10 Ideas to Get Started with Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Jumping into the world of Virtual Reality (VR) begins with a basic understanding of what it is. To start, imagine swimming around the ocean, admiring colorful fish, only to turn around to find yourself face-to-face with a shark…

Now imagine students having this same experience while standing in your classroom.

Virtual reality provides teachers the ability to provide an immersive experience where learners can feel as if they are living the content that you are teaching.  THAT is student engagement.

While it’s important to understanding that the difference between reality and virtual reality can be a fine line, particularly for younger students to understand, it is a powerful tool to bring intense learning experiences into the classroom.

To help you get started with simple ways to use virtual reality with students, we’ve gathered a list of ten popular virtual reality tools, apps, and resources together in one place.

Ready to see what’s possible? Read on!

Nearpod     

Nearpod is a mobile learning platform that allows teachers to create and sharing engaging, interactive lessons with their class and collect real time feedback from students. With Nearpod, 360 photos can easily be added into lessons with the click of a button—allowing students to be immersed into the learning content.

A few of our favorite locations to explore within Nearpod include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Anemone Reef, Flaming Crown at Dusk in Melbourne Australia, and Santorini Greece. Interested in trying it yourself? Check out this sample lesson for a firsthand look.

Related resource: Nearpod Training

 

YouTube™    

Watching videos will never be the same! YouTube™ now offers a variety of virtual reality experiences using 360 videos—see that directional arrow in the upper right corner of the above screen capture? It can be used to change the viewers’ perspective, and, in the sample shown, walk with a Titanosaur dinosaur.

With as many as 360 videos uploaded daily, it can be difficult to sort which are appropriate for classrooms.  For a few of our favorites, check out this playlist of 50+ videos to bring an immersive learning experience into your lessons. Included are swimming with sharks, flying in a fighter jet, and, of course, walking with dinosaurs.

Related resource: YouTube™ for Educators

8 Technologies to Watch

It’s no secret that technologies come and go. In fact, the ever-changing technological landscape makes it incredibly difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest tech trends, let alone plan how new tools can be used to enhance instruction.

The recent 2016 Teaching with Technology Survey, asked participants at educational institutions across the country to predict which new technologies they saw having the greatest impact on education in the next decade.

Interested in which tools made the cut? Here’s a few of their top choices:

  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
    Topping the list were augmented and virtual reality, one of the fastest growing trends in educational technology today. Beyond the cool factor, much of the appeal for education is the ability to go farther and dive deeper into a topic by not just telling students about it, but letting them experience it.

    One of the questions that comes up for those new to virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) is the difference between the two. The short answer is that VR allows you to completely immerse yourself as if you were magically teleported to an alternate location. AR, on the other hand, adds a layer on top of real life—for example viewing a 3D beating heart layered over an Anatomy textbook.

Related Resources:
10 Ideas to Get Started with Virtual Reality
Go Anywhere with Virtual Reality 
Getting Started with Augmented Reality

  • 3D Printing
    Possibly fueled by the already popular Maker Movement, 3D printing ranked as one of the top trends to watch. The option of 3D printing also is being fueled by the demand for STEM focused education, as it allows students the opportunity to apply mathematical processes and engineering concepts while developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create something tangible. (And its pretty darn cool, that probably helps.)

Related Resources:
SketchUp for 3D Printing using Google SketchUp
Students as Digital Creators 

5 Tough Questions to Ask When Implementing 1:1 or BYOD

Has your school gone 1:1? Or are headed that way? Often, with technology comes a great deal of change, a fair amount of resistance, and an abundance of questions. However, when done right, a 1:1 is well worth the effort.

To help ensure your school or district is set up for success from the start, we’ve compiled a few quick tips to set expectations and minimize potential pitfalls.

  1. What’s the Goal of the Initiative?
    We’re big fans of educational technology, but the addition of technology as a standalone isn’t enough. It’s important to set a goal for your devices that is focused on learning. In the words of Andrew Marcinek, a school CIO and former Director of Technology, in a recent Edutopia article:

    “A 1:1 environment should be the goal of every learning institution; however, this is not about devices, it's about access. I imagine every school superintendent, principal, and teacher would agree that it is in their best interest to provide their students with the best access to the most current, scholarly information available.”

    Without a focus on learning, a 1:1 initiative has the potential to be underutilized as well as fail to ultimately impact student success. If you haven’t already set such a goal, take a hard look at the technology in your district, 1:1 initiative or not, and see where changes can be made.

  2. How Will You Ensure Devices are Used?
    As with any initiative or project, there is a learning curve. Keep this in mind, and support your teachers’ success with professional development opportunities and time to integrate new tools into their lessons. It’s also important to not demand that the devices be used at all times, while still encouraging use when appropriate.

    Setting up expectations, supporting teachers with needed training, and checking in with them on how it’s going and any further professional development needs can make all the difference.

    Related Resource: How Do We Plan with Purpose? A Look at Effective PD
     
  3. What is the Devices’ Role in the Classroom?
    A device is no replacement for a quality teacher, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. A device is a tool, just like an old chalkboard, not-quite-as-old whiteboard, or a calculator. Work with teachers to make them feel comfortable with the device, understand the benefits the available technology provides, and provide practical ideas that show how the device can be successfully used in the classroom.

    Related resource: Evaluating Technology Resources

4 Hesitations Teachers Have About Tech Integration

Change is hard. And for many, it can also be scary, whether it involves technology or not. People, as a rule, tend to be creatures of habit, and even those that consider themselves to be forward-thinkers may be among those most hesitant to adopt change.

When it comes to teachers, they’ve invested considerable time in their lessons and projects, have established rubrics, and gathered concrete evidence that lessons have successfully communicated a topic to students. Because of this, they may be more resistant to change than other individuals.

To help overcome this resistance, it’s important to take the time to understand their hesitations. To help, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most common phrases heard from teachers who are questioning if technology integration is right for their classroom:

  1. Why should I?
    While this question may be delivered in a variety of ways, it’s often fueled out of fear. Sharing the logic behind the need for technology integration, as well as supporting teachers with any necessary professional development, can provide hesitant teachers the nudge they need to take the first steps.

    An easy way to start the conversation on the need for technology integration is by focusing on the importance of ensuring students are college- and career-ready, of which technology plays a critical role. Digital technologies have become commonplace in both college and in the workplace.

Learning Industry Leaders' Perspectives on #EdTech (As Seen in @USAToday)

Recently, Atomic Learning's CEO, Lisa Barnett, was interviewed on the state of educational technology in today's schools. Below is an excerpt from the article, Ed-Tech Pros Talk Education Transformation, as seen in USA Today.

How has technology transformed our way of looking at education?
Lisa Barnett: Kids have been using technology tools from a very young age to learn everything from counting to coding, which has created a generation of learners who are used to having information at their fingertips 24/7. The modalities they’re accustomed to are very interactive and tailored to their needs and interests. If these kids are asked to sit and listen to long periods of lecture in a classroom, how well do we think they’re going to respond? Education is transforming to respond to the needs of this new generation. Education is adapting to this new idea of personalized content. There are now many resources that offer different ways to learn the same concept, so if one method doesn’t work, another can quickly be found that will. Technology can also provide fantastic assistance in the area of accessibility and accommodations to even further meet the needs of individual learners.

How are technology products improving student outcomes in the classroom?

Lisa Barnett:Technology can be an amazing facilitator of differentiation techniques by providing additional resources and tools that will give teachers far more ways to differentiate for content, process, and product. We know that differentiated instruction can directly impact student outcomes as it tailors the educational experience to the needs of the students. Technology can also help efficiently measure student outcomes and analyze this information in new ways to provide the best learning experience possible for each individual learner.

Supporting Gifted and Talented Learners

Interested in learning about the latest research on supporting gifted and talented learners in the classroom? You've come to the right place!

