Author: Jacqui

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.

How Low-Carb Diets Fuel High-Achieving Students

How Low-Carb Diets Fuel High-Achieving Students

Have you ever considered that your diet could be the secret weapon in your quest for academic success? It’s not just about fueling late-night study sessions or grabbing a quick bite between classes. What if the foods you choose could directly enhance focus and memory retention? 

Low-carb diets are more than just a trend; they’re transforming high-achievers into unstoppable forces in classrooms and beyond. From stabilizing mood to managing weight effectively, let’s delve into how cutting down on carbs can ignite your educational journey.

5 Ways Low-Carb Diets Fuel High-Achieving Students

Unlock the academic prowess within you by exploring how a low-carb diet could energize your studies. 

Here are five transformative benefits to consider for brain power and beyond.

1. Enhanced Focus and Energy

Maintaining razor-sharp focus and boundless energy has always been the secret sauce for high-achieving students. It’s no surprise that what you eat plays a pivotal role in the academic equation. 

A low-carb diet, rich in fats and proteins, stands out as a powerhouse for cognitive performance. They can also increase your energy, but most studies focus on short term effects. 

But why does this matter for someone hitting the books? Let’s break it down:

  • Stamina During Exams: A stable release of glucose provides prolonged energy.
  • Consistent Performance: With fewer blood sugar spikes, you won’t crash.
  • Reaction Times: Quicker mental responses can help to understand complex ideas.

Opting for meals that sustain rather than drain elevates your learning potential and sets a cornerstone for overall well being amidst the academic pressures. (more…)

The psychology of motivation: Strategies for engaging students

The psychology of motivation: Strategies for engaging students

Motivation plays a role not only in people’s choice to get involved in their goals but also in their behavior, persistence, and, ultimately, success. It is imperative for educators to be aware of the essence of motivation in education in order to create a stimulating environment where students can learn and develop. Through understanding motivation, educators will discover various sophisticated techniques to attract attention and instill a love for learning among students for life.

What does motivation entail?

Motivation is a phenomenon built on the idea of the action of inside and outside factors that together influence an individual to act in the achievement of his/her aims. Experts in psychology have comprehensively analyzed motivation. As a result, they have presented different theories and components which shape the way humans behave. A learner can be driven by two major types of motivation, the extrinsic and intrinsic types, each with its unique characteristics and ramifications on the learning process. (more…)

Chronic Absenteeism has become a big problem in schools

School absenteeism has been one of the small but chronic problems in the past. Since the pandemic, it is so much more, to the point it is a front-of-mind issue that schools scramble to address. Here’s a good discussion from the US Department of Education on the problem and solutions:

Ed Dept: Districts should start now to improve 2024-25 attendance

Schools must plan now to address chronic absenteeism

The US Department of Education is calling on state leaders to address chronic absenteeism, emphasizing the need for immediate action and accountability measures. Despite efforts to improve attendance, challenges persist, prompting renewed focus on student engagement and support strategies.

Full Story: K-12 Dive (3/27) (more…)

Most Teens Think AI Won’t Hurt Their Mental Health; Teachers Disagree

Generative AI is an exploding influence in education with lots of potential but unknown outcomes. Most people focus on its impact on school research, lesson plans–that sort–but another piece isn’t considered often enough: its impact on student mental health. This next article from but we’ll do in this article from Education Week does

Educators, teens differ on AI’s mental health effects

Teens and educators hold divergent views on its mental health effects of AI, with educators expressing more concern about negative impacts, including cyberbullying and the ability of algorithms to create addictive virtual worlds. Meanwhile, students are more optimistic about AI’s potential benefits.

Full Story: Education Week (3/25) (more…)

Sinclair launches free cybersecurity training for K-12 administrators

Cybersecurity threats in K-12 schools are a growing concern as educational institutions increasingly rely on technology for teaching, learning, and administrative purposes. Some common cybersecurity threats faced by K-12 schools include data breaches, BYOD policies, unsecured WiFi networks, insider threats, and lack of security awareness training. It’s this last that’s addressed by this article from Smartbrief:

Program teaches cybersecurity to K-12 administrators

Ohio’s Sinclair Community College, in collaboration with D2L, a learning technology company, has introduced a free cybersecurity course aimed at K-12 administrators to enhance their understanding of cyberthreats and develop strategies to mitigate these risks. Developed in response to a White House Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 schools, the short course focuses on identifying and addressing cybersecurity threats specific to schools.

