Category: Education reform

Mindfulness–its place in the classroom

Teaching Channel is one of my favorite hands-on resources for how to teach. They offer lots of videos from the classroom, showing teachers at work, but also well thought out discussions on topics that impact education. This one is on mindfulness. I hope you enjoy it:

Mindfulness to Calm, Focus, & Learn

By Alexa Simon on May 5, 2022.

Mindfulness is a health and well-being practice utilized by families from around the world. Maybe you’ve dabbled in mindful activities such as yoga or meditation, or mindfulness may still seem somewhat of a mystery! Either way, let’s drive into what it means to be mindful, including ways to use mindfulness in your classroom (in the midst of chaos). Mindfulness benefits everyone!

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being mindful. Stating the obvious, mindfulness is allowing one’s thoughts to slow, and using the breath to cultivate self-awareness. Being mindful provides your body the space to calm and be present, allowing you to melt away stress and focus on what matters. The end result from this focus is to feel joy and contentment: a lovely place to be. 

Read on

We’ve written a lot about this topic on Ask a Tech Teacher. Check out these articles if you’re looking for more:

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

How to Raise a Computer-Savvy Generation

Raising computer-savvy children is complicated, whether you are a geek or a luddite. If you don’t pay attention, they teach themselves and not always the right way. Guiding kids through foundational steps and then building on them so students enjoy using technology for more than games and simulations is the goal. We as teachers and parents want them to value tech as a tool that enables them to dig into raw data (not someone’s interpretation of it), get answers to questions when they pop into mind, and make everyday tasks easier (not waste time).

Our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has some great ideas for you in this next article:

How to Raise a Computer-Savvy Generation

Image source: Pexels


Being computer savvy in today’s world governed by technology is one of the most important things for parents to instill in their children. This is because the use of technology is important for personal growth and professional success.

Today’s generation is born into a world where everything revolves around technology. Fortunately, the modern generation is in love with it, meaning that parents do not have a hard time raising computer-savvy children.

As a parent, do you know what you should do to raise a computer-savvy child? Most parents did not grow up with the kind of technology that we have today, something that makes it a little bit difficult for them. Here is a guideline to follow;

Teach Children How To Code

Most parents are probably asking how to go about this when they cannot code themselves. Well, you do not have to know how to code to teach your children how to do it. Computer programming for children is growing in popularity every single day.

This is because people are relying on technology to run their day-to-day operations. Parents interested in raising a computer-savvy generation can, therefore, start by encouraging their children to learn how to code.

Children who learn how to code at an early age have high chances of succeeding in life. In addition, they find it easy to take courses such as Bachelor of Science in Computer Science later in life, which is vital for those who want a successful career in technology.

A computer-savvy generation can help in the critical evaluation of problems. In addition, they can look at alternative options and create innovative solutions to simplify processes and make things better.

Set Rules To Keep Them Under Control

Sometimes, we need to unplug to recharge ourselves and feel better. Setting rules for your computer-savvy child does not mean following strict guidelines but finding a routine that favors your family. 

For instance, you can set aside a certain amount of time every day when your children are supposed to engage in a certain activity or maybe not use certain devices such as computers. You do not want your child to suffer from computer-related injuries due to long computer usage.

At the end of the day, setting guidelines for your children is going to help them in the long run. They will understand that they need to be disciplined and follow regulations, something that can stick with them even when they are adults.

Get Involved With Your Children

When most modern parents were growing up, they saw how their parents were involved in their lives and made sure that they knew everything about friends, classmates, teachers, or even play-mates. This should not be abandoned especially when raising computer-savvy children.


#CUE22 and Trending Edtech

If you attend edtech conferences, you know how motivating, energizing, and forward-thinking they are. I always come away feeling ready to use the latest and best edtech tools in my lesson plans. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Christian Miraglia, attended Spring CUE 22 in Palm Springs, California. Here are some of the great ideas he collected from colleagues and presenters:

#CUE22 and Trending Edtech

Conferences always bring new ideas, energy for changes in instructional practices, and new networking opportunities. I recently attended the Spring CUE 22 conference in Palm Springs, in which over two thousand educators gathered to share ideas, connect and view the latest in education technology.  The CUE (Computer Users in Education) conference is the highlight event for California educators using technology. Much of the presentations indicated that changes are happening in classrooms spurred by the pandemic. Being that there were many topics of importance this post will focus on student agency with later posts focusing on feedback, E-Sports, and assessments. 


Has Teaching Changed since the Pandemic?

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Christian Miraglia, wrote an interesting article on changes in teaching since the pandemic. I think you’ll find a lot to relate to:

Has Teaching Changed Since the Pandemic?

March 13, 2019, for many educators in California and nationwide, was a day that will forever be etched in their memories. It was the day that many school districts closed temporarily, or so they thought, due to the spread and uncertainty of COVID-19. What nobody could have seen was that these closures would become more permanent and reshape the educational landscape for years to come. Changes to daily instruction have become the norm as students were absent due to illness, teachers were absent due to COVID-19 exposure or their children having been infected or exposed, in-face instruction shifting to online and then back to face-to-face. 

Recently I listened to K-12 educators at a session hosted by a local university designed to have teachers meet and share their experiences from the past two years. The output of emotions from these brave educators who detailed what it is like to teach during this challenging time was gut-wrenching. 

The resiliency of these educators is to be commended as they navigated the daily challenges of policy changes, students coming and leaving, the caring for themselves and their children.  In listening to them, a common theme resonated from the group, the value of networking.


