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Author Archives: Jacqui

About Jacqui

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

How to Talk to a Tech Teacher

There’s always been something mystical about people in technical professions–engineering, science, mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of mathematical functions, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has their own version of these individuals, called ‘technology teachers’. They used to be stuffed in a corner of the school where most teachers could pretend they didn’t exist, that what they did was for ‘some other educator in an alternate dimension’.

That all changed when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:

  • iPads became the device of choice in the classroom
  • Class screens became more norm than abnorm(al)
  • Technology in the classroom changed from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’
  • 1:1 became a realistic goal
  • Students researched online as often as in the library
  • Students began spending as much time in a digital neighborhood as their home town
  • Textbooks morphed into resources rather than bibles

Today, teachers who don’t use technology are an endangered species. Often, they’re too young to retire, so they get a digital map from a colleague to that place where they’ve been told they’ll find help–from a person variously called the ‘tech teacher’, ‘integration specialist’, or ‘tech coordinator’.

As they enter the room, they figure the person they’re looking for must be the one who looks up as they enter, fingers flying across the keyboard, never pausing and never slowing even as she smiles and says, ‘Hi!’.

Before you ask your question, I have a short list of signs that will help you have a more positive experience when you confront this big-brained Sheldon-look-like:

  • You can’t scare them (in fact, even Admin and politics don’t frighten them). They’re techies. Try kindness instead.
  • Patience and tech are oxymorons. Know that going in.
  • Bring food. Techies often forget to eat, or ate everything in their snack stash and need more.
  • Some days, tech looks a lot like work. Distract them with an interesting problem.
  • Start the encounter with a discussion on Dr. Who, Minecraft, or Big Bang Theory. Find a clever tie-in to your topic.
  • Understand that tech teachers often think trying to teach teachers to tech is like solving the Riemann Hypothesis (many consider it impossible). Bone up on basics before the Meeting.
  • Life after the 100th crashed computer is what Oprah might call a life-defining moment. If that just happened as you walked through the door, turn around and come back another time.
  • Understanding a techie who’s in the zone is like understanding the meaning of life. Again–leave the room; come back later.

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Categories: Critical thinking, Geeks, Humor, Teaching | 2 Comments

169 Tech Tip #67: Check History in Your Browser

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: Check History in Your Browser

Category: Internet

Q: How do I see where my kids/students have gone online?

A: Go to what’s called ‘history’–a list of all the websites whoever logged in under a particular user name went.  Here’s how you do it:

  • In Firefox, Chrome, or IE, hold the Control key (Ctrl) and push H. That brings up a list of the sites visited by that profile.
  • Select the time frame you’re interested in
  • Chrome also lets you search other devices logged into Chrome.

If you find they went somewhere they shouldn’t, don’t over-react. Sometimes it happens by accident. Ask them about it. Watch their answer. Their body language will tell you as much as their words. You know your students. You’ll know if they are telling the truth.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

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Categories: Tech tips | Leave a comment

Subscriber Special: 15% Discount Sitewide

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching. This month, take your pick:

January 15th-18th:

15% Discount Sitewide on

Structured Learning.net

Code: HAPPYHOLIDAY15

Categories: Lesson plans, Subscriber special | Comments Off on Subscriber Special: 15% Discount Sitewide

169 Tech Tip #81 My Pic’s a BMP and I need a JPG

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: My Pic’s a BMP and I need a JPG

Category: Images

Sub-category: Edit/Format

Q: My picture file is a .bmp and I need a .jpg. What do I do?

A: If you have an image you want to use, but it’s in the wrong format, open it in MS Paint (which comes FREE with Windows) or Photoshop and save-as a .jpg.

Another method: Take a screenshot and save that as a .jpg. See Tip #116 for how to take screenshots.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

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Categories: Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

10 Top Tips and Click-throughs in 2019

Because AATT is a resource blog, we share lots of tips our group comes across in their daily teaching as well as materials shared by others we think you’d like. Some you agree with; others, not so much. Here’s a run-down on what you thought were the most valuable in 2019:

Top 10 Tech Tips

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems which I share with you. Here are the Top Ten tech tips from 2019. Between these ten, they had over 174,000 visitors during the year.

