13 Websites on Architecture/Engineering

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using for Architecture and Engineering:


  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Autodesk HomeDesigner–free; for olders or HS
  3. Classroom Architect
  4. The Geometry of Sustainable Architecture–in Google Earth


  1. Design Evo–create logos for free


  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Concord Consortium–chemistry, earth science, engineering, life science, physics
  3. DiscoverE hands-on activities–also includes games, lesson plans, videos
  4. Gizmos
  5. Solving Problems with Simple Machines (video)
  6. Through My Window–free multi-media curriculum on engineering for grades 4-8
  7. Truss Me— design and test trusses
  8. What is an engineer–video for youngers or as an intro

Click here for updates to this list.

–Image credit Deposit Photos


Tech Tip #147: 5 Ways to Involve Parents

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: 5 Tips to Involve Parents

Category: Parents, Classroom Management

Here are five ways to involve parents in the classroom:

  1. have an open door policy
  2. create a family-friendly environment
  3. offer parent technology classes
  4. communicate often with parents
  5. solicit help in/out of the classroom

For more detail on these, visit “5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class”.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.


end of school year

12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year

I posted this a few years ago, skipped the topic with all the craziness of the pandemic, and am updating it this year in articles about how to wrap up your school year.:

Wrapping up your school technology for the summer is as complicated as setting it up in September. There are endless backups, shares, cleanings, changed settings, and vacation messages that — if not done right — can mean big problems when you return from summer vacation. If you have a school device, a lot of the shutdown steps will be done by the IT folks as they backup, clean, reformat, and maybe re-image your device. If you have a personal device assigned by the school but yours to take home, the steps may be more numerous but really, not more complicated.

Here’s a list. Skip those that don’t apply to you and complete the rest. I won’t take time in this article (I’m over 800 words right now) for a how-to on each activity so if you don’t know how to complete one, check with your IT folks or Google it:

Make sure your firewall and antivirus programs are working.

Many computers come with a built-in one to keep viruses and malware out that slow your computer. Sometimes, they seem to turn off by themselves (I have no idea why). Check to be sure yours is active. If you have a Chromebook or an iPad, don’t even worry about this.

Clean out your documents.

Sort through the documents you collected this year and get rid of those you don’t need anymore. It’s intimidating, like a file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in months –- or years — and is covered with spider webs. If you don’t do this regularly, the computer must finger through these unused files every time you search. If you hate throwing anything away, create an ‘Old’ folder, toss them all in it, and save that to a flash drive or in the cloud.


How to Raise a Computer-Savvy Generation

Raising computer-savvy children is complicated, whether you are a geek or a luddite. If you don’t pay attention, they teach themselves and not always the right way. Guiding kids through foundational steps and then building on them so students enjoy using technology for more than games and simulations is the goal. We as teachers and parents want them to value tech as a tool that enables them to dig into raw data (not someone’s interpretation of it), get answers to questions when they pop into mind, and make everyday tasks easier (not waste time).

Our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has some great ideas for you in this next article:

How to Raise a Computer-Savvy Generation

Image source: Pexels


Being computer savvy in today’s world governed by technology is one of the most important things for parents to instill in their children. This is because the use of technology is important for personal growth and professional success.

Today’s generation is born into a world where everything revolves around technology. Fortunately, the modern generation is in love with it, meaning that parents do not have a hard time raising computer-savvy children.

As a parent, do you know what you should do to raise a computer-savvy child? Most parents did not grow up with the kind of technology that we have today, something that makes it a little bit difficult for them. Here is a guideline to follow;

Teach Children How To Code

Most parents are probably asking how to go about this when they cannot code themselves. Well, you do not have to know how to code to teach your children how to do it. Computer programming for children is growing in popularity every single day.

This is because people are relying on technology to run their day-to-day operations. Parents interested in raising a computer-savvy generation can, therefore, start by encouraging their children to learn how to code.

Children who learn how to code at an early age have high chances of succeeding in life. In addition, they find it easy to take courses such as Bachelor of Science in Computer Science later in life, which is vital for those who want a successful career in technology.

