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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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An Exercise on Conversation Analysis Theory

This only an exercise but as Wagner (2013) has stated and beyond all transcription conventions, all processes related will be subject to problems like the existent writing systems such as the Chinese language, as an example. The multilingual data when there is a pronunciation variance and accent. The presentation of only excerpts of transcriptions ignoring interlinear and idiomatic translations usually found as written resources. And finally, use of appropriate register on multimodal issues such as gaze, gesture, posture and even space.

Below is the translation of the conversation sequence taken from the TV Show Greek Season 2 Episode 5.

Cassy: Are you not having fun?
Max: No! I was going to say. I… I haven't been on a date since Sarah died and I didn't realize I’d be this weird. I am sorry.
C: It’s fine Max. Do you want to talk about it?
M: I don’t know. I think a first date conversation about my dead girlfriend might be a little heavy.
C: Heavy? I love heavy.
M: Ok. Ahh... Well, she grew up in Illinois...
C: Just like me. What was her major?
M: Philosophy.
C: That’s so interesting!
M: That’s not like she wanted to be a philosopher. She wished she wanted to help people. She thought, by studying how various cultures are fundamentally different in the way few live, then she’ll be able to interact more efficiently with them. She wanted to join the Peace Corps, and just travel the world doing whatever she could to make it a better place. She was a kind of a Buddhist that way.
C: Sure. That’s great! Yeah...
M: I feel pretty good!
C: See? Not too heavy at all. Right?
M: If Sarah were here right now, she’ll say: Ok you dork, stop talking about me, Sir. Talking to your date! So, tell me Cassy, what’s on your mind?
C: Well, actually, this girl Fanny, she stole my parking spot at the house. She and I had this whole ... You know what …. never mind. It's so not important.
Do you have drinks or something? Are you thirsty? Because I'm dying.
I am dying of thirst. [so nervous]
M: Ok. I’ll get us a couple of beers.

If you are interested in continuing the research of transcription with conversation analysis (CA) these resources may help you.

Jenks, C. J. (2011). Transcribing and Interaction: Issues in the representation of communication data. Amsterdam, NLD: John Benjamins Publishing Co. Retrieved from

Joseph, B. D. (2003). The Editor’s Department: Reviewing our contents. Language, 79(3), 461–463.

Sidnel, J. (2016). Conversation Analysis. Linguistics, Oxford Research Encyclopedia, pp. 1-19.

Wagner, J. (2013). Conversation Analysis and Transcription Data. In C. A Chapel (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp.1-8). Blackwell Publishing.

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Funds and Participation to Move Beyond the Government Policies

The mere fact of speaking of change scares us away and put on the defensive more than one. I’ve had the opportunity to work in the private business in management for several years and know firsthand what innovation means. The word as such belongs not even to education, is a  borrowed term which belongs either to of economics, business, entrepreneurship, design, technology, sociology, or engineering. While they, in this case  education officials , talk about innovation, the first thing to consider is to decide based on what we are going to implement innovations.

And that is where the educational structure leaves much to be desired. While the industry invests huge amounts of money for research and development, money is almost nonexistent for education other than non-government resources. One wonders why this happens. Since the education as an institution of change was created in the Greek era, this discipline, although it was used to educate the children of monarchs, was performed by slaves in the service to the empire. That scourge has not been eliminated and today, in almost every country worldwide, an individual with a doctor’s degree in education neither has the prestige nor receives the same money as an individual with a doctor’s degree in medicine.

Then, first thing we should do is obtain the money and government funds to carry out independent research. In this information-linked society we are pretty much able to see the limitations of our imaginations, and better able to make clear-eyed  transformations. Once we know scientifically the flaws in the system we can start thinking of innovation. The reforms to which we are accustomed to obey government  and political party slogans, do not always respond to technical research factors. Hence the same program receives small changes and it is renamed it, they  are still  thinking of the absolute goodness of the tests and want to make teachers accountable to a system where they do not even take any policy decision.

I have to resort to a book I read carefully. It is written by Clayton Cristensen, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Taking a clue from Bill Gates’ 2005 critique of the American school system, Clayton applies his  theory of disruptive innovation to a much-needed evolution in the educational technologies, offering new opportunities and challenges for a system based on the business principles. After all, who with national authority has been able, at least,  to collect empirical data to proclaim that the proposed reform as it is, offers chances of maintaining the status quo.

If we refer to Biology, for example, evolution is a continuous process of attaining perfection through small steps. This is how creativity and innovation work. There must be an environment to experiment and create without too much overhead. The time from the conception of an idea to its birth must be short. This is the basic idea behind innovation in technology, which can be borrowed by education. Arun Ravindran is a computer scientist and he believes that: “The real secret of innovation is in making prototyping, experimenting, iterating or whatever you call it, cheap.”

What I am saying may seem like another set of words than we have already been heard. It is possible. But it is my vision of what innovation entails. Two people who I greatly respect have raised their concerns about the danger of wandering without concrete proposals. One is Steven W. Anderson, also known as @web20classroom.  He recommends us for example, “Educators have to reach out and add voices to the chorus. Get to your parents, make them an ally. Talk to your community. Make them a partner. It is easy for policy makers to ignore educators. (Frankly, they do it all the time.) But when we add local business, parents, community leaders, it gets that much tougher for them ignore. We have to quit thinking that parents and the community are the enemy. Schools were once centers of our community. We have to get back to that. Separated, we are weak. Together we are strong.”

There are several voices I have not had the opportunity to hear, but these two are the ones I am in touch with. Dr. Jeff Goldstein, who goes by  @doctorjeff on Twitter , is the other person. He has rightly called for a cessation of oratory and a shift in the way that educators need to be heard. The two education professionals have a lot to do with what Irving Wladawsky-Berger, one of the key innovators at IBM, presented to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) back in 2007: To raise concern about changes in education (pdf)we have to foster collaboration among leaders in education, business and government . We have to expand participation of underrepresented groups in all fields, especially those essential to America’s development and competitiveness. Attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world, and enhance the quality of education-through community members’ ongoing research.

I was doing an initial search for material on the topic of innovation in education and what I found is really little. Again, there is not research. If social support is not present for children and their families to buffer the consequences of poverty and other problems, even with the implementation of school reform proposals, educational success is highly unlikely. I think one of reasons we look for innovation is that this society has to be remove from the relative poverty in which this economic system has all immersed. But unfortunately there is no recipe, no book that tells us how to innovate. Or maybe we should continue with the utopia of innovation with little or no money, as Ravindran suggested.

Every step toward change and innovation therefore aims to prompt debate around the nature, purpose and tools that may promote innovative practice in schools. Of course, any discussion of innovation in education necessarily opens up a host of related debates, from debates on the nature of curriculum and assessment, to debates on the identity and role of teachers and communities, to discussions about the relationship between changing research and practice in teaching and learning. We cannot begin to address all of these issues here, but we leave the discussion open enough to influence others so they can take the lead.

New practices, no matter how small they are, tend to expand our vision of education. Teachers are obliged to get into the culture of continuous and daily innovation; if we do that there will be changes in the educational policies of each country. Remember though, that innovation leads to mistakes and we must be prepared.

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