Category: Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving Week to All!

I’m taking next week off. I’ll be preparing for my daughter’s holiday visit from her home in DC and my son who’s visiting virtually from Okinawa Japan. I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back November 29th. Any emergencies–drop me a line at

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.

Geography Awareness Week: November 15-19, 2021

Promoted by National Geographic, here’s what you should know about Geography Awareness Week which occurs November 15-19, 2021:

Too many young Americans are unable to make effective decisions, understand geo-spatial issues, or even recognize their impacts as global citizens. National Geographic created Geography Awareness Week to raise awareness to this dangerous deficiency in American education and excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life.

Each year more than 100,000 Americans actively participate in Geography Awareness Week. Established by presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago, this annual public awareness program encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Each third week of November, students, families and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meeting with policymakers and business leaders. Geography Awareness Week is supported by access to materials and resources for teachers, parents, community activists, and all geographically minded global citizens.

Here are excellent web resources to promote your geography lessons (click headings for more links):


Remember our Veteran’s Today

As many of you know, I have two wonderful children–one a LT CDR in the Navy and one a SSG (Staff Sergeant) in the Army. One day, they will both be veterans. I also have a long family history of relatives who fought for America. So today, I salute them and all others who have put their lives and dreams aside to support America’s values and principles. I can’t say it better than these videos:

Here are some websites to both teach and involve students in this important day:

  1. Bet You Didn’t Know: Veterans Day
  2. Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day
  3. The History and Evolution of Veterans Day
  4. Veterans Day by the Numbers
  5. Veterans Day: How it started and why we honor it–video
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Using Tech Wisely in your Classroom

With everything going on–remote and hybrid teaching, worries about COVID safety, stress of adapting to seminal changes in education–it’s easy to forget that technology is a huge plus. The challenge is to keep it simple, safe, and sane. APN News has a great article on tools that make that possible.  Here’s a peek:

Top 5 online learning tools for a healthy development of your children’s mind in 2021

The introduction of technology in the education sector has played a pivotal role in offering various opportunities for young learners. The benefits of e-learning are tremendous. For this reason, the country has witnessed an exponential boost in the use of online learning platforms.

Read more…

Check out these other articles from Ask a Tech Teacher on similar topics:


How Parents Can Protect Kid’s Privacy and Safety Online

With the volume of time kids are spending online, on computers, mostly unsupervised by adults, protecting their privacy and safety has become of huge importance. Here are some suggestions to help you with that issue (from the Ask a Tech Teacher team):

How Parents Can Protect Their Kid’s Privacy and Safety Online?

Many people witnessed the change in technology from dial-up modems to broadband. However, a child born in this technological era permeates every activity they do. Let’s face it, the internet is taking over the world and from school to home to playing games, children are spending more time online. You may notice that your child is shifting from one screen to another throughout the day, which puts their privacy at risk. It is highly important to understand children’s addictive behavior when it comes to technology. It’s important that parents monitor their children’s online activities and how long they spend on devices.

The internet is a vast space holding information pertaining to a variety of areas. This information exists in the form of images, text, and videos. While the idea sounds positive, it has a dark aside as well. That’s it’s important that you keep an eye on your child’s online activities. You need to protect your child from inappropriate content, malicious software, cyberbullying, phishing emails, and cyberstalkers.

You can increase online privacy and safety for your child by implementing specific techniques and tools. When it comes to keeping your child safe, it’s important that you take additional measures and spend some time learning online safety tips. Here are a few methods and techniques to protect your child’s privacy and keep them safe online. So let’s get started:

Use an Encrypted Network

When your child uses a public or home internet, their exposure to online content can be dangerous. Cybercriminals can access their information through an unencrypted network. When using a public network, your child is vulnerable to data theft and cyber-attacks. It’s highly possible that they venture onto websites that can access their data and use it for illegal activities. You need to understand the importance of data encryption while browsing online. Data encrypting tools encrypt your data in different forms. This way, even cybercriminals with advanced tools cannot breach and decode. This prevents them from intruding on your child’s privacy and spying on their online traffic. Protecting your kid’s online presence with a VPN is one of the best techniques you will find on the internet. Using a VPN service, you can encrypt data, even if your child is on a public network. This is an effective way to keep your child safe from cyberattacks.


Is It Worth Teaching School Kids SQL?