Is Education Due for a Reset

Throughout my career in education, teaching has been prodded, pushed, tweaked, nudged, and reformed. I author a K-12 Technology Curriculum. Each time I update it, I include a list of what has changed since the last update, something like:

  • Windows updated its platform—twice.
  • Student work is often collaborative and shared.
  • Student work is done anywhere; it must be synced and available across multiple platforms, devices.
  • Keyboarding skills are critical, especially to summative year-end testing.
  • Technology is the norm, but teacher training isn’t.
  • Education is focused on college and career with tech an organic, transformative tool.
  • Teachers have moved from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side’.
  • Students have been raised on digital devices. They want to use them as learning tools.
  • Using technology is no longer what ‘geeky’ students do. It’s what all students want to do.
  • Printing is being replaced with sharing and publishing.
  • More teachers want to try technology authentically.

These are big enough to require an updated curriculum, but now, according to US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, it may be time for a huge reset. Read this article and see if you agree:

With Few Details But Big Ideas, Sec. Cardona Pushes Total Reimagining of Education

From Edsurge

Education is closer to a reset than ever before, US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday during a keynote address at the SXSW EDU conference in Austin, Texas. During his address, Cardona said part of this shift must include providing more support for students and meeting the needs of teachers.

Read more

Ask a Tech Teacher has posted a plethora of articles about game-changers in education. Here are a few of them:


Using VR to Visualize Complex Information

Virtual Reality is one of the hottest newish education strategies that keeps getting better. Here’s an excellent article from eSchool News about using VR to better understand topics traditionally considered complex:

VR helps students visualize complex information

Educators can use virtual reality to bring learning into the real world and improve outcomes for students, assert Shannon Cox, superintendent, and Candice Sears, director of instructional services, both of Montgomery County Educational Service Center. In this commentary, they describe how using VR technology can answer the question students often ask: “When will I ever use this?”

Read on…

More from Ask a Tech Teacher on Virtual Reality:

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

Update on Grading Practices

K-12 grading hasn’t changed a lot in decades. Edutopia thinks they’re due for an update. Here’s an eye-opening article on three grading practices that should be overhauled:

Teacher: Reconsider these traditional grading practices

There are three key grading practices that should be overhauled, writes Alexis “Lexy” Tamony, a high-school math teacher in California. In this article, Tamony asserts that teachers should reconsider averaging scores over time, allowing in elements other than content understanding and reporting “opaque scores.”

Read on…

For more about grades, check out these Ask a Tech Teacher articles:


Build Empathy Among Students

It used to surprise me that it became the school’s job to teach empathy. Shouldn’t parents do that? The truth is it doesn’t always happen in homes. Since children spend much of their daylight hours in school, it is a logical place to reinforce empathy as a life skill.

Edsurge has an interesting article, How to build empathy among students, that shares one teacher’s experiences:

Lessons in empathy often are taught with a focus on the individual, rather than the collective community, writes Ka’ua Adams, a ninth-grade English teacher at Kealakehe High School in Kona, Hawaii. In this commentary, Adams suggests strengthening these lessons by shifting individual activities to collective ones and focusing on care instead of skills.

Read on… (may require a free membership)

Ask a Tech Teacher has covered this topic often in the past. Here are some articles you might like:


What is ‘Technical Math’?

The difficulties with engaging children in math learning grows each year. I have several articles coming up next week that discuss that issue (links won’t work until publication date):

What is ‘Technical Math’–December 10, 2021 (this article)

Returning to Rigorous Mathematics–December 16, 2021

Math Scores Drop Again–December 17, 2021

An excellent solution is to change the focus, teach kids what will be required. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher partners has a good article on that topic:

What Is Technical Math?

There’s an old joke about how kids are forced to learn algebra and trigonometry in school, but have no use for those subjects in real life. But in reality, that depends heavily on what kind of profession you choose to go into. A lot of professions you might think wouldn’t call for much math actually require it as a core skill set for certain trades, including plumbers, electricians, welders, and construction workers.

Why do trades like this require so much mathematics? These are supposed to be the jobs you don’t need extensive education for, right? Well, as it turns out, they’re not.

In fact, many technical trades require more math than some white-collar professions. Let’s look at welding, for example. To excel in their profession, a welder needs to understand and calculate concepts like material usage, which requires using fractions and sometimes algebra. They’ll also need to know how to use charts and graphs for some processes.

The same is true of construction workers, who must deal with equations, conversion of quantities, and taking measurements. In a typical workday, a construction worker may have to use equations to convert between units of measure, or use ratios to figure out the proportion of a roof’s length to its height. Getting some calculations wrong in construction work can have dangerous, if not deadly, consequences. In more advanced construction work (i.e. the jobs that pay well), they’ll even have to know some geometry.

The skills required for these sorts of jobs comes from a particular field, called “trade math” or “technical math.”


Artificial Intelligence in Education: Anecdotal Evidence

Artificial Intelligence has made its way into our classrooms. Good or bad, only time will tell but some early reports say there are some real positives about using AI-powered program to boost literacy. Here’s an article from Hechinger Report, a national nonprofit newsroom that reports only on education, that’s pretty interesting:

Can an AI tutor teach your child to read?

When Jaclyn Brown Wright took over as principal of Brewbaker Primary School in Montgomery, Alabama, she knew she needed to figure out a way to boost literacy rates. At Brewbaker, which in 2020 served more than 700 students in pre-K through second grade, nearly 20 percent of her students are English learners and 71 percent are economically disadvantaged. In 2019, a year before Brown Wright was hired, less than 20 percent of students were proficient on the school’s reading assessments, the principal said. Brown Wright knew the stakes were high: In Alabama, students can be held back if they are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

Read on…

We’ve discussed artificial intelligence often at Ask a Tech Teacher. Here are a few articles you may find interesting:

Digital Assistants in the Classroom

8 Practical Ways to use AI in Learning