pe November 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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The Best Education News in 2012 by @LarryFerlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo is one of the most prolific writers about education. Mr. Ferlazzo has published his own books and has a column on the The Answer Sheet which appears regularly on the Washington Post. In his blog he writes about technology and resources for ELL teachers and all the educators community.

Ferlazzo had the wisdom to write this week,  the  best and worst news education on this year. An article worth reading in its entirety. We are republishing only the positive of 2012.

- The courage and success of the Chicago Teachers Union in their seven-day strike. As union President Karen Lewis said, "The key is that we are trying to have people understand that when people come together to deal with problems of education, the people that are actually working in the schools need to be heard. And I think that this has been an opportunity for people across the nation to have their voices heard. And I think we're moving in the right direction."

- Many of the November election results. Idaho voters overturned several measures harmful to students and teachers, the pro-voucher "school reformer" Indiana superintendent of schools was defeated by a teacher, and San Antonio voters approved a tax increase to support an expansion of pre-kindergarten programs. A California Proposition was approved to increase taxes to support schools, and Democrats there gained a "supermajority" in the state legislature. They are already discussing plans to make it easier for local communities themselves to approve taxes for school programs. And, of course, President Obama was reelected. Despite concerns many of us teachers have about his education policies, he was a far better choice than Mitt Romney with his plan for school privatization.

- The State of California released far-reaching recommendations on educator preparation, professional development and evaluation. The California Educator Excellence Task Force Report, called Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State, provides progressive guidelines for many of the major challenges facing schools today and in the future. It was co-chaired by Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond (Disclosure: I was a member of the Task Force's teacher evaluation subcommittee).

- Diane Ravitch starts a blog. Ravitch, the most well-known critic of the so-called "school reform" agenda, documents key developments in education several times a day, and her blog has already received nearly two million visits this year.

- The Mystery Teacher Theater 2000 competition which opened-up a vibrant discussion of the role of Khan Academy in education. Teachers throughout the United States created videos that offered a "critical eye" to Khan's work, and the contest provided an opportunity for widespread and respectful dialogue about the use of Khan videos in schools.

- Major school districts withdrew from federal program to fund merit pay for teachers. Despite the very strong evidence that "pay for performance" is ineffective, the federal government has continued spending money encouraging Districts to initiate this type of compensation plan. Three school districts -- New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee -- had to return their grants because they couldn't reach agreement with the teachers on implementing the program. Umm, you think District officials might want to consult with teachers beforehand?

- Research finds that bribing people can motivate them, but not in the way you think it might. Plenty of research finds that extrinsic motivation generally is not effective over the long-term and for tasks requiring higher-thinking skills. Prof. Armin Falk, however, has now found that if people feel they are not treated fairly, they do get motivated -- to do worse. With luck, educators and education policy-makers will keep this in mind in the classroom and in bureaucratic offices.

- New research finds big problems with use of Value Added Measurement in secondary schools. Two studies find that VAM, a growing tool used to evaluated teacher performance despite much evidence about its inaccuracies, is especially inaccurate in evaluating secondary school teachers.

- The millions of students who had great learning experiences in their schools this year.

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Milton Ramirez

35 Ed Blogs You May Not Know About (But Should)

If you are an teacher, student, parent, or administrator, you should be following education blogs. Why? Simply because blogs are an ever-increasing way to spark ideas, creativity, and innovation. The following list is a compilation of blogs for those interested in education. Written by parents, administrators, businessmen, teachers, and administrators, these blogs stand out with their unique style and excellent content.

While this list isn't comprenhensive --we have left out on pourpose well established names such as Downes, Byrne, Warlick, McLeod, Mayers, Fryer, Davis, Dunn or Jarche -- we are sharing the links that according to our experience are not well known yet.  Here are the selected ones. What are your favorites that are not popular and we've omitted? Share them in the comments section of this story.

Photo courtesy: Learnist

Traditional Elementary Education

1. Teaching Blog Addict

A blog dedicated to educators who want a one-stop shop for all the best education blogs and resources on the Web. They arrange posts by categories, so teachers looking for ideas in a certain subject can find content quickly and easily.

2. The Curricullum Corner

This blog is run by two teachers, and gives instructional tips for teaching lessons that meet the common core standards.

3. The Organized Classroom Blog

The Organized Classroom is a blog primarily for teachers who need help making their classroom functional and efficient. The website offers free resources, tips, and ideas from local teachers.