Be sure to check out this Atomic Learning's online course: Supporting Gifted and Talented Learners.

Working with Sam Hostetler, a Dean of Students and experienced educator with a passion for technology and learning, Atomic Learning has developed a in-depth online course focused on Supporting Gifted and Talented Learners.

Designed with educators in mind, the course not only provides background information on characteristics and attributes that many gifted and talented learners share, but also dives into best practices on how to best support students using various instructional techniques and technologies.

Check out the course today at www.AtomicLearning.com/supporting-gifted-talented-learners-training.

Don't have access? Request more information online.

9 Things Tech-Savvy Teachers Do on a Regular Basis [Infographic]

A large part of being a tech-savvy teacher is being ready, willing, and even eager to try out and implement new technology tools, especially those that positively impact student learning.

A challenge of being such a teacher is the speed of technological change, which begs the question: How does one STAY tech-savvy?

Infographic: 5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

Wondering what all they hype is about coding? Check out the infographic below for some powerful stats on how teaching computer coding now can have lasting impact on students' lifelong success. And, if you are ready to try the topic out with your students, be sure to check out Atomic Learning's Coding in the Classroom training.

(Don't have access to Atomic Learning? Request more info on how to access this course and hundreds of others!)

Go Anywhere with Virtual Reality - Guest Blog Post

Who better to speak to the topic of Virtual Reality in the Classroom than the eLearning Contributor who developed the new training series herself?

Guest Blog Post by Jaime Donally, eLearning Contributor

Virtual Reality (VR) has become more popular as the demand for wearable technology has increased.  The use of this technology in the classroom has deepened learning opportunities and increased student engagement.  The Virtual Reality in the Classroom workshop shows many different apps to create, share, and explore VR in the classroom. 

Using the Sphere 360 app, students can produce their own virtual reality experiences. Exploring collections and viewing locations all over the world has brought a sense of global connectedness. The use of the app lends for several opportunities in the classroom. Create a sphere of a scene and play hide and seek with vocabulary words, find pairs, discover images that start with the letter A, or search for obtuse angles. Consider using the app for preparation on the first day of school with spheres from the cafeteria, library, or playground describing the rules with each of the areas.  Imagine stepping into a sphere with class projects or the school science fair. Describe rock formations, view artwork, or write predictions based on the given scene are just a few ideas to deepen learning using virtual reality without ever leaving your seat.

Prepping for Back to School with #ALsummersession

Ready or not, the school year is ramping up to get started.

Want to change up your lessons before students converge on you? Now’s your chance!

Below are a few ideas to reawaken your inner teacher—to get started, simply login using your school's method of access.

Coding in the Classroom
Reading, writing...coding? Considered to be a new 'literacy' to prep students for the future, coding is more than a great way to engage students! This online resource will introduce coding concepts and tools to help you get started in the classroom.
Learn about Coding in the Classroom!

An Overview of Learning Methodologies
Want to help your students be lifelong-learners? Of course you do! Check out this online resource on new approaches to teaching that focus on creativity, re-examine Bloom's Taxonomy, and foster higher-level thinking skills in learners at all levels.
Learn about Learning Methodologies!

Minecraft & Project-Based Learning
Ready to explore the world of game-based learning? Check out Minecraft! This online resource will walk you through not only getting set-up, but includes project ideas and templates from the experts at the popular Craft-Academy!
Learn about Minecraft & Project-Based Learning!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.
 



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

Capture Summer with Digital Photography #ALsummersession 

Enjoying summer fun in the sun? Capture moments to remember and share!

If your photography skills aren’t necessarily at the level you’d like, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

To get started, simply login using your school's method of access and check out the links below.

Digital Photography Basics
A family portrait is obviously different than a snapshot for eBay, but most people take all photos the same. Whether your camera is a fancy DSLR or just the one built into your smartphone, these tips and tricks will help you capture the best pictures possible!
Learn about Digital Photography Basics!

iPhoto (OS X Yosemite)
Get ready to turn good shots into great ones with simple editing tools, then wow them all by sharing your photos in fun slideshows, on social media, and even create photo books. iPhoto isn't just a collection of pictures—it's a collection of possibilities!
Learn about iPhoto!

