Book Review: Savvy Cyberkids at Home

The Savvy Cyber Kids At HomeThe Savvy Cyber Kids At Home

by Ben Halpert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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It’s not often I find a successful fiction book that explains complicated adult ideas to children. The last one was Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure, a creative story that introduces math concepts like Pi, circumference and radius to young children. I’m not a math teacher, but I can relate that to computer concepts I teach to kindergarten and younger. As with geometry, it’s difficult to explain the concept of ‘internet safety’ to the newest users. Unlike geometry, it must be done as soon as they pick up a mouse and lock their eyes onto the glowing, scintillating screen. Every month, more and more children, younger and younger, play on websites like Jumpstart, Clifford and NickJr. They–of course–trust the adults who love them to keep them safe. Now, we have a tool to do that. Read more »

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How to Create a Tagxedo

Tagxedos are an excitingly versatile tool that turn words into pictures. They’re word clouds–like Wordle, but more powerful. You can use them to share ideas, collect descriptive words and phrases about events, or evaluate the import of a website. Click here for a review of the webtool and over fifteen uses in your classroom.

We used Tagxedos this summer in Summer PD and I created this how-to video for students. Watch it–if you haven’t used Tagxedos before, you will fall in love with them.

Here are Sara’s thoughts over at Teachers and Technology, and Hardy Leung shares 101 ways to use it.

More video training:

How to Embed Student Work into Digital Portfolios

How to Teach a Tech Lesson–the Movie

How to Set up a Class Internet Start Page–the Movie


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and a wide variety of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor toTeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.

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27 Halloween Sites for your Students

Here’s a short list of fun Halloween websites for your students. Enjoy!ascii art

Websites:

  1. Ben & Jerry
  2. Billy Bear’s
  3. Carving Pumpkins
  4. Enchanted Learning
  5. Funschool
  6. Halloween games, puzzles–clean, easy to understand website and few ads!
  7. Halloween ghost stories
  8. Meddybemps Spooky
  9. Pumpkin Toss
  10. Signing Halloween–a video
  11. Skelton Park
  12. The Kidz Page

Apps:

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Categories: holidays, websites | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Embed Student Work into Digital Portfolios

With the education spotlight on sharing and publishing, students need to be able to take a project they’ve created and place it in their blogs, websites, or another location that shares their work with others. Often, this starts with an embed code.

Here’s a video I created for my Summer PD students on how to embed a project:

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A Day in the Life of a Tech Teacher

teacher-359311_640I love summer. I sit at home, reading, researching, chatting with friends. I make my own schedule, own my own time, start and finish a project without interruptions.

That is a massive high to me.

Why? I’m a tech teacher. That is like a geek+. I teach–yes–but I’m also the first line of defense (sometimes offense) for colleagues as they struggle to use the digital devices populating their classrooms. From the moment I step foot on campus, life spins out of my control. Here’s a typical day–does it sound familiar:

6:45    arrive at school

6:47    a student enters to use lab

6:48   I greet student with a friendly hi and begin work on a lesson plan

6:49    Student asks for help

7:00   Student finishes and leaves; I return to my lesson plan

7:02   Frantic teacher calls–her computer won’t boot up. She came in early to work and now what’s she supposed to do can I come right away?

7:03   I arrive in teacher classroom to help

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Columbus Day

columbus dayColumbus Day, which is annually on the second Monday of October (this year, October 13th), remembers Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and a wide variety of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.

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9 Field Trips Free to Students

Kids love field trips. They’re out of the classroom, get to travel by bus with lots of kids and not enough adults. What’s not to like?

A few items come to mind: Cost, staffing, potential for disaster. And that’s just off the top of my head. There’s a way to provide the field trip experience with few of the risks, no cost, and a fraction of the time away from what is likely an overstuffed education day:

Virtual Field Trips, via the internet.

There are so many options  for real-time webcams, conversations with experts (via Skype and Google Hangout), and the opportunity to visit locations that are otherwise inaccessible that classes have embraced this new approach to seeing the world. This enthusiasm has encouraged a cottage industry that often is far from the exciting, realistic experience teachers want for their students. When I search the internet, it seems any site with a camcorder and multimedia resources calls itself a ‘virtual field trip’. Truthfully, many of them are a waste of time. Sure, I like the pictures and the movies, but I don’t feel like I’m there, immersed in history or geography, with a life-changing experience that will live in my memory for decades to come.

Intellectually, I know there are good ones out there. Finally, after wearing through my favorite virtual shoes, I have a list to recommend. These next nine virtual field trips cover topics from geology to history to the human experience. See what you think:

360 Cities

What’s not to love about a website that starts:

Welcome to Earth! It’s a planet having an iron core, with two-thirds of its surface covered by water. Earth orbits a local star called the Sun, the light of which generates the food supply for all the millions of species of life on earth. The dominant species on Earth is the human being, and you’re one of the six billion of them! Humans have iron in their blood, and their bodies are composed of two-thirds water, just like the planet they live on.

Enjoy your stay, and try to stay calm.

360 Cities contains the Internet’s largest collection of uploaded panoramic images. Let’s pause here for a moment. Panos–those wide pictures that cover up to 180 degrees left and right. Right?

360 Cities does panos differently. Let me show you. Here’s one from my iPad:

Here’s one on 360 Cities:

http://www.360cities.net/image/tunis-coliseum-upper-level-tunisia
Coliseum. 1st floor in Tunisia

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How to Teach a Tech Lesson–the Movie

I get lots of questions on how to deliver a tech class. What’s included? How do teachers blend it with other learning? How do you answer all the student questions?

Here’s a video with the answers to those questions and more. I’d love to hear how your tech class runs–add a comment at the bottom:

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Categories: classroom management, Computer skills, Videos | Tags: | Leave a comment

Humor that Inspires–for Teachers! Part V

funny quotesIf you liked the last Humor that Inspires (Part 1, and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4), here are more to kick-start your day:

  1. “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.”
    – A Yale University management professor in response to student Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
  2. “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
    – H. M. Warner (1881-1958), founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927
  3. “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
    – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962
  4. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
    – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
  5. “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
    – Mark Twain (1835-1910)
  6. “A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood.”
    – General George S. Patton (1885-1945)
  7. “After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”
    – Cato the Elder (234-149 BC, AKA Marcus Porcius Cato)
  8. “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”
    – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
  9. “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
    – last words of Pancho Villa (1877-1923)
  10. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) Read more »
Categories: humor | Tags: | 2 Comments

New School Year? New Tech? I Got You Covered

problem solvingIt’s a new school year. This year, you have laptops, Chromebooks, a pod of desktops, and a cart of iPads. Your IT folk will do their best to support you, but you know–without a doubt–it will fall on your shoulders when the lesson is about to start and the computers don’t work.

Before you say words students shouldn’t hear, try these six quick solutions. You can even teach them to students:

Is Power on?

When you’re talking to tech folk, their first question always centers around whether your computer system is getting power. Surprisingly, this is often why it doesn’t work–I know, who would guess? Clear this as a reason before moving on by making sure all the working pieces are getting the power they need. Here’s a checklist:

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Categories: problem solving, tech tips | Leave a comment