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: How often should I back up my current project? How about my whole hard drive?
A: I teach my students to save early, save often when they’re working on a project. You decide what you can tolerate losing. Ten minutes or Ten hours. After all, if the computer loses your work, you’re the one who has to start over.
As for the entire computer, once a week is good. Me, I save each project I’m working on and then save-as to a back-up location. I hate losing my work.
BTW, most people skip this. Don’t! It’s easy.
Questions you want answered? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.
If you didn’t make it to ISTE 2011, you missed a great time. There was more going on than any sane person could absorb in a month and all 30,000+ of us attendees tried to do it in four days. The seminars cover every topic from tech integration to how to use specific programs to general trends. I tried to attend a few of each to not only learn new material but to make sure what I’m teaching is as relevant this year as when I first taught it to my classes.
Here are some of my thoughts:
- Teachers are not lecturers. We are guides, even fellow-learners
- Students learn by doing more than being taught. Encourage this
- There are a lot of ‘right’ ways to learn
- Students are problem-solvers. Let this happen
- Technology is about offering options in learning styles
- Technology offers different ways to teach different learners. Use it that way.
- Work beyond the classroom because class is too short, kids aren’t engaged the entire five hours
- Paperless classroom is possible. Figure it out.
- Virtual presentations so kids hear from the experts in real time (more…)
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’m pushing the power button on my laptop (or desktop, but more commonly this happens with laptops), but it won’t turn off. What do I do?
A: Push the power button and hold it in for a count of ten. That’ll work. If not (there’s always that one that breaks all the rules), hold it for a count of twenty (more…)
I keep a list of themed websites that are easy-in easy-out for students. They must be activities that can be accomplished enjoyably in less than ten minutes. In the parlance, these are called “sponges”.
What exactly are sponge activities? The term, originally coined by Madeline Hunter, refers to an activity designed to produce learning during the time taken up by “administrivia.” They stem from Hunter’s teaching philosophy that there should be no wasted moments in her classroom.
Here’s my list, by topic: (more…)
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! (more…)
Another problem for cursive in schools: Common Core is ‘silent’ on it, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education. That’s like the Fat Lady warming up, but not sure when she’ll be performing.
Studies show one in three children struggle with handwriting. I’d guess more, seeing it first hand as a teacher. Sound bad? Consider another study shows that one in five parents say they last penned a letter more than a year ago.
Let’s look at the facts. Students hand-write badly, and don’t use it much when they grow up (think about yourself. How often do you write a long hand letter?). Really, why is handwriting important in this day of keyboards, PDAs, smart phones, spellcheck, word processing? I start students on MS Word in second grade, about the same time their teacher is beginning cursive. Teach kids the rudiments and turn them over to the tech teacher for keyboarding.
I searched for reasons why I was wrong. Here’s what I found:
- 1 in 10 Americans are endangered by the poor handwriting of physicians.
- citizens miss out on $95,000,000 in tax refunds because the taxman can’t read their handwriting
- Poor handwriting costs businesses $200,000,000 in time and money that result in confused and inefficient employees, phone calls made to wrong numbers, and letters delivered to incorrect addresses.
BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 28 (UPI) —
Officials in an Indiana school district said cursive writing lessons will be scaled down this year in favor of computer keyboarding.
Blogs do that. The students get to interact with their favorite toy–a computer–and go online for legitimate purposes. They get to see their thoughts in print. What could be more appealing. Blogs and online forums are a teachers dream.
The problem is how teachers use these tools. Like every good skill, blogging and online writing requires a bit of explanation. Start with these simple rules:
- Be concise in a blog. Readers don’t go to blogs to read a novel. They want something that will help them in, say, a minute (that seems to be the average time people spend on a post)
- Be pithy. Readers don’t want to waste even that sixty seconds. They may get tricked the first time by a snazzy title, but not again. So, students must put their thoughts together in a cogent and concise arrangement.
- Be knowledgeable. There are so many bloggers out there, students must come across as intelligent on their topic and smart enough to discuss it in that one minute the reader gives them. How do they do that?
- Watch grammar and spelling.
- Pick a topic they know about. If it’s an opinion, pick something they have ideas about.
- Don’t tear down the other guy’s opinion as a way to promote their own. This sort of mean-spiritedness turns people off.
For more great reasons why blogs are good for kids, visit Educational Blogging Wiki–including helping them find their voice and empower their maturing identities.