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.
LESSON PLANNING

How to Teach Kids Email

Online communication include faxes, instant messages, blogs, and email. Of the four, email is the most popular—so popular, it has transformed the way the world communicates. According to the Radicati Group, in 2008, 1.3 billion people had email accounts and sent 210 billion messages daily.

Why so popular? First, email is paperless, appealing to our global need to conserve resources. On a more basic level, email is a faster alternative to most other forms of communication by combining the telephone’s speed and efficiency with a user’s need to transfer files and documents. Email has no time or place barriers. You can write and respond (with an amazing level of anonymity) whenever you choose – day or night with multiple contacts, keeping many people in the loop with the click of a few keys. And, email is stored and retrieved quickly at almost no cost. (more…)

18 Great FREE Online Keyboard Websites

When your child is learning to keyboard, they need 10-15 minutes two to three times a week. Even for kindergartners. Choose a fun software program–whichever will keep their attention when they’re young. I use Type to Learn Jr. in my school until half-way through first grade, but there are other good ones. For the older children, I use Type to Learn. I have great results with it. Students are challenged, intrigued, motivated by the prizes and the levels.

Another option is online typing sites. Typingweb is good. It’s a graduated program that keeps track of your progress. If you’re picking an online program as an alternative to software, it’s important to log in so the software remembers what your child has accomplished.

If you’re going to use online sites as part of an overall typing practice curriculum, here are some other good sites to try: (more…)

social media in education

Which Social Media Should Be Allowed in Schools?

Social networks dominated by Facebook now account for 22.7 percent of the hours spent in front of a computer, a leap of 43 percent over last year’s figures.

education reformAccording to the Neilson Co. report, the shift to social networks for communication caused a precipitous drop in email and instant messaging. Time spent emailing was down 28 percent and instant messaging dropped 15 percent.

If you don’t know what all the social networking stuff is, check out these two YouTube videos. They explain social networking in Plain English.

The question for schools is, how much of this should be let into the education environment. It’s way beyond the internet now. We’re talking about:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • internet access to email

These are all banned at my school. Yet, these are the sites that have kids excited about learning–excited about technology. So what are we doing? We’re cutting off the most effective avenue for keeping students interested in school because we’re afraid of them. (more…)

Tech Tip #7: Making Backgrounds Transparent

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:  When I insert my picture, the background isn’t transparent, so it covers everything behind it. I want it see-through. How do I do that? BTW, I’m using Publisher.

A:  There are two ways, one simpler than the other. (more…)

hourglass

Life Wisdom From Your Computer #4: Hourglassing

Everyone who has used a computer understands the annoying, time-wasting hourglass. You’re trying to perform magic on a deadline and the computer screen pops up with an hourglass that lazily pours sand … for. Ever. You think it’ll continue until Harvard wins the Super Bowl

The computer moves on when it’s ready, with complete disregard for your frustration.

There’s a lesson here. Life includes predictable, spontaneous hourglassing. Patience is the key. We teach our kids that patience is a virtue, but we don’t embrace it as our own. Anger won’t get rid of the hourglass and stress won’t make it go faster. Sit down, relax, check your email if it takes too long.

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope” (Alexandre Dumas)