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Online education

JotForm Reports–A Fresh Way to Energize Remote Learning

The teachers taking my online classes this summer tell me they’re having difficulty with remote teaching. Problems include administering and grading assessments, taking attendance, finding backchannel tools that enable them to stay in touch with students, and keeping viewers engaged during video presentations. Sure, they have tools that can do each of these but they either aren’t robust enough or only do part of the job or don’t excite students enough to participate. There’s a new solution out there from a trusted name you’re probably familiar with that can solve many of these. It’s JotForm’s new Report Builder.

You either already use JotForm (as do over 2 million others) or you’ve heard of it as the gold standard for forms creation whether on PCs, Macs, or mobile devices. It offers what seems to be an endless supply of professional-looking easy-to-implement templates that sign up volunteers, get feedback on events, enroll students in classes, ask for donations, collect payments, and much much more. Its drag-and-drop interface makes building forms intuitive, quick, and easy.  Completed forms are shared via a link, social media, or integrated into DropBox, Google Docs, and other popular platforms. It’s free or fee (the latter for a pro version), based online, and available on all platforms and digital devices. For more, here’s my review.

Since it began nearly a decade ago, JotForm has committed itself to adapting to customer needs. Besides their core forms builder, they offer a PDF Editor (here’s my review of that) to enable students to work remotely offline without WiFi or internet access, JotForm Cards to make collecting data easier than the typical digital form (here’s my review), and easy summer camp (or after-school camp–or any type of camp) registration (here’s my review).

Now, they’ve introduced Report Builder.

JotForm Report Builder is a sophisticated but simple way to turn data into information. Responses gathered via form are quickly turned into a visually appealing report or presentation that students or colleagues will want to read. Here’s how it works:

(more…)

Categories: Online education, Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

5 Ideas for Teaching Students the Most Important Skill They’ll Need

Every teacher I know  understands it’s not the 3R’s or science or even history that provides fundamental skills for thriving in life. If you doubt that, read the quote below from a Harvard professor about the half-life of learned skills. No, it’s something more basic, more intuitive, and happens to be the holy grail of teacher goals for students. 

Learn how to learn

Here’s how to make this easy, from an Ask a Tech Teacher contributor:

***

In the past, a university degree provided a majority of graduates with the skills they needed to succeed in their chosen careers. In the 2020s, this is no longer the case. Today, according to research conducted by Harvard Business Review and Deloitte, a college degree typically provides students with skills that have a half-life of only 5 years.

That means it won’t be long before even college-educated employees will need to upskill or retrain to remain employable.

The main takeaway: Learning how to learn is the single most important skill that our students will need to master if they hope to participate meaningfully in the fast-paced, technology-driven workplace of the future.

Yet many students do not have a solid understanding of how to effectively go about the process of upskilling. According to research published in the Instructional Science journal, individual students experience a broad variety of differentiation in their understanding of how to undertake the learning process. Sadly, it is possible for some students to make it all the way through twelfth grade without ever fully grasping the basics of how to learn.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how this could happen. As educators, we are each tasked with teaching our students a specific body of knowledge. The knowledge typically encompasses highly focused topics such as reading or math or biology. We know our students will be tested on the knowledge that we’ve been trusted to impart to them. Our livelihoods directly depend on whether or not they will excel at the resulting tests. There isn’t room in our workdays to deviate far from the material that will be covered on the tests. 

Rarely, it seems, is anybody ever specifically tasked with teaching students a step-by-step course in how to learn. Yet, collectively, if we fail to teach them this skill, we ultimately fail in our mission to equip our students with the skills they’ll need to succeed in their careers — and also to succeed as functioning members of a technologically advanced society.

How, then, can we take action to teach our students how to learn? The following are five ideas we might each have the opportunity to implement as we approach the task of teaching our everyday curriculum to our students:

(more…)

Categories: Education reform, Online education, Teaching | Leave a comment

Tech ed Resources–Online 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), as school PD, or through select colleges for grad school credit. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.

For questions, email askatechteacher@gmail.com


online classesThe Tech-infused Teacher

Certificate

Minimum enrollment of 5; delivered digitally to your school or District

The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible 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.

Students join a Google Classroom-based class and meet weekly with instructor to discuss class activities and assignments.

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

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials. Can also be taken for college credit (see below, MTI 562)


online classesThe Tech-infused Class

Certificate

Minimum enrollment of 5; delivered digitally to your school or District

The 21st Century classroom blends technology with traditional teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. This three-week course is a follow-on to the introductory class, Tech-infused Teacher, digging into the digital ideas and tools used by innovative teachers to extend and enrich student learning. This includes topics like how to build your tech-infused classroom, using tech to differentiate for student needs, teaching reading and writing with tech (you can learn more about that in the class, Teaching Writing with Tech),  and favorite digital tools.  You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Professional Learning Network.

