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Tagged With: product review

Tech Ed Resources for your Homeschool Class

Homeschool TechI 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: Tech resources for the Homeschool Class

Besides the availability of any of the tech ed resources at Structured Learning, there are two kits designed especially for the home school:

Homeschool Survival Kit

This is exclusively for homeschoolers–a technology curriculum for K-5. With this Homeschool Survival Kit, you get all the tech ed resources you need to integrate technology into your child’s learning, lesson plans, inquiry, and curriculum requirements. Included (click links for more information):
..
Two years of the K-5 Technology Curriculum. This will be your curriculum map, showing you what tech to teach your children when they are ready for it. Blends skills into class studies for authentic learning. Click here for more information on each ebook. When you purchase, tell us which two books you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
..
Note: These teacher textbooks can be replaced with two student workbooks. Click for more information on student workbooks. If you choose this option, tell us which two student workbooks you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
,,
K-8 digital citizenship curriculum map—what do you introduce when to teach students to navigate the complexities of the internet safely, securely, and effectively. Includes 3-8 projects per grade-level, accomplished in a few minutes a day or a full class period. If students are using the internet, they must know how to use it correctly, safely, and efficiently. This curriculum shows you what to teach at what age. Projects can be tied into other classroom projects–just add detail about digital citizenship.
..
2-volume collection of lesson plans (Volume I and Volume II) organized by subject, digital tool, and academic topic. 
One-volume collation of the most common tech problems and issues your child–and you–face using technology for education. Be ready!
..
16 fun and festive holiday projects. Create gifts for family and friends while learning important tech skills. Use for any holiday. They’ll fill your year with pictures, calendars, wallpaper, cards, that kids will love making and want to give to family as gifts.
..
Over 64 webinars spread throughout the school year–32 per each of the two grade levels you select. Designed for the adult to help them teach important tech skills to children. The digital classroom provides an opportunity to ask questions of other members or the moderator any time s/he needs a little extra help with.

(more…)

Categories: AATT Materials, Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Homeschool Class

Homeschool TechI 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: Tech resources for the Homeschool Class

Besides the availability of any of the tech ed resources at Structured Learning, there are two kits designed especially for the home school:

Homeschool Survival Kit

This is exclusively for homeschoolers,–a technology curriculum for K-5. With thisHomeschool Survival Kit, you get all the tech ed resources you need to integrate technology into your child’s learning, lesson plans, inquiry, and curriculum requirements. Included (click links for more information):
..
Two years of the K-5 Technology Curriculum. This will be your curriculum map, showing you what tech to teach your children when they are ready for it. Blends skills into class studies for authentic learning. Click here for more information on each ebook. When you purchase, tell us which two books you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
..
Note: These teacher textbooks can be replaced with two student workbooks. Click for more information on student workbooks. If you choose this option, tell us which two student workbooks you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
K-8 digital citizenship curriculum map—what do you introduce when to teach students to navigate the complexities of the internet safely, securely, and effectively. Includes 3-8 projects per grade-level, accomplished in a few minutes a day or a full class period. If students are using the internet, they must know how to use it correctly, safely, and efficiently. This curriculum shows you what to teach at what age. Projects can be tied into other classroom projects–just add detail about digital citizenship.
..
2-volume collection of lesson plans (Volume I and Volume II) organized by subject, digital tool, and academic topic. 
One-volume collation of the most common tech problems and issues your child–and you–face using technology for education. Be ready!
..
16 fun and festive holiday projects. Create gifts for family and friends while learning important tech skills. Use for any holiday. They’ll fill your year with pictures, calendars, wallpaper, cards, that kids will love making and want to give to family as gifts.
..
Over 64 webinars spread throughout the school year–32 per each of the two grade levels you select. Designed for the adult to help them teach important tech skills to children. The digital classroom provides an opportunity to ask questions of other members or the moderator any time s/he needs a little extra help with.

