Tech Tip ##113: Backup Your Blog

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: Backup Your Blog

Category: Maintenance, Social Media, Writing, Problem-solving

Q: I’m paranoid of losing my documents so I back them up to an external drive, a flash drive, and in the cloud. My blog–it’s become an important cog in my PLN. If it blew up, I’d be lost. What do I do about backing it up?

world backup dayA: If you use WordPress, it’s easy; they provide a native tool for that. Here’s what you do:

  • Go to Tools>Export.
  • Select the bubble for ‘all’.
  • It’ll back document files up as an XML file (you don’t have to understand what that is. Just know it’s the file that will save you if Wordpress crashes).
  • Save that backup file somewhere safe in case you need it. Preferably where your Cloud automatic backup will grab it (assuming you have one of those. If you use Carbonite, you do).
  • Do this once a month–or a week if you’re active.

This will backup posts, pages, comments, categories, and tags. For the entirety of the blog–similar to an image where you can restore the entire website–you’ll need an external service. My Wordpress.org blog is hosted by GoDaddy. Part of that service is a backup of the blog. It’s worth it to me to pay a bit extra for that function.

World Backup Day just passed. Mark your calendar for next year, March 31st, and be sure to perform all backups–your blog and everything else–on that day.

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What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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What to Know Before Moving From High School Teacher to College Professor

A logical step for many teachers is to progress from teaching High School to College. But that is more complicated than it sounds. Here’s an good article from an Ask a Tech Teacher contributor on what you should know to make that a successful endeavor:

What to Know Before Moving From High School Teacher to College Professor

Teaching is one of the most fulfilling, albeit challenging, jobs you can do. No matter the location or level, there will be immense feelings of pride, moments of anguish and many tired nights and weekends.

For those who get started as a high school teacher, there comes a time when they think about moving on to teaching at the college level. If you have interest in becoming a college professor, the following questions will help you understand all the benefits, differences, challenges and steps to changing your career path.

High School or College: Which Has a Higher Earning Potential?

As most educators know, there is a salary bump at the college level. The median pay for post-secondary (college) teachers in 2020 was $80,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is well above the $62,870 median annual salary for high school teachers. In general, education isn’t the field you enter to get rich, but that extra income can be a major incentive to make the transition.

Are There Fewer Jobs Available for College Professors?

Though it may be surprising, there are actually more college professors in the United States than high school teachers. In 2020, there were 1.33 million post-secondary teachers compared to less than 1.05 million high school teachers, according to BLS. The field is also expanding faster in higher education, which BLS forecasts will add another 121,500 workers by 2029, compared to just 40,200 more in high school.

What Are the Requirements to Teach in College?

While the majority of tenure positions at four-year universities will require a doctoral degree — plus at least seven years teaching in the field for an institution — there are a range of opportunities available with a master’s degree as well. Community college teachers, for example, typically only ask for a master’s, and even well-known schools hire professors in some specialities, including the arts, without a Ph.D. 

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12 Websites for Digital Books Summer Reading

At the beginning of the 21st century, the definition of digital equity revolved around the provision of a digital device to every student. Usually, that meant desktop computers, iPads, and laptops, either in small groups or 1:1. As digital equity discussions matured and hyperbole became reality, educators found that those loudly-touted digital devices often became paperweights. The reasons were varied (teacher training, infrastructure, and professional support to name a few), but one of the most prominent was money. Good intentions to give all students access to the world’s knowledge were derailed by the cost of the websites and webtools that made that happen. Turns out — and not really a surprise — the cost of the digital devices was minor compared to the cost of the websites and webtools required to meet goals.

There is one bright spot in this story: Online books. Thanks to the efforts of many devoted professionals and the financial support of more, there are a wide variety of free/inexpensive sources for books that students can use for classroom activities as well as pleasure.

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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.

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end of school year

12 Tech Tasks To End the School Year

Wrapping up your school technology for the summer is as complicated as setting it up in September. There are endless backups, shares, cleanings, changed settings, and vacation messages that — if not done right — can mean big problems when you return from summer vacation. If you have a school device, a lot of the shutdown steps will be done by the IT folks as they backup, clean, reformat, and maybe re-image your device. If you have a personal device assigned by the school but yours to take home, the steps may be more numerous but really, not more complicated.

Here’s a list. Skip those that don’t apply to you and complete the rest. I won’t take time in this article (I’m at about 1000 words right now) for a how-to on each activity so if you don’t know how to complete one, check with your IT folks or Google it:

Make sure your firewall and antivirus programs are working.

Many computers come with a built-in one to keep viruses and malware out that slow your computer. Sometimes, they seem to turn off by themselves (I have no idea why). Check to be sure yours is active. If you have a Chromebook or an iPad, don’t even worry about this.

Clean out your documents.

Sort through the documents you collected this year and get rid of those you don’t need anymore. It’s intimidating, like a file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in months –- or years — and is covered with spider webs. If you don’t do this regularly, the computer must finger through these unused files every time you search. If you hate throwing anything away, create an ‘Old’ folder, toss them all in it, and save that to a flash drive or in the cloud.

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How To Move To Canada To Be A Teacher

Here’s a great article from an Ask a Tech Teacher contributor for those of you interested in teaching internationally–specifically, Canada:

How To Move To Canada To Be A Teacher

Canada is a country that people all over the world would love to emigrate to. It has a progressive style of government, very low crime rate and lots of work. It is not easy to get there, however. Since there are so many people trying to get into Canada, the requirements can be quite strict.

That said, there are professions that are in demand and the Canadian government is active in trying to get people to come and do these jobs. There are times when the teacher profession is on the list.

If you have the right credentials then you could end up on a plane destined for Canada. You’ll need to have your health insurance sorted out while you look for a job. Public health insurance in Canada is for citizens and permanent residents.

With all that said, let’s get into the ways you can get to Canada to work as a teacher and then sort those details out afterward.

Pick the right city

There isn’t a nationwide shortage of teachers, but there are areas that are having trouble finding enough. There are rural areas where the most eligible people are moving to cities. Then, there are the cities that are growing faster than ever and with families moving in there is a need for more teachers.

The trick is to first think about what type of lifestyle you want to live and then find the area that best suits it. For instance, Saskatoon is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and is in dire need of teachers. It sits midway between Edmonton and Winnipeg so you have to like it in a rural area. If that type of scenario suits you then you are likely to find a job there.

For those that enjoy urban and city life, Guelph, Ontario is always looking for qualified teachers. It isn’t far from Toronto and has smaller cities like Kitchener and Hamilton nearby.

Even Toronto, the New York City of Canada is always looking for teachers so there really is a mix of different types of places that suit every lifestyle.

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What You Might Have Missed in April

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

  1. Whiteboard Apps You’ll Love
  2. JotForm Approvals–Great Way to Manage Workflow
  3. 5 Websites for 4th Grade Word Study
  4. 16 Spring Cleaning Steps for Computers
  5. What Do You Think is the Hardest Tech Problem? (a poll)
  6. 5 (free) Security Posters
  7. Using VR in Schools
  8. Classroom Activities for Earth Day
  9. Need math resources? Have students try these
  10. 15+ Websites to Teach Financial Literacy

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.