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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.

15 Websites to Teach Financial Literacy

When kids read that America’s $23 trillion+ debt is accepted by many experts as ‘business as usual’, I wonder how that news will affect their future personal finance decisions. Do they understand the consequences of unbalanced budgets? The quandary of infinite wants vs. finite dollars? Or do they think money grows on some fiscal tree that always blooms? The good news is: Half of the nation’s schools require a financial literacy course. The bad new is: Only half require a financial literacy course.

If your school doesn’t teach a course about personal economics, there are many online sites that address the topic as mini-lessons. Some are narrative; others games. Here are fifteen I like. See if one suits you:

Admongo

Age group: Middle school

Through this interactive video game, students learn to identify advertising and understand its messages with the goal of becoming informed, discerning consumers. To win the game, they will have to answer questions like, “Who is responsible for the ad?”, “What is the ad actually saying?”, and “What does the ad want me to do?” For educators and parents, Admongo includes tools like videos, lesson plans, printed materials, downloads, and alignment with state standards.

Admongo is put out by the Federal Trade Commission who also offers another well-received game, “Spam Scam Slam” about spam.

Banzai

Age group: middle and high school

Banzai is a personal finance curriculum that teaches high school and middle school students how to prioritize spending decisions through real-life scenarios and choose-

your-own adventure (kind of) role playing. Students start the course with a pre-test to determine a baseline for their financial literacy. They then engage in 32 life-based interactive scenarios covering everything from balancing a budget to adjusting for unexpected bills like car trouble or health problems. Once they’ve completed these exercises, they pretend that they have just graduated from high school, have a job, and must save $2,000 to start college. They are constantly tempted to mis-spend their limited income and then must face the consequences of those actions, basing decisions on what they learned in the 32 scenarios. Along the way, students juggle rent, gas, groceries, taxes, car payments, and life’s ever-present emergencies. At the end, they take a post-test to measure improvement in their financial literacy.

The program is free, takes about eight hours (depending upon the student), and can include printed materials as well as digital.

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Categories: Economics, Math | Tags: | Leave a comment

Subscriber Special: April–Free Lesson Plan

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

April

Free Lesson Plan

Click this link; apply code FREELESSONPLAN

Do something fun with students in this challenging educational environment!
Questions? Email askatechteacher@gmail.com

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 TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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World Backup Day–Once a Year

world backup dayMarch 31st is called World Backup Day. At least once a year, backup your data files to an external drive (like a flash drive). This is one that isn’t connected to your local computer so can’t be compromised if you get a virus. It’s good to always backup data to cloud drives or a different drive on your computer but once a year, do the entire collection of data files to what is called an ‘air gap’ drive–one that is separated from any internet connection.

How to do this 

There are various ways to back up your data. You can back up your data to an external device or you can back up your data to a cloud-based backup service, or back up your data to both an external device and a cloud backup service. You might even make more than one backup to external storage devices and keep the two copies in different places (providing protection and access to your data even if one of the backup devices is destroyed or inaccessible. Preserving your valuable documents and images for future access and use requires planning, as well as the use of automatic backup services.

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Categories: Business, Computer skills | Tags: | Leave a comment

Why Teach Poetry?

April is National Poetry Month. For thirty days, we celebrate the value and joy that poetry brings to our world.  According to the Academy of American Poets, the goals are:

  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry

All across the nation, school, teachers, students, libraries, and families celebrate by reading, writing, and sharing poetry. Here are websites that do all that and more. Share them with students on a class page, Symbaloo, or another method you’ve chosen to share groups of websites with students.

When I was in high school, I was forced to learn poetry. I didn’t want to, saw no benefit to it, and unfortunately, the teacher didn’t change my mind. All that analyzing meaning and deconstructing stanzas went right over my head. Worse, selections such as Beowulf and anything by Elizabeth Barrett Browning seemed unrelated to my life and goals. Poems I loved like “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, “The Raven”, and “The Road Not Taken” were rare. It wasn’t until University, where I discovered that poetry speaks the language of dreams, that I fell in love with it.

Thankfully, today’s teachers communicate poetry’s essence much better than what I experienced.

What is poetry?

When many people think of poetry, they visualize flowing groupings of soulful words as pithy and dense as a fruitcake and for some, just as (un)appealing. I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first, here’s a definition (from Wikipedia):

an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content.

You are most likely to recognize a poem by its truncated lines that rarely end in a period (though this isn’t always true), the rhythm created when reading it, the liberal use of literary devices such as alliteration and similes, and its ability to tell an entire story in a very (very) few stanzas. A good poem not only communicates with words but with emotion, senses, and memories, it gives a reader permission to interpret the content in ways that speak to his/her dreams. It may ask a question or answer one but always, it encourages the reader to think.

