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Tagged With: tech teacher

Top 10 Reasons to Sign Up for Summer Learning with Ask a Tech Teacher

This summer, Ask a Tech Teacher is holding five Summer Learning classes:

  1. Tech-infused Teacher (Certificate edition for CEUs or grad class for college credit)
  2. Tech-infused Class
  3. Teach Writing with Tech (closed–only open for groups of five)
  4. 20 Webtools in 20 Days (for groups interested in learning webtools from the Structured Learning curriculum)
  5. the Differentiated Teacher (college credit)

Most award Certificates at completion, for CEUs. The Differentiated Teacher and Tech-infused Teacher can be taken for college credit.

If you’re still wondering whether to sign up for one of the Ask a Tech Teacher Summer Learning classes, here are the Top Ten Reasons to do that:

10. Tech ed is a change agent. You like change.

9. You’ll have a bunch of tech ed skills you can now say ‘I know how to do that’. Like TwitterChats. And Google Hangouts. And screencasts.

8. Your school will pay for it of you promise to teach colleagues–or show the videos.

7. Many of these webtools are candidate-driven. You tell us what works best for you in achieving the class goals; we’ll adapt to you.

6. You want to meet new people.

5. You’re technophobic, but lately feel like teaching without technology is like looking at a landscape through a straw: You’re missing a lot. You want to change that.

4. You want personalized help. With all AATT Summer Learning classes, you get as much time as you need with the instructor to mentor and coach–even on topics not included in the syllabus.

3. Technology in education is the greatest show on earth. Well, at least in the classroom. You want to be part of it.

2.  You get CEUs (Continuing Education Units)–between 18 and 24 hours, depending upon the class you select (where applicable). You also get a Certificate listing all the activities you completed.

1. Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Education’s fix requires technology. You’re ready for a new level of thinking.



Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Top 10 Reasons to Sign Up for Summer Learning with Ask a Tech Teacher

T-i T preview 2If you haven’t yet made the decision to join me at Summer PD: Tech-infused Teacher for three-weeks of high-intensity tech integration, here are the Top Ten Reasons for signing up:

10. Tech in ed is a change agent. You like change.

9. You’ll have a bunch of tech ed skills you can now say ‘I know how to do that’. Like TwitterChats. And Google Hangouts. And screencasts.

8. Your school will pay for it of you promise to teach colleagues–or show the videos.

7. It’s fun.

6. You want to meet new people.

5. You’re technophobic, but lately feel like teaching without technology is like looking at a landscape through a straw. You want to change that.

4. Richard Sloma said, “Never try to solve all the problems at once — make them line up for you one-by-one.” You want your tech problems lined up in single file.

3. Technology in education is the greatest show on earth. Well, at least in the classroom. You want to be part of it.

2. Ashton Kutcher told teens, “Opportunity looks a lot like work.” You agree. Learning tech ed this summer is an opportunity you’re ready for.

1. Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Education’s fix requires technology. You’re ready for a new level of thinking.

For more information, click here.


Categories: Education reform | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

169 Real-World Ways to Put Tech into Your Class–NOW

tech in the classroomIn about a month, I’ll be starting a new series of tech tips. These will be from my upcoming ebook, 169 Real-World Ways to Put Tech Into Your Class Now (expected publication date: August 2016) where I provide 1) an overview of the tech topics most important to your teaching, and 2) practical strategies to address common classroom tech problems. Each tip is less than a page long–many only a third of a page. The goal: Give you the tech you need to know without a long learning curve. Topics include iPads, Chromebooks, assessment, differentiation, social media, security, writing, and more.

Note: This is the updated version of 98 Tech Tips so if you’re considering purchasing 98 Tech Tips, wait a few weeks until 169 Real-World Ways to Put Tech Into Your Class Now is available. Or, just read them here, on Ask a Tech Teacher, though it will take more than three years to get through all of them!

