pe June 2012

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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3 Ways That Common Technology Can Reshape Education

By Kate Croston *

We're surrounded by technology in our everyday lives. We use computers for everything from playing games to checking the weather. Even the smartphones in our pockets have an incredible amount of computing power. With the flood of tablets into the market, it's safe to say that everyone is well connected at this point.

Considering the proliferation of all of this technology, it's amazing to consider how little of an impact it's had on education. From the side of educators, teaching methods are still stuck in an era where digital content was rare or nonexistent. Learning for students is just as archaic.

The good news is that it's easy to make quick improvements. Whether you're an educator or a student, the technology you're already using can easily be adapted toward an educational focus. Let's take a look at some of the things you can do right now.

Photo by Charlotte Kesl - World Bank

Educators: Use Google Drive for assignments. Google Drive has made strides in the business world over the last few years. The software is a set of office tools similar to Microsoft Office, only it resides in the cloud and has a collaborative nature to it. Anyone who's authorized can log on and make changes to a document, presentation or spreadsheet.

Considering how useful this technology is, it's incredible that some educators still require paper copies of assignments. Even instructors who allow digital submission tend to require it through email. With a tool such as Google Drive, students can complete and submit an assignment, and educators can provide immediately feedback directly on the submission. The process is faster, more intuitive and allows for much more effective feedback.

Students: Your tablet can replace your textbooks. The tablet market has seen an incredible amount of growth since the iPad's introduction in 2010. The devices are especially popular among college students. They can be used for rapid media consumption, and they're also ideal for browsing the web and playing games.

More importantly, tablets also serve as excellent e-readers. In terms of education, students can load their textbooks onto their iPad or Android tablet and leave the heavy, bulky books at home. Apple's iBooks initiative provides quick access, but students with Android tablets can also load their textbooks through
third-party services such as Amazon Kindle or other vendors. Replacing stacks of books with a tablet helps to ensure that students no longer have to worry about hauling their books with them.

Students & Educators: Video chat is good for learning, too. The market for video calling has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. Skype is commonplace, Facebook and Google+ both feature native video chatting, and FaceTime is now a ubiquitous feature on iOS devices. It's no longer expensive or complicated to make a video call.

Yet, as the ease and availability of video calling has grown, the use of the technology in the education sector has crawled at best. That's amazing when one considers that people retain almost twice as much information in face-to-face communication. Considering that the entire goal of education is informationretention, not using video chat is just counterproductive.

Students and educators can both incorporate technology into the education process by simply bringing up the video call option. One-on-one video calls between students and educators are not just more effective than emailing back and forth, they're also a time saver since students don't need to travel. Embracing video chat can provide the most "bang for your buck" when it comes to improving quality of education without significant investment.

Above all, what these uses show is that common technology can be easily integrated with education. It's also amazing to consider that none of these technologies are proprietary; they're all commonly available on devices owned by most people. Specialized apps, such as Evernote and The Elements, add even more of a learning focus. Technology can bring our educational methods up-to-date with the modern day and into the future, we just have to let it.

(*) Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing home internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09 [at] gmail [dot] com.

United States Ed System vs United Kingdom Counterpart

By Melissa Spears*

Schools, colleges and universities are the hallowed platforms that have been designed for career enthusiasts to help them enhance knowledge, sharpen intellect and master skills. These are the very destinations where an individual comes to realize the significance and necessity of education. However, the education systems are not the same everywhere. In fact, the teaching techniques and the learning styles vary from one country to another. In this respect, students usually keep asking questions on the difference between the UK and US educational approaches. Although both the countries follow the Anglo- Saxon culture, there are certain disparities in their respective education patterns.

Education in US Focuses on all subjects

Whether one is willing to enroll in a school or a college in the United States, he/she must study all the academic subjects apart from their proposed field of study. The majority of the academic institutions aim to make students updated and gain knowledge on diverse subjects whether its liberal arts or science. For instance, even if you are willing to take classes in History, you might also have to study a good deal of astrophysics.