I get a lot of interest from high school teachers about teaching databases. These digital tools allow users to query vast amounts of information based on specific areas of interest. They are one of the most effective ways to apply higher order thinking to the world around us. 

There are simple ways to teach these in an introductory format for youngers, but by HS, kids should be learning methods that prepare them for college and career. One of those strategies is SQL. What is SQL, you ask? One of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors explains…

Is It Worth Teaching School Kids SQL?

Today it is widely accepted that teaching kids to code is a great idea, even if they do not aspire to work in areas that will specifically require this skill.

Of course it is all well and good seeing coding as a pastime worth pursuing, but there are lots of different programming languages out there, and not all are ideal for newcomers.

SQL, or structured query language, is one such programming language, so should you consider teaching it to school kids rather than focusing on one of the other options?

Introducing SQL

What makes SQL different from other programming languages is that it serves a specific purpose, rather than being effectively capable of creating almost anything. That purpose is to provide a way for programmers to interact with databases, sorting, organizing and manipulating the information contained within them in a variety of ways.

Like many of the other languages used in coding, SQL has a fairly extensive history, having originally been developed almost half a century ago. Because of this, there are a huge amount of learning resources out there, covering everything from the formulation of the language itself to the SQL server architecture that results from its effective use.


Invention Convention? 8 Websites to Teach Inventions

Invention Convention Worldwide is a global K-12 invention education curricular program mapped to national and state educational standards that teaches students problem-identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills and builds confidence in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship for life.

For more information, click this Invention Convention post. But hurry! I just heard about this and it’s already begin!

Here are websites to help you and your students learn about the excitement of inventions:

  1. A Guide to Inventions
  2. Famous Inventors
  3. How Inventions Change History (video)
  4. How the popsicle was invented (a TEDEd video)
  5. Invented by accident I
  6. Invented by accident II
  7. Inventions from the Military –crazy ones
  8. Inventors and Inventions

Check back here for updates on this list.


Resources to Teach Taxes

As a passionate Economics major in college (which grew into an MBA), I find Econ at the root of much of the world around us. It starts with counting coins in first and second grade and grows up to a peek into NASDAQ and other adult subjects in middle school.

In the US, tax day is April 15th. Here are some good websites to discuss what is probably a popular topic in families:


  1. BrainPOP | Taxes
  2. A history of US taxes
  3. Taxes–from Crash Course Economics
  4. Where does your money go? — lesson plan from PBS
  5. TurboTax Tax Calculator

After April 15th, there are great ways to teach about economics, financial literacy, and prepare students for managing their lives fiscally once they’re launched into the world:

  1. Bankaroo–a virtual bank for kids
  2. ECommerce Links for Kids–a collection of ecommerce links for kids
  3. Motion Math–make your own pizza and make money
  4. Rate-zip–how to teach financial topics to K-12
  5. Teaching kids economics and finance–lots of varied resources
  6. Time is Money–this Chrome add-on converts prices on a webpage to hours worked

More on teaching economics and finance

15 Websites to Teach Financial Literacy

April is Financial Literacy Month

Lots of websites for economics and finance


Subscriber Special: More MLK

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

Last month’s freebie was so popular, we’re extending it into February:

Free Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans

Two lesson plans to prepare for Martin Luther King Day in January: 1) Students research events leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s impact on American history and share them with an Event Chain organized visually, including pictures and thought bubbles. 2) Students interpret the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about the impact of words on history.
Designed for grades 4-7, it’s aligned with Common Core and ISTE Standards.
 MLK--His words cover
What’s included in each lesson plan:
  • brief summary of the project
  • Essential Question
  • Big Idea
  • Common Core and ISTE alignment
  • materials required
  • teacher prep required
  • step-by-step instructions
  • extensions to dig deeper into the subject
  • assessment strategies
  • sample grading rubric
  • sample project
  • resources


Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Digital Citizenship

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: K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum


K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum9 grade levels. 17 topics. 46 lessons. 46 projects. A year-long digital citizenship curriculum that covers everything you need to discuss on internet safety and efficiency, delivered in the time you have in the classroom.

Digital Citizenship–probably one of the most important topics students will learn between kindergarten and 8th and too often, teachers are thrown into it without a roadmap. This book is your guide to what children must know at what age to thrive in the community called the internet. It blends all pieces into a cohesive, effective student-directed cyber-learning experience that accomplishes ISTE’s general goals to:

  • Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
  • Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
  • Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship