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Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

What I’m Writing This Month

15 Aug

Much of my day is spent writing, either freelance articles, guest posts, or one of my many fiction and nonfiction WIP. Any leftover time goes to marketing what I’ve already written, trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. That includes outreach, responding to inquiries, and exploring new marketing channels.

Since I work out of my house, I like to break my day into three parts:

morning

afternoon

evening

I consign tasks to each portion of the day, stopping for lunch and dinner and a few breaks to pet the dog. Every once in a while, I like to look at what I accomplish on a daily basis with my writing. I don’t count words like some writing efriends. I count what I get done. My writing ToDo list this month includes:

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2 Ways to Run a Parent Class

07 Mar

parent-teacher classParents often find technology a roadblock to helping their children with classwork. There are too many geeky tools with too few instructions, and every year, what they thought they understood changes. Like students, they don’t want to sound like Luddites, so they struggle for a while and ultimately give up. With that comes either disinterest or pushback against your efforts to blend tech into learning. Both are dangerous to your teaching goals.

You can solve this by offering tech classes to parents, to teach them either the skills their students are learning or an introduction to tech in their lives. They can be offered while parents are waiting for students to finish after-school activities, as a brown bag lunch program, or online during evenings or weekends via Google Hangout or Skype. Which is best will depend upon the needs and schedules of your parent group. Kick off the program with a poll (use an online platform like Google Forms or PollDaddy, one students use in class) to find out what time works best.

If you find there’s interest, get approval from your administration before going further. There are lots of reasons schools have for NOT offering free classes to parents. Make sure you don’t infringe on any of those before proceeding.

Once you decide to move forward, determine which of two approaches work best for your needs and parent interests:

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What parents should ask teachers about technology

08 Feb

parent-teacher

‘Technology in education’ has become the buzz phrase for cutting edge classes that are plugged into the latest education trends. Not surprisingly, it takes a lot more than a room full of computers, iPads, and apps to turn “tech ed” from marketing to mainstream.

For parents, where schools fall on that continuum — mostly marketing hype or taking the necessary steps to integrate tech — is critical. When you start at a new school (or classroom, or teacher), it’s important to understand the part technology will take to improve educational experiences for your child. Here are fourteen question you can expect stakeholders to answer — in depth:

Who teaches students to use class digital tools?

Many teachers (too many) think students arrive at school as digital natives, with all necessary digital knowledge downloaded into their brains. This myth exploded when students taking the year-end online tests didn’t know basic tech skills like copy-paste, keyboarding, using dialogue boxes, and more. So it’s a legitimate question: Who teaches students how to use the school’s digital devices and what training do they get to support that responsibility? Is it a one-off PD day or ongoing? Is there a tech ed curriculum to ensure topic coverage and that teaching is done “the right way” or is it up to the teacher? How does the school handle an unexpected tech need — say, programming for December’s Hour of Code?

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My Year in Books–from Goodreads

26 Jan

Love this graphic shared by Goodreads! It starts with a summary:

year-in-books-header-2016

…and then lists all the books.

To view this bigger:

  • click the  image
  • click ‘view full size’
  • click the resulting image

my-year-in-books-2016-goodreads

Did we read any of the same books?


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, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also 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, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for Summer, 2017. Click to follow its progress.

 
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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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