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Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

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:

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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:

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#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. 

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Help Me Launch To Hunt a Sub?

29 Jun

submarine 4I’m finally ready to put my thriller, To Hunt a Sub, out there into the marketplace. I have a cover, a good Kirkus review, a blurb, and a modest amount of courage, but I need your help. As a self-pub Indie author, ‘how we roll’ is by spreading the news via word of mouth. Here’s what I’m looking for:

Cover Reveal

Help me show off my shiny new cover (thanks to Paper and Sage) as a prequel to the book launch. I am looking for people to host my cover reveal the first few weeks of July–which I hope will be a few weeks prior to the book launch.

Release Date Blog Post

Post a short note on To Hunt a Sub’s release date, letting your readers know that it is now available at *** (TBA). Feel free to wish me luck! I will return the favor by linking to your blog from mine (or, if you prefer, somewhere else).

Blog Hop

Feature To Hunt a Sub on your blog! This can be posting my blurb, interviewing me, or ??? (your creative approach to helping me launch my book). This should be scheduled for the last few weeks of July, but I’ll let you know as we get closer.

Whichever fits your blog, I am most appreciative of your assistance.  I will return the favor by linking to your blog from mine (or, if you prefer, hosting one of your book launch activities).

If you’re willing to help me launch my first fiction book (unlike the dozens of non-fiction I’ve published–good grief, this is so different!) by telling your community about it, please complete the form below, telling me what part you’d like to participate in:

If you don’t like forms, just send me an email at murray2@cox.net. And thank you for your help!

More on To Hunt a Sub’s progress:

How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’

How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’

How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’


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 dozens of books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. 

 
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Ten Tech Problem-Solving Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

03 Jun

problems-solvingHere are the top ten problem-solving tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. Tech Tip #108: Got a Tech Problem? Google It!
  2. What to do when your Computers Don’t Work
  3. 25 Techie Problems Every Student Can Fix–Update
  4. How to Teach Students to Solve Problems
  5. I Can Solve That Problem…
  6. Let Students Learn From Failure
  7. Let’s Talk About Habits of Mind
  8. Computer Shortkeys That Streamline Your Day
  9. #81: Problem Solving Board
  10. 5 Ways to Cure Technophobia in the Classroom

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#IWSG–Another bad first draft or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

01 Jun

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 insecurity – “Not with a bang but a whimper”.

TS Elliot’s “The Hollowman” was one of my favorite poems growing up, and this line still sticks with me:

Not with a bang but a whimper.

He wrote it to describe the end of the world, that we will not go out in a blaze of glory, but a dribble of meaninglessness. Right now, I’m praying that my imminent book launch is a road to … somewhere… not a dead end,  that it’s the answer to my dreams rather than just another bad first draft, that the ending is meaningful, not just where I ran out of things to say. If self-publishing is “learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss” (I’ve rephrased Douglas Adams), I so hope I miss.

Thoreau made the observation, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” I hope To Hunt a Sub is fish free.

Any words of encouragement to get me through this?

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How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’–VII

28 May

us submarineI had a few interruptions, but made a lot of progress on my newest thriller, To Hunt a Sub. Here’s the short blurb for this thriller:

…a brilliant PhD candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental bot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine.

Here’s what I did these past few months:

  • I incorporated my editor’s changes–loved most of them–and sent the final draft to several people I hope will write reviews for me. That will take a few months, which gives me time to complete other items.
  • I got my cover, which is waiting for the big Cover Reveal date (I haven’t set that up yet). Paper and Sage did a great job on it (who I found through efriend, Rebecca Bradley).
  • I am consciously ignoring the call of this book’s sequel, Twenty-four Days. I know if I start editing that, I’ll lose energy for the launch of this book.
  • I’m organizing my Blog Hop pieces where I’ll ask your help to promote my newly-published book. Stay tuned!
  • I’m still looking at Kindle Scout as a good option to get started. We’ll see.
  • I still need to get my barcode. I think I have a good place to get that in a day, so I’m procrastinating it.

I hope to move on to marketing in four(ish) weeks. Sigh. <shiver>.

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Thirteen Writing-with-Tech Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

23 May

digital writing helpHere are thirteen of the top writing-with-tech tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. A Helping Hand: Assistive Technology Tools for Writing
  2. Tech Tip #124: Editing is Easier with Digital Writing
  3. Revision Assistant–the Most Comprehensive Virtual Writing Assistant Available for Students
  4. 4 Ways Students Can Plan Their Writing
  5. 7 Innovative Writing Methods for Students
  6. How to Write a Novel with 140 Characters
  7. Technology Removes Obstructed Writers’ Barriers to Learning
  8. 66 Writing Tools for the 21st Century Classroom
  9. How Minecraft Teaches Reading, Writing and Problem Solving
  10. Common Core Writing–Digital Quick Writes
  11. Will Texting Destroy Writing Skills?
  12. #112: 10 Ways Twitter Makes You a Better Writer
  13. How Blogs Make Kids Better Writers

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10 Things Students Can Do With Buncee

16 May

bunceeBuncee is a web- and iPad-based creation tool for both teachers and students. With it, teachers can prepare engaging lessons, newsletters, and how-tos. Students can write interactive digital stories, easy-to build presentations, and more. The drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to put exactly what you want where it fits.  If you ever struggle with getting PowerPoint to do what you want, you won’t with Buncee. It’s intuitive, aligned with other programs you already know how to use, with virtually no learning curve.

Here’s how it works: You log into your account and set up your class. You can invite up to thirty students (no student email required) and then manage their activities, assignment responses, and classwork from the teacher dashboard. A project is built like a slideshow–add new slides that appear in the sidebar and build them out with a wide variety of searchable multimedia–Buncee artwork, stickers, photos, videos, freehand drawings, audio, text, animations, YouTube videos, and links. You can add images from the web, your computer, or your DropBox account. You can even record your own voice as an overlay (requires premium) for a how-to video or a digital storybook. Completed projects can be saved as jpgs or PDFs, and then shared via email, QR Code, social media, or embedded into blogs and websites.

Pros

I love that the site is easy enough for kindergartners, but sophisticated enough for teacher lesson planning. It’s the rare tool that blends simplicity with suave well enough that all stakeholders can feel proud of their work.

The site provides a library of prepared projects that teachers can use on everything from reading to math to science. Slide backgrounds include KWL charts, chalkboards, lined paper, calendars, desktop, outer space, and more. There are also a vast number of YouTube videos showing how to do many of the Buncee features (though most are simple enough, you won’t need the help).

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May is Military Appreciation Week

09 May

God bless my Navy daughter and my Army son. God bless all of our warriors.

Here’s a playlist of all the great songs saying thank you to our soldiers:


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 one hundred resources on integrating tech into education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, adjunct professor in technology-in-education, 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. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 
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