(more…)

Categories: AATT Materials, Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for Class–Common Core State Standards

CC Article Bundle Cover(3)I 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: Common Core Bundle

Overview

In this bundle, you get 20 tech ed resources on how to use technology to achieve Common Core Standards–presented in a variety of ways including Lesson plans, webinars, and short but pithy articles. Included:

5 books (including 70 lesson plans)

8 webinars

7 Hall of Fame articles addressing Common Core topics

Who needs this

K-8 class teacher, K-8 tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists

Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.

(more…)

Categories: AATT Materials, Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dear Otto: I need to convert from PDF to Doc–Does that work?

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from a reader:

I have a lesson plan I created in MS Word and then converted to PDF so I could share with my grade level team (everyone doesn’t have Word). It took us a while to go through it–lots of changes–and when I tried to find the original document, it was nowhere to be found. I tried a few PDF converters, but they didn’t work well and I’d have to retype most of the lesson plan. Can you help?

This is an all-too-common problem for teachers. Much of our work is shared with others or updated year-to-year, but when we try to find that original document, it’s either misfiled, corrupted, or just plain lost. All we have left is the uneditable PDF which means a lot of retyping if we want to update it for the new school year. Converting from DOC to PDF format is easy and often native to the word processing program used so you’d think the reverse would be easy also, but that’s not true. Docs.Zone is a great solution for this problem. It’s intuitive, user-friendly, with a clean uncluttered interface and no download required. Their Optical Character Recognition programming will convert PDF to an OCR Word document quickly and effectively.

Here’s how it works:

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

Tips For Selecting The Best And Most Efficient Web Hosting Provider

Single standing robotMost prospective buyers start by going to the seller’s website before purchasing. An online presence has become a vital importance for not just business owners or service providing companies, but teacher-consultants who offer online classes, mentoring, and lesson plans to fellow educators. Thanks to a plethora of reliable and affordable web hosting companies, you no longer need ‘weebly’ or ‘wordpress’ appended to your online profile.

The problem is: There are too many web-hosting companies. How do you qualify them? Which one delivers great service at a reasonable price with reliable features that aren’t confusing to figure out? What you need is a web hosting review site (like the link above) that evaluates the critical services without relying on customer comments and their placement in a Google search.

Below are tips to help you evaluate services before you make your selection:

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Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How Do You Backup Your Data

back upProbably, of all computer functions, backing up data is the most critical and the most likely to make you tear your hair out. Hard drives crash, files get corrupted, your computer is lost or stolen, a virus and malware forces you to reformat (which can lose all of your data), what you thought you saved you didn’t–I could go on. There are dozens of reasons why you should–really–backup your data.

And as a teacher, it’s even more critical because it’s not just you who suffers if you can’t find student projects or report card comments. It’s parents, students, and your colleagues.

Despite that, backing up is a step too many of the educators I know skip. The top reasons:

  • it takes too long
  • I forget
  • I’ve never had a problem

The only reason I hear from those who lost data because they didn’t back up:

“Because I’m an idiot!”

It’s as G. Silowash said while participating in his school’s disaster drill to a faculty question about forgotten report card files:

“Don’t worry, your data is securely burning inside with the rest of the building.” 

Let me make it easy for you. Here are the top four ways I back-up data–and I do all of them:

Automatic back-up service

By far, the most reliable approach to backing up your data files is with an automatic cloud service. These are easy to access, safe, and quick. There are many options, but a new one I just met is Windows-based Cloud Backup Robot (when they responded to my donation request). Considered by some as one of the best data backup software, it’s easy to use, intuitive,, backs up everything from files to SQL databases, and can zip and/or encrypt files. You create an account, download a bit of software, configure the back-up schedule for automatic or manual, and then push the button to get started. You can back-up data to your computer, a network, or the cloud. One feature I particularly like is that you can store to any number of familiar clouds–Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and Amazon S3. Price varies between a highly-affordable lite edition to a fully-featured professional version. When you’re ready to sign up, pick the version best suited to your needs.

