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teacher resources

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–Organize Your Classroom

digital classroomI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Organizing your classroom

Overview

13 videos (more added as they become available), approx. 30 minutes per webinar, show how to set up your classroom to be tech-infused.

What’s Included

Do you wonder how to set up an effective, exciting, motivating classroom to teach tech? It’s not difficult–but there are steps you must take that are different from a grade-level or subject-specific classroom. Watch these videos at the start of school and often throughout the year to understand how to integrate tech into your classes and how to help students use tech to get the most from their education adventure. Webinars included:

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Categories: classroom management, education reform, teacher resources | Leave a comment

Curriculum Companions Start August 18th–Are You Ready?

curriculum companionK-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months, 3 companion wikis

Start date for the 2014-15 school year: August, 18, 2014

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented this year via videos (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions as the lesson is presented, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

Detail

  • Digital access: via video
  • Language: English
  • Length of time: one year
  • Access: Yearly fee covers K-5 (no discount for single wiki)

Use coupon code in each K-5 curriculum text to join for free. Or, click here to purchase.

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Categories: classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, teacher resources | Leave a comment

11 Take-aways from Summer PD

summer pdSummer PD 2014 just ended. A couple dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, lab teachers–gathered virtually for three weeks to experiment with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom–Google Apps, differentiation tools, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, backchannels, student as digital citizen, and more (30 topics in all). PD was run like a flipped classroom where attendees picked one of two daily topics, then they read. Tested. Experimented. Failed and tried again. Asked questions. They shared with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, Tweets.  Once a week we got together on a Google Hangout (well, two because GHO only allows 10 participants) to share ideas, answer questions, discuss nuances.

The class awarded a Certificate based on effort. Not end product. Here are my takeaways as moderator of this amazing group:

  • They are risk takers. Kept trying long beyond the recommended hour a day in some cases.
  • They were curious. They wanted to get it right, see how it worked.
  • They are life long learners. Some had been teaching for thirty years and still enthusiastically embraced everything from twitter to genius hour.
  • They were problem solvers. I often heard, ‘This will work with my students ‘if I tweak it here, I can solve this problem’.

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Categories: education reform, online education, teacher resources | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–Lesson Plans

lesson plansI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Lesson Plans

There are lots of different bundles of lesson plans–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few with you:

  • bundles of 5 lesson plans–These are great when you want to cover a software program, a tool, a grade, or a standard. Pick the one that fits your need. They’re affordable, focused, and often completed in just a few class sessions
  • bundles of bundles, so that’s 15 for about $20 (less if you use a discount coupon)–This lets you get a discount when you stock up. Buy three bundles of five lessons–to cover a wide-range of needs.
  • 30 Common Core-aligned lessons–5 per grade level, K-5
  • 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level–These cover everything and are discounted this month. Check them out. They could be exactly what you need.
  • singles–for as low as $1.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, etc
  • Holiday projects–16 lesson plans that theme to holidays (varied) and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools

Who needs this

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Categories: classroom management, lesson plans, teacher resources | Tags: | 1 Comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–Webinars

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Webinars

Overview

Webinars are short video presentations themed to a variety of tech ed topics. That includes:

  • Common Core–don’t let anyone tell you Common Core is additional material that must be taught by layering on top of an already overcrowded curriculum. Common Core is a method of teaching what you already teach–just faster and more effectively. These webinars give you lots of ideas.
  • K-5 tech curriculum–32 webinars per grade level delivered one per week throughout the school year. These are free as the companion webinars for those who own the K-5 tech ed curriculum–5th ed. If you don’t own the curriculum, they can be purchased separately.
  • Organize your classroom for tech–there are a lot of classroom design details that morph tech into a learning tool rather than a set-aside like music or PE. These webinars get you started.
  • Pedagogy–technology is the poster child for education reform, especially with the gauntlet thrown down by Common Core Standards. No longer is the excuse, That’s not how I teach, acceptable. Now–tech is how we all teach. Because it’s a better way.

Who needs these

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Categories: classroom management, teacher resources | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

22 Tips on How to Work Remotely

remote workI first considered this topic at a presentation I attended through WordCamp Orange County 2014. I had several trips coming up and decided to see how I addressed issues of being away from my writing hub. Usually, that’s when I realize I can’t do/find something and say, “If only…”

I am finally back from three conferences and a busy visit from my son–all of which challenged me to take care of business on the road and on the fly.

