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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.

Adobe Spark — All-purpose Desktop Publishing Tool for the Classroom

Adobe Spark is a free graphic design app that allows students and teachers with no design experience to create impactful graphics, web stories, and animated videos. With a goal of encouraging creativity and meaningful communication without requiring a degree in graphic design, Adobe Spark allows users to integrate text, photos, original fonts, video, audio, professional themes, and icons into simple but professional projects that communicate ideas cohesively and quickly. Project templates include social memes, mini websites, narrated tutorials, presentations, reports, posters, how-to videos, and more. You can access files in Dropbox, Google Photos, YouTube, Vimeo, or upload them from your local computer.

Spark, Adobe’s replacement for Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice, is actually three apps in one — Spark Page, Post, and Video — providing three ways to tell a story. Just pick the one best suited to your communication style. The desktop app gives access to all three in one spot while a mobile device requires the download of three different free apps. It works equally well on your desktop, laptop, Chromebook, Mac, iOS device, and mobile device and syncs between all with ease. That means, you can start a project at school, work on it while waiting for a sibling (or a child) at soccer practice, and finish it at home. Projects can require as little or much typing as you want, making this app perfect for youngers as well as high schoolers. Because it plays well with the many other Adobe products (once you log into your universal Adobe account), you can access your personal collections in applications such as Creative Cloud, Photoshop, and Lightroom.

If you’re struggling to move away from Microsoft Publisher because of cost or accessibility, this may be exactly what you’re looking for.

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Categories: Publisher/ DTP, Reviews, Web Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How to Cope with Bullying

cyberbullyOctober is National Bullying Prevention Month. Started in 2006, it aims to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention around the world and is supported by hundreds of schools, corporations, and celebrities. While schools can sponsor month-long events, the most popular is to wear orange on October 19th, designated Unity Day.

Why is this so important? Check these statistics (from Pacer.org):

Bullying doesn’t just occur in the physical world. Online bullying (called ‘cyberbullying’) is a growing and insidious activity that is proving even more destructive to children than any other kind. It includes not only websites, but cell phones, Nintendo, and Wii, as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, and fake profiles. Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Sadly:

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Categories: Digital Citizenship | 2 Comments

Should You Unschool?

unschoolingThe first time I read about Unschooling, I ignored it. Surely, it was a fad that would go away.

When that didn’t happen and I read about it a thousand more times, I dug into it. Inspired by the teachings of John Holt (1923–1985), this free range branch of homeschooling promotes learning through nonstructured, child-led exploration. There’s no set curriculum or schedule; students learn what interests them with guidance from involved adults. There are no worksheets, tests, or structure to provide evidence of learning or templates for teaching. The children pick what to learn, when, at what pace. The result — according to unschoolers, is a love of learning, tenacity to a task, and independent thought that prepares them for college and career better than traditional methods. In fact, if you look at the list of traits valued in popular education programs such as Habits of Mind and Depth of Knowledge, the reasons why parents unschool their children mirror the traits included in these lists.

What is it

According to  Dr. Peter Gray of Freedom to Learn:

Unschooling parents do not … do at home the kinds of things that are done at school. More specifically, they do not establish a curriculum for their children, do not require their children to do particular assignments for the purpose of education, and do not test their children to measure progress. Instead, they allow their children freedom to pursue their own interests and to learn, in their own ways, what they need to know to follow those interests. They may, in various ways, provide an environmental context and environmental support for the child’s learning. In general, unschoolers see life and learning as one.”

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Categories: Classroom management, Teacher resources | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tip #83: Find Outlook Follow-up Folder

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: #83–Find Outlook Follow-up Folder

Category: Email

Sub-category: Problem-solving

Q: I had to reformat my computer and lost the ‘For Follow Up’ folder in Outlook. How do I bring this back?

A: This isn’t important until it happens to you. To re-create it, choose File>New>Search Folder or use the shortkey Ctrl+Shift+P. Highlight ‘Mail flagged for follow up’ and click OK.

A note:  Search folders are collected at the bottom of the folder list.

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

Visible Learning and John Hattie

john hattieOver the years, I’ve struggled to teach in ways my students would understand. Standing at the front of the classroom stopped working so I researched (and tried in some cases) Whole Brain Teaching (WBT), Socratic Method, Understanding by Design, Mindfulness, and a lot more options that colleagues mentioned as helpful with their differentiated student groups. They all worked for a while and then, maybe when the novelty wore off, I was back to the same Bell curve of successes, failures, and those in between.

The same could be said of Standards and curricula adopted in my varied teaching gigs. That includes everything from Common Core to the IB philosophy, from Depth of Knowledge to Project-based Learning. I confess, I found it frustrating. Everything worked for a while and nothing worked in the long term.

That’s when I heard about John Hattie at an education conference I attended and his concept of Visible Learning. John Hattie is a teacher but more significantly, he’s an education researcher. His life’s goal is to determine what education strategies work best for the largest number of students. He engaged in a fifteen-year evaluation of over 50,000 research articles and something like 240 million students — making it the biggest evidence-based education research project ever — and discovered something no one expected and few believed: Almost any approach will work if delivered well. The one foundational element required for success is passionate, involved, committed, flexible teachers:

“The remarkable feature of the evidence is that the  greatest effects on student learning occur when teachers become learners of their own teaching, and when students become their own teachers.”

How can that be? According to John Hattie, what he came to call “visible learning” happens when we teachers look at what we’re doing:

“Visible teaching and learning occur when there is deliberate practice aimed at attaining mastery of the goal, when there is feedback given and sought, and when there are active, passionate, and engaging people (teacher, students, peers) participating in the act of learning.

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Categories: Education reform, Teaching Strategies | Tags: , | Leave a comment

2 Free Webcasts from Turnitin

Two Webcasts from Turnitin You Won’t Want to Miss!

Learn how to protect your academic integrity and improve writing achievement. Sign up now.

What Is Contract Cheating & What Can We Do About It?

Tuesday, October 10, at 12:00 pm Pacific (3:00 pm Eastern)When students arrange for others to complete their academic work for them, they undermine the very purpose of the academic assessment and defraud the public with credentials that don’t represent their knowledge and abilities.

In this webcast, Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant, Transition Committee Co-Chair at the International Center for Academic Integrity, will overview this phenomenon, what institutions can do to prevent it, and what faculty must do to detect it.

SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR ACADEMIC INTEGRITY AND TURNITIN.


Turnitin and Canvas: In the Flow

Tuesday, October 17, at 2:00 pm Pacific (5:00 pm Eastern)

Come join us to hear about the work we’re doing on building a Turnitin integration to the Canvas Plagiarism Framework, to support a more seamless integration of Turnitin Similarity Reports with Canvas assignments–giving you the chance to make the most out of Turnitin and Canvas.

This session is great for Canvas administrators and for faculty who want to learn more about how to make the pairing of two great things even better!

Jason Chu, Director of Product Management at Turnitin, is focused on building resources for educators and his personal passion is to find better ways to enhance student achievement.

CO-HOSTED BY CANVAS AND TURNITIN.

Timing doesn’t work?  Register now and we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available.
Categories: Digital Citizenship, News | Tags: | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tip #77: Use BCC to Hide Email Addresses

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: #77–Use BCC to Hide Email Addresses

Category: Email

Sub-category: Security, Parents

Q: I want to send an email to a list of people, but want to keep their email addresses private. How do I do that?

A: Put email addresses under the BCC field. In the ‘to’ field, put no-reply@yourdomain.com. It doesn’t matter what you put. It’ll bounce back to you as undeliverable, but all of your bcc emails will go out as planned.

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

What is WittyWe and Why You Want to Use it

wittywe

There seems to be a limitless supply of online education content. In fact, my email box and social media explodes with them. But often, these offerings are too basic, a lite version of a paid program that isn’t terribly robust, confusing, or created by people who don’t really understand how to blend technology and education. As a busy teacher, I want resources that are clear, easy-to-use, accessible by all types of students, scalable, and fun.

I found that.

Understand, finding a reliable source is a big deal to me. I give potential new sites the seven-second test: If I’m not engaged and excited in seven seconds, I move on. If I have to work too hard to figure out how to use it, I move on. If it requires more than three clicks to access content, I move on.

WittyWe had none of these problems.

WittyWe is a K-9 learning environment that inspires students to become passionate about meaningful learning through engaging video content. Using techniques such as storytelling, resolving real-life cases, learning through play, and self-teaching, WittyWe covers academic topics such as science, social studies, law, economics, entrepreneurship, and engineering as well as life skills like time management, learning, money management, social awareness, healthy living, goal-setting, and leadership. The videos are arranged as themes, online courses, and/or guided suggestions through Ask the Professor. In this last option, students tell the Professor what they’re interested in by theme, grade, and difficulty level, and he suggests appropriate videos.

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Categories: Math, Reviews, Science, Teacher resources, Videos | Tags: | Leave a comment

What You Might Have Missed in September

Here are the most-read posts for the month of September:

  1. A New Typing Website With a Twist
  2. Building Digital Citizens–the Class
  3. Great list of Top Education Blogs
  4. 20 Websites and 3 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills
  5. 4 Great Alternatives to Google Classroom
  6. 7 Tips to Differentiate with Tech

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 20 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 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. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.

Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , | 1 Comment

9 Resources for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

cyberbullyIn October 2006, thirteen-year-old Megan Meier hung herself in her bedroom closet after suffering months of cyberbullying. She believed her tormenters’ horrid insults, never thought she could find a way to stop them, and killed herself. She’s not the only one. In fact, according to the anti-bullying website NoBullying.com, 52 percent of young people report being cyberbullied and over half of them don’t report it to their parents.

Everyone knows what bullying is — someone being taunted physically or mentally by others — and there are endless resources devoted to educating both students and teachers on how to combat bullying. But what about cyberbullying? Wikipedia defines “cyberbullying” as:

the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner

Cyberbullying occurs on not just social media like Twitter, Facebook, and topical forums, but multiplayer games and school discussion boards. Examples include mean texts or emails, insulting snapchats, rumors posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing photos or videos.

How serious is it?

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center estimates that nearly 30 percent of American youth are either a bully or a target of bullying. 7% of high school students commit suicide, some because of cyberbullying:

On October 7, 2003, Ryan Halligan committed suicide by hanging himself [after being cyberbullied by high school classmates]. His body was found later by his older sister. Click for his story.

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Categories: Digital Citizenship | Tags: | Leave a comment