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

15 St. Patrick’s Day Resources For Your Class

Getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day? Try these fun websites:st patricks day websites

  1. Color the shamrock
  2. Color the Pot-o-gold
  3. Color the leprechaun
  4. Puzzle–St. Pat’s Puzzle
  5. Puzzle–St. Pat’s puzzle II
  6. Puzzle–St. Pat’s drag-and-drop puzzle
  7. Puzzle–St. Pat’s slide puzzle
  8. Puzzles and games
  9. St. Patrick’s Day history–video
  10. St. Pat’s Day songs–video
  11. Tic tac toe
  12. Webquest for St. Patrick’s Day I
  13. Webquest II
  14. Wordsearch

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Categories: Holidays | Tags: | Leave a comment

World Maths Day–March 14

The first World Maths Day was held on March 14, 2007 (also Pi Day), and has ever since been held occasionally on the 1st Wednesday in March.   March 2020  World Maths Day is one of the world’s largest global educational events aimed at lifting numeracy standards in a fun and meaningful way. Why not celebrate with your own fun maths teaching – take a look at our lovely supporting resources! Find out more at the World Maths Day Website

World Maths Day is a free, fun, online competition with up to 4 million students world-wide participating. The competition measures speed in arithmetic and numeracy skills on the Live Mathletics platform and runs for 48 hours and is open to all schools around the world. Students compete online with other students and top scores are displayed on a live ‘Hall of Fame’.

@worldedugames

More on math

Math Webtools to Support Any Curriculum

Pi Day is Easy to Remember–Celebrate With Students

Math Games in the Classroom

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Categories: Holidays, Math | Leave a comment

Subscriber Special: March

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

March:

Join our technology-in-education newsletter for updates on edtech resources, classes, and webtools

get 10% off on any Structured Learning products

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169 Tech Tip #36: The Internet Toolbar Disappeared

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: The Internet Toolbar Disappeared

Category: Internet

Sub-category: Problem-solving

Q:  My internet toolbar disappeared. All I see at the top of the internet screen is more of the page I’m on. I can’t find any of the tools. What do I do?

A:  Push F11. You can hide or unhide the internet toolbar with F11. This is great if you’re working closely with the site and don’t want the distraction of toolbars.

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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Last Chance for this College-credit Class (MTI 557)

MTI 557: Building Digital Citizens

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Starts Monday, February 24th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 557. Click for more information and to sign up.

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If students use the internet, they must be familiar with the rights and responsibilities required to be good digital citizens.  In this class, you’ll learn what topics to introduce, how to unpack them, and how to make them authentic to student lives.

Topics include:

  1. copyrights, fair use, public domain
  2. cyberbullying
  3. digital commerce
  4. digital communications
  5. digital footprint, digital privacy
  6. digital rights and responsibilities
  7. digital search/research
  8. image—how to use them legally
  9. internet safety
  10. netiquette
  11. passwords
  12. plagiarism
  13. social media

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Know how to blend digital citizenship into lesson plans that require the Internet
  2. Be comfortable in your knowledge of all facets of digital citizenship
  3. Become an advocate of safe, legal, and responsible use of online resources
  4. Exhibit a positive attitude toward technology that supports learning
  5. Exhibit leadership in teaching and living as a digital citizen

Assessment is based on involvement, interaction with classmates, and completion of projects so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker. Price includes course registration, college credit, and all necessary materials.

To enroll, click the link above, search for MTI 557 and sign up. Need help? Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.

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Categories: Online education, Teacher resources | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

10 Great Virtual Reality Apps

The potential impact of Virtual Reality (VR) in the classroom can’t be overstated. It has become the most exciting education device in a decade, enticing students to become engaged in pretty much any topic that includes a VR overlay. As a learning tool, it’s affordable, inclusive, and worth the moderate learning curve required to get it up and running.

Let me step back a moment and explain what VR is. HowStuffWorks defines it this way:

using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. 

Marxent explains it simply as:

the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Virtual Reality’s most immediately-recognizable component is the head-mounted display (HMD). 

If you (desperately) want to unpack this revolutionary tool in your classroom, there are lots of online resources — some free, some with a fee — available to address a wide variety of education needs. Here are my favorites:

900 VR Expeditions

If you use the Expeditions app (see below), here’s a curated spreadsheet of 900 free expeditions available to you and your classes.  It is crowd-sourced and sorted by tag, name, Panorama title, location, brief description, link, with a cell where teachers can note any additional required materials.

On a separate tab of the spreadsheet is a similar curated list of augmented reality expeditions, for those who have that technology available.

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Categories: Education reform, Teacher resources | Tags: , , | Leave a comment