OK, I see all the hands. You want a preview. Here are the top three solutions to any tech problem you encounter in your classroom:


Categories: Classroom management, Tech tips | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What’s a Tech Teacher Do With Their Summer Off?

summerSchool’s been out for at least a few weeks and I just finished up three online classes that started in June. Next week, I’ll feel like I have an endless span of hours to do all the activities that got sidelined by grading,  projects, training, and general ‘school’ stuff. Once I get through reading until I’m bored (or  I run out of food) and straightening up the house (I won’t get carried away), I’ll start on the meat of my summer activities. Truth, that list is more of an overstuffed file cabinet than a carefully-constructed To Do page, but here’s what it looks like:

  1. Finish a tech thriller I’ve been working on this for four years. I’m 99% there (10% to go). Of course, it has lots of cutting edge technology and a quirky AI named Otto (a palindrome). If you follow my blog, you know this is on my list every summer, as predictable as the Golf Channel. This time, I’m doing it!
  2. Under the file folder, “The world doesn’t change in front of your eyes; it changes behind your back,” I realize a few tech trends are passing me by. This includes 3D printing, Maker Spaces, and Google Classroom for starters. They are seeping into tech conversations regularly on my social media and there’s little I can contribute other than questions. I need to fix that this summer. Any suggestions?
  3. Learn a new tech tool every week. This also I do every summer. I’ll share a video, a project, and academic tie-in each week.
  4. Get back to my inquisitive, curious roots. I used to spend hours figuring out how to solve problems, find solutions, determine what made something tick. Now, I’m too busy. I can feel the rift in my spirit, my sapped energy, my fuzzy brain. This summer, I’m getting back to that. Here’s my promise:

When I see something techie I don’t understand, I’ll ask:


Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , | 3 Comments

A Day in the Life of a Tech Teacher

teacher-359311_640I love summer. I sit at home, reading, researching, chatting with friends. I make my own schedule, own my own time, start and finish a project without interruptions.

That is a massive high to me.

Why? I’m a tech teacher. That is like a geek+. I teach–yes–but I’m also the first line of defense (sometimes offense) for colleagues as they struggle to use the digital devices populating their classrooms. From the moment I step foot on campus, life spins out of my control. Here’s a typical day–does it sound familiar:

6:45    arrive at school

6:47    a student enters to use lab

6:48   I greet student with a friendly hi and begin work on a lesson plan

6:49    Student asks for help

7:00   Student finishes and leaves; I return to my lesson plan

7:02   Frantic teacher calls–her computer won’t boot up. She came in early to work and now what’s she supposed to do can I come right away?

7:03   I arrive in teacher classroom to help


Categories: Teaching | Tags: | 8 Comments

Applying to be a tech teacher? Here’s what you should say

Are you applying to be a tech teacher–wondering whether you know enough or have what it takes? Is it making your stomach churn and your head throb?tech teacher

I understand–I went through that when I applied. I’ve learned a lot since then and I want to share some tips that will help you with what could be a life-changing conversation.

Before I get into the tips, I want you to remember: Your students will know less than you. You’ll start the year with tech training that provides students with tools for learning, that integrates into the school curriculum. If you are learning these the day before so you can teach them–you will know more. Your adult brain will absorb, sort, problem-solve, connect the dots, develop relationships much faster than the students who sit in your classroom. There are so many tech tools out there, many (many) teachers stay just a step ahead of their students, relying on their ability to see patterns based on the transfer of knowledge from prior learning. Every year after the first, you’ll adapt to what students know–go faster or slower. You will learn along with the students.

Here’s what you do for the interview:


Categories: Classroom management, Teaching | Tags: | Leave a comment

18 Things Teachers Do Before 8am

teacherThis is inspired by Jennifer Cohen over at Forbes who wrote a wonderful article on “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8am” (few of which I do, though I can claim #5). She includes chores like exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, map out the day–all great ideas, but not pithy enough for the average teacher I know.

Here’s my list of what the average teacher accomplishes before her first class of children crosses the threshold of her domain. These are gathered from chatting with friends and efriends on how they start their days:

  1. Research the answers to sixteen ‘why’ questions students asked during yesterday’s classes.
  2. Figure out how to run that dang iPad app students want to use.
  3. Wash Superman (or woman) cape.
  4. Close eyes for three seconds to invoke the memory of Emma [replace ‘Emma’ with the name of the Poster Child for why you’re a teacher].
  5. Accomplish the equivalent of stuffing twenty people in a phone booth–which means find son/daughter’s lost iPad which must be brought to school every day, get kids off to school with packed lunches and completed homework, arrange household repairs, sort dog and husband/wife, talk significant other down from an emotional cliff, and figure out how to make coffee by pouring hot water through yesterday’s grounds (oops–forgot to buy coffee).
  6. Eat breakfast–real food, not leftovers or peanut butter from sandwiches.
  7. Move what wasn’t accomplished yesterday to today’s To Do list, which is most everything.
  8. Promise that today, unlike yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, you won’t say D*** five times before the first class arrives. Set a goal of only four times.
  9. Do emergency morning yard duty instead of the project set up you’d planned to do this morning—and the reason you came in early.
  10. While doing emergency morning yard duty, imitate someone being patient rather than someone chewing on their last nerve.
  11. Keep an open mind to all nature of miracles, no matter the shape or size.
  12. Answer parent email and voicemail from the prior day because you promised the Principal you would–again.
  13. Paste on your Reasonable face when a parent drops in for an impromptu conference, shoehorned in after s/he dropped off her/his child and before the 8am start-of-day. Stow the one that says, ‘Leave me alone’.
  14. Take a nap, especially if you’ve been up most of the night grading papers or preparing lesson plans.
  15. Smile at the parent who always talks with that irritating tone reserved for women they consider delicate.
  16. Solve the education problems of the world.
  17. As Paul Harvey said in Broadcast, “In times like these, it is good to remember that there have always been times like these”.
  18. Remember that–as Edwin Louis Cole once said, you don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.


Categories: Humor, Teaching | Tags: | Leave a comment

What’s a Tech Teacher Do All Day?

tech teacherWhen you accepted the job to be your school’s tech teacher, you were probably excited, visions of cutting edge equipment at your disposal, training in the latest Google Apps, and a chance to collaborate with colleagues on extending the reach of education.

Well, maybe that happened, but so did a whole lot more. I sat down with about twenty of my ecolleagues over a virtual cuppa and asked them, really, what do they do all day? The answers may surprise you:

  • teach classes, anywhere from 22-35 a week (that’s right–35. I offer up a little prayer for that colleague every morning), 30-45 minutes per class.
  • grade assignments
  • run the school’s tech-based programs (i.e., report cards, grade books, Everyday Math Online, Type to Learn 4 Online, Fountas and Pinnell, the online writing program)
  • set up online accounts for teachers (on websites like KidBlogs, wikis, Google Apps, online tools)
  • try–and fail–to get teachers to troubleshoot their own problems
  • help faculty teach tech in their classes (because they don’t quite understand the geeky stuff)
  • help faculty write lesson plans that integrate tech
  • troubleshoot tech problems for teachers: tech teachers are the first stop with tech problems. It may start with fellow teachers running into the tech teacher’s class–even if s/he has students–and begging for help. If they can’t solve it (after they’ve spent an unspecified amount of time trying), it gets bumped up.


Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: | 1 Comment

How to be a Tech Teacher

tech studentIt’s not taught in any teacher credential program I know. Admin would never pick a history teacher to teach Science, or a PE teacher to teach math, but that’s what constantly happens with tech. I can’t tell you how many emails I get from newly-minted tech teachers–I am the PE teacher, now teaching tech… Last year I taught 4th grade, now I’m teaching IT.

Maybe this is your story.

If you’re a new tech teacher, here are some articles you will like:

New Tech Teacher? I Understand You

5 Must-have Skills for New Tech Teachers Plus One Extra

Should Tech Teachers be in the Classroom or the Lab

Should Tech Teachers be in the Classroom or the Lab–Follow Up

Dear Otto: Lab Teacher or Integration Specialist

11 Ways to be an Inquiry-based Teacher

You Know You’re a Techy Teacher When…

What’s a Tech Teacher Do With Their Summer Off?


