lab or attend an academia, they can verify information, and to contrast analysis previously only possible in a library or a laboratory.

The interest in positive science, subject to experimental verification then has nothing to do with the sources of information. The one who talks of science must adhere to the principles that determine it. That is why there are not too many scientists and so may appear that centers where science develops may be in crisis.

Nothing could be farther from reality.

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'What’s the connection between Murdoch’s search for profits in the education market and...'


Lots of education reform types seem to think schools can learn a lot from emulating business practices.

Like New York Mayor Bloomberg who likes hiring people with absolutely no experience to run the city school system. Or those who fall at the feet of Bill Gates to hear his pronouncements (and pick up some of his cash).

And many companies have interests beyond getting kids ready to work for them as evidenced this week when News Corp. bought an education technology company called Wireless Generation.

Please do not go away without checking out the original by Tim Stahmer

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U.S.: National Blogging for Real Education Reform

I haven't had the time to read all posts being written by call of Cooperative Catalyst. But thanks to an invitation sent via Twitter message by @pammoran, I want to quickly elaborate two points for this matter.

One is the respect we as teachers need to regain. Recently, if you were following news about education reform, a powerful voice said teachers don't need experience and that basically anyone can be a teacher. You know who was that. When someone who is being listened says this, and no one with the equivalent power can answer back, I feel exacerbated.

Jose Vilson in a powerful piece writes: "In other cultures, teachers are respected and in some cases, are the cultural equivalent of royalty and government officials. Here, teachers can only voice their opinion if they’ve a) left the profession b) became a PhD or c) did something absurdly outrageous/courageous."

Every single teacher in this country needs to voice and stand up to defend not only education but they career. No one of the people in Washington would be there, if it is not for a teacher who was the guidance at early ages. If professionals of education do not stand up, other will misrepresent them. And that's what is going on, unfortunately.

Secondly, I think unions are not playing the role many educators expect. I am not against unions but how quickly they react to everyone who had a counter interest to teachers.

Those groups, we teachers have to deal with, are highly organized and they can successfully influence policymakers. We need to build a national coalition funded on membership so we can have the ability to carry on an agenda and go to the Capitol with our own representatives.

Until we the teachers are not respected as professionals and have not a coalition that gathers all groups of organized teachers, get our adrenaline high, and fund ourselves such an organization, it will be difficult to gain government attention to our own issues about education.

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The social cost of poorly educated minorities in the U. S.

There is not doubt I am an Hispanic rooted person and everything related to the minorities in this country really engages me. I still have trouble understanding how state and federal governments spend a good portion of their budgetary dollars in education, yet even the efficacy of the Department of Education is now seen as a heresy.

Many voices are to be listened on education reform and any politician, no matter whether this is Duncan or any Democrat or Republican who merely pretends to curb those dollars, is entitled of not wanting to invest in education. But we need results throughout the country, and quickly.

Joseph Phillips of The Daily Caller has a point about the education of Black and Hispanic population (emphases is ours):

    These are not students failing because they do not have access to the internet or don’t have Olympic-sized swimming pools. The sad fact is that the report demonstrates that middle-class black boys are scoring about as well as poor white boys. These are students who are not proficient in the basics of math and English.

    The social cost of this failure is not to be underestimated.

    Half of these students will drop out of high school; lacking a high school diploma and being functionally illiterate will qualify them for manual labor, which is steadily in the decline. They will join the ranks of the chronically unemployed; many of these men will make a life hustling on the streets and eventually become involved in the criminal justice system. Criminal records will make these men more unemployable, which will make it even more unlikely that they will have the financial means to support the children they father. It is a hellish cycle that will repeat generation after generation.

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"Be a teacher. Tutor a student. Volunteer at a school. Transform the life chances of children."

U.S. Department of Education

...We live in a time when so many Americans are hurting, when competition for jobs and economic security is increasing, and when the pressure simply to survive is growing. There's a tangible sense of fear and anxiety among—not just the poor—but among working Americans and the middle class. People are asking whether the American dream is still within reach. I believe that it is—but we are going to have to work a lot harder to achieve it—and that work begins in the home and the classroom and it continues every day in our communities. And that's why service is so important. Because society—whether it is government or business or the family—cannot meet every need today.

Despite the myriad of challenges we face, I am also deeply optimistic. In the past two years, I've travelled throughout the country and been inspired by what I've seen. I've been to more than 40 states—four this week alone—and I've seen first-hand that America is dedicated to service. From the Peace Corps to Americorps to countless wonderful student-led projects here at the Phillips Brooks House Association and hundreds of other campus-based service organizations across America, literally millions of young men and women are working in communities—giving their time, energy, expertise and love—to help others.

Read "Call to Service", a Lecture by Secretary of Education at Harvard University.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 11/08/2010

  • The web and our evolving sense of self privacy

    Are we are evolving our contract with society through our increasing interactions with digital platforms, and in particular, through what we've come to call the web?

  • Thinking About Aggregators

    The primary sources (to start) will be RSS/ATOM feeds and maybe Twitter compatible APIs. On top of this can be built a nice web-feed-reader infrastructure (like Bloglines was), which should support PubSubHubBub for its subscriptions, or an XMPP feed-delivery system , ...or other GUI system for local use.

  • Tech journalism, science journalism - tips & thoughts from London Girl Geek Dinner

    If you just sit in front of a keyboard, you're not a journalist. You have to go out there, collar and interview people, get exclusives. A critic to bloggers and 'churnalists'

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Is Texting Ruining the Writing of Our Students?

The Reading Workshop:

Some teachers feel that the slang, or casual language used extensively in texting and IM'ing will have detrimental long term effects. Most seem to ignore the fact that kids today are writing constantly. In fact, putting thoughts into written words is part of the natural lives of kids today. Anyone who cannot share their thoughts through texting is at risk of becoming a social outcast.

Students don't see the constant use of slang as a problem. They know the difference between casual language between friends and formal language used in school and business. According to Pew Internet's Teen Writing Survey, 83% of students feel there is a greater need to be able to write well in order to be successful now when compared to twenty years ago. They also found that 85% of students write in school at least several times each week.

Another worry, especially at the secondary and collegiate level is how students spend class time texting instead of focusing on the lesson being taught. However, forward thinking instructors have begun to use this to their advantage by engaging students in real-time dialogue and assessment.

Read the whole article by Jim Mcguire at The Reading Workshop.

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Using Cellphones When They Are Not in All Students' Hand

We have written many times about banning cellphones in the classroom. But there is the case where teachers had endured the no-no approach from many other colleagues in school.

Cellphones, indeed are an effective learning tools if you know how to incorporate them in the curriculum. Mobile learning comes just in hand with the crescent use of gadgets and gizmos nowadays. If we, as teachers, are unable to handle learning in this environment is not students fault. It is our responsibility.

Lisa Nielsen in her The Innovative Educator writes about 7 ideas to work in a classroom where not all students happen to carry out a cellphone.

Of course, if you already are giving a break to heavy users of SMS and all mobile learning gadgets, feel free to contribute to the list:

    1. Checking out a device from school i.e. laptop, iTouch, cell phone
    2. Connecting with community businesses willing to provide students with afterschool access to technology.
    3. Connecting students with mentors who could ensure students had access to technology.
    4. Partnerships with local library.
    5. Outreach to cell phone providers to donate minutes/equipment for students in need.
    6. Setting a place in the school (i.e. library, lab, classroom) for after school/ before school access to school technology.
    7. Partnering classmates who can share technology.

We are still on time to learn from so populated nations like China.

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