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Tagged With: training

Top Ten Reasons for signing up for Summer PD

If you haven’t yet made the decision to join me at Summer PD for three-weeks of high-intensity tech integration, here are the Top Ten Reasons for signing up:tech ed quote

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’.

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 and here.


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

12 Take-aways from WordCamp Orange County

wcoc logoThis past weekend I attended the fifth annual Orange County California two-day geek WordCamp (#wcoc). These are affordable tech-centric events held all over the country where WordPress experts share their knowledge in 50-minute sessions (or three-hour workshops) on how to better use your WordPress website or blog (I have four blogs and one website that use WordPress). I was first introduced to it when TimeThief over at One Cool Site Blogging Tips posted on a WordCamp she attended in San Francisco. It sounded over my head–I’m not into coding and PHP and CSS–but she made it sound fun, like I wished I was into programming. That made me open-minded when a girlfriend suggested we attend.

The $40 registration included all the events, lunch both days, snacks (see the pictures of the snacks below), designer coffee (or black-no-sugar like I like it), two T Shirts, a mug… Too much to list. A popular room was the Snack Spot which included everything you imagine coders and programmers and computer folk consume. Snacks were non-stop, varied, abundant, with lots of water and coffee. Few sodas or diet drinks. Interesting…

wcoc14And it was a blast. Packed with geeks who had personalities. The attendees were open, funny, engaged and engaging, buzzing with energy like overcharged power plants. Everyone was there to learn and share–in equal measure. I was one of the least experienced (for example, one of the presenters started with the ‘easy stuff’ for five minutes–half of which was over my head).

The presenters were eminently qualified. They knew their topics, fielded audience questions without a problem–and weren’t afraid to say they didn’t know but would find out, rarely ended early, never ran out of hints. One of the speakers was the guy who developed’s first website. That’s cred! Overall, presenters were professional, varied in their voice and focus, approachable, on-topic, and more than half, I understood. Why not all? Back to that PHP and CSS stuff that I could learn (I know I could), but who has time?

The most valuable thing I got from #wcoc knowledge. Here are my top twelve take-aways from my two days with these folks:


Categories: Computer skills, Geeks | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

5 Must-have tools for Ed Conferences

digital note-takingIt’s summer, time for teachers to recharge their cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like ISTE June 28-July 1st and NEA June 26-July 6th to learn how the heck to integrate technology into their lesson plans. I’m going to ISTE as well as Teacher Pay Teacher’s first-ever conference in Las Vegas. I’m so excited about both of these, ready to meet new colleagues, get fresh ideas, and extend my PLN to places I hadn’t considered before.

If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what you should bring. That’s a fair questions considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. Now, you might be asked to scan a QR code and visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter. Besides a toothbrush and aspirin, what should you take to your upcoming conference? Here are five tools that will make you look and act like the Diva of Digital:

Google Maps

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees (ISTE last year had about 15,000), your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Bring the latest version of the Google Maps app on your smartphone or iPad, complete with audio directions. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions, and Siri (the voice behind the iPhone) will lock into your GPS and hold your hand the entire way. If friends are looking for a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts near the conference, Google Maps will find one. If you want Chinese, use an app like Yelp to find one patrons like (although I’m becoming a tad leary about Yelp. Anyone have a good alternative?)

Conference App

Most educational conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are manipulating digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straight-forward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.


Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

WordCamp Orange County 2014

wordcampI signed up to to to WordPress WordCamp Orange County 2014 as soon as I heard about it. I was so excited. I’ve read reviews of other WordCamps and always told myself I’d attend when there was one in my area. I have four blogs and a website on WordPress and since I’m pretty darn committed to the platform, I figure I should understand it as well as possible.

Plus, it’s affordable–$40! Where can you learn anything at a conference for only $40!

Then I checked out the Sessions–

  • How to Sell Wordpress
  • The Future of WordPress E-Commerce Technologies
  • Designing a Theme in a Browser
  • Functions.php vs Plugins: The Ultimate Battle

What do these topics even mean? How do I pick one to attend if I don’t even understand what they’re saying?

OK, to be honest, I understand the words–ECommerce, Theme, Plugins, php–but string them into a goal. Good grief.


Categories: Computer skills | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Summer PD–Questions I’ve Gotten

In response to extensive interest from readers, Ask a Tech Teacher will be offering Summer PD:summer pd

July 7th through July 26th

3 weeks, 31 Activities, lots of resources and hands-on help

You can read more here and here. What I want to do today is go over the most common questions I’ve gotten regarding sign ups:

Q: What is the cost to register?

The full program is $247.00. If you can’t make the Saturday Google Hangouts, the basic program is $197.00. You can enroll through the PayPal button on the website or with a school PO. If you have a group of five or more attending from your school, you qualify for a 20% discount. Email us for more information (askatechteacher at gmail dot com)

Q: What if I can’t figure out how to use some of the tools during the classes? I’m not very techie.

Email the instructor at askatechteacher at gmail dot com throughout the week and/or bring up your question at the Saturday Google Hangout.  That’s what this class is for–to get you comfortable with tech tools you want to use in your class.

Q: Who are the teachers for this PD? And what are their qualifications?

The Master Teacher is Jacqui Murray. She’s been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years and K-16 for 35 years. She’s the author/editor of dozens of tech-in-ed books as well as a K-8 tech curriculum that’s used throughout the world. She will be joined as needed by other teachers from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew.

Q: I want to sign up with several other teachers from my school. Is there a group discount available?

Absolutely! You’ll be able to sign up on the Basic Registration and get the Full Package (which includes Saturday GHO’s). Just email us with your group members at so we set your membership up correctly.


Categories: Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

5 Programs That Make Digital Note-taking Easy

The 2008 Leadership and Learning Center reported on the importance of note-taking in the classroom:

In schools where writing and note-taking were rarely implemented in science classes, approximately 25 percent of students scored proficient or higher on state assessments. But in schools where writing and note-taking were consistently implemented by science teachers, 79 percent scored at the proficient level.

Starting in fourth grade, Common Core expects students to use books, periodicals, websites, and other digital sources to conduct research projects. That means they not only read, but research, review, distill knowledge, and catalogue. The Standards assume students will accomplish this by taking notes—

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others … (from Common Core)

But don’t sharpen the pencils and refresh the classroom supply of lined paper. Consider a digital approach to note-taking. Why? Let’s do an experiment. Ask students to develop a pro and con list for note-taking with paper and pencil. Make a deal with them: If they can provide sufficient evidence that pencil-and-paper notes are better than alternatives, you’ll let them continue in that way. I’ll get you started:





It’s fast—typing takes longer Pencils aren’t always around 


I’m more comfortable using pencil and paper Pencils aren’t always sharpened 


Paper isn’t always available 


Difficult to share with others—without a copy machine


Once submitted, student no longer has the notes (unless they copied them)


Sometimes student wants notes that are located where student isn’t. Not always easy to access them




Categories: Computer skills, Education reform, Web Tools, Websites, Writing | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Summer PD–Help Us Plan it

tech training

Tech training… for you… for students

If you’re planning summer PD, ASK A TECH TEACHER has a few ideas:

  • Summer keyboarding–designed for students perfect for you. . And: You get free K-8 Keyboarding curriculum ebook.
  • Summer Tech camp–if you’re teaching Summer Tech Camp for students, we’ll lay it out for you. Stay tuned.
  • Summer PD–Teachers only! Spend three weeks with us. What would you like to learn (see below)

Want more? We’ll announce it here first. Until then…



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

Weekend Website #130: EngageNY

Every week, I share a website that inspired my students. Here’s one that I’ve found effective in supporting the pedagogic changes to Common Core

Engage NY--get Common Core into classrooms


Categories: Websites | Tags: , | Leave a comment