Tech Talk Blog

  • Asking Questions

    Posted by Linda Martin on 4/9/2019

    One of the skills that students of all ages eventualy learn is the importance of asking meaningful questions. The Right Question Institute is dedicated to helping students, teachers, and families learn the skills necessary to do this. According to their website, "The skill of question asking is far too rarely deliberately taught . . . . We have worked with and learned from educators to develop a teaching strategy that provides a simple yet powerful way to teach students how to formulate, work with, and use their own questions." The website offers free resources for downloading, reading, and watching. The basic steps they suggest are:

    • Brainstorming
    • Identifying open and closed questions
    • Analyzing the advantages of both question types
    • Rewriting questions into different types
    • Prioritizing questions
    • Investigating questions

    The website offers ways for anyone to start thinking about how they think!

    Questions marks

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  • Camera Tech

    Posted by Linda Martin on 3/22/2019

    Anyone who has read my blog in the past may have figured out that not only am I a technology fan but also an astronomy one. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day caught my attention and made me curious about the technology used to capture this image. I followed the link to Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti's, the photographer's, website and learned that he used a Sony a7 II, 24 megapixel camera to take the picture. Through additional research, I also learned that 50 megapixel cameras are now available from other manufacturers, and it is expected that new cameras will be coming out with even higher megapixel offerings in the near future. Technology, in this case, has brought viewers as close to the reality of being there as possible without actually having to travel or get cold! Due to copyright, I can't post Tenti's image here, so I included one that is part of Creative Commons to give you an idea of how beautiful the northern lights are, and hopefully, you'll visit the link to the Astronomy Picture of the Day to see the image that inspired me to write this.

    Northern Lights


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  • Pi Day

    Posted by Linda Martin on 3/12/2019

    This Thursday, March 14 (3-14), is Pi Day, a day celebrated internationally by mathematicians. Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and represents a constant, infinite number, beginning with 3.14159. Pi has been calculated to more than one trillion digits, and Pi Day is celebrated in a variety of ways, including eating pie and reciting the number to as many digits as is possible to memorize. Various websites are dedicated to Pi Day. If you want to learn more about it, you may want to visit the site 36 Surprising Facts About Pi. You might also be interested in the site Find Your Pi Day. On this website, enter your birthdate (or any date), and the website will locate and highlight that date sequence in Pi. Learning more about Pi Day is a great opportunity to discover more about math--and to eat a slice of pie!

    Pi Day

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  • Reading Like a Historian

    Posted by Linda Martin on 2/28/2019

    Stanford History Education Group hosts a website filled with US and world history lessons and assessments that are free for teachers to use to supplement their existing curricula. Their goal, as their website states, is "to improve education by conducting research, working with school districts, and reaching directly into classrooms with free materials for teachers and students." The history curriculum and assessments have been downloaded more than five million times. The Stanford Group is comprised of Stanford faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars, and they are continually adding more content to their offerings, including recently released Civic Online Reasoning assessments and soon-to-be-released digital skills materials. If you teach and/or love history, you may want to explore this website.

    Read Like a Historian

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  • TED-Ed

    Posted by Linda Martin on 2/11/2019

    Many of you may be familiar with TED Talks and have enjoyed the topics presented. TED also has an educational component called TED-Ed. The TED-Ed lessons focus on all subject areas and contain videos, quizzes, enrichment resources, and discussion questions.  Teachers may also customize lessons to meet their own classes' needs. To use TED-Ed lessons, teachers need to create a free account. Once registered, they will receive weekly emails containing links to that week's lessons. As a former English teacher, one of this week's lessons caught my attention: "Why should you read Shakespeare's The Tempest?"  To get a taste for what a TED-Ed lesson is like, watch this video and visit the accompanying lesson.  To be able to view all the materials, be sure to register for an account.



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  • cK-12

    Posted by Linda Martin on 1/29/2019

    For anyone interested in exploring new learning or supplementing current courses, cK-12 may a website to explore. According to their website, they "believe every child . . . should have equal access to great education." With that goal in mind, they have developed interactive lessons for math, science, English and other topics, for the K-12 student audience. Lessons include videos, interactive activities, and online FlexBook textbooks. All materials are free for students to use and are compatible with a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.


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  • STEAM Apps

    Posted by Linda Martin on 1/22/2019

    The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering interactive science to, as their website states, "schools, families and underserved communities in the New York City area." In addition to directly serving the New York City area, they have also created a suite of free iOS apps available to anyone that blend science, art, and gaming to encourage interest in STEAM.  The suite includes: Picture Dots, Playground Physics, Volumize, Fraction Mash, Size Wise, and Choreo Graph. Their goal is to inspire educators and students to explore math, science, and art and how they interconnect. The apps are available through the App Store.


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  • Winter STEM

    Posted by Linda Martin on 1/17/2019

    Winter is a great time to continue learning through STEM-related activities. The cold and snow provide unique opportunities to try different experiments. I recently read an article called Cool Hands-on Learning that focused on winter STEM activities. The activities are designed for various age and experience levels, and as such, provides something that almost everyone can enjoy. If you're interested in any component of STEM, you may want to read this and try some of the activities.

    Winter STEM

    Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Tech Trends

    Posted by Linda Martin on 1/4/2019

    I recently read an article in Tech & Learning about the top ten educational technology trends, and I found it quite interesting. At Seneca Valley we are involved either broadly or in specific classes in at least seven of these trends: 1:1, mobile devices, cloud computing, collaborative computing, robotics, game-based learning, and STEAM/STEM. Anyone interested in learning more about the educational philosophy behind the trends may find it worthwhile to read the article.

    Educational Tech Trends

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  • Writer Igniter

    Posted by Linda Martin on 12/17/2018

    The old adage, "Practice makes perfect," is certainly true when it comes to writing. The more practice a student gets, the better writer he/she will become. Writer Igniter is a website that randomly generates writing prompts to give students ideas for practicing their writing skills. Just click the Shuffle button and watch Writer Igniter randomly select a character, a situation, a prop, and a setting to get students started writing. This tool could be used daily, weekly, monthly--however the teacher chooses--or students could use it on their own to refine their skills. Either way, it's a great writing tool and easy to use. 

    Writer Igniter

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