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Yearly Archives: 2012

Happy Holiday!

1372575_modern_christmas_treeI’m taking off for a few days. I’ll be back after the New Year, refreshed, with new ideas, ready to go. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. May all of your wishes come true.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-6 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.comTechnology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: Holidays, News | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #36: The Internet Toolbar Disappeared

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  My internet toolbar disappeared. All I see at the top of the screen is, more of the page I’m on. No tools. What do I do?

A:  Push F11. You can hide the internet toolbar or unhide with F11. It’s that simple.

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Categories: Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

5 Fabulous Last-minute Gifts

1323990_christmas_presentsI talked to a lot of people to prepare this article. Sure, I have my 5 Fabulous List, but is it representative of what YOU might want? To determine that, I asked the faculty at my school, the members of my Personal Learning Network, and a bunch of efriends I’ve met while blogging. Here’s the list we came up with:

Old-style Kindle

They’re on sale for $59! What do you get? A screen that shows you the book you want to read, no matter the glaring sunlight, the internet outage, the fact that you’re on a flight and finished your book and now what do you do (hint: if you have the Kindle, you open the next one). The new Kindle Fire is morphing into a tablet. That’s OK if that’s what you want. But if you want to read a book without the battery expiring, in a dead wifi zone, get Old Kindle.

iPad

I love my iPad, but truth, any pad computer is a great way to stay on top of the most important things you need every day:

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Categories: Multimedia, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

5 Great Websites to Teach Letters

485097_abc_blocksEvery year, I add to my list of websites that teach kindergarten letters. I find out which ones students are working on in class, then demonstrate using each of the following websites how students can practice on the computer.
Which do you think is their favorite?
  • Find the letter--three different levels so you can personalize this to student needs–easy, medium, hard
  • Find the letter–how many letters can students find in 30 seconds?
  • Bembo’s Zoo--letters that morph themselves into the animal name. Entrancing!
  • Starfall Letters–lots of practice with the most age-appropriate games you can find on the internet
  • Click the Square--click on squares to create letters. Each click plays music. This is mesmerizing. Have them write the letters, their name, whatever they want

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Categories: Kindergarten, Reading | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Dear Otto: Should I stick with age limits on websites?

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 complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Leanne:

I am a Middle School teacher. Many of the teachers in my school want to use websites that state you need to be 13 or above. So far we have avoided them but as technology becomes more pervasive in our school and cooler and cooler websites become available, this is getting harder to stand by. How do you approach using websites that require 13 or above access?

Thank you, Leanne

And my answer:

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Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Digital Citizenship, Websites | 2 Comments

Check Out My Post at TeachHUB

I write a column for TeachHUB, about twice a month. If you’d like to check out my article, Friday Five: Top Five iPad Apps for Your Classroom, click and visit. There are some other interesting articles over there, so plan on staying a while.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to TeachHUB and Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

Categories: Blogging, Guest post | Leave a comment

Tech Tip #35: My Program Closed Down

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I was working on my program (writing in Word or making a slideshow in PowerPoint) and it disappeared. Did I lose all my work?

A: Before you arrive at that decision, try these two steps:

  • Check the taskbar. Is your program sitting down there, blinking at you? If it is, click on it to maximize it. Now, all should be OK.
  • If the program is closed, re-open the same program. If it’s Word, PowerPoint, Publisher or Excel, a panel shows up on the left prompting you to select one of the auto-saved documents. Pick yours. The program automatically saves every two to ten minutes. You’ve lost some, but not much of your work

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Categories: Problem solving, Tech tips | Leave a comment

How to Thrive as a Digital Citizen

digital citizenThanks to the pervasiveness of easy-to-use technology and the accessibility of the internet, teachers are no longer lecturing from a dais as the purveyor of knowledge. Now, students are expected to take ownership of their education, participate actively in the learning process, and transfer knowledge learned in the classroom to their lives.

In days past, technology was used to find information (via the internet) and display it (often via PowerPoint). No longer. Now, if you ask a fifth grade student to write a report on space exploration, here’s how s/he will proceed:

Understand ‘Digital Citizenship’

Before the engines of research can start, every student must understand what it means to be a citizen of the world wide web. Why? Most inquiry includes a foray into the unknown vastness of the www. Students learn early (I start kindergartners with an age-appropriate introduction) how to thrive in that virtual world. It is a pleasant surprise that digital citizenship has much the same rules as their home town:

Don’t talk to bad guys, look both ways before crossing the (virtual) street, don’t go places you know nothing about, play fair, pick carefully who you trust, don’t get distracted by bling, and sometimes stop everything and take a nap.

In internet-speak, students learn to follow good netiquette, not to plagiarize the work of others, avoid scams, stay on the website they choose, not to be a cyber-bully, and avoid the virtual ‘bad guys’. Current best practices are not to hide students from any of these, but to teach them how to manage these experiences.

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Education reform, Web Tools | Leave a comment

10 Steps to Become a Better Geek

If you teach technology, it’s likely you’re a geek. Even if you didn’t start out that way–say, you used to be a first grade teacher and suddenly your Admin in their infinite wisdom, moved you to the tech lab. Overnight, you became a geek. You morphed into the go-to person for tech problems, computer quirks, crashes and freezes. Overnight, your colleagues assumed you received an upload of data that allowed you to Know the answers to their every techie question. It didn’t matter that yesterday, you were one of them. Now, you are on a pedestal, their necks craned upward as they ask you, How do I get the Smartscreen to work? or We need the microphones working for a lesson I’m starting in three minutes. Can you please-please-please fix them?

Celebrate your cheeky geekiness. Flaunt it for students and colleagues. Play Minecraft. That’s you now–you are sharp, quick-thinking. You tingle when you see an iPad and the first thing you do when you get to school is check your email

It’s OK. Here at Ask a Tech Teacher, we understand. The readers understand. You’re at home. To honor you, I’ve created this poster. It gives ten more ways to get your geek fully on as you go through your day:

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Categories: Classroom management, Geeks, Humor | 2 Comments

14 Holiday Websites For Your Students

1372775_old_teddy_bearNeed a few websites to fill in sponge time? Here are Holiday websites that will keep students busy while teaching them:

  1. 12 Days of Christmas
  2. Holiday collection
  3. NORAD Santa
  4. Penguin Show
  5. Reindeer Orchestra
  6. Holiday—North Pole Academy
  7. Holiday—match game
  8. Holiday hangman
  9. Holiday—Math Facts
  10. Holiday Crossword
  11. Holiday Hangman II
  12. Holiday—find the word
  13. Holiday—Design a Gingerbread House
  14. Holiday Elf Games

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Categories: Websites | Leave a comment