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Teacher resources

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

MTI 557: Building Digital Citizens

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Starts Monday, February 24th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 557. Click for more information and to sign up.

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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.

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

10 Great Virtual Reality Apps

The potential impact of Virtual Reality (VR) in the classroom can’t be overstated. It has become the most exciting education device in a decade, enticing students to become engaged in pretty much any topic that includes a VR overlay. As a learning tool, it’s affordable, inclusive, and worth the moderate learning curve required to get it up and running.

Let me step back a moment and explain what VR is. HowStuffWorks defines it this way:

using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. 

Marxent explains it simply as:

the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Virtual Reality’s most immediately-recognizable component is the head-mounted display (HMD). 

If you (desperately) want to unpack this revolutionary tool in your classroom, there are lots of online resources — some free, some with a fee — available to address a wide variety of education needs. Here are my favorites:

900 VR Expeditions

If you use the Expeditions app (see below), here’s a curated spreadsheet of 900 free expeditions available to you and your classes.  It is crowd-sourced and sorted by tag, name, Panorama title, location, brief description, link, with a cell where teachers can note any additional required materials.

On a separate tab of the spreadsheet is a similar curated list of augmented reality expeditions, for those who have that technology available.

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Categories: Education reform, Teacher resources | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What You Might Have Missed in January

Here are the most-read posts for the month of January:

  1. #WorldReadAloudDay February 5
  2.  Ways to Use AI-Powered Quillionz to Assess Student Understanding
  3. 5 Ways Edtech Enhances Social Studies Lessons
  4. 100th Day of School — Make it about Learning
  5. How to Talk to a Tech Teacher (humorous)
  6. Lessons Learned My First 5 Years Of Teaching
  7. Plagiarism Checkers: The Benefits Students Fail to See
  8. 10 Hits and 10 Misses for 2019
  9. Top 10 Reviews of 2019

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Plagiarism Checkers: The Benefits Students Fail to See

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor Serhii Tkachecnko, CEO at Unicheck, shares his thoughts on how educators can teach students about the benefits of plagiarism checking.

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Students experience an array of emotions toward education: from excitement to boredom. But when it comes to plagiarism checking, most students feel hostile. Many misconceptions circle around plagiarism checkers, but in reality, plagiarism checkers improve the cooperation, communication, and collaboration between educators and students. They are meant to help students and educators succeed.

Instead of being intimidated by plagiarism checking, why not educate students on its benefits? Here’s what you should explain to your students about plagiarism checking.

Using Plagiarism Checkers is Necessary

Before people accept something, they have to understand why they need it. Unfortunately, many students fail to understand the necessity of plagiarism checkers and treat them as a biased accusation of academic dishonesty. It will take some effort to change this mindset and help your students stop stressing about being checked. 

It’s a pity that some students fail to get their A+ because of the improperly cited sources. Regardless of whether the assignment lacked a citation, the citation method was wrong, or the student didn’t cite the correct source, a plagiarism checker could have fixed that. However, it’s an even bigger shame that the will to cheat overrules the will to express oneself. Plagiarism checkers can help students become better writers, express unique ideas, and stand out. On top of that, when all assignments equally go through a plagiarism check, the competition becomes fair again.

Educators should start explaining to students that a plagiarism checker is their friend as early as possible. In this way, by the time they reach college, students will already know these checkers are not used to punish them, but rather to improve their writing skills and the quality of education, both higher and K-12.

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Categories: Classroom management, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

End of Year Maintenance: 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

This week, I’ll post my updated suggestions for three holiday activities that will get your computers and technology ready for the blitz of teaching that starts after the New Year. Here’s what you’ll get (the links won’t be active until the post goes live):

  1. 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence
  2. 16 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer
  3. Backup and Image your computer

For regular readers of Ask a Tech Teacher, these are yearly reminders. For new readers, these are like body armor in the tech battle. They allow you to jubilantly overcome rather than dramatically succumb. Your choice.

Today: 11 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

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For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, teaching, meeting with grade-level teams, chatting with parents, attending conferences (to stay UTD), and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.

That includes your online presence and all those personal profiles. But, that must happen or they no longer accomplish what we need. If they aren’t updated, we are left wondering why our blog isn’t getting visitors, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate activity, and why you aren’t being contacted for networking. Here’s a short list of items that won’t take long to accomplish:

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Categories: Blogging, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Holiday Gifts for Teachers

Holiday gifts for teachers are a challenge. If your child has many teachers, it’s difficult to find a personalized gift for each that is both affordable and valued. For me, as a teacher, I am always happy with a gift certificate that works anywhere but there are time-proven ways to get more creative than a gift that sounds like “money”.

When I chat with teacher friends, here are the most popular gifts they’ve gotten over the years. Many are free and others allow you to spend only what you can afford while still giving a gift the teacher will love.