A computer-savvy generation can help in the critical evaluation of problems. In addition, they can look at alternative options and create innovative solutions to simplify processes and make things better.

Set Rules To Keep Them Under Control

Sometimes, we need to unplug to recharge ourselves and feel better. Setting rules for your computer-savvy child does not mean following strict guidelines but finding a routine that favors your family. 

For instance, you can set aside a certain amount of time every day when your children are supposed to engage in a certain activity or maybe not use certain devices such as computers. You do not want your child to suffer from computer-related injuries due to long computer usage.

At the end of the day, setting guidelines for your children is going to help them in the long run. They will understand that they need to be disciplined and follow regulations, something that can stick with them even when they are adults.

Get Involved With Your Children

When most modern parents were growing up, they saw how their parents were involved in their lives and made sure that they knew everything about friends, classmates, teachers, or even play-mates. This should not be abandoned especially when raising computer-savvy children.


memorial day

Music for Armed Forces Day

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyKfr8G04Qc&w=560&h=315] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-_wAX1tV8&w=560&h=315]

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. This year, that’s May 11th. It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

Anyone have some favorite websites to share? My list isn’t terribly robust.

Enjoy your day with your children!


#CUE22 and Trending Edtech

If you attend edtech conferences, you know how motivating, energizing, and forward-thinking they are. I always come away feeling ready to use the latest and best edtech tools in my lesson plans. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Christian Miraglia, attended Spring CUE 22 in Palm Springs, California. Here are some of the great ideas he collected from colleagues and presenters:

#CUE22 and Trending Edtech

Conferences always bring new ideas, energy for changes in instructional practices, and new networking opportunities. I recently attended the Spring CUE 22 conference in Palm Springs, in which over two thousand educators gathered to share ideas, connect and view the latest in education technology.  The CUE (Computer Users in Education) conference is the highlight event for California educators using technology. Much of the presentations indicated that changes are happening in classrooms spurred by the pandemic. Being that there were many topics of importance this post will focus on student agency with later posts focusing on feedback, E-Sports, and assessments. 

Student agency is defined as learning in which students have a choice in relevant activities that represent their learning. Over my last three years in the classroom, I became a user of choice boards. These choice boards were for assessments in which students could choose from three content topics and three different ways of representing their learning. Borrowing from a Google Slide template shared by a fellow history teacher, I set up a slide deck that reviewed the content we covered with resources. Once students navigated through the learning process, they chose from three representation options to demonstrate their learning. Each option had a digital component, but if students preferred to create illustrations on paper, they only had to take a picture and submit it through the assignment portal. 

Digital posters use essential vocabulary and images from the learning experience visually appealingly. Students use bullet points instead of paragraphs when summarizing the response. The three best platforms for these are Google Draw, Adobe Creative Cloud Express, and Canva. 

The video option can utilize Adobe Creative Express, Flipgrid, WeVideo, and other screencasting platforms. Students represent their learning by using images and narration. The selection of the tool was based on the frequency of usage in my classroom. Students would often indicate they wanted to use another video tool not part of the original choice board. In keeping with the principle of student agency, this was always permissible.  

Sketch and Tell is one of the formative and summative tools from EduProtocols. With Sketch and Tell, students create a digital drawing on one half of the Google or PowerPoint slide template representing a key concept from the unit and briefly explain how the image connects to the learning process on the other half of the template.  I found that students who were artistically inclined opted for this representation. As with the two previously mentioned choices, students choose the method that fits their talents, thus giving agency to the learning process. 

Student agency is fostered beyond choice boards. Having students select their learning paths through an LMS is another method. Some teachers have also adopted the 20% Time or Genius Hour projects where students choose a subject beyond the scope of studies and dedicate twenty percent of the class to the project. Students can be creative, and innovative, and develop a more profound sense of purpose with these projects. 

While at the conference, I selected the sessions that best complimented my interest and learning style. The classroom should be no different in that students should have agency in how they submit work that best represents their individual talents. The days of just teaching content because that is what we do are over.  Students at all levels are coming to school with a variety of experiences that can be captured by allowing choices in how they represent learning. 


Christian Miraglia is a recently retired 36-year educator and now Educational Technology Consultant at t4edtech where he also blogs at Edtech and Things Related. He can be found on Twitter @T4edtech, Linkedin, and on his YouTube Channel Transformative Edtech.

Other Conferences Over the Years

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Encourage Creativity in the Classroom

“Eighty-seven percent of teachers and 77% of parents agree teaching that inspires creativity has a bigger payoff for students”

This according to Gallup research (To read more of the report, click here). No one is surprised by this. Teachers and parents have long known that if students are engaged, they learn faster and remember more.

Our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has some interesting thoughts on mainstreaming this in your classroom:

How to Encourage Creativity in the Classroom: Best Tips to Inspire Your Students

Kids don’t go to school just to learn classical subjects such as history, math, or geography. They also need to understand how to be social, how to create connections, and how to develop their creativity.

Plus, in the current work environment, creativity is considered the skill of the future and many employers devise training sessions to help their employees think outside the box. So why not start at an early age, when the brain is more eager to learn and creative pathways easier to forge? 

Also, in today’s day and age, teachers can use a wide range of tech tools to connect with and inspire their students. Now, if you’ve run out of ideas, here are a few tips (with and without technology) to help your students embrace their creative side. 

Use Fun Tools

Have you ever thought about using 3D printing to help students express their creativity?

Up until a few years ago, 3D printing wasn’t an easily accessible technology. However, due to lowered prices for printers, materials, and even pens, nowadays it’s rather easy to get hold of some tools. All you need is a reliable supplier of educational resources, such as Springboard Supplies

3D printing allows kids to improve spatial visualization and understand better geometric concepts. It’s also a lot of fun and can inspire all sorts of creative projects!

Turn Boring Topics Interesting

More often than not, the topics studied in school tend to be dry and factual (even for the younger students). This is also one of the reasons why some students may have trouble retaining the information. 

Still, teachers can take a dry concept and, using creativity, turn it into a fun and easy-to-understand experience. Let’s take polygons as an example – children learn about this geometric concept throughout their primary years.

So, to help them solidify the information and increase creativity, ask them to draw a few polygons on a piece of paper (it doesn’t matter the shape). Once they’re done and you have a chat about their drawings, ask them to turn those polygons into something they love – it can be anything from their cat/dog to flowers, cars, toys, and so on. 

Encourage Their Curiosity

Kids and teenagers are some of the most curious people you’ll ever meet. Plus, nowadays they have easy access to resources and educational materials (no more time spent in the library).

So encourage them to explore the topics in which they show interest. Help them find the resources they need by using mediums that are familiar to them (Google, social media, YouTube, and so on).

Let’s take the “water freezes at 0℃” lesson that discusses the concept of freezing. To pique their curiosity, ask “Do you think only water freezes when temperatures drop?”. As kids try to come up with other things that freeze, propose and experiment. 

Everyone should name three regular household items (of small sizes) that they think will freeze. Next, when they get home, they should ask their parents to place the three items in the freezer overnight. The next day, discuss what happened to each item, why it didn’t freeze, and their thoughts on their colleagues’ experiments.

Problem-Solving with Multiple Solutions

Unless we’re talking about a mathematical concept, most problems have a multitude of solutions. Now, apply this idea to the classroom and ask your students to come up with solutions to a simple problem.

Avoid giving them the answer and don’t shut down any of the solutions they come up with. If the solution isn’t viable, explain why and help them find a workaround. Also, encourage them to investigate alternatives, do research on the topic using available resources, and debate the issue amongst themselves. 

This exercise may seem frustrating at first (especially for the teacher), but it encourages kids to change their point of view and consider different factors when they find themselves at a dead end. It’s also a great way to teach them resilience and the concept of “try until you succeed”. 

Wrap Up

Creativity is a beautiful skill and once you get the kids going, you’ll be amazed at how their thinking changes and evolves. Plus, as you gear your lessons towards a more creative setting, you’ll end up with a nice toolkit of resources and digital tools that make your job easier and a lot more interesting.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.