pe April 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.

Welcome you all! Why not like our site for more updates?

Evaluations on Well-Executed Classroom Observations Do Identify Effective Teachers

Education Research Report

Cincinnati’s teacher evaluation system pinpoints link between teaching practices and student achievement

A new study of Cincinnati’s Teacher Evaluation System (TES), a rigorous evaluation program based on classroom observations, finds that teachers receiving high ratings (as scored by trained peer and administrative evaluators) are more effective in promoting student achievement growth. For example, a student who begins the year at the 50th percentile on the state reading and math test and is assigned to a teacher in the top quartile in terms of overall TES scores will perform on average, by the end of the school year, three percentile points higher in reading and two points higher in math than a peer who began the year at the same achievement level but was assigned to a bottom-quartile teacher.

Read more at Jonathan Kantrowitz's blog.

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10 Current Proyects Bill Gates Has to Change Education

Bill and Melinda Gates put a hefty portion of their billions into philanthropic efforts involving development, healthcare, and – of course – education. The foundation that bears their name sponsors a number of amazing opportunities for impoverished or otherwise marginalized individuals to thrive academically and vocationally, whether they be accessible inside the walls of a classroom or a library.

Here are at least 10 of their current projects and strategies that they have in place to ensure that more students across the world obtain the education they need in order to thrive and help build and reinforce their communities.

1. Sponsoring Thrive by Five.
2. Calling for Financial Aid Reform.
3. Providing Access to State-of-the-Art Technology.
4. Promoting Flexible Postsecondary Education.
5. Building and Promoting Libraries Worldwide.
6. Providing a Multitude of Grants.
7. Intensive Partnerships.
8. Access to Learning Award.
9. Providing a Multitude of Scholarships.
10. Sponsoring the Native Lens Program.

For an explanation of each one of the projects and strategies, please head over Online University Lowdown.

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Happy Spring Break to All Our Students

Spring break is something that many children look forward to, no matter what shape or size, or even grade. This break is the beginning of the end of the year for most students and teachers. The school year is zipping by and it’s the last break we have in the year, so the children make it count.

Break is a time where all students do exactly what you think they do, be lazy and go hang out with friends. Work is hardly ever done during this time and it’s not for the best, it should be done but not the day before. A little bit every day will help the finished products, which will also teach children a healthy working habit.

A lot of your students always have a Facebook status saying, “Oh God. I have to finish (a project/homework assignment/ etc.), I shouldn’t have procrastinated.” What I do not understand is that this happens every time the day before a vacation ends. If you realize that procrastination isn’t going to help why you guys didn’t you do your (homework/project/etc.) before? I myself ask this very same question sometimes.

When you really think about it, You're the only one to blame for not doing your work. You were so caught up in having fun with friends, playing games, and being lazy, that time just passed by. You hadn’t a care in the world until that very day before the end of vacation. Sometimes you do your work before the end of vacation, sometimes you don’t and you get really angry at yourself.

Although us teachers may be on break the work does not stop here, oh not by a long shot. Being an eighth grader, for example, you may feel like you're at the top of the world because you're graduating this year. However, there is much work to still be done and things to learn. An entire marking period is left to go through and no student should forget that.

Although students may not always make the best decisions, they try to make the best of it. Even though their vacation have just started every one of them plan to make a good one and also to do their work. Let this be a year where students like you and all your other students, realize that procrastinating isn't the way to go but doing a little bit at a time.

Vacation is a time to relax a bit but no one should forget that there will be always something to go through after it. No matter what, never forget that students all like fun and games, but there is a time and a place.

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Is Your Handwriting Clear, Clean And Beautiful?

I have serious issues when using my own handwriting. Sometimes I feel the need to sent notes to parents or even ask someone to edit my writings. The only problem I have is that those letters really suck.

When my son asks me to write clearly when I have to send notes to his own teachers. Y feel like learning my ABCs. He complains that usually the homeroom teacher has to call him out to explain what the recently handed in letter really means. I don't blame my son. I blame technology.

Is there a considerable number of you still reading cursive books anymore?

Besides that, I hardly remember the last time I sent (or received) a handwritten letter. I don't use it neither to my friends, nor to my parents. What I can tell you is that tonight I sent at least ten emails, wrote on fifteen Facebook walls, and tweeted two dozen times.

Some schools mandate its students to learn how to use handwriting properly. Before, students weren't allowed to get a library card before they could write their own name. Today, in place of that, my son has been taken to the computer labs and I, personally, used to take him over there. He was never taught how to master his handwriting skills.

