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Tagged With: stringer

Why Teaching Children To Read And Write Should Be Fun

orton-gillinghamAsk a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, has a good article this month on literacy among children and how to improve the dismal statistics:

In the Middle Ages, literacy was highly valued. People yearned for literacy then, the way an average American might yearn to win the lottery today. For instance, Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor crowned in 800 AD, was admired as much for his ability to read as for his military victories. However, he never did learn how to write, claiming that he never quite got the hang of it, and he left that to the monastic scribes.

In the Middle Ages, literacy was highly valued. People yearned for literacy then, the way an average American might yearn to win the lottery today. For instance, Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor crowned in 800 AD, was admired as much for his ability to read as for his military victories. However, he never did learn how to write, claiming that he never quite got the hang of it, and he left that to the monastic scribes.

The opportunity to read is no longer only something that kings and monks can do. The rare and valuable skills of reading and writing now available to almost everyone in the US can improve a person’s life in many ways. A literate person can reap the fruits of a rational life, earn more, and enjoy a higher standard of living.

Unfortunately, we have now come to take the opportunity to read and write for granted. In fact, the decline in reading ability alone in the US is alarming. Education Dive, quoting a Renaissance Learning’s 2016 report, said: “high school seniors are reading at a 6th-grade level, and only 9% of students in high school read texts above a middle school complexity level of 8, leaving students ill-prepared for college-level reading at about 13.”

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Categories: Reading | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Use Tech to Help Graduating Students Find Jobs

graduationThe end of the school year means graduation for seniors. If they aren’t going to college, they’re job hunting. Sara Stringer, Ask a Tech Teacher guest blogger, has several ideas on how to make that more efficient:

As a teacher, you’re fully aware of how much the world is advancing through technology. Undoubtedly, innovation has touched many aspects of how you teach. The Internet has made it easier to gather, evaluate, summarize and disseminate information. If for example, you’re a math teacher, you may refer students struggling to grasp the Pythagorean Theorem to view Khan Academy videos so that they can catch up with the rest of the class.

Since you have probably used the Internet to post your own resume, you know how powerful it can be and how important it is to make your online presence as professional as possible. You can also use your knowledge and experience in job hunting to guide those students who don’t plan on going on to college on how to get internships and entry-level jobs after graduation. Job searching has changed remarkably over the past few years, and if your students are to succeed in the real world, they will have to take a very different approach than your previous graduating classes.

Here are 3 tech tips you can use to point your graduating class in the right direction:

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Categories: Guest post, High School | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How Parents Can Protect Their Children Online

family at home using tablet computerA common and recurring question from parents is how to keep their children safe while using the internet. I haven’t covered this topic in a while, but Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, came to the rescue with this great article on How parents can protect their children online:

One of the best things about the internet is that it brings the world to you. That is also one of the worst things about it. The struggle for parents is always to keep from limiting the beneficial information available to our children while we keep them away from the harmful influences in cyberspace.

Despite the high stakes, many parents prefer to bury their heads in the sand. But the news is littered with so many tragic stories of kids victimized through contacts made online that parents have no choice in the matter. They have to watch for exploitation in the middle of education. This vigilance has led to the development of systems such as WebSafety that permit simple, detailed monitoring of what your kids are doing. 

Here are the things you need to be doing:

Know Who Is Out There

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Categories: Parents | Tags: | 2 Comments

Why Teachers Are So Influential in the Choices Young People Make

teacherWe take for granted the massive impact teachers have on students–but we shouldn’t. Now and then, we need to consider exactly what it is that teachers do so well that changes the lives of learners young and old.

AATT contributor, Sara Stringer, has written a great article that summarizes five of the most important reasons:

Teachers play a critical role in the lives of the students they teach. It’s one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, jobs because of the profound impact teachers can have on students.

Just about everyone has a story of their favorite teacher. That one educator that they really clicked with and that had a lasting influence even years later. Teachers are entrusted with helping to guide children and teens down the right paths for this very reason.

They sway the choices that young people make and not just because they are an authority figure. Often times it’s actually because of the traits that they possess and the unique position that their job affords them.

Teachers Are in a Position to Catch Problems Early On

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Categories: Teaching | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Interest the Next Generation of Great Minds to Work in STEM Fields

STEMI’ve had a lot of questions in the last few months about STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) in the classroom. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, has a great article that will help demystify this topic: 

STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and covers an immense range of subject areas. Across the nation, STEM is of the greatest significance due to the function these particular topic areas perform along with the extraordinary influence they possess at many levels of society. 

Scientific research thrives off the exploration of chemistry and biology, in addition to climatic initiatives such as sustainable and nuclear power. It is hard to come across an area of contemporary society not connected to these themes in some way.

Labs Lost to Educational Rigidity

Businesses such as Pacific BioStorage specialize in providing support to pharmaceutical companies, universities, federal research labs, and hospitals across the nation. The niche has grown in response to the needs of the laboratory industry.

Redefining the lab tasks that high schoolers conduct can be a significantly helpful response to the lack of interest in science in some schools. Revamping lab work can raise the affinity for scientific investigation and learning.

High school lab studies typically concentrate on solely the scientific method. A scientific, logical progression of procedures brings the student to the findings and engages them. Illustrating the complexities and logistics of science and research is a stronger approach to bringing students into the scientific community.

