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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The Bilingual Education at the Coral Way Elementary School

By Claudio Sanchez at the National Public Radio

In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English, but to make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami, and so did Coral Way's bilingual immersion model.

Every morning, shortly after 8 o'clock, students at the Coral Way Elementary School pledge allegiance to the flag and stand for the national anthem. Then Spanish becomes the language of instruction. In one fourth-grade class, reading assignments, science, math and social studies lessons are entirely in Spanish. After lunch, classes switch to English. On the playground, you hear a mix.

Coral Way principal Josephine Otero questions a child on the playground: "Buenos dias mija, why are we running? Why?"

Otero is one in a long line of bilingual principals at the school who have presided over what experts consider the "gold standard" of public bilingual education in the U.S.

Listen the whole story at NPR.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/18/2011

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How to Interest Youth Hispanic Community In the Study of Science And Math

I am proud to be born and raised a Hispanic. There are lots of contributions Hispanics have made to the American community since Spanish was enacted a language among the American states. Since then though, many struggles have shifted to the Hispanic/Latino born or raised in North America.

But we are not going to talk about the millions of Hispanic living here. We are interested in the young kids and teens who are attending school. They are our concern, because Hispanics, despite being a large number, they have yet to gain a strong political representation.

The Educate Yourself…The Moment Is Now! initiative (EdĂșcate, es el momento in Spanish launched back in February 2010 in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, educators, civic and community leaders from around the country.

This article is part of the educational attainment, an issue at the heart of the economic viability of the country, which Univision Communications Inc. will patronize for seven days beginning Sunday, October 16, 2011.

Despite Hispanic students do not enjoy the same opportunities as the non-Hispanics counterparts in the U.S., many of them still are able to go to college. But not in enough numbers and only three percent of these students opt for a career in science or engineering. Why is this happening? According to a PEW report, language is a challenge for most immigrants. The study says that only 23 percent of Latino immigrants answered they speak English fluently.

Another cause could be the poor performance in school. Hispanic students typically receive about 20 points lower in science or math classes than non-Hispanic students. This leads to a very margin (four percent) of them who are considered at the end of 12 grade, proficient in math and with a seven percent well prepared in science. These disparities may relate to failed social policies, a lack of support from their parents, or related language factors, as we have pointed before.

But how the society, government, community, teachers and parents can revert this situation? This is not a matter of the Hispanics solely. Study after study has shown that students in the U.S. lag behind their peers in many other countries when it comes to test scores in STEM disciplines. This academic disadvantage means that students turned-adults are less inclined to become engineers, scientists and inventors.

Students and families need to comprehend that use of scientific knowledge benefits society as a whole, through advances in areas such as technology, medicine, healthcare, food quality and safety, better communications, and environmental monitoring. After that, research shows that youth develops a sustained interest in science and math when: (1) Their science experiences connect with how they envision their own futures; (2) Learning environments support the kinds of social relationships students value; and (3) Science activities supports students' sense of urgency for enacting their views on the purpose of science.

It's easier said, than done.

It's key to the U.S. economy to strengthen and innovate culture and education of youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We are living a crisis where the education sector is being affected by reduction of its budget. However, a strong industrial economy cannot come about without a good investment in education, research and development. This economy is knowledge-based. Then, the public funding needs to be there if we want to reestablish that solid economy we used to have here.

How many times have you heard someone saying "I hate math". Well, one reason why young people lose interest in math appears to be the way in which it is taught. The science and math curricula tends to be packed full of facts that young people are expected to memorize and with the velocity the digital natives have been growing, this model of teaching, seem counterproductive.

A survey by the Lemelson-MIT Program suggests that hands-on activities outside the classroom, is one of the most effective ways to engage youth ages 12 through 17. The same survey shows that this student population prefer field trips, extracurricular activities where they can build things and develop projects. Two-thirds of teens chose hands-on individual projects and hands-on group projects.

Some other times salaried jobs, especially in the IT sector have been drawing the younger generation away from math and science, and if this keeps growing, we are going to be short of scientific talent very soon. In classrooms, teachers need to explain to students, especially minorities, that science along math and technology play a very important role in addressing challenges associated with poverty and hunger.

Hispanic families are living below the poverty line and suffer from the higher unemployment in the country. And unfortunately the concentration of students coming from Hispanic families live in neighborhood where teachers reject to go to work for many reasons, among them safety. The descendants need to be aware that through their careers they can contribute to economic development, creation of employment opportunities, reducing hunger through enhanced nutrition, improved cash and subsistence crops, and if they look back to their roots they can even offer a better soil management and efficient irrigation systems.