Can you understand why so many kids aren't writing clearly on their homework and reports? And not only kids, there are a good deal of Baby Boomers with the same problem. I personally envy those who have handwriting that flows elegantly over the page instead of looking like hastily scribbled notes, writes Jennifer at Study Blue. Which makes feel a bit relieved.

I also wish most of my students --- and of course, myself--- have taken the time to perfect their penmanship instead of allowing technology to deter them from focusing on this fine art.

Is this happening to you and your students? Share your experiences.

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Social Media Is Changing the Way We Communicate. [Infographic]

Whether you like it or not, infographics are becoming a powerful e-learning tool. There is a whole lot of them around the web and we as teachers should build our own ones, and take them to the classroom. But in the meantime, we have to accept that social media as it is, it's changing the way we communicate.

Course Hero explains how the education industry seems to be picking pace as things are getting social in schools and universities.

Click it over to see it in full display

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5 Bookmark Tools Every Educator Should Have

With the internet increasingly growing, it's important all educators learn how evaluate information but also how to keep record of parts they think are the most relevant in their careers or for future reference and possibly research.

The following are the tools we've evaluated and we think it'll help our colleague educators:

1. This is a social bookmarking service, similar to the almost dead delicious. Licensed under GNU, a General Public License. It lets users store URLs – bookmarks – with tags to make them easy to organize and share. You can subscribe to other users' bookmarks and get a stream of interesting things to read in your inbox.

2. This site allows you to highlight text on the page, then generates a new url that features the text you highlighted. You are going to be able to share this new url (via email, Twitter, or Facebook) and the recipient will see the webpage you shared with the highlighted text featured.

3.Sorify. Still in private Beta, Storify is a new platform for curating social media content. It's a resource for finding news and information. And if you need to tell stories that incorporate a mix of links, videos, and social media, give Storify a try.

4. . bridges the gap between Twitter Favorites and social bookmarking. It allows you to create “bundles” of tweets which are similar to folders of favorites. You can curate (i.e. add tweets to a bundle) either in the website itself using multi-column view of your timeline – the Bundler or by adding the Google Chrome extension which will add a “Curate” button to your regular Twitter web view.

5. Socially Learning. Technically this site works as a social network, but not for everyone. All members are teachers, education administrators, students, and other like-minded people. You can share your favorite links and watch as other users vote them up or down. The difference between Digg and Socially Learning is that this site is for only educational links.

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Education & Tech's Editor Interviewed by Global Voices

This past week, I was interviewed by Global Voices Online. Even though that questionnaire was general and more about Milton Ramirez and blogging, there was one question about education. Here's our appreciation about Latin America education environment:

How do you view the dynamic of technology applied to education, above all in the Latin American setting?

I would like to have a sufficient foundation to be able to voice my opinion about that which happens in Latin America. Unfortunately, my knowledge in closely related to my environment, the United States. Now, that does not exempt me from stating my own criticisms about what I know about education in the rest of the world.

Historically, in Latin America, one of the countries that has distinguished itself in educational material is Argentina. And those who want a first hand example simply have to read Tiscar Lara [es], Rosa María Torres [es] or Diego Leal [es].

Despite many efforts, however, our countries have not been able to liberate themselves from UNESCO and the surplus from the Alliance for Progress. It continues to glorify two tools as though they're some sort of magical cure for all of the problems with technology in our schools: projectors and PowerPoint slides.

Our educators still believe that technology is something imposed upon us by the empire –the United States. This could not be further from reality. Technology and the curriculum are the mediums. The educators are the ones who are called upon to bring this synchronization to life. And in a world that is so high tech, it's a sin that elementary and high schools, as well as universities, do not bring themselves up to date on these materials.

The problem with everything is the funds and with the crisis enveloping every corner of the Earth, the implementation of technology in these centers goes from being extremely limited to totally absent.

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How Can Educators Capture Youth's Attention?

And one more question: How can educators captivate students love for school when home life is so tough and at times impoverished?

School as we know it is a safe place for the children it serves. We can capture their attention by instilling in them that there is someone that does care about life. Showing children a new path and direction we can help them open up their eyes to things they have never explored before.

Almost most teachers are willing to go the extra step to help find interventions for their most troubled students. It takes hard work to get a child to gain trust and open up. It even takes teachers to act like parents of these children. But in the long run it pays to do that.

Many need confidence that can be gained by celebrating their successes. In other cases, teach those students simple tasks as how to get stains out of their uniforms (yes, in this part of the U.S. students already use uniform)when others can not do so, shows an educator do care about these children. And they notice it.

Schools are safe heavens because children, in most of the times, spend more time in school than they do in their own home.

What are you doing to gain attention and love from you own students?

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 04/02/2011

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