Given that a great many of these STEM business sectors link themselves to our federal and state governments to some degree, it is safe to assert that our country depends on them to keep running.  Schools across the nation are making an effort to develop a more robust curriculum based in these subject areas.

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Categories: Math, Science | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How TV Can Help In The Classroom And On The Field

educational tvWell-used, television has traditionally been important in the classroom. It informs students in emergencies, updates them on historic events, and now–with extensions like Apple TV–connects them on a granular level to what they learn in their textbooks.

I haven’t written about this learning tool in a long time so I was excited when AATT contributor, Sara Stringer, came up with this great article:

Even though some people feel that there is too much on TV that does nothing to educate people, or children, for that matter, there is actually plenty on television to help with education. Educational shows can be a great asset to a classroom, no matter what age the children are.

Educational Shows For Elementary

Television in the classroom is a great help for younger students. It can help them find more interest and fun in learning. One reason schools should have televisions in each room, and a great satellite or cable package, is that it can be a great tool for teaching. Those teaching elementary age children can find a lot of shows that teach everything from math to vocabulary, and even health topics. These shows make learning fun and entertain children. While kids two and under aren’t recommended to watch TV, once your child is in preschool, TV can be an excellent learning tool. Nick Jr and Disney Junior are two great outlets for educational kids shows that can work well within the classroom. Base some curriculum around what happens in the shows. Have discussions about the shows topics. Children are more likely to remember what they learn when learning is fun.

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Categories: Digital Devices, Guest post | Tags: | 4 Comments

Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument on Your Smart Phone

digital musicAATT contributer, Sara Stringer, is looking at digital music tools this month. This is a topic I don’t say enough about so I’m thrilled Sara’s sharing her thoughts with you. There are at least three tools below I’ve never tried. After you read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on her choices and any she didn’t mention you love.
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Do you want to learn how to play an instrument or sing? Your smartphone or tablet is your gateway to the world of music. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, and help progress your musical interest and talent. In addition to the apps listed below, you could also find a music teacher to help advance your artistic abilities.

Pro Metronome

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Categories: Guest post, Music | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Three Life Skills High School Students Should Learn–and Why

life skillsWhat is the goal of education? If you ask ten people, you’re likely to get fifteen different answers.  AEP Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Dennis Littky and Samantha Grabelle discuss this in their well-regarded book, The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone’s Business. They draw from classroom experience and postulate that education is expected to teach students to:

  • be lifelong learners
  • be passionate
  • be ready to take risks
  • be able to problem-solve and think critically
  • be able to look at things differently
  • be able to work independently and with others
  • be creative
  • care and want to give back to their community
  • persevere
  • have integrity and self-respect
  • have moral courage
  • be able to use the world around them well
  • speak well, write well, read well, and work well with numbers
  • truly enjoy their life and their work

Common Core succinctly summarizes K-12 education as

“…prepare students for college and career”

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Sara Stringer focuses in on high school and shares her thoughts on three skills important to their future:

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Categories: Guest post, High School | Tags: | 1 Comment

Challenges to Implementing Computer Technology in Education

tech infusedWhat no teacher ever says: “I had no problem using technology in my classroom.” Even if YOU understand the plethora of digital tools, that often isn’t true for parents, other teachers, your Admin. Which becomes a challenge.

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Sara Stringer addresses some of the biggest problems even geeky teachers face when trying to build a technology-infused classroom:

Computers are more a part of education than ever before, be it classroom teachers using computer technology to get through to their students, or students attending classes entirely online. Computer technology has become the future of education, and yet there are still challenges that make technology less effective than it could be.

Technological Threats

With increased computer use also comes increased threats. Students and teachers who use public networks to access school resources are at greater risk from several different computer threats. While schools can make sure their internet security is up to date, individuals who connect with their personal devices can still end up loading infected files to the network.

One solution is to require that all outside machines meet certain specifications, such as having an up to date virus or internet security program installed. Even Macs are becoming more vulnerable to viruses and malware, and those users should install internet security or an antivirus for Mac that will send warnings if the machines are compromised.

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Categories: Classroom management, Education reform, Guest post | Tags: , | 2 Comments

High Tech In The Classroom

global computer networkYou’ve probably seen it in your school–teachers who have lots of techie devices in their classroom but use them primarily for sponge time, spare minutes, fill-in. It’s not integrated into the lessons, rather a play activity ‘when students have time’. I call it ‘babysitting’.

More and more, that is unacceptable. Common Core casually includes tech and digital tools dozens of times in the Standards as though they are part of a toolkit teachers turn to when communicating concepts. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Sara Stringer addresses this disparity below. I like that term–‘high tech’. It fits. Like ‘higher order thinking’ does in lessons:

As technology expands, it needs to be embraced in the classroom. We’re past the days of overhead projectors and simple chalkboards. The time has come to utilize the tools in front of us so that students may learn more effectively. We’ve moved into the age of digital learning.

Ideally, all classrooms would be fitted with the latest and greatest technology at our disposal. While we may not be able to provide each student with all of the technology the world possesses, we can still explore what options will work best for each classroom.

The Hardware

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Categories: Classroom management, Education reform, Guest post | Tags: | Leave a comment