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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4 TED Talks for Teaching with Tech

By Melanie Foster *

Conrad Wolfram discusses the need to equip students with the knowledge necessary to respond to a more mathematical and quantitative world. But standing in the way of this knowledge is a chasm between need and opportunity. Wolfram explains that many children fail to grasp the larger concepts of mathematics because they spend a majority of their education learning to calculate these numbers by hand.

Responding to a series of frequent arguments against his claim that computers should be used for calculating in the classroom, Conrad develops his own argument for letting the computers do the work so children can learn to apply critical and logical thinking to the real world problems that involve math.

The inquisitive and innovative Sugata Mitra discusses the challenges of educating the children in underprivileged communities of India. Mitra argues that for many schools, technology does not offer enough of an increase in skill to be considered a viable tool. The children at the top, Mitra argues, do not have as far to grow. Instead, Mitra says, technology should be used to serve the most underprivileged of children first, to support learning or even serve as an alternative to primary education that is subpar or non-existent.

In further experiments, Mitra finds that when left alone, children are capable of teaching themselves and their peers, without supervision of guidance. This demonstration of group power wielded by young minds is extremely fascinating. Based on his findings, Mitra presents an overview of what educational technology should achieve.

Salman Khan shares the origins of the now-famous Khan Academy. He discusses the advantages of video lectures and how this tool fits within the flipped classroom model. The lecture explains how the flipped classroom creates a more socialized learning environment in which peers and teachers work together to achieve a higher level of group understanding.

In addition, Khan introduces personalized data that allows educators to track the progress of students over a number of years, supplying a continuity and level of detail that has never before been possible. Khan proposes that traditional classrooms leave behind the one-size-fits-all learning approach to move toward a more personalized method. He also touches upon the potential of global education that is offered through these free videos.

Daphne Koller, former MIT professor and co-founder of Coursera discusses the shortage of global education and how open courses can change the world of learning. One of the leaders in the Mass Open Online Course, or MOOC,  Koller discusses how educational content in the courses was designed specifically for online learning, again breaking away from the one-size fits all curriculum.

She admits that students don't learn from passively watching a video, and demonstrates different methods of interaction, including a peer-grading pipeline methodology and organic developments of learning communities. For teachers, MOOCs are the experimental playgrounds that should be watched for new ideas and methods for incorporating technology.

(*) Melanie Foster is a passionate supporter of global education and a writer for In her free time, Melanie enjoys hiking and reading. You can contact Melanie by adding a comment.

Exploring World Markets with Translation Developments

By John Brad *

Bridging the Gap
It becomes very simple to eliminate trading barriers between different companies belonging to various countries of the world with the help of a translation service agency. Many businesses find that language poses a great barrier in dealing with other countries. This results in missed opportunities, as they are not able to promote their business in other countries, due to the lack of the knowledge of the local language. So they have to consider some language translation agency help in order to overcome the lack of the knowledge.

The ultimate aim of language translation is to convey the correct and accurate meaning of a document or text. The services such as document and text translations as well as website translation have been offered by many professional translation agencies these days. Those companies also offer interpreting services, as, at times, interpretation might be simultaneously required along with translation, whereas some organizations might have need for special interpreting services. Translation relates to the translation of the written word, in web content or in documents, whereas interpretation involves dealing with the language orally. With both the services, it is possible to bridge the communication gap between countries.

Significance of the service
There are many countries in the world which are the center of political and economic activities. These cities house various people from different countries of the world, all having their own languages. With the help of a translating service, different businesses can communicate even if they are not familiar with each other’s language. Businessmen who are trying to either sell or buy products or even a service in a foreign nation will surely realize the significance of such a service.

Why free software may not work
Many people are under the false impression that this being the age of computers and hi tech software, it is quite easy to get their professional documents or text translated into the foreign language of their choice. However, the important point here is that the translation is to be done very accurately; otherwise it could present your organization in a bad light. Though there is a lot of free software available on the internet for translation, it may not provide you with an accurate result. If you will go for paid software even it is not exactly possible for you to generate proper results in translation.

For instance, if you wish to translate a medical or a legal document or you want to design your website in different languages in order to promote your product or service in foreign territories, the literal translation of a language into another may not quite bring about the right meaning, and most often, it turns out to be quite confusing to the reader. It is, therefore, important to find and make use of a professional agency for translating your content in order to ensure that the work is read and understood as it was originally intended to be. To effectively explore your business in the world market, it is important to hire professional services, so that the actual sense and the meaning of the original document is not twisted or misrepresented in any way.

Field specific translation
The translation service offers services in various fields, such as legal, medical, business brochures and so on. Some of the agencies also undertake translations for articles and technical content along with their interpretation services. With the latter service, you will be able to successfully communicate with any clients, no matter what country they belong to. They completely go through the document and edit and proof read it, so that there is no margin for error. Native speakers with professional experience are employed for interpretation and translation work. They are also well qualified in the particular field and have specific industry knowledge. Apart from this, a translation service also uses the state-of-the-art software and hardware with other memory tools in order to record 100% accuracy and to get better results.

