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Archive for the ‘Ask a Tech Teacher’ Category

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:

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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:

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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.

 

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

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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.

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08 Jul

tech-infused classroom

Last chance–class starts Monday, July 11th!

Click to join

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10 Common Core Tips You Shouldn’t Miss

01 Jul

common core resourcesHere are ten of the top Common Core tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. 13 Ways Blogs Teach Common Core
  2. Common Core Breathes Life into Keyboarding
  3. Common Core requires publishing. Technology makes that happen
  4. Dear Otto: What are Common Core keyboarding standards?
  5. 7 Ways Common Core Will Change Your Classroom
  6. 7 Common Core Ways to Assess Knowledge
  7. How to Align Technology with Common Core State Standards
  8. 11 Things I Love About Common Core
  9. Common Core Reading–What if Students Don’t Like Reading
  10. Common Core: A Lesson Plan for STEM (on Bridges)

More Common Core resources

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How do I create a classroom library checkout system?

28 Jun

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. 

I got this question from a colleague:

I am looking for an app that classroom teachers can use to scan a classroom library and allow teachers to check books out with students.  Any suggestions on one or your colleagues may have liked?  Thanks for your help!

I chatted with colleagues and got a few common answers:
  • Classroom Organizer–a free app that works with a desktop application; lets you scan in books, manage them, and check them out (through the app)
  • Classroom Checkout–a fee-based app that catalogues books, manages student checkouts, and keeps track of books.

Another interesting approach that one friend uses is through Google Forms and an add-on called Checkitout: You enter all the books yourself (rather than scan a barcode and have the information populate) into a Google spreadsheet tied to a Google Checkout Form. Students would fill the Google Form out with relevant information and that would automatically populate on the spreadsheet you created. You can sort the spreadsheet by book rather than date to see which books are checked out to whom. Richard Byrne does a nice summary of how it works here.

A final option: QR Codes. I didn’t find anyone in my PLN using this approach, but it sounds pretty good. Here’s an article on it.

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Top 10 Reasons to Sign Up for Summer Learning

16 Jun

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.

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