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.
tech q & a

Dear Otto: How Can Students Keep Track of Passwords?

[caption id="attachment_7341" align="alignright" width="176"]tech questions Do you have a tech question?[/caption]

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Kaylene in Ohio:

How do you teach students to keep track of the many usernames and passwords they will need when using all of the great web 2.0 tools? I personally use an encrypted Excel file, but what do you suggest for students in K-8?

Hi Kaylene

Great question. Here’s what I do for K-5: I have a binder by each station in the computer lab with a template for recording UN and PW for all accounts. This isn’t private (anyone could look in the binders), but most accounts don’t require any degree of security. The process is to get students used to tracking log-ins, that they have a source to check when they need a log-in. I do ask that each UN and PW be different so they acclimate to that and figure out a logic to accomplishing that which works for them. For example, they might come up with a sentence where they use the first letter of each word as the PW with some combination of number/symbol appended to the front or back.

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tech education

Tech Tip #41: Repair Your Computer With System Restore

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

Q: I don’t know what I did, but my computer doesn’t run right anymore. What can I do?

A: With access to the internet, computer malfunctions have become more prevalent than ever. Sometimes you download a program–or your child mistakenly pushes a button that allows malware on your computer. Suddenly, through no fault of your own, things just aren’t working right anymore.

This is so common that Microsoft has a program called System Restore on every computer with Windows operating system. System Restore is a utility that allows users to restore their Windows configurations to a previous state. While System Restore is often associated with providing recovery when driver or software installations go awry, it can really shine when spyware or other malevolent software compromises user machines. In many situations, this handy utility can roll back afflicted machines to a completely uninfected state. Of course, System Restore can work only when it is turned on and cataloging system states, so make sure it’s enabled on all user machines.

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tech q & a

Dear Otto: How do I prevent printer pandemonium?

[caption id="attachment_7341" align="alignright" width="176"]tech questions Do you have a tech question?[/caption]

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Cheryl in Indiana:

It seems that my well-structured primary tech classrooms fall apart when it is time to print. Some students just keep pushing Print & end up printing multiple copies, 25 students scramble to the printer to collect their printouts. Total chaos! Any ideas?

I have a two-step solution to that:

  • Teach them how to print. I take lesson time to show them the print box, all the varied spots where things can be changed, and how to do it right. After that, I know it’s not lack of knowledge causing the problems
  • I don’t let them go to the printer. First, it gets to be the lab water cooler–everyone hanging out back there, chatting, while they wait for the stuff to print. That’s no good. Second, I’ can’t monitor that everything printed is appropriate if they’re taking papers from the printer. Third, if they print more than one, I want to chat with them about it.
  • Consistent offenders aren’t allowed to print. I’ll email it to parents/teacher, but they lose the privilege

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Definition of ‘Teacher’

990536_class_roomI got this from one of my Christian friends. Thought I’d share:

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

‘Let me see if I’ve got this right.

‘You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.

‘You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

‘You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.

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How to Teach Keyboarding? Ask Bernadette

kids and computersBernadette Roche is the Director of Technology for an independent school in the Kansas City area. Her responsibilities include teaching students in grades preschool – 8th grade twice a week, 30-40 minutes per class. I recently had the opportunity to discuss her philosophy of keyboarding and student education with her. I think you’ll enjoy her thoughts:

Some of you have asked about standards that I use for keyboarding…..

My philosophy on keyboarding is that it actually starts the minute a kid uses a computer since it requires kids to look at the letters in a different order than what they are used to. I divide keyboarding into informal and formal. Informal keyboarding for my school starts in Preschool (age 3) when the kids start to learn to recognize the letters on the keyboard. They continue with keyboard letter recognition through Prekindergarten and Kindergarten. We use Kid Keys software.

In 1st grade, I implement two handed keyboarding. This is also the first time that we regularly keyboard as part of our tech class – 5 to 10 minutes at the start of every class. We talk about the dividing line on the keyboard, which letters are on which side, and then when kids keyboard, they are expected to use two hands, although which finger they use doesn’t matter to me. My reminder to them is that if I come around with my “KC Chiefs chopper” (allusion to our city’s football team) I might “chop” off hands that are on the wrong side of the keyboard. Still using Kid Keys software.

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Tech Tip #111: Quick Internet Fix

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

Q: The internet website is quirky. Stuff I know should work doesn’t. Is there any quick way to fix that without having to reboot?

A: Refresh the webpage with the ‘reload current page’ tool. About half the time, that works.

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Dear Otto: What Can I Use Besides PowerPoint?

tech questionsDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Kellie:

I want to teach my younger students how to make a slide show with photographs. It needs to be free! I have already taught them how to add photos to PowerPoint, but I want something a little more fun and flashy. I have seen mixed reviews about SmileBox. All tips are appreciated.

The first one that comes to mind is Animoto. It will take pictures as well as music and creates a beautiful–albeit quick–presentation. Here’s my review of it. Then there’s Photostory–software, but a free download. That allows for longer slideshow-type presentations that also include sound. We use it with Windows 7 despite what the website says.

Here are a few others that might work for your purposes:

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5 Favorite Websites for K-5

One of the biggest problems I face as a technology teacher is the wealth of information out there for teachers, parents, students. I try to stay on top of it (as you who subscribe to my hook-76785_640Weekend Websites know), but there is so much more than I can cover with one-a-week.

So, this week, I’m giving you 5. You will love these. I find myself sharing them with colleagues in answer to their tech ed needs so decided it was time to share them with you also:

BrainPop Game Up

BrainPop offers a great group of games for science, math, social studies, and health–all easy to maneuver, age-appropriate and fun learning. The gamification of education is alive and well at BrainPop

Fly Across America

This is a gorgeous eight-minute tour across America via biplane. It took my classes by storm.

Knowmia

Filled with Free video tutorials and interactive materials for your students. This is a website and an app with tutorials, over 10,000 lessons, ‘knowledge maps’ for chemistry and biology, even a how-to for creating video lessons.

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