Posts Tagged With: 8th grade

Dear Otto: How do I teach Inquiry and Research in Middle School

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Ms. F:

Question: I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Instructional Technology. I struggle with the district standard for Inquiry & Research.  I can’t seem to find just the right type of assignment/topic because searching this, that, or the other thing is just random, out of context, an exercise in learning key word searching, finding reliable sites,synthesizing info.  If I make it too simple they can find all the answers on one site and then just plug in the facts.  I had 6th do a What-Happened-In-Your-Birth-Year project where they identified different categories and then searched for an event in that category:  Movies (and then find the Oscar winner for that year), Sports, Science, etc.  Right now the 7th grade assignment is comparing e-Readers (price, memory, size, features) using a spreadsheet, then drawing conclusions.

Any great ideas that would interest middle school students are welcome!!


Here are some ideas:

Hope this helps. Be sure to check out our Digital Citizenship ebook. It has a lot more hints.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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Categories: Ask Otto, middle school technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Here–8th Grade Technology Curriculum!

8th grade technologyThe eighth grade technology curriculum prepares students for their future not by teaching widgets and programs—though that happens—but by showing them how to be life-long learners. How do they decide what program works best for what inquiry? How do they acquire the use of tools they have never before seen? How do they self-assess their knowledge, insuring they acquired what they need? Don’t expect black-and-white answers. Success is more likely predicated on student transfer of knowledge than their ability to check off boxes on a rubric.

Here’s a quick overview of what you will find in this textbook:

  • Scope and Sequence aligned with ISTE and Common Core
  • Themed units tied into inquiry
  • Experiential learning with real-world applications
  • Opportunities for students to express and grow in their creativity
  • International mindedness
  • Articles on tech pedagogy

Each Unit includes:

  • an emphasis on comprehension, problem-solving, critical thinking, to prepare for career and college
  • Common Core Standards covered
  • ISTE Standards covered
  • essential question
  • big idea 
  • materials required
  • time required to complete
  • domain-specific vocabulary
  • problem solving
  • steps to accomplish goals
  • assessment strategies
  • ways to extend learning
  • project examples where appropriate
  • grading rubrics where appropriate

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Categories: Book review, classroom management, digital books, lesson plans, middle school technology | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Photoshop Anyone?

I teach Photoshop to eighth graders and have put together a comprehensive Photoshop Class Wiki to teach them skills, organize them weekly, explaining goals and grading.

Photoshop wiki

8th grade Photoshop wiki

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Categories: 8th grade, classroom management, free tech resources, lesson plans, Photoshop, projects, teacher resources, Tech ed, websites, Wikis | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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