pe February 2011

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.

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Technology is wonderful...but it is leaving our families isolated

With the immediacy that brings the technology and the media, it seems that no one can live off of social networks, cyber media and everything that helps us stay informed and in touch. But that culture can be distracting and can even be reflected in the classroom. Aren't you aware that your students can not concentrate on a single activity, anymore?

But change has to begin from the top.

We either as educators or parents, have to set a better example for our children and set limits for ourselves. Find the time to sit and talk to your children. If the most important distractor, the cellphone goes off, ignore it.

I pretend to know what you are going to say. What about if it's something important and I don't pick that call? Let me answer with another question. What is possibly more important than your student, a child, teen or even your spouse sitting in front of you? Dinner time, break time, are a great time to sit down and catch up to your loved ones. Unfortunately, nowadays, speaking and listening to each other is becoming a lost form of communication.

It's important you set a portion of time each day where everyone in your school or household must disconnect. That means, no cell phones, laptops, video games or TV. Please, just try it. I'll be rewarding.

I am father of 13 years boy and I am growing tired of see him come back from school desperate to connect to his laptop, play Xbox and on top of that text messaging with his 'friends.' And that tendency is repeated when I am out home. There is no talking. There is no laughing. Nothing but silence. Families sitting at tables where parents are fidgeting with their cell phones while their kids do their part with hand held video games.

When I disconnect which is not so frequently done, I try to engage in conversation with my son. Feeling guilty of what I've done, I look for answers, some humorous questions but I fail, he's busy as I was just before.

I think technology is a wonderful thing and we should be grateful for the many things we can do because of it. However, my fear is that this generation of children will become so addicted to the constant distraction, that may not be able to do things like read a book, or have a heart conversation with friends and parents. The way they are growing up is to send a long, grammatically incorrect text and so feel isolated from the world.

Now you know why I am writing less in this blog. It's time to disconnect from the online world and return to real one where we all belong to.

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How "Free Technology for Teachers" Curates All Its Info About EdTech

I've had the pleasure to read an interesting interview to Richard Byrne, the Free Technology for Teacher editor. Audrey Watters at Hack Education has published the analysis of this interview where Byrne shares his criteria to pick the information he uploads to his blog, and how he manages to pay attention to sites and startups to are to stay in his own pint of view.

The whole text of the interview is here. We are reproducing only what supports the title of this post:

    Byrne says his criteria for choosing topics to blog about are “fairly simple”: ease of use, survivability of the resource, and existence/type of advertising. “Anything that takes more than ten minutes to feel comfortable with, I generally don’t write about,” he says. “I feel like if I, someone who spends 30+ hours a week using web-based programs, can’t figure out a new service/ program quickly then teachers who are new to using technology in education, aren’t likely to feel comfortable using that service/program. If a teacher isn’t comfortable using a program, they’re not likely to take it into his/her classroom.”

    Byrne also tries to write about the services he thinks will be around for a while. Sites and startups come and go, and that can complicate (to say the least) teaching plans. So he pays attention to the business outlook for these resources — particularly for services that will be hosting students’ data and work, asking questions about data portability. As the name of the blog suggests, the resources that Byrne posts are free, and so he also examines if and how those tools use advertising. And alongside those that are free, Byrne says he’s keen to see more tools that are open. “I would love to see more development tools that don’t require a proprietary product like Java or Silverlight in order to run,” he says, praising open tools like Aviary and JayCut.

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Parents: How You Can Help If Your Child Is Lagging in Math.

Many parents don’t realize their child is having trouble with math until he/she reaches the secondary grades of elementary school, when concepts beyond the addition and subtraction of numbers 1 through 10 are introduced. If your child is beyond the third grade and is struggling with math, you might need to go back to the basics to see where she got lost. Did he somehow misunderstand or never grasp the concept of carrying or borrowing in addition and subtraction? Try to recall if you noticed a swift or gradual decline in your child's math grades and see if you can pinpoint where the difficulty started.

If your child has done well in math up to a point, but is struggling with a new   concept, such as division or algebra, talk to the teacher. Many parents who try to   help their children with math homework only confuse matters more  for  their  child. Methods of teaching math are constantly evolving, and while you may be able to find the answers to your child’s math homework, you might not be capable of explaining it the way his teacher is teaching it. You must work with the teacher to help your child get a solid grasp.  

If helping your child in math involves asking the teacher to work with him after class or hiring a student tutor, then make the arrangements. Kids often respond   better to assistance from someone other than their parents. If tutoring or staying after school is not an option, then you must sit down and examine your child’s curriculum so that you can explain it accordingly. Review both new and old concepts with your child on a regular basis and always check his homework.

