browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Web Tools

Sown To Grow: Easily Blend Goal-setting and Reflection into Classwork

Many of the existential guides for teaching (such as Habits of Mind, the Socrative Method, and Mindfulness) promote a student-driven growth mindset as fundamental to successful learning. This means students take an active part in achieving education and personal goals. The problem is how to persuade students to voluntarily reflect on their progress, rethink goals, and make the required adjustments to achieve success? There’s also the problem of assessing this sort of non-metric thinking. Students and teachers are accustomed to checklists and grading scales. Few have the background to include subjective traits.

I found a solution: Sown To Grow. It is an online student-driven performance tracker that uses the metrics of goal-setting and reflection to assess progress. The expectation is that students learn how to learn by assessing their own educational experiences as a way to determine their best strategies to become lifelong learners. Students set their goals, track their progress, and ultimately see what worked and what didn’t. Because this is entirely student-driven, students care more about their work and doing their best. For example, if notetaking worked well as a method of achieving goals in one instance, they can transfer that successful experience to other academic endeavors.

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Reviews, Web Tools | Tags: | Leave a comment

What is Microsoft Sway?

Lately, when I join technology education forums, one of the most talked-about webtools is Microsoft Sway. Though fairly new, Sway has taken over classroom production of visual presentations because the result is visually appealing while minimizing the amount of time students spend formatting a project, giving them lots more time to research and write.

What is Sway

Sway is part of Office 365 Education and is the newest alternative to its popular PowerPoint slideshow program. Using the Sway canvas, students select a theme and then add their notes and research. Sway organizes the content, suggests images and even data, and then helps students to quickly arrange everything into a comprehensive and fully-fleshed project. If the selected theme doesn’t work, students simply click “remix” and get a different look. More advanced users can edit the pieces to fit particular colors and interests. When everything’s perfect, it can be shared, embedded, and published.

Sway accepts almost any file format, including videos, PDFs, text, audio, images, native camera pictures, charts, audio clips, audio recordings, and links. A completed project can be embedded into any Office app (such as Excel, PowerPoint, or Word) and automatically updates with the original. Sway works in Windows, on iPads, iPhones, and desktops.

It is best-suited for Middle School and older, though I’ve seen lots of youngers successfully create engaging presentations.

(more…)

Categories: Reviews, Web Tools | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Last Chance to Join Tech-infused Class

Last chance–class starts Monday, July 10th!

Click to join

(more…)

Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Subscriber Special: July

BOGO — Buy one class; get a friend in for free

July 3rd-July 10th only

Last chance–class starts Monday, July 10th!

Click to join

(more…)

Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment

9 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 question considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. These days, 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:

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, your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Bring the latest version of Google Maps 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 a digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straightforward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.

(more…)

Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

3 Webtools You Can Learn This Summer in “20 in 20”

summer learningThis summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:

  1. Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
  2. Tech-infused Class
  3. Teach Writing with Tech
  4. 20 Webtools in 20 Days (and the Structured Learning curriculum edition)
  5. the Differentiated Teacher

Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit.  The following tools are part of what you could learn in 20 Webtools in 20 Days:

(more…)

Categories: Web Tools | Tags: | Leave a comment

An Innovative Way to Use Turnitin’s Revision Assistant

Header imageI’m a fan of Turnitin’s Revision Assistant and have reviewed it in the past. Most schools use it to help students write and revise their essays with automated feedback from the program. Revision Assistant’s feedback is specific and student-driven — given whenever a student calls for a signal check. Comments are written by actual teachers and the RA’s algorithms recognize patterns and guide students as they rewrite their essays.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District, a large district in Southern California, took a slightly different approach: They applied Revision Assistant’s signal check measures to train teachers how to grade essays more consistently across the district’s grading rubric. This clever application of RA made them a finalist in the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards for creative applications of education technology.

Here’s what they did: A rubric is a matrix that specifically describes the characteristics an essay must have in order to earn a particular numeric score. Usually, it includes about four levels of proficiency and five or six categories. While it may be challenging for teachers to be consistent in grading, an algorithm is 100 percent consistent in scoring because algorithms do not vary from their programming. Newport-Mesa used this consistency to train teachers to better apply the district rubric to writing assignments.

[gallery ids="55971,55970,55969"]

The district is still in the early stages of training and implementation but other districts may want to learn from their use of data-based instruction. They will present their proposal on May 16 at the Learning Impact Summit.

(more…)

Categories: News, Web Tools, Writing | Leave a comment

Summer Online Learning Questions We’ve Gotten

In response to extensive interest from readers, Ask a Tech Teacher will be offering four Summer Learning Certificate classes with 18-24 CEUs:

June 19th through August 6th

3-4 weeks, lots of resources and hands-on help

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="55725,55759,55483,55621,55482,55617,55484,55620,55473,55619,55758"]

To help you make your decision, I want to share the most common questions I’ve gotten regarding sign ups:

Q: What is the cost to register?

The full program is $229. If you sign up by April 30th, you can enroll a friend for free. If you sign up with a group of 5, it’s $750 ($150 for each person). You can enroll through the PayPal button on the website or with a school PO.

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.  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! Use the group button on the sign-up page ($750). That will give you five enrollments for $150 each. Great discount!

(more…)

Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

3 Things You Could Learn This Summer to Infuse Your Teaching with Tech

This summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:

  1. Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
  2. Tech-infused Class
  3. Teach Writing with Tech
  4. 20 Webtools in 20 Days (and the Structured Learning curriculum edition)
  5. the Differentiated Teacher

Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit.  Here are three videos on concepts you’ll cover in the Tech-infused Teacher:Things

(more…)

Categories: Web Tools | Tags: | Leave a comment

3 Writing Webtools You Can Learn This Summer in the AATT Summer Learning Series

This summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:

  1. Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
  2. Tech-infused Class
  3. Teach Writing with Tech
  4. 20 Webtools in 20 Days (and the Structured Learning curriculum edition)
  5. the Differentiated Teacher

Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit. The following three tools are part of what you learn in Teach Writing with Tech:

(more…)

Categories: Web Tools, Writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments