Category: Classroom management

Understanding Behavioral Learning Theory & Its Applications In The Classroom

The Ask a Tech Teacher team has written a great article on behavioral learning in the classroom. You’ll find out:

  • What it is
  • Keys to unpacking it
  • Why it matters in education
  • Examples in the classroom
  • Techniques for applying it
  • Challenges

Behavioral Learning Theory & Its Applications In Class

If you’re an educator or a parent, equipping yourself with knowledge of behavioral learning theory can transform your classroom dynamics and alter how you perceive the process of learning itself. If the entire concept is alien to you at the moment, hold tight as we talk you through the main aspects, and how they can hold relevance in modern teaching environments.

Introduction to Behavioral Learning Theory

Behavioral learning theory can sound complex, but it’s actually quite straightforward. It stipulates that all behaviors are learnt through interactions with the environment.

While biology may play a part, this theory focuses on acquired behavior and how your responses can change over time.

Conditioning is at the center of this theory, and it posits that humans learn by developing associations between their actions and the consequences they experience in real-time.


17 K-8 Digital Citizenship Topics

Education is no longer contained within classroom walls or the physical site of a school building. Learning isn’t confined to the eight hours between the school bell’s chimes or the struggling budget of an underfunded program.

Today, education can be found anywhere, by teaming up with students in Kenya or Skyping with an author in Sweden or chatting with an astrophysicist on the International Space Station. Students can use Google Earth to take a virtual tour of a zoo or a blog to collaborate on class research. Learning has no temporal or geographic borders, and is available wherever students and teachers find an internet connection.

This vast landscape of resources is often free, but this cerebral trek through the online world requires students know how to do it safely, securely, and responsibly. This used to mean limiting access to the internet, blocking websites, and layering rules upon rules hoping (vainly) students would be discouraged from using an infinite and fascinating resource.

It didn’t work.

Best practices now suggest that instead of cocooning students, we teach them to be good digital citizens, confident and competent in 17 areas:


What Student Assignments and Projects Are Considered Most Difficult: Myths and Truths

What Student Assignments and Projects Are Considered Most Difficult: Myths and Truths

Are you a student who has ever wondered which assignments and projects are the most challenging? We’ve all been there, faced with daunting tasks that seem insurmountable. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the myths and truths surrounding the difficulty of student assignments and projects. By the end, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of these academic challenges, along with expert insights and tips to help you excel.


Dozens of Online Resources for Assessment

Assessment of student work is a crucial aspect of learning. It helps students recognize important lesson goals and teachers gauge  understanding. While multiple choice, short answer, and essays are still proven methods, there are many alternatives teachers can use for their particular student group. Here are some you can look into–and all online:

  1. Easy CBM
  2. Educreations–video a whiteboard explanation of how students are completing a task (app)
  3. Edulastic–formative assessments; work on any devices (app)
  4. Flip — record a video question from your desktop; add attachments; students respond from the app with their answer
  5. Flubaroo (app)
  6. Gimkit–gamified assessment, like Kahoot; freemium
  7. Go Formative (app)
  8. Google Forms (app)
  9. Kahoot–quiz-show-like format (app)
  10. Socrative (app)
  11. Stick Around–turn questions into puzzles (app)


  1. Flubaroo
  2. Kaizena–add audio and video notes to submitted assignments; add-on


  1. BloomBoard–badges for teacher PD
  2. Credly
  3. Open Badges

Class Review

  1. Digital Breakouts–review or assessment in a gamelike format; includes mostly history, but other topics; high school
  2. Kahoot–with a new team mode
  3. Quizlet Live–students join with a code, break into teams, and are quizzed on a Quizlet

Common Core Prep

  1. ReadyTest AtoZ--from RAZ Kids, freemium


  1. Flippity–make flashcards in Google Spreadsheets
  2. GoConqr–flash cards, quizzes, notes, more


  1. Gradescope (from Turnitin)
  2. Paperscorer–create quiz in Google Forms, grade it through Paperscorer
  3. Planbook–online lesson planning and gradebook


Peer Review

  1. PeerGrade–automate the process


SAT/ACT Online Resources

Warm-up/Exit Tickets


  1. The Crossing–attempts to cross a gorge; some fail; all result in success
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Copyright ©2023 – All rights reserved.