Categories: Humor, Teacher resources | Tags: | 2 Comments

11 Things I wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Tech Teacher

tech teacherMost of the teachers I know didn’t set out to be a tech teachers. They got here via the PE department or the 4th grade classroom or when laid off as an IT manager at some small company. Few took college classes to teach K-12 technology, nor did they say, “Gee, I have all the skills to be a top-notch tech teacher at my son/daughter’s elementary school. I think I’ll apply.” Most of us got here because 1) our current job disappeared (the Brits call it ‘made redundant’–isn’t that cool?) and this was the better alternative to unemployment, 2) our Principal offered us what Oprah calls a ‘life-defining moment’.

So here we are, doing our best, minute to minute hoping we can solve whatever catastrophe the Universe throws our way, usually with a solution that has something to do with servers and permissions. Fifteen years into it and still flummoxed on a daily basis, there are a few details someone should have told me when I first crossed the tech lab threshold. I mean, who forgot to mention these:

  1. You don’t need to know everything. Do what you can and the rest gets kicked upstairs. That’s right. You are human. You don’t wear a cape and you can’t leap tall buildings.
  2. You can make mistakes in front of the students. Really. Common Core is about problem solving–show how you work through a problem like sound doesn’t work or website won’t load. They’ll see your calm approach and emulate it when solving their own problems
  3. Tech isn’t a digital puzzlebox, the end of a Mobius strip, or the solution to an irrational number. There are only about twenty problems that occur 80% of the time. Know them and know how to solve them. I’d include them here, but that would make this a massive article. I’ll cover it in my next series (stay tuned)
  4. Common sense isn’t common. Don’t expect it to be. When a teacher frantically tells you their Smartscreen doesn’t work, start at the beginning: “Is it plugged in?” Every techie I know starts there and after fifteen years, I know why: It works.
  5. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that no one can scare you–you’re the tech teacher. You do know more than the teachers. Don’t start by apologizing because you don’t know what you’re doing or telling her/him how you’ve never seen this problem before. Take a deep breath, think about it, consider the options, and start. Chances are, you’ll figure it out.
  6. Tech works better integrated into classroom inquiry. Sure, you can create fun projects that use cool tech tools, but learning will be more authentic and scalable if students see you working with the classroom teacher. I use that term loosely–‘working with’. Sometimes, grade level teachers barely have time to breathe, much less meet to discuss tech tie-ins. I’ve been known to chat up parents about what’s happening in class, wander through and read room walls, ask students. I’m not above interrupting a teacher’s lunch with ‘just a few questions’.
  7. Don’t jump in to solve student computer problems. If they’ve already seen a solution, let them work it out on their own. I have three extra computers in my lab and parent helpers always want to move students to a new computer when their usual seat is ‘broken’. I don’t let them. I have the student explain what the problem is and think through solutions. Only if none of them work do I allow switches.
  8. There are days when coffee and aspirin count as two of the four food groups. Don’t let it bother it. It will pass. Your job as Go-to Geek requires you are always available. Tech teachers don’t get lunch hours or set breaks. When someone has a computer emergency, they need it taken care of NOW. Respect that. They’ve tried to make a tech lesson and now something doesn’t work and they’re frantic. Take care of them. It doesn’t happen that often. I promise.
  9. Let students redo and make up work. Without taking points off. Wait, you say–I’ll have double the work! Truth, I’ve been doing this since I started and get only a handful of redos for each project. Sometimes I grade it with students and use the opportunity for teaching. The students who really care will really benefit. The others won’t take you up on it.
  10. There will be days when you and Anything Tech are barely on speaking terms, when you wouldn’t fix another broken digital device if it came with a free puppy. When that happens, talk to other tech teachers. Online is a great way to do that. Join tech teacher groups, share problems, offer suggestions. You will feel brilliant and thankful for the kindness of others.
  11. A feature is not a bug. The computer or the iPad or laptops aren’t broken when doing what they’re supposed to do, even if the user doesn’t like it. Gently point that out.


Categories: Computer Wisdom, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment