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Online education

Last Chance: How to Leverage Tech to Teach Writing

MTI 558: How to Leverage Tech to Teach Writing

This college-credit class starts in one week–Monday, May 28th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 558 and click for more information and to sign up.

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Last Chance: Building Digital Citizens

MTI 557: Building Digital Citizens

This college-credit class starts in one week–Monday, May 21st! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 557 and click for more information and to sign up.

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Last Chance for this College-credit Class

MTI 563: The Differentiated Teacher

MTI 563 starts in one week–Monday, May 14th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 563 and click for more information and to sign up.

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Last Chance for this College-credit Class in Blended Learning

MTI 562: The Tech-infused Teacher

MTI 562 starts Monday, May 7th! Last chance to sign up. Need more information? Click here and scroll to MTI 562. Ready to sign up? Click this link; scroll down to MTI 562 and click.

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College Credit Classes in Blended Learning

Through the Midwest Teachers Institute, I offer four college-credit classes that teach how to blend technology with traditional lesson plans. They include all the ebooks, videos, and other resources required so you don’t spend any more than what is required to register for the class. Once you’re signed up, you prepare weekly material, chat with classmates, respond to class Discussion Boards and quizzes, and participate in a weekly video meeting. Everything is online.

Questions? Email me at askatechteacher@gmail.com

Here are the four I’m currently offering:


mti 557Building Digital Citizens

MTI 557

Open for enrollment

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. Classes start in May!

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Remote Learning: Tips for Thriving in This Ecosystem

Anyone who attends online classes or any sort of remote learning knows it’s different from traditional classes. To thrive in this environment requires a mindset that appreciates the pros and adapts to the challenges. The folks over at  San Diego Virtual School (SDVS) have put together a list of quick productivity tips on how to excel in this increasingly-popular learning environment:

Remote Learning Productivity Tips

Studying and working from home will share a lot of overlap when it comes to staying productive. It’s a completely different environment than being in a traditional school and it will require a much different (and stronger) level of discipline to stay successful in your studies.

So what can you do to stay on top of your lessons and ensure that you’ll be productive throughout your years of education when going remote?

Use a Clean and Organized Study Space

Studying remotely means you get to customize your study space in any way you want. It’s important to have a space that you’re comfortable in, but you also want it to be as clean, organized and clutter-free as possible. This helps keep your mind clear, and allows you to avoid unwanted distractions.

If at all possible, try not to have anything on your desk that isn’t related to your studies.

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Categories: Classroom management, Online education | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Building Digital Citizens–the Class

If you have questions about how to build good digital citizens, questions like:digital citizenship

  • how DO you get students not to steal images from Google and how important is that?
  • what’s the best advice to students when they face cyberbullying?
  • how do you know if you are plagiarizing or if you’ve been plagiarized?

We have a new certificate class (with 18 ECUs) called “Building Digital Citizens” that covers thirteen of the most-common topics everyone should know about Digital Citizenship (they’re listed in the video below). Each section has an introduction and then three phases to help you scaffold learning: Introductory, Working on, and Mastered. Work through all phases in each topic at your own pace, in whatever order you’d like. It’s all online, self-directed, with lots of links, videos, and top-notch online resources to help you figure it all out.

Here’s what you do:

  • Sign up through this link. Be sure to include your email in Special Instructions.
  • Receive a Join Code for the class wiki.
  • Work through the units.
  • Notify us when you’re finished and we’ll send the Certificate.

It’s that simple. Here’s a video introduction:

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Categories: Business, Digital Citizenship, Online education, Subscriber special | Tags: | Leave a comment

4 Great Alternatives to Google Classroom

[caption id="attachment_57132" align="alignright" width="300"] Designed by Freepik[/caption]

In today’s K-12 education ecosystem, most classroom management tools have moved online. This includes typical LMS (Learning Management Systems) functions like homework, classwork, schedules, quizzes, resources, and gradebooks so stakeholders–teachers and students–can access them from any location and any digital device. Because LMSs have a reputation for being complicated to understand and daunting to set up, lite versions that give up some of the robustness in favor of a more pleasant user experience have become popular. The first ‘lite’ option that most educators think of is Google Classroom. It’s easy to use, accessible from all devices, collaborative, and integrates with lots of education apps. You will find yourself most comfortable in the Google Classroom environment if the tools you use are aligned with Google Drive, your browser of choice is Chrome, and your digital device is a  Chromebook.

It turns out there are lots of other reasons schools and teachers don’t want to use Google Classroom:

  • It lacks many features that teachers want in classroom management such as syncing with popular non-Google apps and tools.
  • If you have an LMS you love, Google Classroom often won’t work well with it because it isn’t well-aligned with industry standards.
  • It’s only free if you have a G Suite for Education account.
  • It’s not well-suited if you use Microsoft Office programs.
  • It doesn’t allow a lot of customization. That makes it simpler to use but less adaptable to unique needs.
  • It’s too “googlish”. Toolbars and symbols are easy to understand if you’re into Google, not so much if you aren’t.

The biggest for many people: Privacy concerns continue, despite Google’s efforts to put them to bed. If you’re looking for a non-Google Classroom alternative, here are four:

Microsoft Teamsmicrosoft teams for education

Microsoft is late to the classroom management party but its Microsoft Teams is a worthy consideration. Its name doesn’t scream education though it is the sequel to the since-retired Microsoft Classroom preview. Once set up, the platform works hand-in-hand with OneNote Class Notebooks to provide a digital workspace where teachers can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, communicate with school staff, plan lessons, assign and grade homework, comment on work, and differentiate for student needs. Students can find and share assignments, receive feedback, and collaborate digitally. Overall, it offers similar features to Google Classroom in a different environment.

Free to schools who have Office 365 for Education, it is considered more user-friendly than Google Classroom by some while others disagree. What no one argues is that it works better with Office documents. If your school uses Word, PowerPoint, or Excel on iPads or PCs, this might be a better choice.

kiddom logoKiddom

Kiddom is a free standards-based classroom management platform designed to help teachers curate individual learning experiences. Its pages are visual and easy-to-understand, intuitive to set up, and agile in their responsiveness to varied student and class needs. With its rich analytic features, teachers can quickly determine how students are doing and where remediation is needed. Because many of the statistics are linked to foundational detail, teachers can quickly dig deeper without having to click around trying to find where that particular data lives.

If you are a Google school, you’ll like that Kiddom integrates with Google Drive. Teachers can share docs, sheets, and forms directly with students without leaving Kiddom’s ecosystem. In fact, with Kiddom, you get everything you love about Google Classroom as well as the features only Kiddom brings to learning such as:

  • the ability to plan, assess, and analyze via a free library of standards-aligned resources
  • quick lesson planning using an integrated curriculum planner that can personalize instruction
  • unlimited possibilities for student ownership as they submit work, track their own progress, and solicit feedback from teachers
  • standards-based lesson plans which allow teachers to track completion of skills
  • easy-to-read, actionable reports that help teachers understand individual student performance
  • a flexible curriculum planner that allows teachers to modify individual student learning pathways
Because Kiddom works with Google Classroom, this may be the best option for schools that like Google Classroom but need more.

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Categories: Classroom management, Google, Online education | Tags: | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources–Certificate/College Credit Classes and Coaching

tech ed helpI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Classes

Ask a Tech Teacher offers a variety of classes throughout the year. These can be taught individually (through coaching or mentoring), in small groups (of at least five), or as school PD. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.


online classesThe Tech-infused Teacher

Certificate

Group enrollment

The 21st Century teacher blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for unique needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials.

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Categories: AATT Materials, Classroom management, Online education, Teacher resources, Videos | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Moodle: The Unsung Hero of LMS Options

moodleA Learning Management System (what is often called an LMS) has become foundational to blending technology into education experiences. Without its one-stop curation of class management activities such as attendance, homework, grading, discussions, resources, and more, each with their own separate website, login, and password, technology use in education would be defined by chaos. There are many LMSs to choose from, but none as flexible, scalable, feature-rich, and affordable as the open source ecosystem of Moodle.

Moodle got its start years ago as a method to organize blended learning and online classes. Now, it provides over 90 million educators, administrators, and learners in over 200 countries with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. Besides thousands of K-12 schools, users include the State University of New York, Microsoft and the Open University, and the London School of Economics. Because it’s Open Source and platform-agnostic, it has few limitations, but this flexibility and scalability comes with a price. Setup and use are reputed to be more challenging than other LMSs. In fact, I can attest to that from experience.

There is help, though. Following “How to get started” (the next section), I’ll share an easy way to unpack Moodle in your school.

How to get started

With a reminder that Moodle is Open Source, which means the basic framework can be augmented with just about any addition conceivable (as you’ll see in the section, “23 Ways to use Moodle”), here’s how to start:

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Categories: Classroom management, Online education, Teacher resources | Tags: , , | 2 Comments