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.
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
Classroom teachers, tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists, administrators
How do you use it
Sign up for one or more collections. You get all of the webinars currently available (click the relevant link to see how many that) PLUS everything we add for a year.
The Ask a Tech Teacher crew
Stuff that goes nicely with this
The K-5 (or K-8) tech curriculum goes nicely because then you get 32 webinars per grade level for free.
Where do you get it
Available as a single or multi-user license from the publisher
Pay via PayPal or school PO
Here’s a sample:
Here are screen shots of more:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of dozens of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.
I 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:
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:
For 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:
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:
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 June 28-July 1st and NEA June 26-July 6th to learn how the heck to integrate technology into their lesson plans. I’m going to ISTE as well as Teacher Pay Teacher’s first-ever conference in Las Vegas. I’m so excited about both of these, ready to meet new colleagues, get fresh ideas, and extend my PLN to places I hadn’t considered before.
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:
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 leary 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 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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Check out Hall of Fame articles.
They favorite articles into one spot–the Ask a Tech Teacher Hall of Fame. These are articles we heard about from you, were reposted the most often, and had the biggest impact on your classrooms. The list includes topics on classroom management, digital citizenship, the future of education, how technology blends into the classroom, and more.
Do you own the K-5 curriculum?
Then join the K-5 companion wikis. Get FREE help on questions, extensions, or anything that impacts how you teach a lesson. Every week, I teach the lesson with you. Next year, I’ll provide a weekly video overview of each lesson. You can see an example here.
243 Great resources for teachers–I’ve collected them for you under 43 categories. Click here to find the links:
July 7th through July 26th
3 weeks, 31 Activities, lots of resources and hands-on help
Q: What is the cost to register?
The full program is $247.00. If you can’t make the Saturday Google Hangouts, the basic program is $197.00. You can enroll through the PayPal button on the website or with a school PO. 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 Saturday Google Hangout. That’s what this class is for–to get you comfortable with tech tools you want to use in your class.
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! You’ll be able to sign up on the Basic Registration and get the Full Package (which includes Saturday GHO’s). Just email us with your group members at email@example.com so we set your membership up correctly.