Specialization is the emphasis for UK universities

In the United Kingdom however, the scenario is completely different. The UK colleges and universities focus on the word ‘specialization’. Students are asked to solely concentrate on their chosen area of study. However, the Scottish universities stand as exceptions where students are advised and encouraged to sharpen and enhance their knowledge beyond their major stream. Despite, this is not at all the traditional education pattern followed in the UK schools and colleges.

Styles of delivering classes in UK & US

Now, if talked about the deliverance of classes, structural differences are huge. Since the students in the United States are instructed to take classes outside their opted field of study, the curriculums are made usually shorter. In other words, the US academic curriculums are not at all lengthy and therefore the teachers do not prefer to go deeper in the subjects. Well, this is not something to be expected in the UK schools and colleges. Rather, the courses here are usually lengthier and the teachers therefore go deeper into the subjects.

What critics say?

Both the education systems in the United Kingdom and the United States have their own strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, critics of American education raise questions on mandatory learning of irrelevant subjects, whereas those against the British point towards student’s inability to gain knowledge in diverse areas apart from their majors. The work execution

More than having differences between the curriculums, there is certainly a striking contrast of ethos between the higher education patterns in the institutions of US and UK. In the majority of campuses in America, work is mandatory on behalf of students. However, the British universities accentuate on extra-intensive work assignments by distributing them into class periods. Relevance of online education in UK & US

Although curriculums and class deliverances are not the same in the United Kingdom and the United States, there is a big similarity in them. Both the education system in the United Kingdom and the United States emphasize on online education. In fact, there are several online courses offered by the UK and US universities. Countless students and even working professionals keep enrolling in these courses throughout the year. Both the educational systems believe in the benefits of distance learning programs and have even received exceptional responses from worldwide.

So, both UK and US rule in their own way in the world of education, and will continue to welcome career enthusiasts from various corners for generations to come.

(*) The author Melissa Spears here focuses on the educational styles in the United States and the United Kingdom. She says that there are ample benefits of distance learning programs whether you choose to study your desired course in the United Kingdom or the United States.

Making a College Degree Count

By Laura Edwards*

If you are smart enough to make the decision to pursue a college degree, make sure you are smart enough to include technology classes as part of your studies. In fact, regardless of your major, select a general technology or business area for your minor. It will make a world of difference when you start looking for your first job for three important reasons.

Getting Your First Job

There probably isn’t a job that isn’t touched by technology in some way. If you are not comfortable with the language of technology, it will show in a job interview. If you are intimidated by computers, and your blood pressure hits the stratosphere when you are told that part of the job description will require you to interact with technology, that reaction will be obvious. That will not make a good impression. You need to be capable of demonstrating a reasonable level of understanding of technology and its use with respect to the job in which you are interested.

Keeping Your Job

Once you get a job, you probably want to keep it. Unless you intend to stay at an entry level position forever, you will want to show you have the skills needed to advance. There is an excellent chance that technology will be involved. If your college experience did not include some coursework that introduced you to the fundamentals of technology, you can’t even begin at the beginning. It would be like trying to learn to read without knowing the alphabet. You’ll be out of the game before having a chance to bat.

Preparing For a Better Life

A college education prepares you to learn. You want to make sure you have the right kinds of experiences. Learning about technology is important to you as a person. It will teach you how to interact with computers and make them work for you. It will make you better at learning new things, and that is the secret to a successful life. The chances of your doing the same thing you are doing at the beginning of your career as you will at the end are small. Entire industries will be revolutionized over the course of your lifetime, and technology advances will play a large role in those changes. If you are not exposed to technology at a post-secondary level, it is likely you will never get where you want to go.

Once you realize how important understanding technology is to your future, you need to make sure you get the best college experience. If you have selected a field that interests you, chances are, you will look for a college or university with an excellent department that offers in-depth courses in your chosen area. You need to do one more important thing. You want to find a school that also offers a comprehensive minor in technology that is relevant to that field.

As technology becomes more entrenched in our lives, all schools are beginning to respond to the need for a comprehensive education that includes technology. Make sure you ask the right questions before making a commitment to any college because you want the best possible education.

(*) Laura Edwards is an online instructor at She has been writing for as long as she can remember and loves it as much as ever.
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