4. Polka Dotted Teacher

A fun and whimsical education site for teachers who need to add some color and creativity into their classroom. This site is in the style of Dr. Seuss.

5. Educational Advancement

This blog is part of a larger website that is dedicated to helping gifted youth. It focuses on news, information, and other resources for parents and teachers of talented children.

Traditional College

6. Omniac Education

The Omniac blog is for high school students who are planning to go to college. The site gives tips for taking college entrance exams, as well as ideas for maximizing the success rate of college applications.

7. Study Hacks

A computer scientist and published author writes this blog about what makes students successful. He chronicles some of his controversial thoughts on why pursuing your passion is a bad idea and gives tips and hints found in his numerous books.

8. Parents Countdown To College Coach

This blog is mainly for parents who might need some extra help in getting their child off to school. Expect to find advice on how to help your child succeed in college, tips about transitioning to a dorm room, as well as financial aid and application resources.

9. ProfHacker

A blog dedicated to helping educators with their productivity, technology integration, as well as teaching. The latest post is an interesting entry about professionalism on social media, an increasing problem that has only been introduced since the explosion of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

10. Thesis Whisperer

The Thesis Whisperer is a collaboration of writers and students who talk about the process of writing a dissertation. Everything from planning your writing process, tips, presentation ideas, and dealing with your supervisor, is covered in this group-authored blog.

11. Teen College Education

A blog written by both students and educators! Topics include admissions to college, high school tips for maximizing college potential, and how to score well on college entrance exams. It even gives practical advice about how to survive on a student budget and what to do after graduation.

12. University of Venus

The Inside Higher Ed blog is a large site written by numerous authors. It covers everything from technology, to education philosophy, strategies for admissions, and career advice.

13. NextStepU

This blog is associated with the NextStepU magazine. It offers advice about various colleges and degrees, and offers giveaways from time to time. It also has tools like scholarship search and college match.

14. Chegg

This blog is attached to the Chegg website; a student services site for planning and study help. The blog gives advice about finding inexpensive textbooks, study habits, and scholarships.

15. The Ivy Coach

The author of this blog is Bev Taylor, a well-known counselor who is frequently seen on media sites, giving tips about getting into Ivy League schools. Her blog centers on helping students gain entrance into the school of their dream. She also offers herself for hire!

16. Stratedgy

The Stratedgy blog is meant for educators who want to discuss ways to compete in an ever-expanding world of education options.

E-Learning and Edtech

17. Tic Tac Interactive

Tic Tac interactive is Scandinavia’s “leader in digital education” – and their blog features some pretty interesting conversations about education.

18. The Daily Riff

 As provocateur, muse, catalyst and game changer, The Daily Riff will “sniff and sift” through our edu-culture, “curating” news and opinion in quick, digest-sized take-aways for you to use and share. I think that says it all.

19. Beth Knittle

Beth Knittle is a technology integration specialist for a K-12 district and blogs about her learning experiences. She has presented at several major education conferences like MassCUE and EduCon. She has an attached Wiki and a scrupulously organized archive page.

20. Edcomp Blog

A lecturer in Scotland at the University of Strathclyde authors this blog. Check out his blog post on creating memorable passwords for middle school students, or his review of text online adventure games. He writes in short post form, making it an easy blog to read when you are short on time.

21. The Tech Savvy Educator

This blog is a practical guide to technology integration. There are posts about using the iPad in the classroom, how to make an inexpensive green screen, as well as starting up an online book club. The owner and author is Ben Rimes, a K-12 technology specialist in Michigan.

22. The Online Learning Update

The Online Learning Update is a blog about online education news and research. The editor is Ray Schroeder, a University of Illinois professor, and he gathers headlines about university open courseware.

23. E-Learning Queen

Stop at the E-Learning Queen blog and meet the Queen’s assistant, Susan Smith Nash. She humorously names her reader the “queen” of e-learning, since you are reading her site. She focuses on distance learning, e-course design, and social/psychological issues surrounding the online education process.

24. Funny Monkey

Funny Monkey blog is highlights all the news and information related to Funny Monkey, a business dedicated to making educational materials free. In addition to news, the blog also covers major educational issues, technology, and classroom solutions.

25. Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions

Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions blog is about e-learning design. She hosts webinars about the best ways to effectively design e-courses, tools to use, and how to get started.

Education Policies

26. Best of Education Blog

This Best of Education Blog, hosted by the National Education Policy Center, pulls recent posts from various education bloggers. It covers all education issues including teacher unions, curriculum, technology, policy, and even teacher evaluations.

27.  Eduwonk

Sponsored by Bethwether Education Partners, this blog is about education policy and politics. The primary author, Andrew J. Rotherham, served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton, and currently writes the weekly School of Thought column for Time magazine.

28. Thoughts On Education Policy

This blog primarily focuses on urban poverty as it relates to educational policy. The author Corey Bower became frustrated with the education system after trying to teach in an inner city New York school for two years.

29. Edwize

Edwize is a blog for education news and opinion. It focuses on New York schools, teachers, and issues. Be sure to check out the section called New Teacher Diaries- real life stories from New York’s new public school teachers.

30. Education Experts Blog

This blog’s tagline is, "Debating the future of American education." Expect to read posts about politics, testing problems, and other issues plaguing the current educational system.

31. Edspresso

Edspresso’s clever name highlights the focus of this blog- a daily morning shot of the latest education news and reform. It covers headlines and politics as it relates to education and is updated frequently.

32. Successful Schools

Scott Taylor is an assistant superintendent and professor at the University level. His blog is listed on Edudemic’s website as one of the top education blogs that you should follow. His casual conversational style is easy to read and still packs a powerful and profound punch.

33. Campaign K-12

A blog focusing on education and politics. Current posts center around the campaign trail leading up to the US election in November, and how it relates to education policy.

34. Stories From School

Stories from School was labeled as one of the best educational blogs of 2010. It focuses on real life examples and stories of teachers and how they are impacted by the latest educational policy changes.

Learning Techniques

35. Thank You Brain

This blog focuses on ways to improve your ability to memorize. Dr. Bill Klemm is a neuroscientist, education consultant, and professor who chronicles some of his research on this personal blog.

This list first appeared on Open Colleges and we have edited it accordingly.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Milton Ramirez

Is the 'Unfollow' a New Norm on Twitter?

There are fundamentals to be discussed about Twitter. Not as a social media tool but as a research-based tool among educators.

I am on Twitter since 2009, the Year of the Tweet, if you still remember. During al this time it has taken me great deal of time to build the stream I try to read almost daily. That's why I find hard to unfollow all people on my Twitter account.

Everyone at this point has gained some experience using the social network, based on tools or learning on the way while following others so called 'celebrities'. You still can find some social media snobs, too.

But as Dan Shareski states: "There is no recipe, no rule, no formula for doing it right [on Twitter]. Each approach has affordances, advantages and disadvantages. Be thoughtful, intentional, make mistakes, try stuff, change stuff but ultimately own the space and time and way you use the tool. Then stop apologizing."

This was a comment on a post subcribed by Tony Baldasaro where he explains his own reasons to unfollow all his twitter stream, and then refollow only those who really deserve to "pay any attention to".

I share links most than anything on my Twitter feed. I have two ways to reweet: one is automatically and the other is editing the tweet. I also share very little personal info and engage a few times in conversations out of nothing. I don't go on lengthy conversations, 3-5 replies top my replies. And I do follow anyone who advertise as a teacher, and have at least a tweet which I think is worth reading.

As of now I have 8K followers. And haven't performed the respective clean up which consists of unfollowing all users inactive more than 90 days and over. I do not follow educators exclusively. I have other interests, as well.

I concur to Scott McLeod when he writes: "Social networks are like gardens. They require some nurturing and, yes, some pruning now and then. Sometimes they may even be like prairies, requiring a full burn to nurture new, positive growth." In his article Scott explains how he manages two groups on Twitter.

Even though we haven't answered yet whether Twitter is a communications service for friends and groups, a means of expressing yourself freely, or simply a marketing tool, there are some research showing that Twitter will revolutionize academic research and teaching in the short run.

Do not unfollow the people you've decided to follow in the first place. It has to be a good reason to push the unfollow button. Twitter is strong because it covers the selfishness in each one of us (showing the number of followers, and is a place to know and begin great conversations with individual that it'll be impossible in other ways.

Keep it simple. Use Twitter the way if feels right for you, credited to be said by Chris Lehmann.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at . You can share ideas for stories on the Education& Tech.

Milton Ramirez
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