Thanks for dropping by my blog. I am the technology teacher at a Southern California school. We start with KidPix and keyboarding in kindergarten and finish off with Photoshop and Web 2.0 Communication Tools by the end of fifth Grade. Over the years, I’ve taught thousands of students and loved every minute of it. There’s nothing more exhilarating than to be let loose on the savannas of the internet with a toolkit chock full of technology skills. Feel free to visit my classroom wiki (remember: wikis are created and maintained by the students) and my tech start page.
Before that, I taught community college business classes and before that, enjoyed a twenty-year career in business management.
Of the three careers, I find teaching the most gratifying. Sharing technology secrets with our newest students is a privilege that I never take for granted, especially in this time of downsizing educational extras and tightening budgets. My plan with this blog is to take your children through a course of technology instruction from Hello, Mr. Computer to Look What I Can Do!
A quick bio: I was born in Berkley California to Irish-German parents. After receiving a BA in Economics, a BA in Russian and an MBA, and while putting my time in as a Working Mom, I raised two children and taught evening classes at community colleges. Now, my daughter has graduated from USNA and is serving as an officer aboard a San Diego-based cruiser. My son graduated from University of California with a double major and enlisted in the Army where he serves with the Signal Corps. My beautiful labrador Casey is finally potty trained. Which means, I have time to return to my passion: writing.
How can I help you or your school district? Fill out the form below and I’ll send you a quote:
Need more background? Here’s an interview I did with Betsy Weigle at Classroom Teacher Resources
Integrating Technology in Education
Thanks for inviting me to your site, Betsy. I’m honored to be able to share my thoughts with your readers about technology in education.
What skills do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?
Independence, curiosity, communication, enthusiasm, being risk-takers, being inquirers, being open-minded. If we can nurture these skills in students, we’ve done our jobs.
For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?
Start with Web 2.0 communication tools. This isn’t software – no MS Office here! – rather, these are online tools (mostly free) that enable students to communicate in creative ways that appeal to their unique and individual learning and leading styles. A short list includes:
- Tagxedo or Wordle
- QR Codes
Here’s an article about my top 13 (including links to those above).
What is your non-blogging job?
That would be teaching. I teach technology to K-8 students at a small private school in Southern California.
What is the best part of that job?
So many students think they can’t get technology. I’ve studied what stumps them and over the years come up with what I think are effective methods of overcoming their tech-phobia. The best part of my “tech teacher” job is when that works – when students who thought they’d never excel at technology start coming in on their own time to use the computers, when they show me a project they did at home by themselves and they’re proud of it, when their parents come tell me how their little one taught them X or Y on the computer.
You can’t beat that feeling for both student and me!
How did you first get involved with blogging?
I started blogging to share ideas with colleagues and pick their brains on the big concepts that float around our discipline:
- 1:1 schools
- Flipped classrooms
- Good use of iPads
- Best practices for tech teachers
I wanted to share what I was doing to benefit newer teachers and get feedback from my more-experienced e-colleagues. Since that modest start, it’s morphed into a resource for both tech and classroom teachers.
One of the most interesting parts (to me) is a column I offer where I answer questions for teachers. Sometimes I can provide feedback from my experience, but more often the fascinating questions of my colleagues force me to think through what I’m doing and organize my thoughts on it.
I had one question from a teacher in North Carolina asking whether I thought tech teachers should remain in the lab or move to the core classroom. I cross-posted the inquiry (because I didn’t have a good answer) to the other parts of my professional learning network and it mushroomed to a huge discussion with valuable feedback I never could have come up with on my own. I was awed and inspired by the depth of thought everyone put into their answers.
I got involved to share and as a result, I find myself learning. What could be better?
What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
That has to be staying up to date. There are so many advancements in technology, I spend part of each day on forums, ezines, checking out my sources to see what I’m missing.
Recently, TEDEd came out – a game changer in technology teaching. Every day it’s something like that. I’m thrilled, but humbled by how much is available to better teach technology. Every year I change lesson plans because last year’s are dated.
With iPads, there is a whole new world of tools we can use to better communicate education concepts. The teachers at my school are clamoring for them and I have to find time to research those while keeping my teaching schedule. Don’t take this wrong – I have no complaints. I’ve been offered a classroom teaching position, but I love the pizazz and sparkle of tech too much to ever change!
What have been your most-popular topics?
By far, it’s keyboarding. I remember getting an email from a radio producer interested in interviewing me about keyboarding and young students for a radio show. She couldn’t believe how excited I was! Any tech teacher understands – it’s a huge issue: When to start keyboarding skills, how and what to expect, when to work on speed and accuracy. Nothing mundane about keyboarding and kinders.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, Cisco blogger, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.