Photoshop Creative Cloud
The editing capabilities of Photoshop are seemingly endless—and daunting for newbies. Learn the basics of polishing your summer photos in no time flat with an online resource focused on the basics. Get ready to crop, retouch, and more!
Learn about Photoshop CC!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

Managing Your Time During Summer Break #ALsummersession

As the expression goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”—and if summer is one thing, it’s fun!

Make sure you don’t miss out on all that this summer has to offer by logging in using your school's method of access and checking out the links below.

Effective Decision Making Training
Have a lot to do, but not much summer left to do it all? Weigh your options and prioritize appropriately with this online resource. And, if you're still undecided about what you can and can't fit in, there's even a video on "Perils of Indecision"...cue dramatic music!
Learn about Effective Decision Making!

Time Management Training
Summer is flying by. Don't waste the precious time you have left! In this online training, you'll learn how to take control of your life in practical and realistic ways that you can implement right away—including insights on how to combat procrastination!
Learn about Time Management!

Effective Meetings Training (Yes! Meetings!)
We know what you're thinking...Effective Meetings!? It's still Summer! However, the skills that are needed to conduct effective, efficient meetings also apply to life outside of a conference room. Check out this online resource for insights on getting things done!
Learn about Time Management!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

Be Your Own Technology Help Desk #ALsummersession

Having computer issues during the summer can be a disaster. Equip yourself with the knowledge to act as your own personal technology help desk with these online resources!

To get started, simply login using your school's method of access and check out the links below.

PC Maintenance Training
Having a problematic PC? Get to the bottom of your technology woes with this online resource that explores several common problems—including malware—and steps you can take to prevent future issues, including using firewalls, scheduling scans, and more.
Learn about PC Maintenance!

Being Savvy Online
Is your digital footprint squashing your reputation? Make sure you are aware of online dangers involved with online banking, gaming, and shopping—and learn how to protect your personal data from scams and identity theft with this online resource.
Learn about Being Savvy Online!

Computer Training
Computers have become a standard household tool—yet most of us don't use them to their fullest potential. Learn how you—yes YOU—can set up a wireless network, improve your computer's speed, and many other time-saving computing topics.
Learn about Computing!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

 

Tools to Stay in Touch Over Summer Break #ALsummersession

While relaxing is a critical part of summer, it’s also nice to keep in touch with friends and colleagues to share and hear about their activities and lives during break.

Not feeling overly social? You can still give your brain a fun workout exploring new ideas online!

To get started, simply login using your school's method of access and check out the links below.

Staying Connected
Whether you are a social media newbie or an old pro, explore something new with this online resource that covers using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Picasa in your personal life—be it creating a family hashtag or sending gifts via Facebook.
Learn about Staying Connected!

Twitter
What can you really say in 140 characters or less? Turns out, quite a bit! Learn the basics on setting up an account and profile, then dig in with @mentions, #hashtags, lists, and much more. Try it out and you'll be hooked, or, in this case, twitterpated.
Learn about Twitter!

Pinterest
A visual bookmarking tool, Pinterest allows you to find, organize, and share links—from anywhere on the web—in one central location. From a DIY project for your home, to resources for upcoming classes, there's something for everyone on Pinterest!
Learn about Pinterest!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.
 



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

Planning a Vacation...or Stay-cation with Google #ALsummersession

Whether you choose to travel by land, air, or sea, build your excitement and polish the itinerary with a bit of help from Atomic Learning. With online training on a variety of online tools, we’ll help you get ready to jet—in no time flat.

No summer getaway in your future? Make your stay-cation one to remember by taking virtual tours of popular tourist destinations—without dealing with baggage fees—using Google Earth!

To get started, simply login using your school's method of access and check out the links below.

Google Maps
Stretch your vacation by using Google Maps to plan pit stops along your roadtrip route or near airports for layovers. Afterall, in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, "Not all who wander are lost." And, if you DO get lost, Maps is handy then too!
Learn more about Google Maps!

Google Calendar
Schedule a vacation that works for everybody! With Google Calendar, a handy (and free!) online tool, you—and anyone you invite—can access and modify scheduled activities—making it easy to ensure your itinerary covers all the details.
Learn more about Google Calendar!

Google Earth
If a stay-cation is more your speed this summer, you can still be a globetrotter with Google Earth! Check out the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal—and other locales that would otherwise blow your budget—without leaving air-conditioned comfort!
Learn more about Google Earth!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.




This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

3 Tips for Becoming an "EdTech Ninja" this Summer

If you are a teacher (or work closely with them), it's no secret that summer isn't necessarily about rest and relaxation. In fact many educators spend the summer catching up on the latest and greatest teaching strategies and technology—recharging and getting energized for the following school year.

A recent article highlighted several ways that teachers could "become an edtech ninja". Here's a few of our favorites from the list, as well as a couple of our own!

  1. Attend a Conference
    In the words of @jmattmiller "The beauty of a summer conference is time to reflect and act. School-year conferences are usually followed the next day with getting back to business as usual with no time to implement what was learned."

    Of course, depending on where you live, the options vary. One of the biggest is ISTE 2015—June 28th through July 1st in Philadelphia—if you can't make it, you can always follow #ISTE2015 on Twitter.

    (If you ARE planning to attend and want to chat, drop us a note!)
     
  2. Get Connected
    There are a huge variety of ways to digitally connect with peers and thought leaders today—among the most popular are Twitter and Pinterest. If you're new to one or both, Atomic Learning's training for both is available here.

    Already have some experience under your belt? Be sure to check out this Weekly Twitter Chat List!
     
  3. Join Summer Session
    If you're an Atomic Learning user, this is a must. This special email series uses fun topics related to summer break to focus on self-improvement, such as Planning a Vacation…or Stay-cation, with resources on popular Google™ Calendar, Maps, and Earth applications—and did we mention there are prizes involved?

    Each time you share a takeaway from the topic highlighted in the email, you'll be entered for a chance to win over $500 in prizes—and qualify your school as well! See details.

Using Skype in the Classroom #skype #edtech #elearning

A recent headline cross-posted on Tech&Learning caught my attention. It's amazing how technology--when used effectively--can create so much opportunity for collaboration in the classroom. WI educator Pernille Ripp sums up how she is effectively using Skype in her classroom with this statement:

OneNote for Organization and Collaboration - Guest Blog Post

Who better to speak to using OneNote for Organization and Collaboration than the eLearning Contributor who developed the training herself?

Guest Blog Post by Teresa Potter, eLearning Contributor

There are a lot of note-taking applications available, each boasting an easy way to collect information. However, one of the points many of these programs miss is powerful tools to organize that information. Microsoft OneNote has not made this mistake.
 
Microsoft OneNote provides a powerful tool to collect, organize, and reference information in a wide variety of formats. It allows you to type and paste information and media anywhere you would like on the page. The formatting is much more fluid than a word processing program. You can create pages, sections, and groups of sections to organize your information, and you can even create entirely new notebooks to gather your information. You can also attach documents right to your pages. Students can attach a Powerpoint presentation they gave and then reflect on their work all on the same page, and the attachment becomes part of the OneNote notebook. OneNote also allows you to create audio and video recordings and to play them back within OneNote.

Infographic: Three Steps to Using Technology to Create Successful Learners

As the ever popular John Dewey quote states, "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." The infographic below, The Innovation of Education, outlines a three step approach to effectively using technology to support learning both in and out of the classroom.

 

No matter what step you and your district's teachers are currently at, Atomic Learning offers a variety of tools to support creating successful learners. Here are just a few examples:

Stay On Top of Current Trends:

Become an Innovator:

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