Category: Uncategorized

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.

(more…)

study skills

Whiteboard Apps You’ll Love

Whiteboards have long been a de rigeur staple in classrooms, occupying pride-of-place at the front of the room. Despite the popularity of hi-tech Smartscreens, the simple whiteboard remains the favored method of sharing information during class time.

But one change has revolutionized their use: They can now be projected from your iPad. Before introducing three amazing must-have whiteboard apps, let me note that there are dozens of options, all with varied traits and prices. I selected these three because they are intuitive, multi-functional, and work as a classroom tool rather than just another new widget teachers must learn.

air sketchAirSketch

Free to try

AirSketch is a basic, uncomplicated whiteboard that lets you do anything you’d normally do on a whiteboard. It’s similar to web-based options like Miro with two dramatic differences: It works through a iPad and can be mirrored to a computer (and from there, the class screen). This untethers teachers from their desk.  All that’s needed is an iPad, AirSketch, a class computer, and a class screen.

sync spaceSyncSpace

Free to try

SyncSpace is a sharable, zoomable, collaborative whiteboard for iPads, mobile devices, laptops, and computers. Students work together on a drawing (using a finger or stylus), math problem, how-to, or a mindmap by adding illustrations, text, and/or pictures.

showmeShowMe

Free

ShowMe is an interactive whiteboard app that allows drawing, handwriting, text, and voice-over. Users construct a series of linked slides, save them as a video, and then share with others either publicly or privately.  The learning curve is shallow and intuitive for anyone who has used iPad apps in the past.

Need more options? Check this out (click here for updated list):

(more…)

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:

Taxes

  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

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

(more…)

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:
xx

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.
xx
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

(more…)

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

Overview

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

(more…)

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Digital Citizenship Curriculum

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

Overview

K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum–9 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 road map. 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

(more…)

Last Chance for this Online College-credit Classes–DigCit and Tech Tools for Writin

MTI 557: Building Digital Citizens

Starts Monday, May 11, 2020. Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 557 and click for more information and to sign up.

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…)

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 Maryland and my son who’s visiting from Okinawa Japan (by way of Georgia). I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back December 2nd. Any emergencies–drop me a line at askatechteacher@gmail.com.


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.