The best thing you can do to help your child with math is to stay on top of the curriculum from the very beginning. As soon as your child has been introduced to addition and subtraction, use flash cards, interactive software, and any other means of practice you can think of. As new concepts such as multiplication and division are added, practice those in addition to previous concepts. Math is a progressive study, and a solid understanding of the subject requires building.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 02/17/2011

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Kevin Carey on the Pell Grant Program

The Quick & the Ed:

This morning I was emailing some fellow members of the vast left-wing media / academic / think tank conspiracy to put all citizens under the yoke of a unified North American socialist dystopia–or, possibly, fellow bootlicks to the neoliberal power structure, it’s hard to keep track–and someone argued that the Obama administration can’t credibly criticize its Republican opponents for cutting education because it has now proposed to cut education by scaling back growth in the Pell grant program.

I disagree. If people talk about the budget in a way that identifies certain very broad categories of expenditure like “education” as inherently virtuous and all Obama proposals to cut programs within that category as, by definition, a betrayal of the progressive cause, we’re basically doomed to waste large amounts of scarce public resources forever. And in the future when there’s no money to support some vital new cause, this will be one of the reasons why.

For the original article, please head over Not All Education Programs Must Be Funded Always.

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How [not] to make teachers feel respected or professionals!

For articles like this the HuffPo got paid US $ 315 millions. The New York Times has been hard on these news and has accused Arianna's project of applying dirty little SEO secrets.

But that's another topic. To the point being, I just read an interesting letter forwarded to Angela Maiers by a teacher who wanted her opinion on the PD guidelines sent by the instructional leader at his institution. The document says all, I just want to reproduce it without permission of the Maiers Education Services:

    Staff Development Guidelines:

    1. We start at 8:00 AM (last session ends at 3:30)
    2. ALL teachers will be need to be here.
    3. Think of it as YOUR STATE TEST DAY. Just like we tell the kids before taking the test. Get lots of rest the night before, eat a good breakfast (make sure there is some protein and not a lot of sugar) and drink water! It is intense because there is so much to think about. It’s good stuff, so be ready.
    4. Bring water to drink throughout the presentation…your brain will need it.
    5. For the first 2 hours you will not be in TEAMs or Grade Levels! You will work with your TEAM in the last hour. Specialists will each choose a grade level to work with at that time.
    6. Eat a high protein, low fat, low sugar lunch. Take a short walk if possible.
    7. PM session starts at 12:30 at your designated location.
    8. This also will be intense and as I have said previously…SIT BY SOMEONE WITH WHOM YOU AREN’T GOING TO HAVE SIDE BAR CONVERSATION !!! If you miss a word or two, it could skew your understanding.

    If I had my way, we would have a late start on Wednesday so that you could have time to digest the day. My suggestion is this: If you have Wed am tutoring, cancel that day and tell kids they will not be coming in before the bell for just that day.

    » Come to school half hour early, close your door and have your lights dimmed.
    » Put a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign on your door and some soft, soothing music on.
    » Take that time to look through your Curriculum Day notes and jot down thoughts, ideas….give yourself some time to reflect and digest, even if it’s just a short time. There are no TEAM meetings that day, use that time also, if possible.

    We are embarking on a new dawn in teaching. Our conversations about what we are doing will change. What we learned before is now background knowledge. We need to think about the delivery of instruction in a different mode for a different generation. Classrooms where you can hear a pin drop are passe’ and our students are actively engaged MOST of the time.

    See you Wednesday, Staff!

My reaction? This is a really "new dawn in teaching." But in the opposite direction!

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 02/12/2011

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education & Tech: News for Educators 02/10/2011

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Types of iPhone Users [Infographic]

Thus far, the iPhone is the most popular smarthphone only to be challenged by the open sourced Android of Google. Infographics, in the other hand, are becoming the popular source for sharing and learning content. People at had elaborated this one which starts out with some stats about AT&T vs. Verizon, the two iPhone wireless networks providers in the U.S. After, you'll see the the 7 types of iPhone users.

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Americans "reluctant to impose tough sanctions on schools or individuals for poor performance"

Charters schools sport a popular brand, but their popularity rests on a shaky foundation.

Proponents of accountability, charter schooling, merit pay, value-added metrics, and the "reform" agenda are cheered by the strides they've made in recent years. Given President Obama's support, the fuss raised by Waiting for Superman, the emergence of Democrats for Education Reform, and so on, would-be reformers have seemingly captured the high ground in the edu-debate--even winning the approval of zeitgeist queen Oprah Winfrey.

Yet, in a just-published Education Next forum piece entitled "Pyrrhic Victories?," Harvard's Marty West, Fordham's Mike Petrilli, and I ask whether these victories might not ultimately yield bitter fruit. Marty, Mike, and I are ardent champions of accountability, charter schooling, merit pay, and the rest--but we are also well aware how easily groupthink, hubris, and wishful thinking can submarine good ideas.

Read whole article written by Frederick M. Hess

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