Thanks for dropping by our blog. I know you’re busy. You’re probably a teacher, principal, administrator, homeschooler, preservice professional, library media specialist–in short, an educator. You’re here looking for everything about tech in the classroom–lesson plans, projects, tech tips, tech how-tos, pedagogy, trends, webinars, and training.
Ask a Tech Teacher is a group of technology teachers who provide free materials, advice, lesson plans, pedagogic conversation, website reviews, and more to all who drop by our blog. The free newsletters and website articles help thousands of teachers, homeschoolers, and those serious about finding the best way to maneuver the minefields of technology in education.
Who Am I?
My name is Jacqui Murray. I am the editor/curator/founding member of Ask a Tech Teacher. Often if you contact us, you’ll get me! I have been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. I am the editor/author of over one hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and books on how to integrate technology into education. I am an adjunct professor on tech ed topics, webmaster for four blogs, Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a contributor to NEA Today. You can find my books, ebooks, webinars, and more at Structured Learning.
Over the years, I’ve taught thousands of students and loved every minute of it. There’s nothing more exhilarating than to be let loose on the savannas of the internet with a toolkit chock full of technology. Before technology, I taught community college business classes and before that, enjoyed a twenty-year career in management.
A quick bio: I was born in California to Irish-German parents. After receiving a BA in Economics, a BA in Russian and an MBA, and while putting my time in as a Working Mom, I raised two children and taught evening classes at community colleges. Now, my daughter has graduated from USNA and is serving as an officer in DC. My son graduated from the University of California-Irvine with a double major in economics and history and enlisted in the Army where he is a Staff Sergeant with the Signal Corps. My beautiful Labrador Casey is finally potty trained. I spend most of my time, teaching, reading, and writing. I published two tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and the sequel, Twenty-four Days as well as prehistoric fiction under the saga title, Man vs. Nature.
CA Teaching Credential
Real Estate Broker license (required in a prior child care job–now there’s a long story. What a lot of work!)
- I am not comfortable talking to groups. How can that be–I’m a teacher. I meet with parents all the time. No problem with those. It’s presenting… which is why I never present at ISTE.
- I owned a Fred Astaire dance studio for years where I also competed professionally. I love dancing.
- I used to program in DOS. I still miss it.
- I worked in a recycling plant for years. I found people who wanted to recycle and sold or exported their material. What an interesting job.
- I know corrugated is the right name for ‘cardboard’ and people often say ‘cement’ when they mean ‘concrete’.
- I have climbed atop a lot of skyscraper-ish buildings and water tanks while installing cell phone antennas (part of a team). What a view!
- I designed and built onsite child care centers for universities and cities (again, part of a team). I can tell you what a toilet seat REALLY costs.
- I love dogs. I can’t imagine life without them.
- Both my children are in the military. Their choice–I never was. They both love it. One’s a Naval office, the other in the Army Signal Corps. Guess which is the boy.
- I love my husband more than I ever thought possible.
- I read the entire Uniform Building Code when building child care centers. I also read the 1200+ page Affordable Care Act (before it exploded in size). I’ve also read the Common Core Standards. Do you see a trend here?
5 hints for technology teachers:
- Don’t stress over technology. The biggest worry among new teachers is that the computers won’t work. First, there are steps you can take to ensure that happens less rather than more. Second, half of problems are caused by the same 20 issues. Teach yourself how to solve those. Third, when technology doesn’t work, embrace the opportunity. Show students how to solve techie problems. They need that knowledge to comfortably use technology in other classrooms and at home. (I have a unit I teach with Oregon trail–old software that crashes often, but students love the program. I show them five things to do when the program stops working. Students happily become risk takers, performing outside of their normal comfort level, so they can continue the game. By the end of this unit, they are much better problem solvers.)
- Tie what you do into classroom Units of Inquiry. That’s important in Common Core (and ISTE) because it works. The best technology extends the reach of traditional education. Students see these projects as authentic.
- Be flexible. Adapt a lesson plan when needed to a class or one student. Optimize learning by following their lead. Not surprisingly, often this is simply a different path to the same desired outcome.
- Be a risk-taker. There is more out there than you can teach in a year, so don’t be afraid to experiment, throw out what didn’t work and try something new. If you promote inquiry and empower students to take responsibility for their own learning, you’ve had a good year.
- There is a right order to introducing tech skills. When teachers expect 3rd graders to type with speed and accuracy, they’re setting all stakeholders up for failure.
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