Last Chance for this College-credit Tech-for-writing Class

MTI 558: Teach Writing With Tech

Starts Monday, June 21, 2021! This is the last chance to sign up. Click this link to sign up.


Educators participate in this five-week hands-on quasi-writer’s workshop to learn about widely-available digital tools that will help their students develop their inner writer. Resources include videos, pedagogic articles, lesson plans, projects. Strategies introduced range from conventional tools such as quick writes, online websites, and visual writing to unconventional approaches such as Twitter novels, comics, and Google Earth lit trips. These can be adapted to any writing program be it 6+1 Traits, Common Core, or the basic who-what-when-where-why. By the time educators finish this class, they will be ready to implement many new writing tools in their classroom.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.

What You Get

  • 5 weeks
  • 3 college credits
  • Price includes course registration and all necessary materials.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Use technology to drive authentic writing activities and project-based learning.
  • Use traditional and non-traditional technology approaches to build an understanding of good writing and nurture a love of the process.
  • Guide students in selecting writing strategies that differentiate for task, purpose and audience
  • Assess student writing without discouraging creativity via easy-to-use tech tools.
  • Provide students with effective feedback in a collaborative, sharing manner.
  • Be prepared for and enthusiastic about using technology tools in the writing class

Who Needs This

This course is designed for educators who:

  • are looking for new ways to help students unlock their inner writer
  • have tried traditional writing methods and need something else
  • need to differentiate for varied needs of their diverse student group
  • want to—once again—make writing fun for students

What Do You Need to Participate

  • Internet connection
  • Accounts for Canvas (free–you’ll get an invite to respond to)
  • Ready and eager to commit 5-10 hours per week for 5 weeks to learning tech
  • Risk-takers attitude, inquiry-driven mentality, passion to optimize learning and differentiate instruction

NOT Included:

  • Standard software assumed part of a typical ed tech set-up
  • Tech networking advice
  • Assistance setting up hardware, networks, infrastructure, servers, internet, headphones, microphones, phone connections, loading software (i.e., Office).

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7 Coding Words You Need To Know 

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Jeremy Keeshin, is the CEO and co-founder of CodeHS, a leading coding education platform for schools, used by millions of students. He believes educators must focus on teaching students the building blocks of technology–coding, problem-solving, and the vocabulary that clarifies both. Here are a few of the essential tech words that should be part of a students’ daily conversation not just in a tech class but in all learning. OK, maybe not ‘Assembly Language’ but definitely ‘coding’, ‘bits’, ‘debugging’, and ‘apps’ with all of its cousins:

Your Coding Vocab Lesson: 7 Words You Need To Know 

There’s a lot of new vocabulary to pick up as you enter the world of coding. Here’s a few words to help you get started navigating code.

1. Code and Coding 

Let’s start at the beginning: What is code? What is coding?

Coding is giving instructions to a computer. Code is the instructions for the computer.

Your first line of code might look something like this:

print("Hello")

This prints “Hello” out to the screen. When you type an email and hit send, someone has written code to make that work. When you open your phone, hit an icon that looks like a camera, take a photo, and it saves to the cloud—that is code. Code is what powers any technology or software you use.

2. Programming Language

Code is written in a particular programming language, which is the set of rules, or language, for giving instructions to the computer. The language may have some specific syntax about what code you can write.

There are many different programming languages used for different things. A few popular programming languages include JavaScript, Python, C++, and Java. They are built for different use cases and have different tradeoffs.

Just like foreign languages, programming languages are often related to each other; they have different histories and taxonomies; and they evolve over time.

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Teacher-Authors–Help me launch my latest prehistoric fiction

If you’re a teacher-author, I’d love for you to share this HS-level book with your community. In return, I’ll share yours with mine!

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

In this second in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa, the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. Circumstances make it clear that they can’t stay, not with the rest of her tribe enslaved by the enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

If you’d like to know a little more about Laws of Nature, here’s the trailer.

https://youtu.be/gbyA9rDSy9k

If you’re an Indie teacher-author, you know that our most powerful marketing tool is word of mouth. We don’t have a big publisher behind us or an agent that pushes us out to the world. What we have is each other, telling our friends about the latest great book we’ve read.

I need your help

If you’re willing to help me promote my latest book, here’s how it works:

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Here’s How to Motivate Summer School Students

When you have to compete with a warm sun, sandy beaches, and playful friends, motivating students in summer school can be a daunting challenge. The best first step, right after introducing yourself, is to understand why students are with you rather than with friends or playing online games. Their reasons could be to try something new, make up for a class they failed, get ahead of classes they must take, or something else. Their answers to this question will guide you in how you teach the class. Once you know their reasons, be honest with them on how you will help them meet their goals. In general terms, you want them to know you’ll do your best to make their summer experience worthwhile, get them through the material, and help them pass the required exams with the grades they need. I’ve talked about best practices for teaching. Let’s today cover how to get students through the summer learning experience:

Make the class interesting

There are a lot of ways to teach a topic that satisfies curriculum demands. For example, you can fill in worksheets, watch videos, complete group projects, or work independently. Pick an approach that is 1) different from how you teach during the school year, and 2) fits your student group.

While you’re changing the approach, also change the setting. Teach class in a park, in a museum’s group learning room, at a restaurant over a meal, in someone’s home, or in the school auditorium. Here’s the logic behind that: Students react well to change. Do you remember the Hawthorne Effect Study? Done in the 1930’s (and redone in different ways many times afterwards), researchers examined how different aspects of the work environment (i.e., lighting, the timing of breaks, and the length of the workday) affected employee productivity. What they found wasn’t what they expected. The biggest impact on productivity came from simply paying attention to the workers and their environment. Let your summer school students experience this motivator. Change their learning ecosystem and watch how much harder they work simply because you care enough to pay attention.

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Internet Safety Month–Rules to Live By

June is National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed in 2005 by the U.S. Senate. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety for all, with a special focus on kids ranging from tots to teens. Children are just as connected to the Internet as adults. This is a great list of internet cautions I got from an online efriend a few years ago. It covers all the basics, avoids boring details, and gives kids (and adults) rules to live by:

Not everything you read online is true

It used to be anything we read in print was true. We could trust newspapers, magazines and books as reliable sources of information. It’s not the same with the web. Since anyone can become published, some of the stuff you’re reading online isn’t true. Even worse, some people are just rewriting stuff they read from other people online, so you might be reading the same false information over and over again. Even Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a reliable source. If you’re researching something online, consider the source. Some poorly written, ramdom web page, isn’t necessarily a good source. However, if you find a .gov or .org site, the information has a better chance of being true. Always look at who owns the website and whether or not they have an agenda before considering whether or not certain information is true.

Not everyone you meet online are who they say they are

This is the hard part because we want to trust our friends, even our online friends. The truth is, some of the people you meet online are lying about who they really are. Sometimes adults pretend to be kids and kids pretend to be someone else. They do this for a variety of reasons; grownups might want to try and have sex with kids or frenemies might want to act like friends to get information on someone they want to bully at school or online. Unless you know someone very well and can verify their identity, don’t trust that everyone who you speak to online are who they say they are.

Some people who are pretending to be kids really aren’t. There are grownups who pretend to be kids so teens and kids won’t get creeped out talking with them. This is never a good thing. Most of the grownups who are looking to talk to kids are looking for sex. Parents need to monitor their kids’ friends list and ask questions about the friends they don’t know. It’s more prevalent than you think and it COULD happen to you.

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Tech Tip #19: Best MS Word Tips

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: Ten Best MS Word Tips

Category: MS Office, Problem-solving, Keyboarding

codingHere are popular MS Word tips and links to articles:

  1. Turn an Address into a Link–push the space bar after pasting in an internet address–that activates it (or push enter)
  2. What’s Today’s Date–press Shift+Alt+D in MS Word. Or, as you start typing the date, Word will populate it for you.
  3. Menu command is grayed out–push escape four times (you’re probably in something you don’t know you are). This works 90% of the time
  4. How to Undelete–push Ctrl+Z
  5. #109: MS Word Skills Assessment for Grades 3-8
  6. Dear Otto: How do I set the default font on MS Word
  7. Tech Tip #37: My MS Word Toolbar Disappeared
  8. Tech Tip #20: How to Add an MS Word Link
  9. MS Word for Grades 2-5
  10. #45: How to Use MS Word to Teach Geography
  11. Easy Photo Editing in MS Word
  12. Tech Tip #98: Speed up MS Office with Quick Access Toolbar
  13. Tech Tip #24: How to Open A New Word Doc Without the Program
  14. Tech Tip #102: Doc Saved Over? Try This

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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Subscriber Special: June

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

June

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Questions? Email 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.

What You Might Have Missed in May

Here are the most-read posts for the month of May

  1. Teacher Appreciation Week–Gifts for the Tech Teacher
  2. Kids’ Computer Posture Explored
  3. 10 Digital Platforms to Teach Remotely
  4. 5 (free) Posters to Mainstream Tech Ed
  5. What to Know Before Moving From High School Teacher to College Professor
  6. 12 Websites for Digital Books Summer Reading
  7. Is It Worth Teaching School Kids SQL?
  8. 12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year
  9. How To Move To Canada To Be A Teacher
  10. World Password Day — It’s Today!

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.

Websites that add sparkle to spring

Last year was a boom year for edtech web tools. There were so many, I couldn’t keep up. I would discover what seemed to be a fantastic tool (most likely discovered in FreeTech4Teachers, Alice Keeler, or one of the other tech ed blogs I follow), give it about five minutes to prove itself, and then, depending upon that quick review, either dig deeper or move on. If it was recommended by a colleague in my professional learning network, I gave the site about twice as long but still, that’s harsh. I certainly couldn’t prove my worth if given only five minutes!

Nevertheless, that’s how it is because there are too many options. Here’s what I wanted to find out in the five minutes:

  • Is the creator someone I know and trust (add-ons by Alice Keeler always fit that requirement)?
  • Is it easy to access? Meaning, does it open and load quickly without the logins I always forget?
  • Is it easy to use? Meaning, are links to the most important functions on the start page? For example, in Canva, I can create a flier for my class in under five minutes because the interface is excellent.
  • For more complicated tools, how steep is the learning curve? Does the site offer clear assistance in the form of videos, online training, or a helpline?
  • Is the content age-appropriate for the grades I teach?
  • Is it free or freemium, and if the latter, can I get a lot out of it without paying a lot? I don’t like sites that give me “a few” uses for free and then charge for more. Plus, free is important to my students who may not be able to use it at home unless there’s no cost attached.
  • Is there advertising? Yes, I understand “free” probably infers ads so let me amend that to: Is it non-distracting from the purpose of the webtool?
  • How current is it? Does it reflect the latest updates in standards, pedagogy, and hardware?
  • Does it fulfill its intended purpose?
  • Has it received awards/citations from tech ed groups I admire?

After all that, here are five websites that I discovered last year, loved, and will use to brighten the Spring months:

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