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Author Archives: Jacqui

About Jacqui

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Kiddom now offers personalized curricula, visual reports and more

kiddomIf you’re a fan of Kiddom, the easy way to plan, assess, and analyze learning, you’ll be excited to hear that they added more than 50 features to the new Kiddom 2.0 (see my review of Kiddom). These include:

  • Planning — personalized curriculum to meet the changing needs of students
  • Reports — visualize progress with beautiful analytics that track student performance
  • Student Ownership —  empower students with the ability to track their own progress
  • Customization — customize content, grading, and analytics specific to unique classroom needs
  • Collaboration — amplify information sharing amongst teachers, administrators, parents, and the school community at-large
  • Beautiful Design — a major redesign focused on functionality and usability, based on educator feedback

Kiddom 2.0 is available for free for teachers and students and available for use on the web and for iOS at the Apple App Store.

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169 Tech Tip #120–Why Use Airplane Mode

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #120–Why Use Airplane Mode

Category: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Sub-category: Hardware, Internet

Q: Why would I use airplane mode when I’m not flying?

A:  Airplane mode stops your phone from searching for an internet connection. If you don’t use it on a long flight, you’ll find your battery drained by the time you land because your phone ran through its power searching constantly for a signal that didn’t exist. If you know you aren’t using the internet for a period of time, switch your phone to airplane mode.

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Categories: Classroom management, Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Run a Parent Class

parent-teacher classParents often find technology a roadblock to helping their children with classwork. There are too many geeky tools with too few instructions, and every year, what they thought they understood changes. Like students, they don’t want to sound like Luddites, so they struggle for a while and ultimately give up. With that comes either disinterest or pushback against your efforts to blend tech into learning. Both are dangerous to your teaching goals.

You can solve this by offering tech classes to parents, to teach them either the skills their students are learning or an introduction to tech in their lives. They can be offered while parents are waiting for students to finish after-school activities, as a brown bag lunch program, or online during evenings or weekends via Google Hangout or Skype. Which is best will depend upon the needs and schedules of your parent group. Kick off the program with a poll (use an online platform like Google Forms or PollDaddy, one students use in class) to find out what time works best.

If you find there’s interest, get approval from your administration before going further. There are lots of reasons schools have for NOT offering free classes to parents. Make sure you don’t infringe on any of those before proceeding.

Once you decide to move forward, determine which of two approaches work best for your needs and parent interests:

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Categories: Parents | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tip #119–What to do when Computers are Down?

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #119–What to do when Computers are Down?

Category: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Sub-category: Problem-solving, teaching

Here are six suggestions:

  • discuss digital citizenship
  • build a digital citizen
  • review computer hardware
  • assess student knowledge with a blank keyboard quiz
  • play Tech Challenge
  • play a tech-themed Jeopardy

For more detail, click the full article. For more ideas, check out these articles:

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Categories: Classroom management, Problem solving, Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

What You Might Have Missed in February

tech resourcesHere are the most-read posts for the month of February:

  1. 169 Tech Tip #116–How to Take Screenshots
  2. 169 Tech Tip #115–Three-click Rule
  3. Bring an expert to your classroom for Black History Month
  4. Edit and Share Videos Like a Rock Star
  5. How Tech is Part of my Education, Through the Eyes of a Student
  6. How to Prepare for the SAT Essay
  7. How to Use Google Apps
  8. Touch Typing Basics from KidzType (an infographic)
  9. What’s a Digipuzzle?
  10. What parents should ask teachers about technology

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Subscriber Special: March

Every month, subscribers to Ask a Tech Teacher get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

March 6th- 15th (ten days only):

Get 10% off for early sign-up for Summer Online Professional Development:

20 K8 Tech Curriculum Webtools in 20 Days

Use Coupon Code: SUBSCRIBERSPECIAL

This is priced for a group of five from a school that wants to learn the tools included in their new tech curriculum. Participants in this four-week online class (you can set the dates for your group as long as it ends by July 31st) will explore twenty of the digital tools used in the Structured Learning K-8 Technology Curriculum. These include 20 webtools from the following comprehensive list:

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Categories: Freebies/Discounts, Subscriber special | Leave a comment

13 Ways to Use Canva in Your Classroom

canvaNo one disagrees with the importance of the visual in communicating. The problem usually is creating it. Most teachers aren’t adept at matching colors, picking fonts and font sizes, and then laying everything out artistically. It’s much easier to use text with a few pictures tossed in and leave the artistry for the art teacher. When Microsoft Publisher came out over twenty-five years ago, it was the first major desktop publishing effort to blend layout, colors, and multimedia that was accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, it was (and continues to be) an expensive piece of software not traditionally included in Microsoft’s Office Suite (though that changed with Office 365). That meant MS Publisher skills learned at school were rarely transferrable to a home environment.

Canva changes that. It’s web-based (including apps available for iPads and Chromebooks) with a drag-and-drop functionality that makes the design process simple and intuitive. You can create professional presentations, posters, multi-page documents, marketing materials, social media graphics, and more (see the list below for education) using Canva’s more than 1 million photos, icons, and layouts, each with colors and fonts coordinated into attractive schema easily accessed by both beginners and reluctant designers. There’s no cost when using the thousands of free illustrations and images in the Canva library or uploading your own. For a small fee (usually $1.00), more than one million professional stock images and graphics can be used on a pay-per-use basis.

Educators: Visit Canva for Education to get how-tos, lesson plans, and teacher-oriented advice. One of my favorite features: Student designs can be shared, allowing teachers to view and add comments.

Once a template is selected, many projects can be completed in five minutes:

  • edit text
  • add relevant pictures
  • save/publish

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign in with your Google account or create a separate Canva account (must be 13 or over unless directly supervised by an adult).
  • Select one of the over fifty-six categories such as presentations, posters, greeting cards, infographics, and cover pages.
  • Select a category template that fits the project.
  • Replace text and images.Optionally change colors, size, layering, and more.
  • Save/publish/share.
  • Extras include:
    • themed elements
    • more text
    • more images
    • your own uploaded images

If you have never designed graphically before, start with the free Design School with how-to instructions on many projects and skillsets. There’s even a pithy collection of lesson plans. Follow the directions for the project as you create your own.

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Categories: Publisher/ DTP, Reviews, Teacher resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

3 Augmented Reality Apps to Take Your Lessons to the Next Level

Ask a Tech Teacher guest blogger, Steven Wesley, has some great suggestions for using augmented reality:

augmented realityDay by day, technology is becoming more and more present in our lives. As the time goes by, we tend to rely on technology more and more. A good example would be the kids nowadays. They are becoming tech-savvy from a very young age. Twenty years ago, kids were outside playing games from football to hide-and-seek, today’s kids are becoming too attached to their gadgets. They spend their time playing video games rather than hanging out with their friends.

Technology can be either a curse or a blessing, depending on how we use it. In good hands, it can be directed to the achievement of great purposes. Even so, if we use it in an unfavorable way, it can have a lot of malicious side effects.

Augmented reality is a technology that is gaining more and more popularity. Just remember what a huge hit Pokemon Go was this summer. Even though it’s a new technology, it doesn’t mean that it has to be very expensive. You don’t have to buy expensive glasses, you can just use your smartphone or a tablet for educational purposes.

Let’s take a look at three helpful reality apps. They can make your lessons exciting and beneficial for your students.

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Categories: Education reform, Guest post | 2 Comments

Touch Typing Basics from KidzType

Here’s a comprehensive infographic put together by KidzType. It covers lots of basics from touch typing rules to which-finger-which-key to one that is often forgotten when teaching keyboarding skills: pacing.

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Categories: Keyboarding | Tags: | Leave a comment

Must-have Resources for Blended Learning

Guest blogger, Emily Cleary, has some great ideas on some of her favorite must-have resources for today’s blended learning. She makes some great points about first, why blended learning is becoming so popular, and second, how to make that happen in your life:

Blended learning is becoming increasingly popular as institutions transition from classroom style learning to mixed media and online learning. Both schools and workplaces alike are accepting the shifting times, moving from traditional to technological resources and approaches. The best things about eLearning are likely the flexibility and accessibility that come with online instruction: People can learn about things they are interested in or need help with, at their own pace, on their own time, and from nearly anywhere in the world!

The Internet is a big place – so there are tons of options available when it comes to eLearning resources, and looking up explainer videos and DIY tutorials on YouTube is pretty much a given. The abundance of tools could understandably come off as a bit overwhelming, though. Luckily, some of the most effective elearning resources are listed by category below.

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