free tech resources / teacher resources / Tech ed

9 Steps to Tech Savviness This Summer

Summer is for change. Out with routine, in with spontaneity. When you were in high school, that meant relaxing, seeing friends, going to parties. In college, it likely meant a summer job to make the money that paidsummer technology for college. Now, as an adult, living your future, summer is a time to rejuvenate, to enrich, to build your core–those things that make you who you are.

As a technology teacher or IT coordinator or computer specialist (or all of the above), you need as much time as you can get and more than you have during the school year to stay afloat of what’s happening in the tech ed field. The list of changes is daunting–iPads, 1:1 initiatives, technology integration, podcasts, sharing and publishing student work, embeddable widgets, Common Core State Standards, digital citizenship, keyboarding. If you’re like me, you try to do what you can during the school year, but it’s summer, with its endless days and no schedule that gives you the freedom to let your brain lose.

Here’s my bucket list for this summer:

  1. Work on my blog (I have Ask a Tech Teacher, and I also have one for my writing hobby called WordDreams)
  2. Create a wiki for my tech class (luckily, the framework’s in place. I need to review and upgrade)
  3. Increase my PLN (I’m looking. Anyone have ideas?)
  4. Read some tech books. (Here’s a list from Richard Byrne I’m working my way through.)
  5. Learn one new web-based tool every day–take weekends off (So far, I’ve learned Animoto, Storybird, Screencast, some online Timeline creators, several online Puzzle creators…)
  6. Notice one tech use around me every day. (Like QR codes. Do you believe how they’re everywhere? How about Siri? How can I use that in the classroom to connect tech class to everyday life?)
  7. Learn to use the iPad. These are going to take over education–be ready. Don’t be stumped. (Fingers crossed, I’m getting one when the iPad 3 comes out)
  8. Try tech tools I don’t understand. (I’m learning robotics this summer as part of my school’s push to teach robotics to 5th graders. How about you? Pick one you think you won’t like. What about Twitter? or Facebook? Try them out. See how they work. Then, you’ll have good reasons why you don’t like them or you’ll change your mind)
  9. Join an ed tech effort that’s bigger than you. Present at a tech ed conference (next year: ISTE). Join the LearnZillion Dream Team. Teach a summer tech class for free. I know I’ll come out of it motivated, inspired, ready to return to teaching in the Fall.

What are you doing this summer?


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, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-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.

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7 thoughts on “9 Steps to Tech Savviness This Summer

  1. Jacqui, I like your advice here.
    One thing I’m constantly doing as far as refining my tech savviness is evaluating a tool’s usefulness and time committment. Otherwise, we get swamped too easily trying to use and learn everything!
    How successful have class wikis been for you?

    • That’s a good point–yes, that’s important: implement and evaluate. Some tools seem brilliant until the students get ahold of them.

      I rolled wikis out with 3-5th grade and got shut down for my enthusiasm by my Admin. I then limited it to 5th grade last year. Students loved the wikis, but had a few problems with implementation. Glogster posters disappeared. Other projects got accidentally deleted (sounds like user error, but I need to figure why it happened more than once). Log-ins got forgotten (I think I’ve come up with my work-around on that). As a result, we used them extensively, but I didn’t grade them. This year, I’m starting them earlier in the year and more slowly. The requirements to publish and share are clear and continuous in edtech. Wikis seems useful for that.

      How about you?

      • I haven’t tried a wiki; back when I taught middle school, I used edublogs to set up classroom blogs with every student as an author. This worked to varying levels of success. As a newly reenergized blogger, I’m tempted to reintroduce blogging to the students. But I think one class blog with every student an author might become too jumbled.

  2. Pingback: 9 Steps to Tech Savviness This Summer « Ask a Tech Teacher | iPad learning |

  3. I thought the idea with edublogs was that every student had their own blog, with you as the teacher having “control”/moderation/whatever rights to them all within the class – not a shared blog as such.

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