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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.

22 Ways to Add Rigor to Your Class

Let’s start by clearing up a misconception: Rigor isn’t unfriendly. Adding it to your class doesn’t mean you become boring, a techie, or overseer of a fun-free zone. In fact, done right, rigor fills your class with Wow, those epiphanies that bring a smile to student faces and a sense of well-being to their school day. Rigor provides positive experiences, is an emotional high, and engenders a pervasive sense of accomplishment students will carry for years–and use as a template for future events.

It is NOT:

  • lots of homework
  • lots of projects
  • lots of resources
  • lots of rules

When those are used to define rigor, the teacher is flailing–thinking quantity is quality. Rigor is not about adding a column of data or remembering the main characters in a Shakespeare novel. It’s seeing how that knowledge connects to life, to circumstances and to daily problems.

Simply put, adding rigor creates an environment where students are:

  • expected to learn at high levels
  • supported so they can learn at high levels
  • cheered on as they demonstrate learning at high levels

It helps students understand how to live life using brain power as the engine. Sure, it will ask them to collect evidence and draw conclusions that may find disagreement among their peers. It will insist they defend a position or adjust it to reflect new information. And it will often move them outside their comfort zone. It will also prepare them to solve the problems they will face in the future.


How Classroom Environment Shapes Understanding of Cause and Effect Relationships

How do teaching methods influence understanding? What can you do to make things work better in the classroom with simple fixes? Find the answers here.

How The Classroom Environment Shapes Understanding of Cause and Effect Relationships

Mastering cause-and-effect relationships in research is crucial for a student’s academic future and career. Having this knowledge, it would be easier to deal with assignments, homework, and life issues. But what role does the classroom environment play in this understanding? Read on to find out.


9 Mistakes Teachers Make Using Tech in the Classroom

It’s easy to confuse ‘using technology’ with digital tools. Your school passed iPads out to all classes. Some of your colleagues think having students read in this tablet format means they’re integrating technology into their curriculum. Kudos for a good start, but they need to use the tablets to differentiate for student learning styles, enrich learning materials, and turn students into life-long learners.

That’s harder than it sounds. Technology hasn’t been around long enough to beget standards that work for everyone (not withstanding ISTE’s herculean efforts), the set-in-stone of settled science. Truth, that will never happen. Technology tools populate like bacteria in a culture. Every time you turn around, there’s another favorite tool some teacher swears has turned her students into geniuses and her class into a model of efficiency. After fifteen years of teaching technology, chatting with colleagues, and experimenting, I can assure you there is no magic wand. What there is is a teacher not afraid to try new ways, test them out in a classroom environment, toss what doesn’t work and share the rest. Her/his success doesn’t come without lots of failure and mistakes, widgets that sounded good but were too complicated or non-intuitive for a 21st century classroom.

Which of these nine mistakes do you make? Then, see how to fix them:


The Top 5 AI Quiz Builder Tools That Can Transform Your Classroom and Their Benefits

Artificial Intelligence–AI–can greatly assist many mundane education tasks. Tools like Siri, Alexa, ChatGPT, and a plethora of apps seem perfect for handling the repetitive and time-consuming aspects of education that take teachers away from the core of most lessons that require critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. Done right, this sort of collaboration between AI and teacher results in a better outcome for everyone.

One task identified by many teachers as well suited to AI assistance is generating quiz content, Our Ask A Tech Teacher crew came up with five great options for using AI in quiz creation and then reasons to pick one of them:

  1. QuizGecko
  2. Quizlet
  3. Qzzr
  4. Riddle
  5. Playbuzz

The Top 5 AI Quiz Builders For Your Classroom


Top PDF Editors Among Educators

PDF editors are valuable tools in schools that allow students with different platforms–Google Apps, MS Office, and others–to make annotations, add comments, edit content (with some restrictions), and collaborate. Students can submit assignments digitally despite differences between their home platform and school (say, they use MS Office at home and Google Apps at school). Lesson plans and materials can be shared as PDFs with reasonable assurance they will be able to access and read it. PDF files are (much) smaller than others making them easier to transfer via email and save in folders.

No surprise that as useful as PDFs are, there are many options. An Ask a Tech Teacher contributor reviews five options for you to consider:

    1. Format PDF
    2. Adobe
    3. PDF Element
    4. Nitro Pro
    5. Foxit Phantom PDF

Top PDF Editors Among Teachers and Educators

In the digital age, the ability to effectively work with PDF documents has become essential for professionals in various fields, including education. As educators, you encounter a wide range of PDF files, from worksheets and lesson plans to research papers and administrative documents. To efficiently manage and modify these files, having a reliable PDF editor at your disposal is paramount.

In this article, we present a comprehensive guide to the top PDF editors that have gained popularity among teachers and educators. Whether you need to annotate textbooks, create interactive lesson materials, merge multiple documents, or securely sign important forms, our list of recommended PDF editors will help you streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the world of top PDF editors and discover the tools that will revolutionize your PDF management experience!

1 offers a user-friendly interface that allows teachers and educators to easily upload, edit, and save PDF files. The platform provides essential editing tools such as text and image editing, page manipulation, and the ability to merge or split PDF documents. It also enables users to add annotations, comments, and highlights, making it convenient for collaborative work and providing feedback on student assignments. You can check it out here.


  • Accessibility: Being an online PDF editor, allows users to access their documents from any device with an internet connection, eliminating the need for software installations.
  • Ease of Use: The intuitive interface and straightforward navigation make a user-friendly option, even for those with limited technical expertise.
  • Cost-effective: offers a range of pricing plans, including free options with limited features and affordable premium plans, making it accessible to educators with varying budgets.


  • Internet Dependency: As an online tool, requires a stable internet connection to access and edit PDF files. This may limit usability in situations where a reliable internet connection is not available.
  • Limited Offline Access: Unlike downloadable software, does not offer offline access to documents, which can be a drawback for educators who prefer to work without an internet connection.

2 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers a plethora of features designed to enhance document management and collaboration for educators. With this software, users can easily create, edit, and convert PDF files while maintaining the original formatting and integrity. The intuitive interface allows for efficient navigation and seamless integration with other Adobe products, making it a versatile tool for educators.


  • Advanced Editing Capabilities: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers an extensive range of editing tools, including text and image manipulation, page organization, and advanced formatting options. This allows educators to create professional-grade documents tailored to their specific teaching requirements.
  • Collaboration and Reviewing: The software facilitates seamless collaboration through its review and commenting features, enabling educators to share PDF files with colleagues, students, or administrators for feedback and revision.
  • Integration with Adobe Ecosystem: As part of the Adobe suite, the software seamlessly integrates with other Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator, offering enhanced creative possibilities for educators.


  • Cost: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a premium software that requires a subscription or a one-time purchase, which may be a deterrent for educators on a limited budget.
  • Learning Curve: Due to its comprehensive feature set, mastering all aspects of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC may require some time and effort. However, Adobe provides extensive tutorials and support resources to assist users in becoming proficient with the software.

Overall, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC stands out as a powerful PDF editing software, empowering teachers and educators with its wide range of features, collaboration capabilities, and advanced editing options. While the cost and learning curve may be considerations, the comprehensive functionality and seamless integration with other Adobe products make it a compelling choice for educators seeking a professional-grade PDF editor.

3 PDF Element

PDF element offers form creation and filling capabilities, empowering teachers to design interactive worksheets, assessment forms, and surveys. The software’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology enables the extraction of text from scanned documents, facilitating the digitization of physical resources for easy integration into digital teaching materials.


  • User-Friendly Interface: PDFelement boasts an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it accessible to educators with varying levels of technical expertise. The software’s layout and navigation ensure a seamless experience while working with PDF documents.
  • Customization and Annotation: Educators can easily customize their PDF documents by adding annotations, comments, highlights, and stamps, allowing for comprehensive feedback and engagement with students.
  • Cost-Effective: PDFelement offers flexible licensing options, including one-time purchases and affordable subscription plans, making it accessible to educators with different budget considerations.


  • Few Advanced Features: While PDFelement provides a comprehensive set of tools for most educators’ needs, it may not offer the same level of advanced features found in more specialized or high-end PDF editing software.
  • Limited Integration: Unlike software that is part of a larger ecosystem, PDFelement does not have extensive integration capabilities with other software applications commonly used in education. However, it supports essential file formats and allows for seamless import and export of documents.

4 Nitro Pro

Nitro Pro offers a wide range of features that aim to boost productivity and simplify PDF editing tasks for educators. With this software, users can easily create, edit, convert, and merge PDF files. Educators have the flexibility to modify text and images, rearrange pages, and incorporate headers, footers, and watermarks, enabling them to personalize their documents to align with their teaching needs.


  • Advanced Editing Capabilities: Nitro Pro provides extensive editing tools, including precise text and image manipulation, page organization, and comprehensive formatting options, empowering educators to create polished and professional-grade documents.
  • Collaboration and Review: The software offers robust collaboration features, allowing teachers to share PDF files with colleagues and students for seamless reviewing, commenting, and revising of educational materials.
  • Document Security: Nitro Pro provides encryption and password protection features, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive educational documents.


  • Affordability: Nitro Pro is a high-end software that offers multiple pricing options, which may present a challenge for educators on a tighter budget. However, the software’s extensive range of features and advanced capabilities make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking comprehensive functionality.
  • Ease of Use: Due to its rich feature set, Nitro Pro may require some dedicated time and exploration to fully grasp its complete range of functionalities. Nevertheless, Nitro Pro understands the importance of supporting educators and provides comprehensive tutorials and robust support resources to help them maximize their utilization of the software.

5 Foxit Phantom PDF

One notable feature of Foxit PhantomPDF is its collaboration capabilities. Educators can share PDF files, track changes, and add comments and annotations, facilitating seamless collaboration and feedback exchange with students and colleagues. The software also offers document security features, including password protection and redaction, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive educational materials

  • Lightweight and Fast: Foxit PhantomPDF is known for its fast performance and low system resource requirements. It allows educators to work seamlessly without experiencing significant delays or slowdowns.
  • Customizable Ribbon Interface: The software offers a flexible and customizable ribbon interface, allowing educators to personalize their workspace and access frequently used features with ease.
  • PDF Portfolio Creation: Foxit PhantomPDF enables educators to create PDF portfolios, which can combine multiple files into a single, organized document. This feature is particularly useful for compiling and sharing comprehensive teaching resources.


  • Limited Advanced Markup Tools: While Foxit PhantomPDF provides essential annotation and commenting tools, it may lack some of the more advanced markup options available in other PDF editors. Educators who require highly specialized markup features may find this limitation restrictive.
  • Limited Integration with Cloud Storage: While Foxit PhantomPDF allows integration with cloud storage services, the options may be more limited compared to other PDF editors. This may pose a challenge for educators who heavily rely on cloud-based workflows and file storage.

In conclusion, the world of PDF editing offers a multitude of options for teachers and educators seeking efficient and versatile tools to manage their documents. In this article, we explored a selection of top PDF editors specifically tailored to meet the needs of educators.

While online editors offer accessibility and convenience, downloadable software options provide offline access, advanced editing capabilities, and increased control over document management. Educators can choose the software that best aligns with their preferences, budget considerations, and workflow requirements. Happy PDFing!

Copyright ©2023 – All rights reserved.

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

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.