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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Why Most 'Terrific Teachers Often Have Teeth Marks on Their Tongues'?

Education officials keep pushing for the idea that standards drive our instruction. In this context there is a wide debate about the Common Core Standards and how a 'prescripcion' will work for every student in the U.S.

We all need to keep innovating, even in education. And if you happen to be in the classroom, then there is a chance you have planted the seed that in time would be watered by another teacher, without knowing yet another colleague is going to reap the harvest. In education there is not a formula for everything. Or at least that's what "the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores", Alfie Kohn thinks.

On one of his most recent contribution to the The Washington Post, he answers with a 12 points guideline the question some business/politician people in power, have to respond: Do we really need education policies and practices to cover everything that goes on in the classroom?

    1. Learning should be organized around problems, projects, and (students’) questions – not around lists of facts or skills, or separate disciplines.
    2. Thinking is messy; deep thinking is really messy. Therefore beware prescriptive standards and outcomes that are too specific and orderly.
    3. The primary criterion for what we do in schools: How will this affect kids’ interest in the topic (and their excitement about learning more generally)?
    4. If students are 'off task,' the problem may be with the task, not with the kids.
    5. In outstanding classrooms, teachers do more listening than talking, and students do more talking than listening. Terrific teachers often have teeth marks on their tongues.
    6. Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.
    7. When we aren’t sure how to solve a problem relating to curriculum, pedagogy, or classroom conflict, the best response is often to ask the kids.
    8. The more focused we are on kids’ 'behaviors,' the more we end up missing the kids themselves – along with the needs, motives, and reasons that underlie their actions.
    9. If students are rewarded or praised for doing something (e.g., reading, solving problems, being kind), they’ll likely lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.
    10. The more that students are led to focus on how well they’re doing in school, the less engaged they’ll tend to be with what they’re doing in school.
    11. All learning can be assessed, but the most important kinds of learning are very difficult to measure – and the quality of that learning may diminish if we try to reduce it to numbers.
    12. Standardized tests assess the proficiencies that matter least. Such tests serve mostly to make unimpressive forms of instruction appear successful.

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Milton Ramirez

7 Great Free Online Writing Tools for Spirited Writers

By Paige Donahue*

There are many warnings against the internet. Some people make it sound as if the internet can only cause harm to those who use it. However, every day there are more reasons to believe that it's definitely a positive innovation. Distance learning is possible thanks to the world wide web. Information disseminates fast through the help of social networks and blogs. But most importantly, learning is promoted with the help of the different tools provided online.

What's even more amazing is how some of these tools are free. Students and teachers alike will benefit from the free writing tools they can procure anytime, any day.

Sunbathing by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

     1.  Title Capitalization  – How to capitalize titles is one the first things taught to a student. But over the years, it's where students commonly make mistakes. The rules seem to be baffling majority of students. If they find in difficulty in understanding which words should be capitalized, this website does it easily for them. This tool auto-corrects as they type in the text box.

    2.  Pro Writing Aid  – Just by copy-pasting your composition on the text box, you'll be given a thorough analysis of your work. It covers a comprehensive editing scope since it doesn't just deals with grammar but even syntax and spelling. It directly points out mistakes and offers suggestions on how the composition can be improved.

    3.  CSU's Writing Studio  – Colorado State University is free even for those who aren't enrolled in the school. By creating an account, the user can sort through all their writing requirements and helps them organize their materials for each writing project. Other features of this tool are the to-do list, blogs, and personal calendar.

    4.  Read Write Think  – Students are often advised to create an outline first before heading straight into writing. With Read Write Think's Essay Map, users can plot out their ideas. It has an interactive flow chart that will guide the user in plotting out their ideas to create an outline. The website offers other interactive tools that can help students compose poems, improve vocabulary, and analyze stories.

    5.  Easy Essay  – A tool that's used by grade school students and dissertation writers alike, this website aims to make writing easy. It aims to help writers to organize their thoughts. There are prompts that will guide them in the process. Easy Essay is designed to be convenient that's why it can be learned in less than five minutes.

    6.  English Grammar Checker – It instantly analyzes any composition entered in the text box. It doesn't just check grammar but spelling as well. This grammar checker also offers suggestions on what you can do to correct and improve your work.

    7.  Copyediting & Proofreading For Dummies  – If you're looking for a guidebook in writing, this is probably the best one out there. It's the simplest style book out there, because this book aims to be understandable by anyone. It's viewable online without having to register. If you're in need of a quick grammar notes, this is a good tool to check.
The rapid growth of technology can be a scary thing, but once it partners with a great cause it surely creates wonders.

(*) Paige Donahue is a graduate student and a copy editor for a rush essay service. You can reach her on Twitter or visit her blog The Very Last Paige.

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