Most popular gifts

Let’s start by stipulating that what defines a great teacher gift is subjective. It depends upon the teacher’s subject, how long they’ve taught, their personal style, and so much more. The seven suggestions below provide ample ways to provide a gift your child’s teacher will love regardless of how well you know them.

A Helping Hand

Probably the most popular gift with most teachers is the gift of time. Sure, money is nice but when parents are willing to give of themselves to organize class events, chaperone, help out on lesson plans, or any number of other activities, that’s priceless.  As a tech teacher, my ideal is to have two parents for every K-2 class I teach. That’s a lot of helpers and a huge commitment from parents. I rarely found that many so was thrilled whenever parents offered to assist.

Compliments to the Administration

Happy parents often forget to share their joy with the teachers’ administrators. Too often, Principals hear from parents only when they’re angry about the teacher or some class activity. Providing unsolicited good news about the teacher’s effectiveness is a wonderful treat for both the teacher and the school’s administrators.

A Thank You Letter

Handwrite a note to the teacher telling them how much you and your child appreciate what they do. There’s little more valuable to a teacher than the acknowledgment from stakeholders that what they work on nights and weekends is working.

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Categories: Holidays, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Did You Miss These in November?

Here are the most-read posts for the month of November:

  1. Subscriber Special: November–Discounts on Select Print Books
  2. What is Actively Learn and Why Should I Try it?
  3. Ward’s Science–So Many STEM Resources
  4. Integrate OUR Curricula into Your Kiddom Digital Platform
  5. 16 Sites, 3 Apps, 7 Projects for Thanksgiving
  6. College Credit Class in Digital Citizenship
  7. PleIQ: the interactive smart toy that fosters multiple intelligences through Augmented Reality

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9 Good Collections of Videos for Education

When I started teaching, videos were a rarity. Common practice was to assign a chapter to read in a textbook and then a worksheet to assess student knowledge. This placed the responsibility for learning on the students, using teacher-prescribed methods, even though decades of research screamed that lots of kids perform better with images than pages filled with black-and-white text. But the excuse I used, as did most of my colleagues, was: It takes too much time to find the right videos to support so many different personal demands.

Back then, that was true. It’s not anymore.

Now there are dozens of online free educational videos that address most every academic topic imaginable. And they’re put out by recognized names in education — Khan Academy, BBC, Microsoft, Teacher Tube, as well as textbook providers like Origo. Here are ten of my favorite virtual places to find clear, effective educational videos that not only support teaching but can be used to enrich lessons for students who want more and/or backfill for those who might need a bit more help:

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Categories: Teacher resources, Videos | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources–Lesson Plans

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are from members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, from 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: Lesson Plans

There are lots of bundles of lesson plans available–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few:

  • bundles of 5 lesson plans–Themed; great when you want to cover a software program, a tool, a grade, or a standard. Each calls out the higher order thinking skill engaged. Pick the one that fits your need. They’re affordable, focused, and often completed in just a few class sessions.lesson plans
  • bundle of bundles–Buy three bundles of five lessons to cover a wide-range of needs.
  • STEM Lesson Plans
  • Coding Lesson Plans
  • By Grade Level
  • 30 K-5 Common Core-aligned lessons–5 per grade level
  • 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level, and call out higher-order thinking skills. These cover everything and are discounted this month. Check them out. They could be exactly what you need.
  • singles–for as low as $.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, Robotics, STEM, Coding, and more.
  • Holiday projects–16 lesson plans themed to holidays and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools.

Who needs this

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Categories: AATT Materials, Classroom management, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

20 Back-to-School Articles

On everything from get-to-know-you activities to getting yourself ready:

  1. 11+ Back-to-School Night Tips
  2. 11 Back-to-school Activities for the First Month of School
  3. Great Back to School Classroom Activities
  4. Back to School Bundle of Lesson Plans at a Great Price
  5. Plan a Memorable Back to School Night
  6. New School Year? New Tech? I Got You Covered
  7. 5 Top Ways to Integrate Technology into the New School Year
  8. 5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class
  9. 3 Organizational Apps to Start the School Year
  10. 6 Tech Best Practices for New Teachers
  11. How to Prepare Students for PARCC Tests
  12. 8 Tech Tools to Get to Know Your Students for Back to School
  13. 5 Tools To Shake up the New Year
  14. 3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons
  15. What Digital Device Should My School Buy?
  16. 4 Options for a Class Internet Start Page
  17. 5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology
  18. Back to School–Tech Makes it Easy to Stay On Top of Everything
  19. Dear Otto: I need year-long assessments
  20. 5 Tech Ed Tools to Use this Fall

For the entire list, click this Back-to-School category tag.

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Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , | 2 Comments