RSS
 

11 + 17 + 7 Take-aways from Summer Professional Development

22 Aug

edtech

Ask a Tech Teacher’s Summer PD 2016 just ended. A couple dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, and lab teachers–gathered virtually for three-five-week-classes that included:

The Tech-infused Teacher

The Tech-infused Classroom

The Differentiated Teacher

Teach Writing with Tech

20 Webtools in 20 Days

We talked about curriculum maps, warm-up and exit tickets, backchannel devices, building a PLN, screenshots, and screencasts. We experimented with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom such as Google Apps, differentiation tools, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, Common Core and tech, digital citizenship, and formative assessment options. And–maybe the highlight of the classes–we shared ideas and helped each other solve problems. It was run like a flipped classroom where class members read, tested and experimented from resources available in the weekly syllabus. They failed and tried again. Asked questions. They shared with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, and Tweets.  Once a week we got together virtually (via Google Hangout or a Twitter Chat) to share ideas, answer questions,  and discuss nuances.

Classes awarded either college credit or a Certificate, based on effort not end product. Here are my takeaways as moderator of this amazing group:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
No Comments

Posted in Musings

 

Join Our Blog Hop for To Hunt a Sub

15 Aug

to hunt a subStarting last week, my wonderful efriends here in the blogosphere are helping me get the word out about my debut novel, To Hunt a Sub. I’ll be visiting their blogs to chat about the book, the process, and anything else on their minds. Some of the topics they’ve picked are pretty clever!

Here’s the schedule (of course, this might change, based on Unexpected Events):

Some are past so feel free to scroll down to that post. Please join me whenever you can. I’d love to see you.

Here’s a synopsis of To Hunt a Sub:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
No Comments

Posted in Musings

 

Curriculum Companions for K-5 Start August 8th

10 Aug

curriculum companionStart date for the 2016-17 online school year:

August, 8, 2016

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented via video (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, and access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

K-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months

Curriculum Companion Wikis not only include weekly videos, you also get:
  • comprehensive tech vocabulary
  • how-to skills used in lessons
  • a class Discussion Board
  • shared resources

Detail

  • Digital access: via video
  • Language: English
  • Length of time: one year
  • Access: Yearly fee covers K-5 (no discount for single wiki)

Use access in each K-5 curriculum text to join for free. Or, click here to purchase.

Here’s a sample:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tech Ed Resources for your Class: Organize

08 Aug

digital classroomI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Organizing your classroom

Overview

18 webinars (more added as they become available), approx. 30 minutes each, show how to set up your classroom to be tech-infused.

What’s Included

Do you wonder how to set up an effective, exciting, motivating classroom to teach tech? It’s not difficult–but there are steps you must take that are different from a grade-level or subject-specific classroom. Watch these videos at the start of school and often throughout the year to understand how to integrate tech into your classes and how to help students use tech to get the most from their education adventure. Webinars included:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

What is BloomBoard and How it Can Energize Professional Development

06 Aug

bloomboardBloomBoard is a professional development website for teachers and administrators. On the teacher side, educators learn, share, and discuss teaching ideas, and manage upcoming professional reviews and observations. The resources–including over 10,000 articles, videos, lesson plans, and more–are clear, easy-to-navigate, and user-friendly, with opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. What truly makes this educator-oriented site unique is that teachers can earn topical micro-credentials that can be used by their school district or state credentialing agencies (depending upon the circumstance). To earn these, teachers view the required materials and then answer a set of questions.

On the administrator side, BloomBoard offers the ability to schedule and manage observations, track individual teacher progress, look at reports and analysis (broken down by teacher or indicator), monitor and analyze teacher activities, and explore and recommend resources for professional development.Analytics provide insight into which teachers are most active and which professional development resources and topics are most popular. Additionally, administrators can schedule observations and analyze teacher performance right from the dashboard, as well as keep track of all the elements of the observation–upload evidence (like lesson plans or reflections), add ratings and indicators based on built-in rubrics and indicators (which can be edited), and write a final review.

Alongside BloomBoard’s free content are premium pieces such as tools to collaborate with colleagues, private spaces for virtual discussions and document sharing, a dashboard to monitor the most widely-used district-wide collections and micro-credentials, the ability to create unique micro-credentials, and dedicated support from BloomBoard instructional practitioners.

bloomboard topicsHere’s what you do:

  • sign up for a free account
  • fill out a profile with your interests and goals
  • start reviewing recommended materials or browse the resources

Pros

  • I love that professional observations and reviews can be uploaded and tagged.
  • I like that the dashboard includes reminders about upcoming events and whether the teacher is ontrack for meeting their goals (and what to do about that).
  • The problem often with professional development isn’t a lack of resources; it’s identifying the ones that fit specific needs. BloomBoard does this for educators.
  • Resources are recommended that fit teacher grade level, subject area, and teaching interests.
  • BloomBoard tracks the progress of each teacher’s professional development, chronicling how they hone their skills and apply their learning to their teaching through reviews and observations.

BloomboardCons

  • One piece I always seek out on educator websites is an active forum where I can ask questions of colleagues and work through problems. While BloomBoard does offer this (a great plus), it’s too new to be robust. I look forward to what it will grow into over time.
  • Another feature that really isn’t a con, simply on a wishlist: Teachers and administrators can curate collections, but not load their own material. On the plus side: The reason is that BloomBoard wants to review the material and ensure its quality before making it available.

Educational Uses

Here are six ways to integrate BloomBoard into your professional development:

  • provide a curation of quality, tested resources organized by topic so teachers have a one-stop shop for informing themselves on topics of interest.
  • track teacher professional learning for credentialing or recertification (or salary schedules).
  • quickly find out who’s knowledgeable on a particular education subject (through the admin dashboard).
  • engage in group study of a topic to promote grade-level or school goals.
  • extend learning using the BloomBoard recommendations, based on teacher profiles.
  • stay up-to-date on education pedagogy with easy-to-access and reliable resources.

Insider Tips

Resources can be viewed on the website as well as iOS and Android devices and/or embedded to share out with others. This is done through Embed.ly which provides embedded cards for free like the one below:

Show What You Know: Project Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom

They can also be shared via email and/or social media platforms.

***

In an era where education has morphed from sage on the stage to teacher-as-guide, it’s a challenge for educators to stay on top of all they need to know. BloomBoard makes that easy by curating goals, providing required resources, and tracking progress. I don’t know how it could be simpler.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

 

#IWSG–What’s My First Piece of Writing

04 Aug

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question – Where is my first piece of writing.

My very first piece of serious writing is out there, published. You can find Building a Midshipman on Amazon. It was inspired by my daughter’s journey from high school to USNA Midshipman. That one is non-fiction.

Let’s talk about fiction. My first fiction piece is Lucy: Story of Man.

…A historic thriller in the spirit of Jean Auel that follows a band of early humans as they struggle to survive in a world where Nature is King and they are prey not predators. 

Read the rest of this entry »

 
No Comments

Posted in Musings

 

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Digital Citizenship Curriculum

27 Jul

digital citizenshipI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Overview

K-8 Digital Citizenship Curriculum–9 grade levels. 17 topics. 46 lessons. 46 projects. A year-long digital citizenship curriculum that covers everything you need to discuss on internet safety and efficiency, delivered in the time you have in the classroom.

Digital Citizenship–probably one of the most important topics students will learn between kindergarten and 8th and too often, teachers are thrown into it without a roadmap. This book is your guide to what children must know at what age to thrive in the community called the internet. It blends all pieces into a cohesive, effective student-directed cyber-learning experience that accomplishes ISTE’s general goals to:

  • Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
  • Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
  • Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Cover Reveal: To Hunt a Sub

19 Jul

I’ve been preparing for this day for… years… Maybe longer. Simple words don’t seem enough to share the emotion of the event. Maybe a drumroll (as efriend Rebecca Bradley used to launch her latest book):

Or would Pomp and Circumstance be better, as I prepare for my future as a world-acclaimed breakout author:

Or maybe, Ride of the Valkyries, with its energetic march into the unknown, head up, spirit brave:

I hope this cover embraces the risk-taker spirit of my characters, their noble goal, and the danger that floats just below the surface as they try everything in their power to save a world they believe in:
to hunt a sub

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.


Book information:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray
Release Date: August, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Preview: Available on Kindle Scout
 ..
Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
***
A few blogging friends have joined me in this exciting unveiling and I wanted to share their blogs with you:
 
 

Differentiate with Tech–Starts July 18th!

17 Jul

How to Make Differentiation Fast and Easy with Tech

Starts Monday! Last chance to sign up. This Ask a Tech Teacher online class is only offered for college credit.

 

Why is the Supreme Court So Important — and How to Explain That

11 Jul

supreme court simulationWhen you think of the Supreme Court, you think of old people in black robes that dispassionately determine the fate of the country’s laws. That’s all true, but there’s more to maintaining law and order than a podium and a gavel. The Supreme Court is the apex of one of three branches in the American government:

  • The Legislative (the House and the Senate) passes laws
  • The Executive (the President) executes the laws
  • The Judicial (all the courts in the United States from the local courts to the Supreme Court) judges whether the laws and their execution abide by the nation’s Constitution

The Supreme Court consists of nine individuals who are nominated by the President and voted in by the Senate. Once approved, they serve for life, the hope being that this allows them to judge apolitically, based on the merits of the case rather than political leaning. These guidelines are not without controversy but are critical to a healthy, democratic environment.

But this year, an election year, is different. The death of Antonin Scalia leaves the court split evenly between those who lean Democrat and those who lean Republican. Rarely in our history has an outgoing president — in his last year — been tasked with selecting such a critical Supreme Court justice.

Really, it’s much more complicated than what I’ve described, but this isn’t the place to unravel what could become a Gordian knot of intrigue over the next few months. Suffice to say, this process will overwhelm the media and your students will want to know more about what is normally a dull and boring process and why it has become foundational to our future. This provides a rare opportunity to educate them on the court system in America.

Here’s a list of six websites to teach students about the Supreme Court. The first four provide an overview and the last two gamify the concepts.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 
%d bloggers like this: