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 

Mobile and Beyond: McAllen ISD supports district-wide tech initiative, PD, and tech training needs

McAllen ISD, a district with 1,600 full-time employees, in McAllen, Texas, initially chose Atomic Learning to support their 1:1 iPad initiative (27,000 iPads deployed to every learner, K-12, plus staff). The district has since learned the importance of the Atomic Learning resources to not only support their mobile initiative, but to also expand the depth of technology training district-wide.

McAllen promotes using Atomic Learning in several ways, all of which are driving an increase in Atomic Learning usage in their district. One example of this is that during the last school year, McAllen scrapped their Career Technical Education (CTE) curriculum and transitioned to only using Atomic Learning content. Another avenue is that parent usage is climbing after an Atomic Learning-led parent liaison group. One parent shared that he took Atomic Learning's training on apps like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, printed the certificates of completion, took those with him to a job interview, and was hired. McAllen encourages teachers to go directly to Atomic Learning for their PD rather than going outside of the district, which is also increasing their usage.

McAllen now has new direction with a new Instructional Technology Director, Ann Vega. Here are Vega's goals for Atomic Learning within MISD for her first year, in order of importance.

  1. Get all administrators trained on Atomic Learning and get them comfortable assigning training to various groups (teachers, admin. assistants, para professionals, HR, parents, and others).
  2. Get all teachers trained in Atomic Learning, especially using Google Apps for education (which has a built-in LMS)
  3. Get all teachers assigning training/projects/assessments to their students
  4. Possibly custom-uploading videos and other resources to assign training to teachers, including new teacher training and other annual mandated compliance training for reporting, such as Blood Borne Pathogens.

Ann especially wants to create user groups so she can assign training, and track it. McAllen is having great success as they continue to integrate Atomic Learning into their district.

Want to get your district on track with teacher PD and training district-wide? Contact Atomic Learning today!

Mobile Devices Are Changing the Classroom

A recent article on business2community.com states:

Educators embracing mobile technology have a competitive edge up on non-mobile adversaries in the quest to transform classrooms into personalized learning environments.

At Atomic Learning, we can't agree more. Mobile learning is about more than being innovative and bringing new technology into your district; mobile learning allows educators the ability to reimagine the classroom and revitalize learning.

Whether you are planning a 1:1 iPad initiative, in the midst of a BYOD program, updating from textbooks to eBooks, or using mobile technology to flip your classroom, one thing remains constant: your teachers, students, and parents need training to fully realize the power of mobile learning.

Infographic: Avoiding Common Pitfalls of Mobile Learning

As more and more districts undertake mobile initiatves, information becomes available to help you learn from others' challenges.  The infographic below from CoSN does a nice job of summing up numerous areas of consideration with mobile learning, and, if you're looking for additional insights on planning a successful technology initiative—mobile or not— be sure to check out the free ebook, From Inspiration to Implementation: A Guide to Planning Successful Tech Initiatives, which comes complete with a downloadable workbook!

Report Finds Mobile Learning Continues to Grow

According to The New Digital Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students' Activities and Aspirations report by Project Tomorrow, the prevalence of mobile devices in schools is on the rise. In fact, one third of 3rd through 12th grade students have access to school provided devices.
Another indicator of the mobile revolution is the shift of tolerance for personal devices. The Speak Up 2010 National Research Project found that 52% of districts did not allow student owned devices, down to just 32% in 2013.

Infographic: Tech Trends

This infographic provides a quick glimpse into how school administrators, teachers and staff are utilizing technology—with a significant emphasis on digital content and mobile devices. Check it out to see how you compare to your peers. Feeling left behind?

Chromebooks Gaining Popularity in Schools

While iPads continue to be the preferred mobile device for education, Chromebooks are gaining momentum.
According to a Forbes.com article, some educators are "selecting Google's stripped-down, Internet-dependent devices"  for several reasons, including, but not limited to, a lower price-point, easy set-up, and built-in device management, among other things. While opponents raise concerns regarding the devices lack of extensive apps, security of cloud storage, and the overall 'power' of the system, some schools are willing to give Google a chance.

Infographic: Wireless Technology in the Classroom

In many classrooms, mobile devices have become an integral instructional tool. This infographic illustrates teacher and student opinions on the benefits of tablets, netbooks, and other mobile devices in the classroom. If you currently utilize mobile devices or are looking into a BYOD or 1:1 initiative, be sure to check out Atomic Learning's award-winning mobile learning content, which includes staff development for school leaders and educators.

How are your mobile devices being used?

This is a really interesting graphic from a Nielsen survey of students who use their tablet devices at school. It is really interesting that the students are seeming to be saying that their preferred usage is for activities that lean towards consumption rather than production. If this is the case, I would suggest that it has never been more important to support students in developing key information literacies. Atomic Learning has a wealth of resource for use in the classroom to support students in locating and critically evaluating content on the web.

Coming Soon: Flash CS6 - Developing a Mobile App Training

In this series you are going to learn how to program a flash file to work as a mobile device app. This will include how to use the mobile app Simulator the comes with Flash in order to test your app as if it were actually installed on a mobile device. Upon programing and testing the app, you will learn how to configure the app for deployment and use on either an Android or iOS powered mobile device.