Category: Problem solving

Most Common Tech Problems You-all Face

In the grad school classes I teach and my coaching sessions, the biggest problem facing teachers is not the 3R’s or equity or differentiation. It’s technology. In an education environment that is taught remotely as much as in person, this has become a big deal.

A few months ago, I took a poll. Here are the results:

If you’d like to see the earlier poll (from over ten years ago), here it is. It’s interesting to see what has changed in both the computer problems that were spotlighted and what teachers considered common!

Do you agree? Does this match your experience?


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.

Tech Tip ##113: Backup Your Blog

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Backup Your Blog

Category: Maintenance, Social Media, Writing, Problem-solving

Q: I’m paranoid of losing my documents so I back them up to an external drive, a flash drive, and in the cloud. My blog–it’s become an important cog in my PLN. If it blew up, I’d be lost. What do I do about backing it up?

world backup dayA: If you use WordPress, it’s easy; they provide a native tool for that. Here’s what you do:

  • Go to Tools>Export.
  • Select the bubble for ‘all’.
  • It’ll back document files up as an XML file (you don’t have to understand what that is. Just know it’s the file that will save you if Wordpress crashes).
  • Save that backup file somewhere safe in case you need it. Preferably where your Cloud automatic backup will grab it (assuming you have one of those. If you use Carbonite, you do).
  • Do this once a month–or a week if you’re active.

This will backup posts, pages, comments, categories, and tags. For the entirety of the blog–similar to an image where you can restore the entire website–you’ll need an external service. My Wordpress.org blog is hosted by GoDaddy. Part of that service is a backup of the blog. It’s worth it to me to pay a bit extra for that function.

World Backup Day just passed. Mark your calendar for next year, March 31st, and be sure to perform all backups–your blog and everything else–on that day.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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tech tips

Tech Tip #103: 16 Spring Cleaning Steps for Computers

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: 16 Spring Cleaning Steps for Computers

Category: Maintenance, Problem-solving

It’s easy to ignore basic computer maintenance. Heck—it’s as likely you’ll mess up your computer in a misguided effort to ‘clean things up’. tech problemsHere are sixteen painless tips to try whenever your computer just doesn’t seem to work right:

  1. Make sure your firewall is working.
  2. Run an antispyware program.
  3. Run a malware program.
  4. Keep your antivirus software
  5. Delete My Documents files you no longer need.
  6. Backup files to an external drive or cloud.
  7. Empty the trash folder.
  8. Delete programs you no longer use.
  9. Update any software that needs it.
  10. Clean the junk off of your desktop.
  11. Clean up your Start Button.
  12. Clean out your subscriptions.
  13. Make notifications weekly instead of daily.
  14. Change your browser to Chrome.
  15. Delete that program you never managed to learn.
  16. Slim down your start-up process.

For more detail,  visit Ask a Tech Teacher and the article, “15 Ways to Speed up Computer Use”.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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What Do You Think is the Hardest Tech Problem?

In the grad school classes I teach and my coaching sessions, the biggest problem facing teachers is not the 3R’s or equity or differentiation. It’s technology. In an education environment that is taught remotely as much as in person, this has become a big deal. I’d like your feedback on issues you face.  It’s an easy poll, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You’ll see results right away but I’ll post them also in a few months, let you know what I found out:

[polldaddy poll=10806155]

 

If you’d like to see the earlier poll (from over ten years ago), here it is. It’s interesting to see what has changed!

[polldaddy poll=1754921]


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.

world backup day

World Backup Day–March 31st

world backup dayMarch 31st is called World Backup Day. At least once a year, backup your data files to an external drive (like a flash drive). This is one that isn’t connected to your local computer so can’t be compromised if you get a virus. It’s good to always backup data to cloud drives or a different drive on your computer but once a year, do the entire collection of data files to what is called an ‘air gap’ drive–one that is separated from any internet connection.

How to do this 

There are various ways to back up your data. You can back up your data to an external device or you can back up your data to a cloud-based backup service, or back up your data to both an external device and a cloud backup service. You might even make more than one backup to external storage devices and keep the two copies in different places (providing protection and access to your data even if one of the backup devices is destroyed or inaccessible. Preserving your valuable documents and images for future access and use requires planning, as well as the use of automatic backup services.

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5 (free) Tech Problem Solving Posters

Every month, we’ll share five themed posters that you can share on your website (with attribution), post on your walls, or simply be inspired.

This month: Problem-solving

tech problems


problem solving


tech ed quote


common computer problems


problem solving

–for the entire collection of 65 posters, click here. If this link doesn’t work (we’re redoing the website), visit Ask a Tech Teacher’s Free Posters page or search ‘Posters’ on StructuredLearning.net.



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.

6 Unplugged Activities for Hour of Code

Hour of Code–December 7th-12, 2020–is a time when teachers show students why they should love-not-fear coding and students find out that these activities — often seen as geeky or impossible — aren’t. They’re actually fun.

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for your Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

***

These suggestions go back to the roots of coding. The idea started as a clever way to teach students to think critically and problem-solve. The easiest way was to gamify coding, put students on a digital device they loved, and set them free. One hour, according to Hour of Code, would show them that deep thinking was fun and problem-solving was exhilarating.

I happen to agree. Some of my most gratifying moments are when I accomplish the impossible, unravel a Mobius Strip-like problem, or force myself to do what I’ve never before done. Hour of Code does that every year for oh many students. But here’s my issue: Too often, kids forget that the goal is to practice critical thinking and problem solving, not pursue a career in programming.

Let’s reinforce that goal by stepping away from digital device, recognize that these skills — critical thinking and problem-solving — apply to any part of life, even without a computer, iPad, or smartphone in hand. All kids need is their brain which happily, every child carries with them.

Here are some of my favorite unplugged activities:

Crazy Circuits With Squishy Circuits

I admit, when I first received this kit, I didn’t get the name–Crazy Circuits with Squishy Circuits. I couldn’t get my brain around all those words until I unwrapped the box and pulled the parts out. Then I got it: This had a ton of promise. If you’ve ever made Play Dough at home or in science class and used it as conductors and insulators–that’s the squishy part. When you poke circuits that light up or run motors or a bunch of other stuff into the dough–that’s the crazy part. With this relatively inexpensive kit, a wide age range of students learn about seemingly complicated topics such as insulators, conductors, resistance, and parallel and series circuits.

This is ready to go out of the box which means no soldering required.

How to Use it

The Crazy Circuits With Squishy Circuits kit includes six containers of colored squishy dough–some conductive and some insulating–and a variety of Crazy Circuits Chips. You don’t have to make anything or buy anything else. Detailed directions, project guides, educational resources, and videos can be found online in the Ward’s Science database. Crazy Circuits are compatible with LEGO™ and similar brick building systems.

If you’re wondering how squishy dough can conduct electricity, watch this 4-minute TED Talk. Though the video shows how to make the dough, you don’t have to do that. Ward’s Science sends it as part of the kit. You just attach the circuits, motors, and conductors, and let your creativity flow:

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10 Unusual Projects for Hour of Code

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

***

Coding–that geeky subject that confounds students and frightens teachers. Yet, kids who can code are better at logical thinking and problem solving, more independent and self-assured, and more likely to find a job when they graduate.

December 7-12, 2020 Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Here are ten unusual projects (each, about one hour in length) you can use in your classroom to participate in this wildly popular event:

  1. Alt Codes
  2. Animation
  3. Coding with pixel art
  4. Human robot
  5. Human algorithm
  6. IFTTT
  7. Macros
  8. QR codes
  9. Shortkeys
  10. Wolfram Alpha widgets

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Coding Websites/Webtools by Grade

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for your Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

This is a long list of online activities related to coding and programming. It is updated once a year so I apologize in advance for any dead links. At any time during the year, click to take you to the master list:

Program on computers, iPads, laptops–whatever works, whatever age. I’ll start this list with web-based options, by grade level and then continue with a mash-up:

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Hour of Code? Here’s why to participate

December 7-12th, 2020, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Coding is that mystical geeky subject that confounds students and teachers alike.  It feels like:

When it should feel like:

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