Full Story: Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (tiered subscription model) (3/25) (more…)

Creative Approaches for Developing Essay Writing Skills

The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘essay’ as”

a short piece of writing on a particular subject

Most students write their first essay by third grade, probably enjoy the process because of its non-threatening narrative exploration of their thoughts, but by Middle School, the rules and requirements that made essay writing fun change:

In a school test, an essay is a written answer that includes information and discussion, usually to test how well the student understands the subject.

The Ask a Tech Teacher team came up with fresh rules we think are less threatening and more geared to enabling students to enjoy this important writing style. I think you’ll find some of these helpful:

Creative Approaches for Developing Essay Writing Skills

As a college student, the ability to write well-written essays is an essential skill that transcends academic disciplines and serves as a vital tool for effective communication throughout one’s personal and professional life, yet the process of developing this aptitude often presents a formidable challenge that requires a multifaceted approach encompassing various creative techniques and methodologies. Exploring diverse writing exercises, experimenting with different perspectives, and seeking inspiration from various sources can cultivate creativity and enhance essay writing skills, with the option to have professionals write me an essay providing valuable insights and further honing one’s craft. Start small. (more…)

Creative Fabrica–the Perfect Solution for Teachers, Creators, and Anyone In a Hurry

I–like many teachers–do a lot of prep for my teaching, often requiring digital desktop publishing platforms. Between newsletters for parents, announcements on social media, communications for students and parents, and more, it became a challenge to demonstrate the excitement and engagement of learning through what could be boring tools.

Then I got an email from the folks at Creative Fabrica. My norm with these sorts of solicitations (I get about a dozen a week) is give the website ten seconds to grab me or lose me. With Creative Fabrica–I was sold faster. How had I never seen this amazing website? It seemed to hold the answer to so many of my daily tasks, offering quick professional, clean communication that save time.

What is it

Creative Fabrica is a digital marketplace out of Amsterdam that offers a wide range of creative resources for designers, crafters, creators, and to my specific area of interest–teachers. They offer over 9 million products from 50,000 designers besides what users design themselves. Users can access fonts, graphics, SVG files, 3D, tools, bundles, embroidery designs, mockups, teacher resources, and more for various creative projects.

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You can pay ala carte for individual items or sign up for a monthly/yearly subscription and download unlimited items. Additionally, the platform features tutorials and community forums to support and inspire creators.


Tech Tip #90: Don’t Be Afraid of Mulligans

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 week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Some kids are hard workers, but they just don’t get computers. Their effort deserves a good grade, but their product is nowhere near class requirements. What can I do?

A: Don’t be afraid to give students a Mulligan–a do-over for you non-golfers. Some students don’t perform well under the pressure of a deadline. Some are so sure they’re no good at technology, that becomes their reality. Offer students a second chance if they’ll work with you after school. I have had countless students take advantage of this and come out after a few of those sessions strong and confident in class. All they had to see was that they could do it. Maybe some simple phrasing confused them and you can clear that up. Maybe the noise of a full class distracted them. Whatever it is, if you can show them how to find alternatives, solve their problems, they can apply that to technology class and other classes.

Most of the students I help 1:1 only need a few projects and then I never see them again for help. In fact, their confidence is so improved, they often are the kids who come in during lunch to offer assistance to other struggling students. (more…)

4 Innovative Ways to Enhance Reading Comprehension with AI Tools

I’m excited about this post from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew–AI Tools for reading comprehension. There are so many directions this could go!

4 Innovative Ways to Enhance Reading Comprehension with AI Tools

Struggling to grasp the essence of a dense PDF or wishing students could wrestle more effectively with complex texts? The key may reside in AI-powered reading assistants, a broad category encompassing everything from summarizers to intelligent note-taking platforms.

Let’s explore five innovative strategies that make the most of these AI capabilities, tailored not only to keep pace with rapid technological advancements, but also to foster enhanced educational experiences! (more…)