Technology Turnaround Stories from Hawaii and California

All around the country, schools are turning around education through the use of technology. Here are two, one in Hawaii and one in California that show you steps that might work for you:


Kalakaua Middle School leadership team gets into the spirit to boost positive behavior.

King David Kalakaua MS, Hawaii

When innovative school leaders decided to try a new technology program at King David Kalakaua Middle School this year, they hoped recognizing students’ good behavior would lessen their bad behavior. Their goal was to improve school climate and build positive relationships with everyone on campus by focusing on the positive. In less than six months, not only have they met that goal, but they also changed their peer’s perception of “trouble” students and helped boost grades.

“We feel like it’s had a major impact on students,” says MTSS Coordinator, Tiana Kamiko. She spearheaded the program with her fellow Behavioral Health Specialist Kristen Shimabukuro. “The campus itself feels happier. The kids are smiling more. Just the other day, we had a student telling Kristen that we’re part of the reason he likes to come to school now.”

The idea of rewarding students for positive behavior has a long history in schools, and numerous studies have shown the practice can improve student behavior, reduce suspensions, and even boost student achievement. It is, however, unusual for a school to see such a large jump in so many categories so quickly.

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I’m traveling!

My Army son is coming to visit from Okinawa Japan for a month. We are training it across country (I’m in California) to visit my Navy daughter in the Washington DC  area. Along the way, we’re stopping in Marion Indiana to visit my sister Tina who I haven’t seen in over a decade (though we talk often). I will get to meet many of her extended family I have never met. What a trip!

I am planning to be back to blogging the last week or so of July. Really, it’s hard to keep my fingers off the keys for longer than that. As a result, I won’t be around much. I apologize in advance for missing many of your posts. I will try to drop in now and then but I’m not sure of time constraints.

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College Credit Classes in Blended Learning

grad school classes in technology

Through the Midwest Teachers Institute, I offer four grad school classes that teach how to blend technology with traditional lesson plans.

  • Building Digital Citizens
  • Leveraging Writing with Technology
  • The Tech-infused Teacher
  • The Differentiated Teacher

They include all the ebooks, videos, and other resources required so you don’t spend any more than what is required to register for the class. Once you’re signed up, you prepare weekly material, chat with classmates, respond to class Discussion Boards, complete weekly projects/summatives, and participate in a weekly video meeting. Everything is online.

Questions? Email me at

Here is more detail on each class:

mti 557Building Digital Citizens

MTI 557

August 6th – September 9th

If students use the internet, they must be familiar with the rights and responsibilities required to be good digital citizens.  In this class, you’ll learn what topics to introduce, how to unpack them, and how to make them authentic to student lives.

Topics include:

  1. copyrights, fair use, public domain
  2. cyberbullying
  3. digital commerce
  4. digital communications
  5. digital footprint, digital privacy
  6. digital rights and responsibilities
  7. digital search/research
  8. image—how to use them legally
  9. internet safety
  10. netiquette
  11. passwords
  12. plagiarism
  13. social media

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Know how to blend digital citizenship into lesson plans that require the Internet
  2. Be comfortable in your knowledge of all facets of digital citizenship
  3. Become an advocate of safe, legal, and responsible use of online resources
  4. Exhibit a positive attitude toward technology that supports learning
  5. Exhibit leadership in teaching and living as a digital citizen

Assessment is based on involvement, interaction with classmates, and completion of projects so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker. Price includes course registration, college credit, and all necessary materials. To enroll, click the link above, search for MTI 557 and sign up.

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Categories: AATT Materials, Online education | Leave a comment

Happy Fourth of July!

It’s America’s birthday and I’m celebrating. I have an Army son heading off overseas and a Navy daughter doing her thing stateside. I’m toasting both of them today and all of America’s warriors, God be with you.