(*) John Brad is a guest blogger writing educational content for Blitranslations, a division of The Boston Language Institute, offers a full range of services from foreign professional language translation service and interpreting services to multilingual website and desktop publishing.

The Challenging Effect of Social Media on Education

Can technology-driven social media impact our education system? Yes, is the answer offered by Praveen K Panjiar.

Photo by mark rahejaon Flickr

With help of platforms and social media tools, students nowadays are collaborating on world-challenging projects, and educators are bringing expert lecturers to their classrooms via social media. Edtech teachers are creating lessons and developing new instructional strategies every day through social media platforms.

However, even when the rise of social networking(the most pervasive use of social media) has made it easier for people to stay connected, still some worry that the need for up-to-the-minute updates is negatively impacting a younger generation’s ability to mature socially and could be stunting academic growth.

This pervasive use of social media is being debunked by Daniel Clark. Moving beyond the pros and cons of the impact of social media in education, Clark assess visionary Douglas Adams on the sinister impact of the Internet over society:

"Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it --- Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really. (Adams, 1999)"

Adams, writes Clark, claimed this could be applied to any innovation, from the wheel onwards.

This conception has a tremendous impact on the way we live on the Internet today. For anyone under 30, online communication, sharing content, self-publishing and collaboration are not state of the art technology, they are processes seen simply as normal.

After explaining what is to be understood as social media and social media in education, Clark says we need to start adapting to this new learning environment on three phases: Support for educators (blogging, Edublogawards, TeacherTube, Twitter), delivery of content (MIT's OpenCourseWare, iTunesU, Khan Academy), and social learning (Facebook, Google+, blogs, LinkedIn, and YouTube).

Two of the most important conclusions to which Daniel Clark has arrived are:

Despite increasing use of social media by educators, the approach of most educational institutions still seems very “industrial media”, with timetabled classes, an emphasis on learning delivery in person and by printed books, transmission from educator to students and much assessment being by written exams. No doubt this will take time to change, but we can begin with small steps and small-scale experiments.

As with all new technologies, it is impossible to predict what those implications will be in any detail. However, they are likely to include greater transparency, more involvement from students, including opportunities for live collaboration and learning in small, on-demand pieces rather than in a logical, sequential structure.
Should we expect to have a different school system in the future due to social media?

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Milton Ramirez

How MOOCs Benefit Higher Education

By Kate Wilson *

MIT spends around $10,000 to add a new course to its popular OpenCourseWare site, a site which already contains 2,000 courses. Likewise, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Texas, and Berkeley have all invested a significant amount of money and resources into offering MOOCs  (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by top schools have the potential to revolutionize the way people learn and make a world-class education available to everyone. However, these universities aren't necessarily just offering their courses to the world out of the sheer kindness of their hearts. There are quite a few ways getting involved in MOOCs benefits universities.

Photo by bbcamericangirl on Flickr.

First and foremost, providing courses to the public for free is an excellent way for universities to market themselves. The more people who take courses from MIT online, the better it is for MIT's reputation. If people in Manila and Moscow are taking engineering or IT courses from MIT, and those courses are truly benefiting them, MIT will easily establish itself as an international leader in online education. Universities that are already considered prestigious can become even more prestigious if they offer exceptional courses to online users.

Another important benefit of getting involved in the MOOC movement is that it allows universities to be at the forefront of an educational revolution that will inevitably come. The internet and technology are making the classroom seem a lot less important, as educational leaders continue to create online resources that bring us closer to a world in which an affordable, high quality online college education exists.

There's no telling whether or not college classrooms will become obsolete, but it's doubtful that technology won't continue to alter the way higher education functions. Universities that are getting involved in MOOCs and other online educational endeavors now are going to stay ahead of the curve when the revolution comes.

Offering MOOCs also provides another advantage to universities. Recently, there have been a few articles highlighting how high schools are using the MOOCs offered by top universities to give advanced students an edge before they head off to college. If high school students are able to use MOOCs to learn the basics of computer programming or engineering before they leave for college, higher education institutions will end up with more skilled, knowledgeable students on their campuses whose potential for innovation is limitless.

MOOCs are definitely a good thing–both for online users and higher education. It'll definitely be interesting to see what top universities do over the next few years to increase access to MOOCs and improve their overall quality. The future of MOOCs is uncertain, but it seems pretty bright. It just makes sense for universities to get on board.

(*) Kate Willson is a professional writer and blogger. Well-versed in all topics pertaining to e-learning, Kate frequently contributes to top online education sites. Please leave your comments and questions for Kate below!

Most Profitable Career Habits You Should Start in Higher Ed

At its best, college can often feel like a Never Never Land of fun, friends, and “the life of the mind.” Though we hesitate to burst that glorious sheltered bubble, it is unfortunately true that the transition out of college and into adult life can be a rocky one. Those students who begin to develop mature, self-directed working habits (above and beyond what’s required for a decent GPA) before they graduate are the ones who stand the best chance of easing their way into the working world without difficulty. Here are 15 lessons that are better learned the easy way, while still in the ivory tower, rather than as crash courses in the School of Hard Knocks.