To get young Latino successful in school, parents need to have control of the time kids have after school. They are immature enough, to not manage their own time, Hispanics believe in a strong sense of cohesion and family and it has to be reflected in school, too. With millions of Hispanics living in the U.S. we need to have more political representation to enable policies to our own benefit. Young Hispanics should remember they do not have to be a genius to become an inventor or a scientist, each one of them just have to have "ganas", the desire to learn more and to want to improve people’s lives with their ideas.

It does not come as a surprise that Los Alamos, New Mexico, has the highest number of people with PhD’s per capita in the country, many of whom are inventors and scientists. They seem to have a full understanding of the societal impact that STEM professionals have, this city has worked hard to show today's teens how important it is to invent and innovate.

Ultimately, authorities, teachers and parents have to transform into role models and classroom mentorship, so young people get interested in learning science and math, at expenses of our own effort, time and money.

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/16/2011

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A Student Reports From His Classroom - Elizabeth Public Schools

It’s been more than a full month of school since it started and boy do I have a lot to say about high school. I’m in a new school so it is taking a little while to get used to, the kids, teachers, and most importantly the work! Last year, in eighth grade didn’t seem too hard for me and this year I’m expecting it to be quite a challenge. I also have a really good schedule this year:

English I - Italian I - Physics - Geometry - Gym - World History - Lunch - Criminal Justice - Jazz Band and Concert Band.

I think this a really good schedule, for various reasons. One of the most obvious thing to realize is that I have lunch seventh period (the other two lunch periods are fifth and sixth) and all my academic periods before that. I think this will allow me to do my homework at home and not do it in lunch time the very next day. Also, I have English I, first period of every day, considering I will be fresh and ready for reading and writing, which to my former teachers, one of my best subjects.

Geometry is the class I have around the middle of the day and I really like that because it’s one of my favorite academic subjects. At this point of the day, I’m very active and my brain seems to be working at its best there. I plan to do very well in this class so I can not only please my parents but myself as well. My father being a high school math teacher himself I don’t think he expects anything but the best from me. Also my mother is an accountant which involves a lot of math usage.

The other classes I don’t really mind when I have them. What matters is that I have some old friends and newly made friends. High school is a time where it can be really fun but challenging, with the work becoming harder than before, new friends, and more responsibilities . My physics teacher, looks like she means business and my gym teacher seems like she is going to make gym more fun than it already is. My world history teacher seems like he is going to be my favorite teacher this year. This is because he is a funny Irish man, who has a really powerful voice that I like.

The class I have after lunch is criminal justice. The teacher, who was a real lawyer, I heard that his class is really hard but it seems like it too. This is the begging of the end of my day. After this class I get to go to my favorite class, jazz band! This is my absolute favorite class of the day, hands-on and hands down and no doubt about it. This is the one class that can cheer me up no matter how crummy the rest of the day was. I play the alto saxophone in jazz band and it’s probably one of my passions. What’s even better is that right after having jazz band I have concert band which is still playing music just a different kind.

This is what my freshmen year of high school is going to be like each and every day until June of next year. After only a month of going to school I am really starting to get used to it and think that this is really going to be a good year, not only for me but for the entire class of 2015. I look forward to the next four years because this …. Is the beginning of the rest of my life.

This article was contributed by Bradley Ramirez, a freshman student at the Lower Academy in the Elizabeth Board of Education..

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Education & Tech: News for Educators 10/12/2011

  • The Media Bullpen

    Big foundations to create to check "accuracy" of media (i.e. whether their point of view prevails). Media control by $.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Jobs Was a Leader In Revolutionizing Education And Tech

There are thousands of pages written after Steve Jobs passing, but in about education, Emmeline Zhao of Huffington Post has contributed with the best tribute. Here's an excerpt of what I just mentioned:

    ...Jobs' legacy and influence on education has expanded from typography and word processing on iMacs to the beginnings of a completely new system and revolutionary methods of teaching and learning through the use of gadgets like iPhones and iPads in classrooms -- in addition to what we now consider the more traditional computer. Jobs' story has come a long way since his company donated Apple II computers to 10,000 schools in California in 1983.

    Schools across the country have joined a movement that trims textbooks in schools, replacing them with the lighter, sleeker iPad. The introduction of tablet computers are expected to cut costs for school districts long-term, and host a multitude of new ways students can interact in learning and complete assignments -- shifting the learning process from the rigid lecture to a more dynamic collaboration.

    But even as his products have seeped into the pores of industry, Jobs was one to note that technology isn't an instigator of change -- people like teachers are. People, he tells Morrow, are the ones who ignite and fuel curiosity, things that machines cannot do. The marriage of technology and human momentum through learning is what has and will shape the future of education.

    "You need a person. Especially with computers the way they are now. Computers are very reactive but they're not proactive; they are not agents, if you will. They are very reactive," he said. "What children need is something more proactive. They need a guide. They don't need an assistant. I think we have all the material in the world to solve this problem; it's just being deployed in other places."

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Milton Ramirez
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