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What You Might Have Missed in June

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

  1. My Sound Doesn’t Work
  2. Top Ten Education Blogs
  3. Gamechanger: Type to Learn is Now in the Cloud!
  4. The Case for PDFs in Class
  5. SL Curricula Online Resources are Moving!
  6. 5 Favorite Apps for Summer Learning
  7. Seven Fun Math Activities for the Summer Break
  8. Look what’s new at Zapzapmath
  9. World Environment Day: Living Responsibly with Nature

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-8 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 reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a weekly contributor to 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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Should you Teach Typing? And Does it Work?

why learn keyboardingThis topic that is close to my tech teacher soul. It has become a familiar argument between those who believe children intuitively learn to type (“see them on smartphones and iPads–they don’t need help”) and those of us who believe instruction makes them better, faster.  Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, James Lovelock, discusses this:


Explicit typing, simulated application and practical application – Why is this not a thing?

When it comes to education, there has always been a call for approaches that are more grounded in context. For example, you could just look at a map and do some measurements, or you can get out there with a trusty surveyor’s wheel and chart a space and learn real applications. It makes perfect sense to do this, practical application proves relevance and also allows for greater engagement.

Having said that, one would not do this without first explaining the concepts and practicing the basics of measurement. Yet all too often, when it comes to touch-typing that is exactly what occurs, students are expected to just ‘pick it up’ as they go along because the work required to develop the skill correctly can be viewed as “unnecessary,” “too time-consuming,” or “artificial learning.”

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Categories: Guest post, Keyboarding | Leave a comment

Here’s a Preview of July

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

  • ????

To be honest, you won’t see a lot of me because I’m off most of the month! But I’ll be back in August.

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169 Tech Tip #28: My Sound Doesn’t Work

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: #28: My Sound Doesn’t Work

Category: Hardware

Q: I can’t get any sound out of my computer. Do I need a new sound card?

A: Before you invest that kind of money, try these easy fixes:

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Top Ten Education Blogs

I am honored to be selected as one of TutorFair’s Top Ten Education Blogs for 2018! Without a doubt, the credit goes to my readers. I am proud that the resources, reviews, and materials I curate for you resonate with your teaching needs.

top education blogs

Do check out their full article to see all ten selected blogs. It includes names of edtech experts you already follow and a few you’ll want to add to your list.

More edtech blogs:

Free Tech For Teachers

The Confident Teacher

The Innovative Educator

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Gamechanger: Type to Learn is Now in the Cloud!

When I started teaching a decade ago, Type to Learn was the MS Word of typing programs–everyone used it. The game-based keyboarding program was fun, engaging, and actually worked. Students graduated from the thirty-forty lessons (that took about a year to get through) with the skills they needed to become fast and accurate typists who could use the keyboard as an effective tool in both classwork and homework.

At some point in the past, busy teachers moved away from a committed program that teaches typing to solutions that promised to automate the process with rote drills and games. With most of these freemium online programs, students log in and get started. No installation, no set-up, often little supervision, just typing. The problem is, they don’t work very well. With the push to move assessments online, students need good keyboarding skills. That means:

…fast accurate typing as a tool for writing and test-taking, not a distraction

If you’re one of the many who realize your students’ typing skills aren’t up to this standard, you’ll love Type to Learn’s game-changing update: It’s now in the cloud. No more software downloads. No more inability to sync between home and school. No more “runs only on desktops and laptops”.

Let me back up and describe Type to Learn Cloud. It’s a comprehensive typing program that teaches not just the basics but advanced skills necessary to become fast and accurate touch typists. It does this through a process of review, demonstration, practice, and assessment. Using avatar-like animation, engaging sounds, and colorful graphics, rolled out in a space-themed story, students progress through thirty-six lessons, five games per lesson, and seven assessments to complete the interactive missions that will save their world.  It operates in the cloud, works on most digital devices (including Chromebooks and iPads with an external keyboard), and plays well with all browsers. Students can work from home or school and their progress syncs between the two.

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