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Teacher resources

Great List of EdTech Tools

Alice Keeler is sharing a Google Doc of favorite educator tech tools. It’s crowdsourced, so view, add to it, come away richer thanks to your online colleagues:

Link to the crowdsourced list.


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5 Must-have tools for Ed Conferences

digital note-takingIt’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 questions considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. Now, 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:

Google Maps

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees (ISTE last year had about 15,000), your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Bring the latest version of the Google Maps app 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?)

Conference App

Most educational conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are manipulating digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straight-forward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.


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3 Apps to Prioritize Your Day

Every teacher I know juggles an exhausting teaching schedule with parent conferences, administrative tasks, and specialized student needs. They take work home evenings and weekends and often are forced to choose between family and job when it comes to allocating a finite quantity of time over what surely seems to be infinite needs.

The teachers I know are also positive thinkers. They always start the new school year with a promise to be more organized, work more efficiently, use available tools to complete tasks faster, and prioritize needs.

There’s a problem, though: Where does one start? Scholastic offers a list of one hundred tips, but most require set up time (yikes!)–and worse, non-existent classroom real estate–before they can be used. For my short list, I looked for:

  • a net savings of time
  • a way to quickly accomplish common tasks
  • easy access from digital devices that teachers commonly carry
  • simplicity, so even when my mind is somewhere else (like on the child across the room or the admin peeking in my door), it performs flawlessly

Here are three that meet all of these qualifications:

wazeWaze ( Free

Waze is a free navigation app for GPS-equipped smartphones that bills itself as ‘the largest community-based traffic and navigation app’. It includes spoken turn-by-turn directions and the ability to search for destinations by address, category, place name, or landmark. Thanks to its over fifty million users, Waze gives you real-time crowd sourced reports about which highway is jammed, the location of  accidents, where to find the cheapest gas, and when your friends are arriving at the same destination as you. You can even send an ‘I’m on my way!’ comment to whoever needs to know with a click.


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Summer PD–Questions We’ve Gotten

In response to extensive interest from readers, Ask a Tech Teacher will be offering Summer PD:summer pd

June 22nd through July 11th

3 weeks, 12 Activities, 29 webinars, lots of resources and hands-on help

You can read more here and here. What I want to do today is go over the most common questions I’ve gotten regarding sign ups:

Q: What is the cost to register?

The full program is $247.00. If you can’t make the Saturday Google Hangouts and TweetUps, the basic program is $227.00. You can enroll through the PayPal button on the website or with a school PO. If you attended before, or sign up really fast, you get a 10% discount. Use coupon code:


…when you check out.

If you have a group of five or more attending from your school, you qualify for a 20% discount. Email us for more information (askatechteacher at gmail dot com)

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 or TweetUp.  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.

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 the author/editor of dozens of tech-in-ed books as well as 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! Just email us with your group members at so we set your membership up correctly.


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11 Sites to Teach You How To…

online trainingA wide variety of topics, with one thing in common–they teach you about technology in education:

  1. Common Core training–the Hunt Institute
  2. Common Craft--videos on wikis, phishing, etc.
  3. How-to videos–technology, reading, math, more
  4. How to Videos for Web 2.0
  5. Internet Movie Database
  6. K-8 school-related videos. Tons 
  7. Learn Zillion—teaching videos
  8. Teacher Training Videos   
  9. Teaching Channel
  10. YouTube Education
  11. YouTube Pure—removes comments


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Summer Tech Camp–Everything You Need

summer tech camp

by AATT banner

Summer Tech Camp Survival Kit

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


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Resource Review: Mentoring Minds

mm_logoMentoring Minds is an education publishing company and resource site created by former teachers. Their goal: Critical thinking for life–
” to develop affordable, effective learning tools that help children think critically, giving them the skills to succeed not just in the classroom, but in life.”
Focus is on both teacher and student.
  • Materials enable differentiated instruction, student practice, and teacher evaluation of progress. Through their dashboard, teachers can identify which students have mastered specific standards, what learning goals should come next for each student, and which students require in-depth interventions to meet the standard(s) being assessed.
  • Professional development is available for teachers on core concepts like differentiation in the classroom, rolling out Common Core Standards, best practices for instruction, formative assessment strategies, and more.


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How to Create a Curriculum Map

curriculum mapIf I’m trying to get from Los Angeles, California to Minot, North Dakota, I start with a map. I build a route that includes the sights I’d like to visit, shows me the connecting roadways, and gives me a rough idea of how long it’ll take.

The same is true with teaching a class. I need a map to show how best to blend my curriculum and the school’s standards, scaffold skills on each other, and connect to all stakeholders involved. In education, that’s called a Curriculum Map.

What is a Curriculum Map?

According to Education World, a Curriculum Map is…

a process for collecting and recording curriculum-related data that identifies core skills and content taught, processes employed, and assessments used for each subject area and grade level.

 —Education World: Virtual Workshop: Curriculum Mapping

A Curriculum Map first and foremost is a planning tool, a procedure for examining and organizing curriculum that allows educators to determine how content, skills and assessments will unfold over the course of the year. It is an in-depth view of topics teachers will instruct over the school year, their pacing, and how they blend with other subjects. In an IB school, that includes the learner profiles that are satisfied. In a Common Core school, that covers the math and literacy standards addressed. In other states, it’ll be how lesson plans meet their unique state standards.

In general terms, a Curriculum Map includes:


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What’s With Daylight Savings?

Daylight Savings Time is back today. Watch this video for background information:



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20 Sites for Authentic Assessments

assessmentHere’s a good collection for both summative and formative assessments:

  1. Class badges
  2. Grading automatically w G. Docs–Flubaroo
  3. Hollywood Sq/Jeopardy Templates
  4. Jeopardy Labs
  5. No Red Ink–track student learning, create quizzes, CC-based–free sign-up
  6. Online quizzes that you create, online grades 
  7. PollDaddy
  8. Puzzle maker
  9. Quizbean–make and take quizzes online
  10. Quizdini
  11. Rubrics I
  12. Rubrics II
  13. Rubrics III
  14. Rubrics/Assessments—create–KSchrock
  15. Rubrics—for CCSS
  16. Socrative
  17. Technology use survey—interactive
  18. Test creator—online
  19. Tests—create fill-in-the-blanks
  20. Padlet


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