Students join a Google Classroom-based class and meet weekly with instructor to discuss class activities and assignments.

Pre-requisite: the 21st Century Tech-infused Teacher or permission of the instructor.

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

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials.


summer online classesTeach Writing with Tech

Certificate

Minimum enrollment of 5; delivered digitally to your school or District

Educators participate in this three-week hands-on quasi-writer’s workshop as they learn to use widely-available digital tools to help their students develop their inner writer. Resources include videos, pedagogic articles, lesson plans, projects, and virtual face-to-face meetings to share in a collaborative environment. Strategies introduced range from conventional tools such as quick writes, online websites, and visual writing to unconventional approaches such as Twitter novels, comics, and Google Earth lit trips. These can be adapted to any writing program be it 6+1 Traits, Common Core, or the basic who-what-when-where-why. By the time educators finish this class, they will be ready to implement many new tools in their classroom.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker. Student joins a Google Classroom-based class and meets weekly with instructor to discuss class activities and assignments.

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials.


Building Digital Citizens

Certificate

Delivered digitally to you

If students use digital devices (iPads, Chromebooks, PCs, Macs, or another), they need to become familiar with the rights and responsibilities required to be good digital citizens.  In this class, you’ll learn what topics to introduce at what age and how to make these authentic to student lives.

Topics include:

  1. cyberbullying
  2. digital citizenship
  3. digital commerce
  4. digital communications
  5. digital footprint
  6. digital law
  7. digital privacy
  8. digital rights and responsibilities
  9. digital search/research
  10. fair use/public domain
  11. image copyrights
  12. internet safety
  13. netiquette
  14. plagiarism
  15. passwords
  16. social media

Class is student-paced with no direct instructor involvement or meetings. Student joins an ongoing Google Classroom-based class.

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

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials. Can also be taken for college credit (see below, MTI 557)


online classes20 Webtools in 25 Days–for the K8 SL Tech Curriculum

Certificate

Minimum enrollment of 5; delivered digitally to your school or District

Participants in this four-week online class will explore twenty digital tools educators use in their Structured Learning technology curriculum. Participants will review between one and four during the class (by themselves or in groups) and present their review to classmates in a weekly Google Hangout. Participants will respond to the reviews of their classmates with comments, suggestions, personal experience, and questions.

This is a high-energy, innovative, and motivating class that can be reproduced in a Professional Development setting or with students in your classroom. Assessment is project-based so participants should be prepared to be fully-involved and eager risk-takers. Student joins a Google Classroom-based class.

Price includes course registration, certificate, and all necessary materials.


certificate class20 Webtools in 20 Days

Certificate

Minimum enrollment of 5; delivered digitally to your school or District

Participants in this four-week online class will explore up to twenty popular digital tools educators use in their classrooms to extend learning and differentiate for student needs. Participants will review between one and four during the class (by themselves or in groups; this depends upon enrollment) and present their review to classmates in a weekly virtual meeting. Participants will respond to the reviews of their classmates with comments, suggestions, personal experience, and questions. All tools can be used by participants in their classroom during the upcoming school year.

At the end of this course, participants get 24 hours of professional development credit and a Certificate of Completion itemizing their accomplishments.

This is a high-energy, innovative, and motivating class that can be reproduced in a Professional Development setting or with students in your classroom. Assessment is project-based so participants should be prepared to be fully-involved and eager risk-takers.

This is a group enrollment via Google Classroom.

Price includes course registration, certificate, and all necessary materials.


mti 557Building Digital Citizens

College credit MTI 557

Click link and scroll to MTI 557

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. If you don’t find the listing, it means it isn’t currently offered. That usually occurs in May-September-January. Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.


mti 558Teach Writing with Tech

College credit MTI 558

Click link and scroll to MTI 558

Experiment with a wide variety of available digital writing tools to help your students develop their inner writer. Understand the secrets to picking good digital writing tools while working with classmates in a hands-on and non-threatening writer’s workshop format. Resources include a blend of videos, pedagogic articles, lesson plans, projects, and virtual face-to-face meetings to share suggestions with classmates in a collaborative environment. Strategies introduced range from conventional tools such as quick writes, online websites, and visual writing to unconventional approaches such as Twitter novels, comics, and Google Earth lit trips. These can be adapted to any writing program be it 6+1 Traits, Write Source, IB, Common Core, or other popular language arts curricula.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Use technology to drive authentic writing activities and project-based learning.
  2. Use traditional and non-traditional technology approaches to build an understanding of good writing and nurture a love of the process.
  3. Guide students in selecting writing strategies that differentiate for task, purpose and audience.
  4. Assess student writing without discouraging creativity via easy-to-use tech tools.
  5. Provide students with effective feedback in a collaborative, sharing manner.

Be prepared for and enthusiastic about using technology tools in the writing class.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker. Price includes course registration and all necessary materials. To enroll, click the link, search for MTI 558 and sign up. If you don’t find the listing, it means it isn’t currently offered. That usually occurs in May-September-January. Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.


tech-infused teacherThe Tech-infused Teacher: The 21st Century Digitally-infused Teacher

College credit (MTI 562)

Click link and scroll to MTI 562

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible 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 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, search for MTI 562 and sign up. If you don’t find the listing, it means it isn’t currently offered. That usually occurs in May-September-January. Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.


Diffeentiated TeacherDifferentiation: How Technology Makes Differentiation Fast and Easy

College credit (MTI 563)

Click link and scroll to MTI 563

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

Differentiation in the classroom means meeting students where they are most capable of learning. It is not an extra layer of work, rather a habit of mind for both teacher and student. Learn granular approaches to infusing differentiation into all of your lesson plans, whether you’re a Common Core school or not, with this hands-on, interactive class. Ideas include visual, audio, video, mindmaps, infographics, graphic organizers, charts and tables, screenshots, screencasts, images, games and simulations, webtools, and hybrid assessments.

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 material. To enroll, click the link, search for MTI 563 and sign up. If you don’t find the listing, it means it isn’t currently offered. That usually occurs in May-September-January. Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.

Categories: Online education, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

How Educators Can Empower Students Through Technology

With education turning on the technology skills of students and teachers, its important to gain a rudimentary understanding of foundational technology. I don’t mean phone apps and games. I mean the basics of how to use the tech tools that are driving learning. Dr. Paul Perry, former teacher, administrator, and nonprofit exec, has put together a brief guide for educators looking to expand learning opportunities for students using technology.

***

Ready or not, digital transformation has come to education. With the coronavirus pandemic pushing some 1.2 billion students out of the classroom, schools have been forced to make a decade of progress in online learning in just a few short months. You’ve probably seen stories or heard from friends with listless teenagers at home, struggling with the new format. While that’s a reality for many families, it’s not the whole story.

Online learning has been shown to increase retention and tends to take less time. In fact, recent research demonstrates that students retain up to 60% more material through online learning as compared to just 10% in a physical classroom. Because students can control the pace of their learning, the same research showed that e-learning can require 40-60% less time than traditional classroom settings.

That’s a lot of good news about this massive new experiment in learning through technology. For educators looking for more silver lining in the realm of online, we’ve got a few more tips.

Strategies for educators to leverage technology for better learning

Here’s some current context for technology in education:

  • Just over 4 out of 5 schools (82%) primarily use digital tools to communication with parents (while 18% use analog methods like letters and phone calls)
  • A significant majority of parents (76%) prefer digital communication when it comes to schools (and most—81%–say they’re satisfied with those communication methods)
  • A simple majority of parents (59%) that send their kids to schools that use analog communication would prefer a switch to digital communication methods

The data demonstrates an appetite (at least among parents) for the expansion of digital tools in the realm of education. Modern online learning focuses on long-term benefits over short-term costs, encourages adaptation and implementation of skills, as well as the development of personalized experiences.

This raises the question: How exactly should schools invest in technology to keep up?

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Last Chance: Differentiated Instruction Online Class (MTI 563)

grad school classes in technology

MTI 563: The Differentiated Teacher

MTI 563 starts Monday, July 6, 2020! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 563 and click for more information and to sign up.

Differentiation in the classroom means meeting students where they are most capable of learning. It is not an extra layer of work, rather a habit of mind for both teacher and student. Learn granular approaches to infusing differentiation into all of your lesson plans, whether you’re a Common Core school or not, with this hands-on, interactive class. Ideas include visual, audio, video, mindmaps, infographics, graphic organizers, charts and tables, screenshots, screencasts, images, games and simulations, webtools, and hybrid assessments.

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 563 and sign up. If you don’t find the listing, it means it isn’t currently offered. That usually occurs in May-September-January. Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.

(more…)

Categories: Online education | Tags: | Leave a comment

Last Chance for this College-credit Class (MTI 557)

MTI 557: Building Digital Citizens

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starts Monday, June 29, 2020 

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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. Need help? Email askatechteacher@gmail.com for upcoming dates.

(more…)

Categories: Online education | Tags: | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources–Certificate/College Credit Classes

I 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. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.

