Parent resources

8 Ways Parents and Teachers Support Remote Teaching

Corona virus has been difficult not just for teachers and students but for parents. They aren’t used to the homeschool aspect of remote teaching and it is a challenge to balance the needs of all of their children as well as their own personal circumstances. Here are thoughtful suggestions on how to make that work from Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Emily, from over at My Tech Classroom. Her website is filled with innovative ideas on blending tech into education. Today, she’s focused her considerable experience on how parents and teachers can support remote teaching. You’ll enjoy this: 

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With millions of children out of school and trying to adjust to online classes from home, there is a big challenge for parents and teachers. The first thing parents need to arrange is online access. Not all families have computers at home and not all children are tech-savvy. Fortunately, most people have smartphones, and it is possible to access online teaching platforms from a phone.

If your child’s school is giving online classes, they will be live group classes and lectures as well as recorded material that your child can view later. This is very important for parents who have more than one child needing online teaching. The family can choose the time a child accesses her lessons.

  • Make a Schedule 

The organization of computer use timings is important if the parents need the computer for their work at certain hours of the day. Since we don’t know how long online classes will be required, it’s important to invest in an upgrade of your technology, so you and your child can keep up.

  • Help Children Relax

During the lockdown, children may become tense and nervous about their schooling. After all, they need to learn new skills on the computer and do their work by themselves. Parents can help their children to relax and take it one step at a time.

  • Trust the Teacher

Teachers will do their best to inform the parents about their aims and goals for online teaching as well as give a schedule for classes. This information will be posted on the learning platform such as Microsoft Teams, where you can see it. It may also be sent in easily accessible formats such as texts that make it easier for parents to stay connected to the teacher.

  • Make Sure Your Child Gets Facetime

Teachers are doing their best to give facetime to all of their students, but sometimes this isn’t possible. If the child has to babysit a younger sibling, or the Internet goes out or any other reason the student can’t get on the facetime part of the lesson parents need to know. All the experts recommend at least some time every week when the student can talk directly to the teacher. This helps develop security and reduce anxiety in the child. This article gives you a clear example of what to expect from the teacher.

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11+ Back-to-School Night Tips

Come Join me on BYU Radio,  Sirius XM 143

Thursday, August 1st at 5:00 and 7:00 a.m. PT

as we discuss Back to School Tips!

Here’s the link:

BYUradio is available locally in Utah on 107.9 FM 89.1 HD2 FM and on. Continue reading

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How to Do Student-led Conferences

sad girlI remember report card days as a child, me sitting outside on a brick wall, scared to death as my mother met with the teacher and received the (always bad) news about how I wasn’t doing. It never motivated me to try harder, didn’t make me like school better, and angered me at everyone involved.

Fast forward to me as a K-5 teacher. I love report card days now because this is when I get to meet parents. Often, it is the only time I see those who don’t drop in with questions or email me about concerns. Even before it became protocol, I invited students to join the conversation. I wanted to let parent and child know I considered the three of us a partnership in the student’s success.

Today, that inclusive approach is integral to student-led conferences.

What is a student-led conference?

studentled conference is where students between kindergarten and 12th grade meet with parents (with the teacher quietly at the side) to share the work they completed during the grading period and their progress toward overall goals. Simply stated, student-led conferences are about process not product. Where traditional conferences seek to delineate how students rank academically at a point in time, student-led conferences revolve around the work students have produced. They are less about grading than measuring learning. In fact, the grades earned are secondary to how students understand what happened in the lesson.

The philosophy behind student-led conferences

If we were teaching writing skills, the philosophy would be called “show don’t tell”. In student-led conferences, this means that students demonstrate their acquired knowledge not by a grade but by communicating their progress.  For student work to be relevant, students must be engaged, responsible for the learning and involved in reporting that to stakeholders. 

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Categories: education reform, Parent resources, teaching strategies | Tags:

Teaching Basic Cybersecurity Measures To Everyday People (For Parents of Digital Natives)

As one who manages way too many online accounts, I read this article from Ask a Tech Teacher contributor and CyberSecurity expert (retired), Sam Bocetta with interest. My checklist (green for good and red for ‘need help’):

    • I’m paranoid about links and downloads
    • I check for virus and malware regularly
    • Ooops–don’t yet use a VPN
    • I should pay more attention to my passwords
    • I am religiously careful of email
    • Yep–switched to HTTPS for my blogs and websites
    • I update software when prompted (that’ll have to be black)

Read Sam’s article below. When you’re done, evaluate your cybersecurity safety.

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The topic of cybersecurity is becoming something people of all ages worry about. This is largely due in part to the rise in malware, ransomware, and infections people have experienced over the last year.

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Questions Parents Ask

parents and educationI’ve been asked by a wonderful parent organization called Konstella to serve as an expert for parents on topics of technology in the classroom. They started by asking a series of questions that were on their minds. These are so relevant and authentic to what’s happening today at the juxtaposition of education and technology, I wanted to share them with you.

The Questions are in bold and my answers in italics:

I allow my kids to have “Friends” in Roblox or Instagram and only chat with friends. However, it’s very hard for me to determine who is an actual friend in real life since all the usernames are made up. How do I go about checking so many “friends” and “followers”? My kids are age 13 and 10.

As a general rule, unregulated online friends are a really really bad idea. Your role as a parent is critical to preparing your children to go online before using social media platforms. Who your children meet on the Internet is not the same as the kids in the neighborhood or at school or on a youth sports team. You don’t know their goals, intentions, or even if they’re kids. Always believe you have the right to manage your children’s online activities be it time online, websites they visit, privacy settings, or friends they make. You can make rules and expect them to be followed. You can check their browser history and who their friends are without feeling like you’re spying on them.

Remember this: Few social media websites are vetted for age-appropriateness. This includes those you mentioned. Most social media platforms do enforce age limits but these are self-monitored. For Roblox and Instagram, it is 13+ (in some states this will vary, usually to the upside).  WhatsApp has 16 as the minimum age (for EU users). Read the parental guidelines all social media platforms offer. Be transparent and show this to kids. Put your shine on as you help them understand that though this is not your decision, you agree with it and explain why.

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Categories: Parent resources

Plan a Memorable Back to School Night

Back to School night is a time-honored ritual where teachers and parents meet, with or without children, and preview the upcoming school year. Teachers share information about their teaching style and methodology, how they grade, what students can do to thrive, and how parents can connect to classroom activities. It’s a way of easing everyone back into the education journey after a long summer break and is arguably one of the most impactful days in the school year.

But Back to School night has changed over the years in large part because families have changed. Consider this list of reasons why from Edutopia:

  • Increased pace of life
  • Greater economic demands
  • Alterations in family composition and stability
  • Breakdown of neighborhoods and extended families
  • Weakening of community institutions

The most important goal of Back to School Night — establishing the parent-teacher partnership — is a lot more complicated to reach than it used to be.

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Zapzapmath adds multiplayer option and more to their popular app

zapzapmathZapzapmath is a free gamified ecosystem that teaches math skills aligned with many national and international standards.  Its format is engaging, music lively, and layout colorful. The over 180 games spanning 900 difficulty levels are fast-paced and interactive and cover over 180 math topics. Zapzapmath has been awarded a plethora of education accolades and is ranked in the top 10 of the education category in 58 countries including the US and China.No surprise when you look at all the topics included in this robust app:
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– Addition
– Angles
– Coordinates
– Fractions
– Geometry
– Measurements
– Multiplication
– Pre-school Math
– Ratio
– Subtraction
– Time

Now, Zapzapmath has made the experience even better with a long list of enhancements, in-game improvements, and an even greater variety of features.  These are designed for all types of players from those who play at school to students who log on at a homeschool or through a family account. This is perfect for the many different ways students learn math, the wide variety of digital devices being used, and gives a nod toward the lifelong learner who is as likely to play math games because they love learning as that it’s part of teacher-directed activities.

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Categories: Homeschool, math, Parent resources, Reviews, Web 2.0 | Tags: | 1 Comment

169 Tech Tip #77: Use BCC to Hide Email Addresses

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #77–Use BCC to Hide Email Addresses

Category: Email

Sub-category: Security, Parents

Q: I want to send an email to a list of people, but want to keep their email addresses private. How do I do that?

A: Put email addresses under the BCC field. In the ‘to’ field, put no-reply@yourdomain.com. It doesn’t matter what you put. It’ll bounce back to you as undeliverable, but all of your bcc emails will go out as planned.

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169 Tech Tip #69: Instead of Emailing, Share

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #69–Instead of Emailing, Share

Category: Email

Sub-category: Internet, MS Office, Google Apps, Parents

Q: I want to share a class video with parents, but the file’s too large and I don’t know how to embed it into the class blog. What can I do?

A: Share it with Google Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive. In fact, you can share from any cloud-based file folder including Dropbox and Box.

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10 Great Posts on How to Involve Parents

Here are ten of the top posts on involving parents in your class:

Four Ways Teachers Can Stay Connected With Their Student’s Parents Using Technology

Parent Questions About Edtech

How Parents Can Protect Their Children Online

3 Digital Tools To Keep Parents Up to Date

What parents should ask teachers about technology

How to Run a Parent Class

19 Ways Students Keep Learning Fresh Over the Summer

How Do Non-Techie Parents Handle the Increasing Focus of Technology in Education?

Tech-Savvy Seniors: Myth or Present-Day Reality?

5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class

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Categories: Parent resources | 3 Comments

19 Ways Students Keep Learning Fresh Over the Summer

summer tech funTeachers have known for decades that ‘summer learning loss’ is a reality. Studies vary on how much knowledge students lose during the summer months–some say up to two months of reading and math skills–and results are heavily-dependent upon demographics, but the loss is real.

To prevent this, teachers try approaches such as summer book reports, but students complain they intrude on their summer time. When teachers make it optional, many don’t participate. The disconnect they’re seeing is that students consider these activities as ‘school’ rather than ‘life’. They haven’t bought into the reality that they are life-long learners, that learning is not something to be turned on in the schoolhouse and off on the playyard.

This summer, show students how learning is fun, worthy, and part of their world whether they’re at a friend’s house or the water park. Here are nineteen suggestions students will enjoy:

Math

  • Youngers: Take a picture of making change at the store. Share it in a teacher-provided summer activity folder (this should be quick to use, maybe through Google Drive if students have access to that). Kids will love having a valid reason to use Mom’s smartphone camera.
  • Any age: Take a picture of tessellations found in nature (like a beehive or a pineapple). Kids will be amazed at how many they find and will enjoy using the camera phone. Once kids have collected several, upload them to a program like Shadow Puppets where they can record audio notes over the picture and share with friends.
  • Any age: Pit your math and technology skills against your child’s in an online math-based car race game like Grand Prix Multiplication. They’ll know more about using the program and will probably win–even if you do the math faster. You might even have siblings compete.
  • Grades 2-5: Set up a summer lemonade stand. Kids learn to measure ingredients, make change, listen to potential customers, and problem-solve. If you can’t put one up on your street, use a virtual lemonade stand.
  • Any age: If your child wants to go somewhere, have them find the location, the best route, participation details, and other relevant information. Use free online resources like Google Maps and learn skills that will be relevant to class field trips they’ll take next year.

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How to Run a Parent Class

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

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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14 Websites That Will Excite Students About Tech

Most teachers I know accept that their classes must be technology-infused. Many think that means replacing traditional tools with the tech version (for example, instead of creating a big bulky poster, use a virtual poster like Glogster). Others think using iPads to read the book is homage enough to the 21st Century teaching police. A surprising number of students — and teachers — still consider technology to be the realm of a chosen few endowed with brilliance and math/science skills. When you try to explain that technology, computers, and websites are easily accessible to anyone willing to think critically and solve problems, they laugh. Or hide.

Here are fourteen websites I use to persuade teachers that technology isn’t always about math and science, that lots of tools work flawlessly as they inspire students to new ways of learning.

Backwards Google

This site shows the Google search engine backwards as is everything you type into the search field. This is from the creative minds at elgooG (not affiliated with Google) and only for entertainment. When you’re done giggling over the oddity of a backwards world, try some of their other geeky options included at the top of the screen like:

  • Snake Game (at the top of the Backwards Google screen)
  • Do a Barrel Roll –click the link and Google will do a barrel roll before beginning your search
  • Tilt —  click the link and Google will tilt before performing your search

google gravity

Chrome Experiments

Chrome Experiments is a showcase of over 1200 web experiments written by the creative coding community. They are clever and often addicting and include a mesmerizing kaleidoscope, Fluid Particles (waves of particles generated by a SketchUp type drawing you create), Searching Planet (a 3D visual of what people around the globe search for on Google), and A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2 (shows how carbon dioxide travels around the globe over the course of one year).

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Categories: Games/Simulations, humor, Parent resources, teacher resources

Tech-Savvy Seniors: Myth or Present-Day Reality?

seniors and technologyA topic I don’t cover enough in Ask a Tech Teacher is how seniors handle the onslaught of technology in their lives. Thankfully, Beata GREEN, Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London-based bespoke software development company, has experience in this area and was willing to share her ideas. Beata is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. When she’s not pondering the blending of tech into the lives of parents and grandparents, she enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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Older people have always been reticent to adopt new inventions, especially when it comes to new technology. As new tech is mostly created by young developers, it is usually tailored to the younger generation. However, the impact of technology on the health and personal life of seniors can be huge, even if they claim they do perfectly well without it.

One of the major problems of technology adoption among elderly people is their non-understanding as to why they need it at all. Keeping up with the youth is not going to be a good incentive here. What is the greatest value, then, that technology can bring into the lives of the older generation? We’ve analyzed many different aspects of the biggest pains for seniors to show how tech can be decisive in increasing their life quality. And how after seeing a clear benefit, even our grannies are not afraid to try something new.

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Categories: high school, Parent resources | 2 Comments

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