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 Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is a teacher, tech 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 a blogger and I'd written a post about education almost everyday since 2003. Education & Tech provides you with education news, expert tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

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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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