  1. Keep a planner and calendar.

    Your calendar provides the backbone of your life. When you’re a teenager or young adult, there are periods when it might seem like you have few enough obligations that you can keep them in your head and still not miss appointments. All that means is, it’s the best possible time to begin off-loading those commitments onto a calendar. Get in the habit of using it consistently, and your unscheduled time will be even more care-free.
  2. Divide your time into blocks.

    This is the true secret to getting work finished instead of procrastinating (while you simultaneously freak out about how much you have left to do). Slow and steady wins the race. The Pomodoro Technique is one way, but longer chunks of an hour or two might work better for you. Work long enough to accomplish something, but not so long you burn out. Then reward yourself by doing something else (also for a set amount of time).
  3. Know when to “just say no.”

    We’re not referring here to drug or alcohol addictions, which you should address without shame or hesitation as soon as you suspect you might have one. Even healthy partiers can be tempted to overdo it in college. Nor is peer pressure always sinister; your friends can be well-meaning and still talk you into bad decisions, like playing Wii games all night when you have a paper due. Enjoy your social life but draw the line when you must.
  4. Don’t rely on all-nighters.

    Some people take pride in the fact that they can knock out an assignment in a single night’s work fueled by pressure and adrenaline. But it helps instill bad habits that don’t transfer well at all to the working world — and operating without sleep doesn’t get any easier on your body as you age.
  5. Set a regular bedtime, at least on weekdays.

    Recent research suggests that keeping a steady bedtime is an important factor for your health. Work with your regular circadian rhythms, not against them.
  6. Eat the most important meal of the day.

    That’s right, this important career habit is part of this balanced breakfast! Even if you’re more the type to roll out of bed and walk to class in pajamas, make the effort to hit the cafeteria first. Eating breakfast improves cognitive performance and gives you more energy for your day.
  7. Get a real apartment.

    Living in the dorms is great, but for at least one out of four years you ought to try getting your own place with a roommate or two. It will teach you all kinds of life lessons (often the hard way, of course) so you’ll be that much more ahead when you depart academia entirely.
  8. Learn how to shop for groceries.

    This is one reason to get your own pad. Learning to cook gives you a skill that will pay off for life, both financially and health-wise. The goal should be to shift your consumption as much as possible from takeout and packaged foods to ingredients you buy and prepare yourself, and the key to that is to have as wide as possible a repertoire of recipes with which you’re comfortable.
  9. Try taking on a side job.

    Many people have no choice in the matter and must work steadily to pay for school. Others are luckier and have support from parents, scholarships, or loans. But it’s still good to have beer money, and even if you don’t need the paychecks, it’s good to get comfortable with the idea of having a part-time gig for extra savings (or to pay off debt).
  10. Stay (or get) in shape; it will never be this easy again.

    Seriously, it won’t. Chances are you have access to a well-equipped and convenient gym, as well as intramural sports and other physical pastimes. Take advantage of it, and of your metabolism in its prime.
  11. Start regular check-ups while you’re still young and healthy.

    As with diet and exercise, annual physicals and biannual dental cleanings are lifelong preventive habits that will keep you in prime fighting condition to focus on your other ambitions. The days of young people going without health insurance are over. We all need to take responsibility for our own wellness, both for our own sake and each others’.
  12. Don’t count on extensions or incompletes.

    At most colleges, you can get away with a lot of unprofessional shenanigans that would never fly in the real world. Don’t take advantage of that unless you absolutely have to, because otherwise you’ll be depriving yourself of good habits that you’ll need later, when the authority figures in your life will be less indulgent.
  13. Maintain contacts and never burn bridges.

    Speaking of staying on your professors’ good sides, begin building relationships that can help you achieve your dreams. Within reason, do your best never to leave anyone with a bad taste in their mouths, whether exes or ex-bosses. For better or worse, interpersonal karma has its ways of playing itself out.
  14. Keep an organized file cabinet.

    Paper may seem outmoded, and you can always scan everything and back it up, but you’ll feel more comfortable keeping hard copies of anything you think you might want to have handy later. Buy a cabinet you won’t hate to use, and sort through it regularly, dividing everything into intuitive categories and tossing out what’s outdated or not needed.
  15. Do chores like clockwork.

    Every boy’s dorm room (some girls of course, but especially the guys) tends to boast the same topographical feature: a heaping, dirty mountain of laundry. Chores aren’t so bad if you have a routine you stick to; schedule an odd few hours to do laundry when you don’t have class (preferably a weekday afternoon when you won’t be competing with many others). The same goes for other chores, especially if you’re off campus; you can also prevent a lot of roommate fights and resentment if you have a clear and workable system.
Despite all this sage advice, college is a great time to goof around, and you don’t want to forget to have fun; in fact you should consider that a major priority at this stage of your life. But do your best to exercise some conscious control over your own growth and development now, so you can avoid a rude awakening later. Put this virtuous self-programming into effect before life forces you to, and your 20s will be a piece of cake!.

This is a cross-post from

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Milton Ramirez
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