(more…)

Categories: Reviews, Tech tips | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Common Core

CC Article Bundle Cover(3)I 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: Common Core Bundle

Overview

In this bundle, you get 20 tech ed resources on how to use technology to achieve Common Core Standards–presented in a variety of ways including Lesson plans, webinars, and short but pithy articles. Included:

5 books (including 70 lesson plans)

8 webinars

7 Hall of Fame articles addressing Common Core topics

Who needs this

K-8 class teacher, K-8 tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists

Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.

(more…)

Categories: AATT Materials, Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Review: Flipwrite iPad Keyboard

flipwriteI’ve read several nonscientific studies that concluded students type equally well whether they use iPads or traditional keyboards (click here; scroll to ‘Keyboarding: iPad vs. Traditional’). These results are counter-intuitive to what common sense says is true: that the flat, non-tactile nature of the iPad onscreen keyboards make them less accurate and slower than standard keyboards. Until there is sufficient evidence to contradict this perception, schools continue to kit their iPads out with detachable keyboards. This they believe–and is probably true–makes them more versatile and responsive to student and teacher educational needs.

I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing these add-on keyboards and was thrilled when Felix offered me one of their versatile Bluetooth-enabled FlipWrite keyboards to test out for my classes.

Right up front, I liked what I received. It’s light weight and includes an iPad stand that enables me to place my iPad horizontally or vertically at a variety of adjustable angles, responsive to either viewing or typing. If I’m not using the keyboard, it can fold under the iPad out of the way, allowing me to use the iPad as a tablet. When I’m not using the iPad, I can store it in the Flipwrite folio case, which is barely larger than the device itself and only about twice as thick (less than an inch). The charge is supposed to last two+ months, a claim I haven’t yet tested, longer by far than any of my other digital devices.

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Categories: Keyboarding, Reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Faceoff: What Digital Device Should My School Buy?

chromebookIn the not so distant past, two types of computers battled for supremacy in the classroom: Macs or PCs. Both were desktops and both did the same things, but in hugely different ways.

Today, whether it’s a Mac or a PC, a desktop is only one of the digital devices available in the education toolkit. First laptops eased their way into schools, pricey but popular for their portability and collaborative qualities. Then came iPads with their focus on the visual, ease of use, and engagement of users. The most recent entrant into the education digital device market is Chromebooks–able to do ‘most’ of what ‘most’ students need–at a precipitously lower price.

That means educators now have four options (desktops, laptops, iPads, Chromebooks) as they select tools to unpack education. The challenge is to understand the differences between these options and select based on personal criteria. That includes classroom needs, infrastructure, maintenance, and–yes–money. What gives the most value for the least investment?

(more…)

Categories: Digital Devices, Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

18 Pluses, 5 Differences, and 9 Tips about Chromebooks in Your Classroom

Do you have chrome books in your school? They’re those lightweight thin laptops that cost almost nothing and are taking the ed world by storm. When asked, teachers don’t say, ‘I got a set of computers for my classroom’. It’s always, ‘I got Chromebooks’ much as they’d say ‘iPads’ to mean a digital device that’s more exciting, useful, and cutting edge than the boring old desktops.

Before I talk about what’s to like and not like about a Chromebook, let’s look at what it is. In the education world, there used to be a battle betwEducation Post It Note Shows Skills Learning And Improvementeen two types of desktop computers: Macs vs. PCs. They both did the same things, but in hugely different ways. And from that difference grew an avid love/hate among their devotees (especially Mac users).

Today, ‘desktop computers’ are only one of the digital devices in the education toolkit. Consider iPads with their focus on the visual, ease of use, engagement of users. Then Chromebooks arrived–able to do ‘most’ of what ‘most’ students need–but it must be through the Cloud.

That gives educators three options (desktops, iPads, Chromebooks) as they select tools to deliver education. The challenge is to understand the differences between these options and select based on personal criteria. That includes classroom needs, infrastructure, and–yes–money. What gives the most service for the least investment?

In this last, I think the debate is settled: Chromebooks win every measure of value for dollar.

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Reviews | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments