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:
For the first time ever, Windows is upgrading the existing Windows platform for free. If you use a current version of Windows, you’ll notice a little icon in the lower right tooltray that encourages you to upgrade. There’s a time limit to how long you can wait and still get it for free, but it’s long enough for you to research the upgrades and decide if they work for you.
I’m still on the fence. So often early adopters are the guinea pigs for problems that are later fixed. Matthew Young, a tech writer and gadget enthusiast, has put together a nice summary of what’s included in Windows 10 Education Edition as well as some of the known known issues. Read through his review and then add your experiences under comments.
Windows 10 Education Edition is here to make both teaching and learning a walk in a virtual park. This powerful edition for schools has a variety of new tools and features that make learning more student focused, researching more user convenient, classrooms more globalized and teaching a lot more fun.
Microsoft wants to share the incredible teaching experience of Windows 10 Education Edition with as many people as possible so is offering free upgrades to Windows 10 for education customers using Win 7 or 8.1. In this article, I’ll count down the amazing features on the new Windows 10 Education Edition to show you just how much it will impact the noble profession of teaching, making learning both fun and eye-opening.
If you are using the SL K-5 Technology Curriculum, you’ll love this new free service. Starting Sunday, Structured Learning will offer online, virtual Office Hours. Any questions you have about how to unpack lessons, teach a skill, or tie into class inquiry can be asked at this weekly real-time Google Hangout:
Sundays, 2pm PDT
Just like your college professor, doors are open to whoever shows up. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for one of our Companion Wikis (for grades K-5) to get notification. Do that first. If you don’t know how, email me at email@example.com
- Sundays, you’ll get a notification through the wiki with a link to the Google Hangout. Click it. If you aren’t familiar with Google Hangouts, check the Skills tab on the wiki, under ‘Google Hangouts’ for guidance
- Join in!
Interested? Here’s the sign-up sheet:
With the growing interest in coding comes a call for after school tech camps that supersize student enthusiasm for learning technology. If you’ve been tasked (or volunteered) to run this activity, here are five activities that will tech-infuse participants:
It’s been said that inside 70% of us is a book crying to get out. Kids are no different. Many dream of becoming an author, a journalist, or another profession that focuses on writing.
In this class, take students through the six steps required to move from dream to publication:
- plan required research
- write the book
- review with a critique group
The goal during the after school tech club is that each student will publish their first ebook–or at least give it a good start.
Students complete three projects in two weeks to aid understanding of architecture, design, and three-dimensional thinking. They’ll experiment with spatially laying out a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional paper. When completed, they’ll discuss with neighbors while practicing good listening skills learned in class.
Start with a discussion of design. This includes size, shape, texture, proportion, scale, mass and color. We will apply these to rooms, buildings, and neighborhoods. Encourage students to think and analyze critically as they engage in learning.
In figures below, ask students which are two- or three-dimensions? How do they know?[gallery ids="50170,50171,50172,50173,50164"]
Design the Classroom
Visit Classroom Architect and demo how to design the classroom with drag-and-drop pieces (see figures below). Take suggestions from class on layout. Students must think about where tables and storage are relative to other items. This is an active learning lesson that encourages visual thinking. Develop a sample based on class input and show how to make corrections if necessary.
As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: So many colleagues are embedding documents to their blogs and websites, but I don’t know how to do that. Can you help?
A: I love this part of Google Apps. When your Google document is complete–that includes Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, and Drawings:
- Go to ‘Share’ in the upper right corner; select the option you prefer–allowing viewers to just view or edit
- Click File>Publish to the Web (on the menu bar)
- Select the link and copy-paste to your website (I’ve done this below) OR select Embed
- Copy the HTML code that starts with ‘<iframe…’
- Paste into blog, wiki, website like I did below:
Let’s try this out. Here’s a collaborative spreadsheet to share Exit Ticket ideas. Your name is optional. Strongly consider adding the linkback so we can add each other to our PLN–a great way to share ideas and knowledge. Access the spreadsheet and tell us your favorite warm-up activities and exit tickets:
Here’s the embedded document:
Let me step back. What are site licenses?
- They are for multiple users rather than just the teacher–students, other teachers, even parents
- They offer grade-level student workbooks (in PDF format) for the SL tech curriculum and keyboarding curriculum
- They include the grade-level teacher manual for free
- Also free: weekly videos showing how to teach the lesson
- New this year: Office Hours. This is a weekly Google Hangouts anyone using the curriculum can attend and talk real time with a teacher using the curriculum
Why are prices going up? During the beta phase, we priced site licenses low while we worked out bugs. The price increase applies to licenses for:
If you’re planning to purchase one, save 25% (off the future increased price) by purchasing yours now:
If you already purchased a teacher manual and want to trade it for the site license, just provide a receipt showing you purchased in the last six months.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The slideshow below includes samples of site license products:[gallery type="slideshow" ids="48958,49942,49944,49945,49943,48957,48956,36551,48953,48952,41489,38283,38078,38077,38076,38075,29939,28765,49935,49932,49933,49934,49936,49937,49938,49939,49940,49941,49946,49947,49948,49949,49950,49951,49952,49953,49954,49955,49956,49957,49958,49959,49960,49961,49962,49963,49964,49965,49966,49967,49968,49969,49970,49971,49972,49973,49974,49975,49976,49977,49978,49979,49980"]