Truth is, life often interferes with work. Vacations, conferences, PD–all these take us away from our primary functions and the environment where we are most comfortable delivering our best work. I first thought about this when I read an article by a technical subject teacher(math, I think)  pulled away from his class for a conference. Often in science/math/IT/foreign languages, subs aren’t as capable (not their fault; I’d capitulate if you stuck me in a Latin language class). He set up a video with links for classwork and a realtime feed where he could be available and check in on the class. As a result, students–and the sub–barely missed him. Another example of teaching remotely dealt with schools this past winter struggling with the unusually high number of snow days. So many, in fact, that they were either going to have to extend the school year or lose funding. Their solution: Have teachers deliver content from their homes to student homes via a set-up like Google Hangouts (but one that takes more than 10-15 participants at a time).

All it took to get these systems in place was a problem that required a solution and flexible risk-taking stakeholders who came up with answers.

Why can’t I work from the road? In fact, I watched a fascinating presentation from Wandering Jon at the Word Camp Orange County 2014 where he shared how he does exactly that. John designs websites and solves IT problems from wherever he happens to be that day–a beach in Thailand, the mountains in Tibet or his own backyard. Where he is no longer impacts the way he delivers on workplace promises.

Here’s what I came up with that I either currently use or am going to arrange:

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Categories: international, online education, teacher resources | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Summer PD–Join us!

summer pd

Last chance–class starts Monday, July 7th!

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Categories: teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Website Review: Knowmia

Knowmia offered me a free coupon code for Knowmia Pro. I didn’t know much about this app though the buzz had me curious. I spent two minutes looking at the website to see if I was interested. A couple of features made me decide to give it a try:

  • video recording on IPads
  • a knowledge base of teacher videos
  • ability to annotate a website

In fact, I have lamented on several occasions that I couldn’t share a how-to on an IPad app because my recorder/editor didn’t work on IPads. This appeared to be a solution.

The download was quick, set up easy. I was clicking away on the program within minutes. A few details I liked as I reviewed the program:

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Categories: teacher resources, websites | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Update Your Online Presence

PLN maintenanceFor most teachers I know, life zooms by with few breaks to clean up the clutter and confusion that grows like mold over our everyday online presence. We’re like hamsters on a treadmill, trying to climb the every-growing pile of classes, lesson plans, PD, PLNs, school blogs and websites–our own professional activities. Little things like updating our virtual worlds with where we work, what awards we’ve received, who our latest boss is, get lost like a single snowflake in a snowstorm. Who has the time?

You do. Now.

When my students tell me they couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have time, I refer them to the advice of Richard Sloma–Never try to solve all the problems at once — make them line up for you one-by-one.

Line your maintenance issues up. Pick them off like metal ducks in a shooting gallery. One. At. A. Time.

Here’s my short list. It can apply to FB, LinkedIn, class wikis, websites, Moodle accounts–anything that you routinely update and share with colleagues, students, parents:

  • Read the critical parts that make up your online presence. This includes your profile, the About page, anything that refers to ‘Contact Me’. Highlight the stuff that embarrasses you, is more than five years out of date, applies to the start of the school year (and hasn’t been touched since). Make a (digital) list of those and add them to the bottom of this list. Depending upon how serious they are, you might want to start with them.
  • Update social media profiles–FB, Twitter, G+, professional groups you belong to. Do they all say the same thing (they should)? Have you changed educational focus? Switched jobs? Adding new material efriends would like to know about? This, btw, should be done regularly, but at least do it at the new year.
  • Re-read old posts, articles, updates. Voltaire once said, No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking. The same can be said for grammar and spelling mistakes to the eye of a trained teacher. We don’t miss much, and what we do miss shows up like a ringer on a Little League team, especially when they’ve percolated for a few weeks. I start with the most-visited articles and pages (under Site Stats) and work my way down (in case I run out of time–or energy).
  • Check individual post tags and categories to see if you can whittle down the options while still clearly cataloging writing. Often, your organizational thinking has changed since you wrote the piece–what used to be a ‘math’ article, now fits better in ‘Common Core’. Relevant and timely categories and tags help those in your PLN, PD, parents and students dig deeper into your pedagogic thinking. Make this easy to do by keeping all your writing organized and searchable.
  • Check sidebar for out-of-date and no-longer-relevant widgets and links. Here are just a few of the problems I fixed:

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Categories: Computer Wisdom, teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What’s Trending on Ask a Tech Teacher

In the past six months, I’ve posted over 130 articles on topics ranging from tech ed trends to how-tos, problem solving, and pedagogic discussions. I like to step back a few times a year and determine what readers are most interested in. WordPress makes that easy with their statistics.

I calculate what’s trending on my blog by which of my posts are popular in a particular time period. Here’s the run-down so far this year:

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Categories: Computer Wisdom, teacher resources, websites | Tags: | 2 Comments