In response to extensive interest from readers, Ask a Tech Teacher will be offering four Summer Learning classes:[caption id="attachment_52028" align="aligncenter" width="243"] 1 of 4 Certificate classes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_52029" align="aligncenter" width="231"] 1 of 4 Certificate classes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_52030" align="aligncenter" width="233"] 1 of 4 Certificate classes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_52031" align="aligncenter" width="231"] 1 of 4 Certificate classes[/caption]
June 20th through August 7th
3-4 weeks, lots of resources and hands-on help
You can find out more by clicking on the image. 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 $249-$259.00. 20 Webtools in 20 Days is 4 weeks long so the price is a bit higher. 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: 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 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. 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! Just email us with your group members at firstname.lastname@example.org so we set your membership up correctly.
With the 2016 New Year, you resolved to build your Professional Learning Network–finally, to stop living in the 20th century where your world revolved around a sticks-and-bricks building, a landline phone, and the mailbox. You joined all the big social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogging–just for starters). The plan was to connect with the movers and shakers in education, learn from them, and have them as a resource for those times you needed help on a lesson plan or to select the perfect webtool for a project. You committed hours to it, and then days, eager to make this work because everyone you know talks about how much they learn from social media. Now, six months into it, you know too much about your followers’ lunch plans and almost nothing about their educational pedagogy. You’re frustrated, angry, and ready to give this whole failed effort up.
Without knowing anything about you other than that paragraph above, I’m going to predict that you didn’t manage your social media, got intimidated by the words ‘friend’ and ‘defriend’, and quickly became overwhelmed by the volume of information that flooded your inbox every day. The purpose of a social media-based PLN is to extend your reach beyond the narrow confines of the bubble you live in, but that isn’t what happened for you.
Before you unplug from the virtual world, try these six steps. They’ll clean up the clutter, smooth out the wrinkles, and put you back in the driver’s seat of your online life:
Keep your stream pure
Only accept or seek friends who are in your professional area of interest. This is less like a speed-dating party and more like a job application. When you come across a promising educator, visit their social media, pass judgment on whether they fit your needs, and then make a decision.
Because I teach graduate classes for educators, I talk to lots of teachers all over the country. It’s become clear to me that for most of them, adding technology to their lessons means layering more work on top of their already overburdened lesson plans. Despite the claims of tech gurus that technology makes the job of teaching easier, few educators see it that way. Even the ones who love it put in lots of extra time to do one or more of the following:
- learn tech tools and then teach their students
- learn tech tools only to discover it’s not what they need
- learn a tech tool they love only to have it either disappear or switch to a fee-based program
- rework existing lesson plans in the school’s mandated digital program that too often, changes every year. This means they have to re-enter the lesson plan in a new format for a new LMS
- find a tool they love, but no one else in their teaching team agrees, understands it, or cares
- the tool won’t work on the Big Day of the lesson and nothing will bring it back to life
- the digital devices–computer or Chromebooks or iPads–won’t work on the Big Day
But the biggest reason is this: Students don’t know the technology, so their projects become rudimentary displays of their knowledge rather than anything resembling the higher order thinking we teachers aspire to. I’d put it at S- in the SAMR Model (if you don’t know what that is, click to get a brief primer).
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
- 20 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills
- 22 Digital Tools You Must Have in Your Classroom
- Website Review: ProdigyGame.com
- K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level
- 3rd Grade Resources
- Do You Miss Kerpoof? Try These 34 Alternatives
- 20 St. Patrick’s Day Sites For Students
- 52 Resources for Read Across America Day
- 13 Reasons For and 3 Against Technology in the Classroom
- 84 Math Websites for K-8
And, just in time for summer, here are a few new technology-in-education products you may be interested in:
- Summer Learning: Tech-infused Teacher
- Summer Learning: Tech-infused Class
- Summer Learning: Teach Writing with Tech
- Summer Learning: 20 Webtools in 20 Days
Whiteboards have long been a de rigeur staple in classrooms, occupying pride-of-place at the front of the room. Despite the popularity of hi-tech Smartscreens, the simple whiteboard remains the favored method of sharing information during class time.
But one change has revolutionized their use: They can now be projected from your iPad. Before introducing three amazing must-have whiteboard apps, let me note that there are dozens of options, all with varied traits and prices. I selected these three because they are intuitive, multi-functional, and work as a classroom tool rather than just another new widget teachers must learn.
Free to try
AirSketch is a basic, uncomplicated whiteboard that lets you do anything you’d normally do on a whiteboard. It’s similar to web-based options like AWW or Scriblink with two dramatic differences: It works through a iPad and can be mirrored to a computer (and from there, the class screen). This untethers teachers from their desk. All that’s needed is an iPad, AirSketch, a class computer, and a class screen.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open AirSketch on an iPad. In the lower right corner, it provides the page’s IP address.
- Type that IP address into the computer browser and the iPad screen appears.
- Project this to the class screen while using the iPad as a whiteboard
AirSketch is simple to set up and intuitive to use. It’s exactly like using the whiteboard–though instead of markers, you use a finger. Students no longer have to traipse up to the (intimidating) front of the room to answer questions. Instead, they borrow your iPad and draw their response.
How do teachers filter out all the social media noise to find the tech products that will transform their classrooms? I’d like to think we troll the online tech-in-ed ezines, review what the experts say and draw conclusions that fit our class environment. Truth is, most teachers I know don’t have time for that. They’re busy teaching, mentoring, chatting with parents, and grading papers.
The folks at SnapLearning! (read my review of their wonderful close reading product here) did a fascinating anecdotal survey on how teachers find their new tech toys. They got input from some of the top names in the tech-in-ed group, such as Vicki Davis, Dave Stuart, Kelley Tinkley–and me–I’m honored to be included. For me–I love hearing about new tech ed products, but I only dig into those that are scalable, rigorous, and transformative:
“I want tools that teach a concept better, differentiate for student learning more, or improve classroom grit. I’m so past the ‘fun’ of word clouds and talking avatars. Give me something purpose-built that transforms my classroom from work to wonder.”
Here’s a taste of what SnapLearning shared, and then click the link and go read the entire article. It’s quick. You can consume it with a cuppa.
- 10 Bits of Wisdom I Learned From a Computer
- End-of-Year Tips: 18 Steps To A Speedier Computer
- End of Year Tips: Update Your Online Presence
- 4 Collaborative Projects Students Will Love
Try them out–post a comment if you need help. I’ll be here.
Since I started this blog five years ago, I’ve had over 4.8 million visitors to the 1,454 articles I’ve written on integrating technology into the classroom. They may be about how to use wikis or blogs in the classroom or what I’ve learned from my students as we got through another tech week. I have regular features like:
I post a lot of lesson plans that have worked for me and share my thoughts on other ideas that affect teachers trying to tech-ify their classrooms. If you’ve just arrived at Ask a Tech Teacher, start here.
It always surprises me what readers find to be the most and least provocative. The latter is as likely to be a post I put heart and soul into, sure I was sharing Very Important Information, as the former. Talk about humility.
Before you look at what statistics say are the most popular posts, tell me what your most popular categories are by voting in this poll:[polldaddy poll=8383517]
For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, meetings, classes, collaborations with their grade-level team, parent meetings, and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.
But, that must happen or they deteriorate and no longer accomplish what we need them to do. Cussing them out does no good. Buying new systems takes a long time and doesn’t fix the problem that the old one wasn’t kept up. If they aren’t taken care of, we are left wondering why our teacher blog or website isn’t accomplishing what it does for everyone else, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate activity, and why our TPT materials languish. There’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do these: