I’m Traveling!

May 11th-24th

I’m taking a trip with my daughter to visit my son who is stationed in Okinawa with the Army. We’ll spend two weeks traveling the area. I haven’t done this in fifty years (when I traveled through the old Soviet Union and Europe) and am beyond excited! 

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Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6th-May 10th

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6th-10th. In honor of these tenacious, creative individuals, here are some of our favorite teacher articles:teacher appreciation week

18 Things Teachers Do Before 8am

Definition of ‘Teacher’

How to be a Tech Teacher

10 Steps to Become a Better Geek

21 Reasons Why You Know You’re a Teacher

You Know You’re a Techy Teacher When…

Just Another Day In Computer Lab

Humorous Look at What I Learned from my Computer

How to Talk to a Tech Teacher

Dr. Seuss–Techie Style

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Subscriber Special: Great Price on Coaching

May 28th-31st:

Coaching or Mentoring

BOGO — Buy one month; get the second free

Do any of these sound like you?

  • Your kindergartners don’t know what ‘enter’, ‘spacebar’, ‘click’ or many other techie words mean but you need to teach them to keyboard, internet, and become digital citizens. How do you start?
  • You have new students in your class who haven’t had technology training. The rest of the class has. How do you catch them up?
  • Your principal wants you to teach the technology class but you’ve never done it before. What do you do on the first day?
  • You’ve been teaching for twenty years but now your Principal wants technology integrated into your class. Where do you start?
  • You have a wide mix of tech skills among students in your class. How do you differentiate between student geeks and students who wonder what the right mouse button is for?
  • You’ve been tasked with organizing a Technology Use Plan for your school. Where do you start?
  • You and colleagues are expected to create a Curriculum Map. How does technology fit into that?
  • You love being an edtech professional but what’s your career path?

More and more teachers–new and experienced–are looking for coaching or mentoring to fill gaps in their learning, keep up to date on the latest teaching strategies, and solve problems they didn’t expect. Many turn to the personalized approach Ask a Tech Teacher and Structured Learning offer. Coaching is completed via Google Hangouts or Webroom.net or email if that is your preference. After only a short time, teachers find they are better prepared with tech-infused lesson plans, able to teach to standards more fluently, can integrate tech into core classroom time, easily differentiate for student needs with tech, and more.

“Once a month, pick my brain. I’ll share what I’ve learned and what works from 30 years of teaching.” –Jacqui Murray

Normally, we charge a $150 per month with a two month minimum (for a total of $300). This month between the 28th and 30th, get both months of coaching or mentoring for only $150.

Click our PayPal Me here. Add $150.00 to the line.

ask a tech teacher

Because it’s PayPal, you can enter as a guest with any credit card–no PayPal account required.

We wrote the books. We’ll help you deliver on keyboarding, integrating tech into your curriculum, digital citizenship, Common Core, and more. Questions? Ask at askatechteacher at gmail dot com.

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What You Might Have Missed in April

Here are the most-read posts for the month of April:

  1. An Open Letter to Teachers About Online Classes
  2. 11 Projects to Teach Digital Citizenship
  3. The 15-second Slideshow
  4. What to do when you lose a digital document
  5. Have Google Takeout at Your End-of-Year Party
  6. 12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year
  7. Kindergartners need Technology too!
  8. 10 Myths about Teaching with Tech
  9. Here’s How to Get Started with Ask a Tech Teacher
  10. 5 Favorite Activities to End the School Year

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 TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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169 Tech Tip #71 How to Move Pics Around in Docs

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: How to Move Pics Around in Docs

Category: Images

Sub-category: MS Office, Google Apps

Q: I added an image to my Word document, but I can’t move it around the page. How do I fix that?

A: Word’s default for inserting a picture on a page is ‘inline’–it treats it as text. Like words on a document, it can’t be easily moved. Here’s how to fix that:

  • Click on the picture; select ‘Picture Tools’ at the top center of the screen.
  • Select ‘wrap text’ from the ribbon.
  • Select ‘tight’ to have words wrap around it.

Now drag and drop it anywhere you’d like.

insert images

For detail, and how to do this in Google Apps, visit Tech Tip #12.

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

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An Open Letter to Teachers About Online Classes

Nearly three million students currently attend online programs and six million take at least one online class. This means learning online has become one of the most popular approaches to education.

I am an adjunct profession who teaches solely online for a variety of big-name colleges and Universities. Each year, the classes grow in size. Whether you like it or not, this is the future of education, where people pursue learning without the need for a car, expensive gas, parking fees, campus-based meals, housing (if you live on campus), traffic delays, absent teachers, wait lists for full classes, inflexible time schedules, conflicts with personal schedules, and all those details that make attending college a juggling act. Done right, you don’t have to give up the collaboration, camaraderie, and new friends to get the passion of learning, the huzzah of amazing knowledge, and the high of improving yourself.

What I like best about online classes is that they are personalized learning that differentiates for varied student needs, learning styles, and communication methods. Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not for everyone but for some, it allows them to achieve their goals without the suffocating structure usually associated with attending on-campus classes.

Before I get into how I teach online classes, here are some of the factors to consider when you weigh online or on-campus:

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Here’s a Preview of May

Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in May:

  • Cinco de Mayo Websites
  • Teacher Appreciation Week
  • World Password Day
  • I’m traveling–see you in June!

Read more »

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11 Projects to Teach Digital Citizenship

Education has changed. No longer is it contained within four classroom walls or the physical site of a school building. Students aren’t confined by the eight hours between school bells or the struggling budget of an underfunded program. Now, education can be found anywhere — teaming up with students in Kenya, Skyping with an author in Sweden, or chatting with an astrophysicist on the International Space Station. Students can use Google Earth to take a virtual tour of a zoo or a blog to collaborate on class research. Learning has no temporal or geographic borders and is available wherever students and teachers find an Internet connection.

This vast landscape of resources is offered digitally, freely (often), and equitably (hopefully), but to take that cerebral trek through the online world, children must know how to do it safely, securely, and responsibly. This used to mean limiting access to the Internet, blocking websites, and layering rules upon rules hoping (vainly) to discourage students from using an infinite and fascinating resource.

It didn’t work.

Best practices now suggest that instead of cocooning students, we teach them to be good digital citizens, confident and competent. Here are eleven projects to teach kids authentically, blended with your regular lessons, the often complicated topic of becoming good digital citizens, knowledgeable about their responsibilities in an Internet world.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, Digital Citizenship, Kindergarten | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tip #49 The 15-second Slideshow

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of 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: #49–The 15-second Slideshow

Category: Images

Sub-category: PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, iPads

Q:   What’s an easy way Kindergartners and first graders can share a slideshow of their work?

A:      If you have PCs:

  • Go to the Start button; select Computer in the right column.
  • Select the folder with the pictures you want displayed as a slideshow.
  • Select Slideshow from the toolbar; push play at the bottom.

Here’s how you do it in Macs:

For Chromebooks:

  • select Files
  • select the folder that includes student images
  • select the image
  • click Openat the bottom of the screen
  • hover over the bottom right toolbar and select the video icon for slideshow

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How AI is Changing Writing: Check out Robot Don

robot donAsk a Tech Teacher contributor, Lisa Griffin, has an interesting AI-inspired tool to share with readers. It brings the best of today’s AI functions to classroom writing programs. See what you think:


We live in a digital era where the kids are in contact in all sorts of technological solutions that help them learn, connect, and have fun. Furthermore, recent tech advancements are facilitating the inclusion of kids with different sorts of disabilities, allowing them to attend regular classes without any trouble.

Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more accepted in classrooms all over the world. The benefits of technology usage in schools are vast, including everything from grading tests to analyzing weak spots in courses, providing improvement suggestions. The use of AI in writing and education is also displayed through overwhelming employment of various forms of writing checkers powered by AI. One of these writing assistants is Robot Don, an AI-driven software which we are going to discuss in this article.

What does Robot Don bring to the table?

Writing essays on any given topic includes more than just performing deep research and understanding the issue at hand. It’s about practicing the ability to articulate your knowledge in a manner that is easy to understand and follow. In order to accomplish these goals, proper writing skills are a necessity. This includes impeccable spelling, punctuation, wording, and an extensive vocabulary. According to research, most common undergraduate writing errors include faulty sentence structure, misplaced words, poor punctuation, and pretty slim vocabulary.

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