Subscriber Special: October

October 5th-15th:sale

Building Digital Citizens

$10 off!

with coupon code: BDC10

Usually: $29.97

Now:     $19.97


Click here for more information

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Highly-versatile, Easy-to-use Form Creator–and it’s free!

jotformEverywhere outside of the education industry (which seems to focus on Google Forms), JotForm is the gold standard for creation of forms whether on PCs, Macs, or mobile devices. It can be used to sign up volunteers, get feedback on events, enroll people into classes, ask for donations, or collect payments. A JotForm can even show different questions based on what a user answered in prior questions. Its drag-and-drop interface makes building it intuitive, quick, and easy. With a wide variety of themed templates, it’s easily adaptable to any need. Once the form is completed, it can be shared via a link or social media, or integrated into DropBox, Google Docs, and many other popular platforms.

Check this link. to see if you qualify for an education account that awards you a 50% discount on pricing.

How to use it

Set up an account and then decide if you want to start with a blank page or a template. Follow the simple drag-drop directions to build your form using predesigned name/email fields, text answers, multiple choice selections, drop-down lists, an image, an upload field (where students can send their work to you), or an input table. Format the form to meet your school theme or other design criteria using predesigned themes or one you upload from your computer. Collaborate with colleagues if desired. Share the completed form via a link or embed. Responses can be collected in a spreadsheet, the form itself, or other third-party integrations.

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Kids become teachers: Helping out at a Senior Center

senior classesAs schools look ahead to serving not just student needs, but the greater needs of their community and world, service learning becomes an increasingly important part of high school education. The positive relationship between personal success and giving has been proven over and over, but it is not intuitive. When students become involved in ventures that give of their time and knowledge, they understand how important helping others is, not in an academic way but in a hands-on practical sense.

A popular service learning endeavor is teaching technology skills to those who don’t have them. In any number of homes and schools across the nation, students are more comfortable with using digital devices than many adults. Sharing their skill is natural and an easy way for them to give back to the community.

In this lesson plan, students will teach a group of seniors how to use common technology to help them manage their life and relationships better.

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169 Tech Tip #69: Instead of Emailing, Share

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: #69–Instead of Emailing, Share

Category: Email

Sub-category: Internet, MS Office, Google Apps, Parents

Q: I want to share a class video with parents, but the file’s too large and I don’t know how to embed it into the class blog. What can I do?

A: Share it with Google Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive. In fact, you can share from any cloud-based file folder including Dropbox and Box.

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An Easy, Reliable Way to Check for Plagiarism

plagiarism checkThe unauthorized use of another’s creative content has always been a problem but with the growth of the Internet, it’s become epidemic. The prevailing wisdom seems to be:

If it’s online it’s free

This, of course, isn’t true but the rules and laws surrounding plagiarism and copyrights aren’t nearly as well-known as those that deal with, say, driving a car or crossing a street. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students and found that:

  • 59% of high school students admitted cheating on a test during the last year. 34% self-reported doing it more than twice.
  • One out of three high school students admitted that they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.

Dissuading students from improper use of online materials is a massive effort that few are willing to undertake. Teachers are at ground zero and start with three basic rules:

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A New Typing Website With a Twist

keyboardingType Dojo is a new free comprehensive approach to learning keyboarding. The ad- and distraction-free interface provides not only practice drills but quick links to grade-appropriate keyboarding games (including the popular ones from DanceMat Typing). It’s easy to get started and just as easy to use making it the perfect tool for busy teachers and students who have lots to do besides keyboarding.

But in the crowded field of online keyboarding, Type Dojo will become your favorite for one other simple reason: It multitasks. It has tons of wordlists for many subjects so students learn while practicing keyboarding. For example, if you’re working on geography, students can keyboard with the Geography word list or Marzano Science. If you’re studying literacy, use wordlists for Dolch/Fry/Sight words, Compound Words, or Phrases. Activities present as a timed test (between one and five minutes) that are selected by grade and topic. When completed, students get a certificate that can be printed or simply saved in their personal file.

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169 Tech Tips: Email from MS Office

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: #61–Email from MS Office

Category: Email

Sub-category: MS Office, Classroom management, Printing

Q: I was helping a colleague who couldn’t print a document (server problems) and wanted to email it to herself to print at home. She started going online to her web-based email account and I stopped her. There was a quicker method.

A: Click the email tool on the MS Office program toolbar. It automatically opens your email program. An email dialogue box will open. Fill it in and send.

Of course, if you’re in Google Apps, it’s already in the cloud which means you can access it from anywhere—like home

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Building Digital Citizens–the Class

If you have questions about how to build good digital citizens, questions like:digital citizenship

  • how DO you get students not to steal images from Google and how important is that?
  • what’s the best advice to students when they face cyberbullying?
  • how do you know if you are plagiarizing or if you’ve been plagiarized?

We have a new certificate class (with 18 ECUs) called “Building Digital Citizens” that covers thirteen of the most-common topics everyone should know about Digital Citizenship (they’re listed in the video below). Each section has an introduction and then three phases to help you scaffold learning: Introductory, Working on, and Mastered. Work through all phases in each topic at your own pace, in whatever order you’d like. It’s all online, self-directed, with lots of links, videos, and top-notch online resources to help you figure it all out.

Here’s what you do:

  • Sign up through this link. Be sure to include your email in Special Instructions.
  • Receive a Join Code for the class wiki.
  • Work through the units.
  • Notify us when you’re finished and we’ll send the Certificate.

It’s that simple. Here’s a video introduction:

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Categories: Business, Digital Citizenship, Online education, Subscriber special | Tags: | Leave a comment

Great list of Top Education Blogs

top education has a comprehensive list of the top education blogs. It covers everything from grade-level resources to topic-specific. I’m proud to say that Ask a Tech Teacher is the first blog on the list–but we have a lot of august company, everything from Richard Byrne to Alice Keeler.

Here are a few:













If you’re wondering who to follow to be sure you are up to date on the latest in education, definitely check this list.

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20 Websites and 3 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills

Many of my most popular articles are about mouse skills. Every year, tens of thousands of teachers visit Ask a Tech Teacher to find resources for teaching students how to use a mouse. No surprise because using a mouse correctly is one of the most important pre-keyboarding skills. Holding it is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break.

The earlier posts are still active, but I’ve updated this resource with more websites and posters to assist in starting off your newest computer aficionados.

Mouse Skillsmouse skills

  1. Bees and Honey
  2. Drawing Melody–draw in many colors with the mouse and create music
  3. Hover skills–drag mouse over the happy face and see it move
  4. Left-click practice while playing the piano
  5. Left-click with Bubble Wrap
  6. MiniMouse
  7. Mouse and tech basics–video
  8. Mouse practice—drag, click
  9. Mouse skills
  10. Mouse Song
  11. Mr. Picasso Head
  12. OwlieBoo–mouse practice


Kids love puzzles and they are a great way to teach drag-and-drop skills with the mouse buttons. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Digipuzzles–great puzzles for geography, nature, and holidays
  2. Jigsaw Planet–create your own picture jigsaw
  3. Jigsaw puzzles
  4. Jigzone–puzzles
  5. Jigsaw Puzzles–JS


  1. Mousing Around
  2. Skillful Senior


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Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Tags: | 11 Comments