Author: Jacqui

Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

Tech Tip #97: Speed up MSO with Quick Access Toolbar

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: Speed up MSO with Quick Access Toolbar

Category: MS Office

Q: I tend to do the same actions over and over in MS Office. How do I make that easier?

A: This one will improve the quality of your life immediately.

First, you need Office 2007 or later. Earlier versions don’t include the Quick Access toolbar. Click the drop down arrow (see inset) for the most popular actions–new, open, save, print, etc. Select those you want on the Quick Access toolbar. Toward the bottom is a choice to have the QA toolbar above or below the ribbon. I choose below.

You can also customize it: If there are tools not included that you use frequently (for example, I use strike through a lot), select ‘customize’ and go find it in the endless list.

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Managing Difficult Parents

Student success depends mightily on three pieces: student, teacher, parent. But there are times as teachers we wonder if we are communicating effectively with parents. Teaching Channel addresses this in this fascinating article:

10 Ways to Manage Difficult Families

Middle School Math Teacher, Kelly Ann Ydrovo recently completed Learners Edge continuing education Course 859: Parent Trap: Achieving Success with Difficult Parents & Difficult Situations and outlined her top 10 strategies for dealing with difficult family members and difficult situations. Check out her tips below to help you establish positive, constructive relationships with the family members of your students.

Read on

Here are articles from Ask a Tech Teacher that our readers have found useful:

8 Ways Parents and Teachers Support Remote Teaching

Teaching Basic Cybersecurity Measures To Everyday People (For Parents of Digital Natives)

Questions Parents Ask

How to Run a Parent Class

How Do Non-Techie Parents Handle the Increasing Focus of Technology in Education?

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Digital Literacy–Too Important to Skip

When testing moved online, it became painfully apparent to teachers how little students knew about using digital devices other than the internet, some apps, and iPads. The focus on online learning, thanks to COVID, has made that even more critical. IT Pro has an interesting article discussing the importance of digital literacy:

Digital literacy is as important as reading and writing, Vodafone claims

A study from the company found that half of 18-24-year olds have limited access to a laptop, tablet or PC

Digital literacy is becoming as important as reading and writing for young people’s future life prospects, a new report from Vodafone has found.

Limited access to an internet-connected device, or a lack of skills to use one, is preventing those entering the job market from attending online lessons or exams, applying for jobs, and gaining the necessary digital skills for many of today’s roles.

Read on…

Ask a Tech Teacher has several articles on this topic that you’ll find interesting:

If you need guidance understanding how to make your students good digital citizens, check out my upcoming online class, Building Digital Citizens. It’s for college credit and starts next Monday!

@ITPro #digcit

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Build Empathy Among Students

It used to surprise me that it became the school’s job to teach empathy. Shouldn’t parents do that? The truth is it doesn’t always happen in homes. Since children spend much of their daylight hours in school, it is a logical place to reinforce empathy as a life skill.

Edsurge has an interesting article, How to build empathy among students, that shares one teacher’s experiences:

Lessons in empathy often are taught with a focus on the individual, rather than the collective community, writes Ka’ua Adams, a ninth-grade English teacher at Kealakehe High School in Kona, Hawaii. In this commentary, Adams suggests strengthening these lessons by shifting individual activities to collective ones and focusing on care instead of skills.

Read on… (may require a free membership)

Ask a Tech Teacher has covered this topic often in the past. Here are some articles you might like:

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Classroom Travels with Twitter: An Evolution

Most teachers I know have used Twitter in their classes either to communicate with parents, share homework with students, for group study, to research on a topic, crowd source ideas with colleagues, or a myriad of other purposes (click here for more ideas). Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Christian Miraglia, Educational Consultant for T4Edtech, reminds us that how we used it at first is probably not how we use it now:

I Need an Idea, and I Need it Now!

You may remember the JG Wentworth commercial in which frantic customers shout out, “ I need my money, and I need it now!”. I sometimes lacked a plan as a teacher due to an overloaded schedule or mental exhaustion.  “I need a lesson idea, and I need it now!”  Where did I turn? Twitter. The social media platform became a resource when I was running on empty. Twitter as a classroom resource, you ask? Over the past two decades, Twitter has been a mainstay in my instruction. 

How many followers do you have?

I began using Twitter in my classroom soon after its introduction in 2006. I found creative uses for it in my history teaching, even at that time. One group of students created a conversation between Andrew Jackson and the various Native American groups forcibly relocated to the Indian Territory. The discussion was based on the research of primary and secondary documents and was quite creative. Nowadays, there are so many social media platforms that it can be overwhelming to keep track of for teachers. When my students would ask me how many followers I had on my Facebook account and Twitter, I stated I did not know. “Two hundred, three hundred one thousand,” they probed. I would note I had no idea on my Facebook account, but maybe 500 on my Twitter account, and most of them are teachers. 

The Why

My explanation for using Twitter did not resonate with my students, but here it is. I connect with other teachers for purely professional reasons, such as sharing resources, supporting each other, and building a network. Yes, it is nice to have followers, but that translates to more resources. Moreover, I have learned more from my teaching colleagues on Twitter than in any professional development sessions I attended. I cannot count the number of times I was stuck with a lesson, and another teacher teaching the same content would post a Google presentation or file for any teacher to utilize.

Some teachers would post videos of their lessons so that a viewer could see the instruction taking place. What a great resource. I, like many teachers, liked to promote the excellent work taking place in my classroom so other colleagues could view my students’ work. Although students are very much in tune with social media, not necessarily Twitter, it was an excellent chance to see a different approach to the platform. Using Twitter also kept the parents informed of the work that was going on in the classroom, but I soon defaulted to Instagram as most parents were using the platform.

Classroom Use

Another feature of Twitter is forming content groups for teachers where weekly conversations take place on pedagogy, current events, and the use of technology. Using a hashtag with the group’s name would provide access to a wealth of information for teachers seeking some guidance in their teaching practice. My favorites as a history teacher were #sschat #edtechchat and #edchat. A challenging exercise for students using the hashtag concept is to develop a relevant hashtag for a particular event or lesson concept. A teacher may have students tweet answers back to a specific question or summarize a topic using the 280 character limit. This activity requires the students to be creative in using words and characters such as emojis. 

As Twitter moved into its second decade,  templates for fake Twitter accounts for teachers showed up on the internet. Matt Miller, the Ditch That Textbook founder, was instrumental in creating various templates for the classroom. I assigned students to develop a running conversation between historical personalities such as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton for a quick formative assessment for one lesson. The assignment followed various readings about the two figures. Utilizing emoji characters for this exercise also enhanced the creative process for the students. 

For social studies teachers, Twitter is a great resource to study news stories and the concept of civic reasoning. The Stanford History Education Group has various resources for assessing the reliability of sources, including Twitter. In an era where much of the information consumed is relegated to characters and lacks considerable depth, this skill has become increasingly important in building civic and digital citizenship. Students can also study the volume of a particular trending hashtag to see how an organization promotes specific events or material. 

Keeping Up

As Twitter evolved to become mainstream social media, my use did. I realized that I had to embrace Twitter for students to be engaged. Demonstrating that using social media tools went beyond the trends and likes became my mission. When the pandemic forced instruction to go remote, Twitter also became more instrumental as teachers clamored for lessons and sought support for the emotional grind of teaching. Moreover, with so many highly charged events taking place in our nation, my students would report the latest updates from various Twitter sources in the middle of class. Then we would proceed to analyze the reliability of the information. Bottom line, keeping up with social media is challenging enough for educators, but it kept me better connected with my students and fellow educators. 

Bio

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

If the box above doesn’t work, try this link:

http://eepurl.com/chNlYb

@T4Edtech #edtech


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, 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.

Practices of Tech-savvy Teachers

Are you struggling with all the tech required for remote and hybrid teaching? Education Week shares what tech-savvy educators are using to make this work:

5 Practices of Truly Tech-Savvy Teachers

Education Week caught up with select teachers and instructional coaches who shared their thoughts on some essential practices to effectively implement technology into the practice of teaching. Some were discovered or honed during the pandemic. All offer lessons for job seekers wanting to present in-demand knowledge and skills, as well as districts and schools that are seeking truly tech-savvy teachers.

Read on…

Ask a Tech Teacher has reviewed a list of easy-to-use, intuitive tech tools we think will make your teaching job easier. Check otu these articles:

16+ Websites on Assessments

Whiteboard Apps You’ll Love

How to Evaluate Programs You’ve Never Used in Less Than Seven Minutes

Tech Tools for PE Teachers

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4 (free) Posters About Reading

Every month, we’ll share themed posters that you can share on your website (with attribution), post on your walls, or simply be inspired.

This month: Reading

–for the entire collection of 65 posters, click here



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.

Tech Tip #72: Alt+??? Brings up which Command?

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: Alt+??? Brings up which Command?

Category: MS Office, Keyboarding

Q: I always forget the Alt keys for MS Word menu commands. Do you have a list?

A: I’ll do one better. In MS Office, push the Alt key and it tells you what number or letter is associated with which menu command.

To activate the shortcut, push Alt+ exposed letter or number. For example, for Redo, push Alt+3. That’s it.

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.

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