  1. 16 Great Research Websites for Kids
  2. 22 Websites and 4 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills
  3. 11 Projects to Teach Digital Citizenship
  4. Unplugged Activities
  5. How to Create a Curriculum Map
  6. 22 Digital Tools You Must Have in Your Classroom
  7. 9 Good Collections of Videos for Education
  8. 28 Unique Ideas for Publishing Student Work
  9. How to Teach Mouse Skills to Pre-Keyboarders
  10. Tech Tip #60: How to Add Shortcuts to the Desktop

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Categories: Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

Top 10 Reviews of 2019

Throughout the year, I post websites and apps the Ask a Tech Teacher crew’s classes found useful, instructive, helpful in integrating technology into classroom lesson plans. Some, you agreed with us about; others not so much.

Here are the reviews you-all thought were the most helpful in efforts to weave tech into the classroom experience:

  1. Quick Review of 7 Popular Math Programs
  2. How to Use Google Drawings
  3. 61 K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions–by Grade Level
  4. 10 Tech Tools for Your Math Class
  5. 4 Great Alternatives to Google Classroom
  6. 11 Webtools That Make Images Talk
  7. 6 Ways to Make Classroom Typing Fun
  8. How to Use Google Sheets in the K-12 Classroom
  9. Metaverse–Education Game-changer
  10. 25 Websites for Poetry Month

Oh–would you mind adding me to your social media links? Here’s where you can find me:

Twitter:   @AskaTechTeacher

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kali.delamagente

Instagram: @AskaTechTeacher

Thanks! Have a wonderful 2020!

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Categories: Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

10 Hits and 10 Misses for 2019

Since we at Ask a Tech Teacher started this blog eight years ago, we’ve had almost 5.1 million views from visitors (about 10,000 follow us) to the 2,184 articles on integrating technology into the classroom. This includes tech tips, website/app reviews, tech-in-ed pedagogy, how-tos, videos, and more. We have regular features like:

If you’ve just arrived at Ask a Tech Teacher, start here.

It always surprises us what readers find to be the most and least provocative. The latter is as likely to be a post one of us on the crew put heart and soul into, sure we were sharing Very Important Information, as the former. Talk about humility.

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Categories: Blogging | Tags: | Leave a comment

Happy Holiday!

I’ll be taking a few weeks off–until after the New Year–to edit/format my website, work on projects with a deadline, prioritize life, and wish my two adult military children could come home to visit. I may drop in on you-all as you enjoy your holidays, but mostly I’ll be regenerating.

I wish you a wonderful season, safe and filled with family.

See you shortly!

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Categories: Holidays | 1 Comment

End-of-year Maintenance: Image and Back-up Devices

This week, I’ll post my updated suggestions for three holiday activities that will get your computers and technology ready for the blitz of teaching that starts after the New Year. Here’s what you’ll get (the links won’t be active until the post goes live):

  1. 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence
  2. 16 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer
  3. Backup and Image your computer

For regular readers of Ask a Tech Teacher, these are yearly reminders. For new readers, these are like body armor in the tech battle. They allow you to jubilantly overcome rather than dramatically succumb. Your choice.

Today: Image and Backup Your Computer

xx

Two critical maintenance tasks that lots of people skip are:

  • image your computer
  • back up your documents

Image your computer

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Categories: Tech tips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

End of Year Maintenance: 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

This week, I’ll post my updated suggestions for three holiday activities that will get your computers and technology ready for the blitz of teaching that starts after the New Year. Here’s what you’ll get (the links won’t be active until the post goes live):

  1. 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence
  2. 16 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer
  3. Backup and Image your computer

For regular readers of Ask a Tech Teacher, these are yearly reminders. For new readers, these are like body armor in the tech battle. They allow you to jubilantly overcome rather than dramatically succumb. Your choice.

Today: 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

xx

For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, teaching, meeting with grade-level teams, chatting with parents, attending conferences (to stay UTD), and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.

That includes your online presence and all those personal profiles. But, that must happen or they no longer accomplish what we need. If they aren’t updated, we are left wondering why our blog isn’t getting visitors, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate activity, and why you aren’t being contacted for networking. Here’s a short list of items that won’t take long to accomplish:

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Categories: Blogging, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment