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.

Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog

A lot of teacher-authors read my WordDreams blog. In this monthly column, I share the most popular post from the past month on my teacher education blog, Ask a Tech Teacher. 

Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Like everyone else on the planet, I understand I must switch to ‘airplane mode’ when flying. If you don’t know what airplane mode is (except to turn it on during flight), here’s a quick run-down:

  • It stops your phone from sending or receiving text messages or voice calls.
  • It disconnects your phone from a WiFi network. When it is on, your phone will stop scanning for WiFi networks or even attempting to join them.
  • It disables Bluetooth on your smartphone.
  • It may also disable your smartphone’s GPS functions.

As writers, there are surprisingly good reasons to invoke airplane mode even if you’re not flying:

  • when your kids are using your phone, they can’t send messages or use the internet
  • you need to save battery power. As writers, that could be when you’re reading a downloaded Kindle book or working on your WIP offline (it’ll sync when you turn the internet back on)
  • as a ‘do not disturb’ feature:  if you are focused on writing or researching and want to avoid intrusions for a set period of time. The intrusions will return as soon as you turn it off.
  • to avoid roaming charges if you travel internationally for book conferences or interviews
  • to avoid being tracked: In airplane mode, location services are off and no one knows where you are.
  • to sleep without interruptions. Rest assured, when you wake up and remove airplane mode, everything you missed will tumble onto your phone

How often do you use airplane mode?

Copyright ©2024 worddreams.wordpress.com – All rights reserved.

Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:

https://jacqui-murray.aweb.page/p/46e8c9bf-eaed-4252-8aad-3688e233a4cc

“The content presented in this blog are the result of creative imagination and not intended for use, reproduction, or incorporation into any artificial intelligence training or machine learning systems without prior written consent from the author.”


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Endangered Species, Winter 2024

Copyright ©2023 askatechteacher.com – All rights reserved.

Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:

https://forms.aweber.com/form/07/1910174607.htm


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, 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.

100+ Online Resources About History

Here are popular online resources to teach about History (click here for updates to the list):

  1. Critical Past–original videos from mid-1800’s and forward of amazing events in world history.
  2. DocsTeach
  3. Hello History–chat with historic figures from the past
  4. History Central
  5. History for Kids--written by a ‘kid’ in well-chosen words his peers will understand
  6. HistoryPin–connect your community with local history
  7. Media History Project
  8. Pass the Past–educational game to help students prepare for Virginia’s Standard’s of Learning (SOL) exams with a focus on World, United States and Virginia history, civics, and geography. (app)
  9. Timelapse–watch the world change over time

(more…)

Building Community in Virtual High Schools

In response to the challenges of COVID, a dissatisfaction with local in-person schools, and increasingly diverse needs of the high school student population, enrollment in US virtual schools is now over 300,000 with about 20% of students taking at least one online course. There are pros and cons of attending class via computer. You can learn on your own schedule, but what if you have connectivity issues? You have more independence in your learning, but what if the teacher isn’t inspirational? 

One big issue among many is the importance of building community in virtual schools. The Ask a Tech Teacher team dug into this:

Building Community in Virtual High Schools

As educators, we often hear concerns about the lack of socialization in online learning environments. However, the reality of virtual high schools is far from the isolated, impersonal experience many imagine. In fact, with intentional effort and innovative approaches, an online high school can foster vibrant, supportive communities that rival those of traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

The Importance of Community in Education

A sense of belonging enhances student engagement, improves academic performance, and supports mental health. In virtual settings, where students might otherwise feel disconnected, building community becomes even more critical.

Strategies for fostering student connection include: (more…)

Top Tips And Tricks To Make Your Assignment Look Professional

How do assignments made by online professionals get good scores? Here are tips to make your assignment look professional, from the Ask a Tech Teacher international team:

Top Tips And Tricks To Make Your Assignment Look Professional

Introduction

One of the most important aspects of an assignment is how you present your report. Similarly, when it comes to the art of assignment creation, it is not just about the content. It is also about how you present it to your professor.

A meticulously designed has the best assignment front page design, an executive summary, a table of contents, and its overall design and presentation.

Moreover, creating the best cover page design for assignments sets the tone for what’s to come next. This signals the readers that they are about to engage with something that will be interesting to read.

This article will emphasize the tips and tricks that will make your assignment look professional.

Are you stressed due to low academic scores and want to improve your grades?

Well, worry no more! Let these tips help you. (more…)

The Case for Why Handwriting is Still an Essential Skill for Students

An article on NPR caught my eye. First, because it was on a topic many consider settled science–haven’t we moved on from handwriting to keyboarding? Audio even? If you poll schools, you’ll find that many continue to teach handwriting, partly because without it, how can adults sign checks and contracts? But also, because there are undeniable cognitive benefits students experience through the process of learning to write:
  1. Enhanced memory and learning: Handwriting improves retention of information compared to typing.
  2. Improved hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, essential for cognitive development .
  3. Enhanced creativity and critical thinking: The slower pace of handwriting allows for more time to think and formulate ideas, fostering creativity and critical thinking.
  4. Better reading fluency and comprehension skill
  5. Improved spelling, grammar, and composition, which are crucial for academic success and test performance.
Those are five reasons to get you thinking maybe there is still a place for handwriting in education. Now for NPR’s excellent article:
Handwriting’s cognitive benefits, including enhanced memory and learning, are under scrutiny as digital tools replace pen and paper in schools and workplaces. While typing offers efficiency, research suggests that the tactile process of handwriting engages the brain more deeply, fostering better comprehension and retention.

Read the Full Story: National Public Radio (5/11) (more…)

16 Online Resources to Promote Financial Literacy

 

I’m going to share a story with you I heard from a colleague about Jessica, one of her star students in high school. This is a powerful reminder that academic success doesn’t translate to financial acumen.

Jessica excelled in math and science, was the captain of the debate team, and had her sights set on attending a prestigious university. With a bright future, it seemed nothing could go wrong for Jessica.

However, despite her academic prowess, Jessica had never received formal education on financial literacy. Her parents, both busy professionals, assumed she would pick up financial skills along the way, just as they had. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. When Jessica received her acceptance letter from her dream university, she was ecstatic and took out multiple student loans, not fully understanding the long-term implications.

In her first year of college, Jessica signed up for credit cards to cover additional expenses, including a spring break trip with friends and furnishing her new apartment. She figured she would pay it all off once she started working after graduation. By her sophomore year, Jessica was juggling her studies with a part-time job, but the credit card bills were piling up. The interest rates were high, and she often paid only the minimum amount due, not realizing how quickly the debt was compounding.

Graduation came and Jessica landed a decent job. However, the starting salary wasn’t enough to cover her living expenses, student loan payments, and the mounting credit card debt. The financial stress took a toll on her mental health, and she found herself trapped in a cycle of debt.

If Jessica had received financial literacy education in high school, she might have understood the importance of budgeting, the dangers of high-interest loans, and the benefits of starting a savings plan early. She would have been more cautious about taking on debt and more strategic in her financial planning.

If you need online sites to help teach financial literacy, here are options. Pick the ones best suited to your group (Check here for updates to the list): (more…)

Preparing Students for Future Careers with Soft Skills Training on Financial Decisions

Last summer, I helped my niece create a cookie stand. She learned not only about baking but how to budget for supplies, manage earnings, and communicate with customers, which taught her money management while boosting her confidence in handling real-life business scenarios. These are the soft skills associated with financial literacy. The Ask a Tech Teacher team has put them together into an article to remind students–and teachers what students should know when they leave high school: 

Preparing Students for Future Careers with Soft Skills Training on Financial Decisions

Teachers hold many responsibilities outside regular education. These responsibilities include imparting knowledge and equipping our students with practical life skills beyond textbooks and exams. Financial literacy is one critical area that lies under our purview.

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, where our students can earn online while still in school, imparting these skills is more crucial than ever, and we must teach our students how to manage money effectively and make informed financial decisions.

So, how can we prepare our students for future financial stability? Let’s explore some innovative strategies below.

1. Hypothetical Small Businesses: From Idea to Execution

Imagine a classroom buzzing with entrepreneurial energy where students develop and execute small business ideas.

After they brainstorm business ideas, guide them to create business plans and simulate the launch of their small enterprises. This project-based approach fosters creativity and jones essential financial skills like the following:

  • Budgeting: Your students will learn how to allocate business resources wisely; this includes creating a feasible startup cost and working out the marketing expenses and operational overheads. They will grapple with trade-offs real entrepreneurs grapple with; for example, they may have to do in-house marketing and direct the marketing budget to additional stock when demand is high.
  • Cash flow management: As their “businesses” operate, your students will track income and expenses. Here, they may encounter cash flow challenges like delayed payments or unexpected costs, which will require them to strategize and prepare for such incidents.
  • Profit and loss: Your students will also learn how to calculate profits and losses. Here, they will learn how to streamline their business to minimize losses by minimizing operational costs, switching suppliers, dropping low-moving items, and using other crucial business strategies.

 2. Teaching Them About Different Types of Loans By Stimulating An SBA Loan

After you get the hypothetical small businesses going, the next financial lesson to introduce includes scaling their businesses using different financing methods. That includes introducing your students to the world of loans, specifically Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

The first step is defining what they are. SBA loans are facilitated by approved SBA lenders and backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. They allow small businesses to access larger loan amounts, benefit from extended repayment terms, and secure lower interest rates. Explain to them the pros and cons of SBAs compared to other loans.

Next, walk your students through getting an SBA loan and focus especially on giving them a clear overview of SBA loan requirements.

Here are a couple of things to cover:

SBA Loan Basics

Explain the purpose of SBA loans and discuss eligibility criteria, loan terms, and repayment schedules. The eligibility requirements for businesses seeking assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) include the following:

  • Business type: The business must be for-profit.
  • Geographic scope: It should operate within the United States or its territories.
  • Financing limitations: The business must be unable to secure financing through other non-government means (excluding personal funds) as of August 1, 2023.
  • Equity requirement: Sufficient equity is necessary.
  • Size criteria: The business must meet the SBA’s definition of a “small business.”
  • Eligible industry: The business should operate in an eligible industry.
  • Repayment ability: Demonstrating the ability to repay the loan is essential, considering credit score, earnings, and equity or collateral.

Loan Application Process

Your students can use their businesses to seek out hypothetical SBA loans. They can fill out the loan application forms while considering factors like creditworthiness, collateral, and business viability.

While doing this, they can also engage in risk assessment as you encourage them to think critically. What if their hypothetical business faces economic downturns? How will they repay the loan?

3. Soft Skills Training: Go Beyond Numbers and Formulas

Financial literacy isn’t just about crunching numbers; it’s also about mastering soft skills. Core soft skills ensure that a business and brand are well received. These soft skills include problem-solving skills, teamwork, and effective communication.

You can create practical scenarios for each soft skill you want them to learn and have your students roleplay; for example, to help them develop better communication skills, you can have them:

  • Pitching ideas: Teach students to articulate their business concepts persuasively and confidently. This is important because whether they’re courting investors or negotiating terms, communicating effectively and using the correct language and mannerisms will be instrumental to their business success.
  • Client interactions: How businesses present their product to the general public is vital to ensuring brand receptiveness. You can teach this by roleplaying client meetings and teaching your students how to explain financial options to potential investors and simplify complex terms and corporate jargon.

4. Introduce Them To Business Resources: Guiding Students Toward Financial Wisdom

Introduce students to reputable business resources. Websites like the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide loan requirements, eligibility, and application process guidelines.

Kick things up a notchy by introducing financial literacy workshops where you invite guest speakers from your community – financial advisors, bankers, or successful entrepreneurs – to share insights. Their real-world stories will resonate with students.

Endnotes

By blending project-based learning, soft skills training, and practical resources, we can empower our students by equipping them with key skills they require to be financially competent adults. They’ll grasp financial concepts and develop the resilience, adaptability, and confidence needed to make good financial decisions.

So, let’s nurture their financial skillset, one budget, one loan simulation, and one entrepreneurial dream at a time. After all, these skills aren’t just for the classroom; they’re for life. 

–image credit Deposit Photos

Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:

https://forms.aweber.com/form/07/1910174607.htm

Copyright ©2024 askatechteacher.com – All rights reserved.

“The content presented in this blog are the result of creative imagination and not intended for use, reproduction, or incorporation into any artificial intelligence training or machine learning systems without prior written consent from the author.”


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, 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.

Personal Safety and Legal Rights: A Student’s Guide to Understanding Personal Injury Law

When a student at my school was injured in a sports event, it became painfully clear how little she and her family understood what their next steps should be. A friend put together this “A Student’s Guide to Understanding Personal Injury Law” to provide other students in similar situations with an overview of the essential concepts and real-world applications of personal injury law:

  • the basics
  • recognizing unsafe conditions
  • Insurance Policies
  • more

Personal Safety and Legal Rights: A Student’s Guide to Understanding Personal Injury Law

Accidents can happen anywhere. That includes educational settings. Therefore, as a student, understanding the basics of personal injury law is essential for safeguarding your rights and ensuring you’re prepared if mishaps occur.

This guide will equip you with the basic knowledge you need to navigate these challenges confidently. (more…)

Grade Assignments with PDF Tools

I didn’t think PDF annotation grading tools would work, not even a little but, so when my colleague, George, introduced them in his online history class, I watched amazed at how seamlessly George could highlight key points, strike through errors, and add personalized feedback on student assignments. These PDF-based digital grading tools not only streamlined his evaluation process but also enabled him to provide timely, detailed feedback that greatly enhanced his students’ learning experience.
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Interested? Here’s a summary on grading assignments with PDF annotation tools:
  • Getting started
  • Grading
  • Providing feedback
  • Saving and sharing

Grade Assignments with PDF Annotation Tools

As online learning and virtual classrooms gain popularity, educators are turning to new technologies to improve their teaching methods. This shift has led to a significant increase in digital grading tools, which help streamline the evaluation process and provide timely, valuable feedback to students, aiding their academic success.

A particularly useful technology in this realm is PDF annotation. This tool helps educators with text highlighting in order to leave feedback. It also allows them to strike through errors and add detailed notes directly on the student’s work. This eliminates the need for downloading and re-uploading assignments, enabling in-depth commentary.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the features of PDF annotation tools and their capabilities to transform assignment grading and student feedback.  (more…)