MTI 562 starts in one week–Monday, June 5th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 562 and click for more information and to sign up.[gallery type="square" ids="52726,52727,52728,52729,52730,52731,52732"]
It’s summer, time for teachers to recharge their cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like ISTE and NEA to learn how the heck to integrate technology into their lesson plans. If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what you should bring. That’s a fair question considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. These days, you might be asked to scan a QR code and visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter. Besides a toothbrush and aspirin, what should you take to your upcoming conference? Here are five tools that will make you look and act like the Diva of Digital:
Besides a toothbrush and aspirin, what should you take to your upcoming conference? Here are five tools that will make you look and act like the Diva of Digital:
Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees, your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Bring the latest version of Google Maps on your smartphone or iPad, complete with audio directions. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions, and Siri (the voice behind the iPhone) will lock into your GPS and hold your hand the entire way. If friends are looking for a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts near the conference, Google Maps will find one. If you want Chinese, use an app like Yelp to find one patrons like (although I’m becoming a tad leery about Yelp. Anyone have a good alternative?)
Most educational conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are manipulating a digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straightforward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.
This summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:
- Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
- Tech-infused Class
- Teach Writing with Tech (closed–only open for groups of five)
- 20 Webtools in 20 Days (for groups interested in learning webtools from the Structured Learning curriculum)
- the Differentiated Teacher (college credit)
Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit.
If you’re still wondering whether to sign up for one of the Ask a Tech Teacher Summer Learning classes, here are the Top Ten Reasons to do that:
10. Tech ed is a change agent. You like change.
9. You’ll have a bunch of tech ed skills you can now say ‘I know how to do that’. Like TwitterChats. And Google Hangouts. And screencasts.
8. Your school will pay for it of you promise to teach colleagues–or show the videos.
7. Many of these webtools are candidate-driven. You tell us what works best for you in achieving the class goals; we’ll adapt to you.
6. You want to meet new people.
5. You’re technophobic, but lately feel like teaching without technology is like looking at a landscape through a straw: You’re missing a lot. You want to change that.
4. You want personalized help. With all AATT Summer Learning classes, you get as much time as you need with the instructor to mentor and coach–even on topics not included in the syllabus.
3. Technology in education is the greatest show on earth. Well, at least in the classroom. You want to be part of it.
2. You get CEUs (Continuing Education Units)–between 18 and 24 hours, depending upon the class you select (where applicable). You also get a Certificate listing all the activities you completed.
1. Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Education’s fix requires technology. You’re ready for a new level of thinking.
Teachers have known for decades that ‘summer learning loss’ is a reality. Studies vary on how much knowledge students lose during the summer months–some say up to two months of reading and math skills–and results are heavily-dependent upon demographics, but the loss is real.
To prevent this, teachers try approaches such as summer book reports, but students complain they intrude on their summer time. When teachers make it optional, many don’t participate. The disconnect they’re seeing is that students consider these activities as ‘school’ rather than ‘life’. They haven’t bought into the reality that they are life-long learners, that learning is not something to be turned on in the schoolhouse and off on the playyard.
This summer, show students how learning is fun, worthy, and part of their world whether they’re at a friend’s house or the water park. Here are nineteen suggestions students will enjoy:
- Youngers: Take a picture of making change at the store. Share it in a teacher-provided summer activity folder (this should be quick to use, maybe through Google Drive if students have access to that). Kids will love having a valid reason to use Mom’s smartphone camera.
- Any age: Take a picture of tessellations found in nature (like a beehive or a pineapple). Kids will be amazed at how many they find and will enjoy using the camera phone. Once kids have collected several, upload them to a program like Shadow Puppets where they can record audio notes over the picture and share with friends.
- Any age: Pit your math and technology skills against your child’s in an online math-based car race game like Grand Prix Multiplication. They’ll know more about using the program and will probably win–even if you do the math faster. You might even have siblings compete.
- Grades 2-5: Set up a summer lemonade stand. Kids learn to measure ingredients, make change, listen to potential customers, and problem-solve. If you can’t put one up on your street, use a virtual lemonade stand.
- Any age: If your child wants to go somewhere, have them find the location, the best route, participation details, and other relevant information. Use free online resources like Google Maps and learn skills that will be relevant to class field trips they’ll take next year.
I know a lot of bloggers who are both geeks and authors. Often, their books including those techie topics I love to read (and ended up critical to my recently-published novel, Twenty-four Days). Here are a few I think you might like:
- Digital Dick — an AI takes it upon himself to solve the murder of his creator
- Little Computer People — an AI takes an interesting turn as she attains sentience
- Hyperion Web — Jack Crockett and an AI named Moses fight for what may be the soul of America.
- Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1st-5th
- How You Can Make Homework Easier for Students
- Summer Tech Camp–Everything You Need
- 21 Great Websites and Apps for Earth Day
- A new resource guide from Kiddom: Standards-based Grading for ELA and Social Studies
- Understanding By Design — What’s That Even Mean?
- Visit My New Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Store!
- 27 Websites for Poetry Month
- 8 Websites For Financial Literacy Month
- Summer Professional Development from Ask a Tech Teacher
In response to extensive interest from readers, Ask a Tech Teacher will be offering four Summer Learning Certificate classes with 18-24 CEUs:
June 19th through August 6th
3-4 weeks, lots of resources and hands-on help[gallery type="slideshow" ids="55725,55759,55483,55621,55482,55617,55484,55620,55473,55619,55758"]
To help you make your decision, I want to share the most common questions I’ve gotten regarding sign ups:
Q: What is the cost to register?
The full program is $229. If you sign up by April 30th, you can enroll a friend for free. If you sign up with a group of 5, it’s $750 ($150 for each person). You can enroll through the PayPal button on the website or with a school PO.
Q: I don’t know which class to take.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- If you want a broad overview of integrating technology into your classroom, start with The Tech-infused Teacher. Follow that with the sequel, The Tech-infused Classroom (offered sequentially) if you have time.
- If you took The Tech-infused Teacher last year and loved it, take The Tech-infused Classroom. It’s the sequel and lets you dig deeper into what you learned last year.
- If you’re looking for specific help on tech tools, take 20 Webtools in 20 Days. This covers webtools teachers use most often in their classes, or want to use.
- If you’re looking for help specifically with using technology to add creativity and zing to your writing lessons, take Teach Writing with Tech.
Q: What if I can’t figure out how to use some of the tools during the classes? I’m not very techie.
Email the instructor at askatechteacher at gmail dot com throughout the week and/or bring up your question at the weekend Google Hangout. That’s what this class is for–to get you comfortable with tech tools you want to use in your class. We’ll even set up a separate GHO with you to walk you through it. Plus, you can chat with classmates through the Discussion Forum. They’ll be able to share personal experiences they’ve had with the tools.
Q: Who are the teachers for this PD? And what are their qualifications?
The Master Teacher is Jacqui Murray. She’s been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years and K-16 for 35 years. She’s an adjunct professor as well as a Master Teacher. She’s the author/editor of over a hundred tech-in-ed resources including a K-8 tech curriculum that’s used throughout the world. She will be joined as needed by other teachers from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew.
Q: I want to sign up with several other teachers from my school. Is there a group discount available?
Absolutely! Use the group button on the sign-up page ($750). That will give you five enrollments for $150 each. Great discount!
From Ask a Tech Teacher
Are you teaching a Summer Tech Camp to Kids? We have the solution:
Build Your Own Adventure
$230 value for $179
- 169 Tech Tip #116–How to Take Screenshots
- 169 Tech Tip #115–Three-click Rule
- Bring an expert to your classroom for Black History Month
- Edit and Share Videos Like a Rock Star
- How Tech is Part of my Education, Through the Eyes of a Student
- How to Prepare for the SAT Essay
- How to Use Google Apps
- Touch Typing Basics from KidzType (an infographic)
- What’s a Digipuzzle?
- What parents should ask teachers about technology
No 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
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.
- 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.