To find out more, email askatechteacher@gmail.com


online classesThe Tech-infused Teacher

Certificate

By request; delivered digitally to your school or District

The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible 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

(more…)

Categories: Online education, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Last Chance: The Tech-infused Teacher (MTI 562)

MTI 562: The Tech-infused Teacher

MTI 562 starts Monday, June 22, 2020 

The 21st century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible 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 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 and sign up. Email askatechteacher at gmail dot com with questions.

(more…)

Categories: Online education | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Challenge of Connecting in the Age of COVID

I met Kiana Berkman in this traumatic time of moving teaching home through an invigorating discussion on education and how it’s changing. Kiana and her tutoring agency (Berktree Learning Center) were already ahead of the curve on that. I asked her to share insights on how COVID-19 is affecting her students and their passion for learning. I think you’ll like what she and her husband, Daniel (partner in the tutoring business) have to say:

***

There is a popular saying that applies to learning: “you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink.” Any educator knows that you can’t force a student to learn, though that does not stop them from trying anything possible. A teacher could create the most gorgeous lesson plans, and employ all the best known tactics, and there may still be students that don’t want to learn. Yet students are not horses, nor are teachers horse-trainers. They’re both human beings with a latent desire to find and share knowledge. Some students have not accessed this desire yet, and their teachers are trying earnestly to connect with these students on an intellectual level, to release that latent desire. For a teacher, there is no experience more gratifying than helping a student search deep for understanding and watch as they finally discover it!

The Distance Before Distance-Learning

Connecting intellectually with students has always been the challenge addressed to teachers, even before social-distancing. Students face innumerable difficulties in their life that conflicts with regular attendance and consistent attention in the classroom. Many of these conflicts come from a barrage of social challenges, ranging from complex family tensions, lack of accessibility to adequate resources due to financial constraint, or just plain old emotional growing pains. Going to school each day is the most consistent life experience for many students, and teachers try their hardest to make the classroom experience as reliably consistent as possible.

Teachers who have the opportunity to work individually with students get a rare opportunity. Classroom sizes have limited the teacher’s reach to individual students, and standardization has normalized an almost industrial perspective of student pass-rates, as if failing students are merely the result of quality control. The more that students and teachers become statistics, the less that their human qualities are recognized and accessed. Needless to say, society has been widening the distance between students and teachers long before the Corona virus made it mandatory.

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Categories: Guest post, Online education | Leave a comment

10 Tips for Teaching Remotely

I’ve been working from home for years but most people haven’t. I posted this article about a year ago but have updated it for the challenges we now face with #covid19

Truth is, life often interferes with work. Vacations, conferences, PD–all these take us away from our primary job functions and the environment where we are most comfortable delivering our best work. But you do need the right equipment and setup to make that happen. Here’s what I  currently use to teach from home or can easily arrange:

    1. Have necessary apps on iPads and smartphones. This includes your LMS, virtual meeting tool, cloud accounts, email, scan, social media, and sharing.
    2. Have a digital notetaking program–Evernote, OneNote, Notability, or Google Keep for example.
    3. Wean yourself from printing hard copies. It’s easier to do than it sounds. My printer broke–well, it wouldn’t print more than one page without jamming. That made it hard to print a lot of documents. Instead, I loaded the document onto my iPad (or laptop) and interacted with it there. PDFS: I can annotate with the Edge browser or a dedicated app. Google and Microsoft docs: Easy to work with those right from the platform.  Once I’ve marked them up as needed, I can email the file, take a screenshot and share it, or do nothing (in the case of Google docs). No printing required. I am now completely used to that–would never go back to the paper-wasting approach.
    4. If you go somewhere else to work (I was going to say a coffee shop but that’s out of bounds this month), don’t use a public WiFi. Use a hot spot connected to your phone. Public WiFi like Starbucks are notoriously insecure.
    5. Be brave about solving problems associated with online work. Don’t let setbacks and roadblocks stop you. Be accountable to yourself or you won’t get stuff done. I have to say, so many of my fellow teachers are risk-takers. When this remote teaching problem was dumped in their lap, their attitudes were positive, can-do, and try to stop me!
    6. Have a virtual meeting program like MS Teams, Zoom (if your school allows it), Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Webroom.net, Big Blue Button, or another. These are for larger groups (like a book club meeting). Small group video calls work nicely with programs like Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangouts.
    7. Student collaborative groups can be addressed with a mix of Facetime on phones and the Google Doc on the digital device. Or another way–I’d love to hear how your students address this.
    8. Have backup batteries for your phone, laptop, and iPad. You’re using them a lot more than usual. They’ll run through your power more quickly than you’re accustomed to. And, videos, personal hotspots and Google Maps burn through power. What should last nine hours turns out to be two.
    9. Have redundancy where something is important. For example, my external battery charger died and my iPad ran out of juice. Since then, I purchased a redundant backup power supply.

(more…)

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