Kindergarten teacher: These are “My Tech Essentials”

At Saratoga Elementary in Morris, Illinois, we believe that incorporating tech tools into our daily lessons is a great way to connect our small school with the world around us. This is especially true when it comes to my kindergarteners.

Kindergarten is where the fun is! I love teaching it, because every day brings a new and exciting experience. I’m lucky enough to teach in the same school as my wife, and we get the amazing opportunity to watch our two kids grow in education as they attend our school as well! Besides teaching my students, I also teach teachers through my YouTube channel, Teachers Learn Too.

I started this video channel as a way to provide fun, free professional development for teachers year-round, so I’ve grown familiar with sharing the methods and technology that I find most useful. The tech tools we provide our students offer an enhanced, differentiated learning style, with devices and software that many of our students don’t have at home. Here are four of my “must-have” tech tools that I use on a daily basis in my classroom.

A Kindergarten Teacher’s Tech Essentials

1. Letters alive Plus from Alive Studios is augmented reality at its best! With this amazing software, I can offer my kids a supplemental reading tool that breaks away from the ordinary, everyday scripted curriculum.

Using the included document camera and a variety of cards that come in the kit, my students can see animals come to life on our classroom TV or computer. Letters alive Plus assists me in teaching letter identification, letter sounds, sight-word recognition, phonetic word building, sentence structure, and more. You will love the smiles, laughter, and engagement this software brings to your students!

2. Osmo uses an iPad and its own apps to bring learning beyond the screen. Children learn through play on a daily basis in my classroom, and Osmo is an awesome tech tool that assists me in allowing that type of learning to happen. Osmo uses a unique base to hold an iPad upright and a special reflector on top of the device to mirror the camera to the desk or table it’s sitting on. With their multitude of apps, my students can build words, solve simple math problems, complete tangram puzzles, watch their drawings come to life, and more. The best part is that it’s all hands-on. Using the reflector, students do everything off the screen, while watching their work come to life on the screen!

(Next page: 2 more kindergarten tech essentials)

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The 4 simple misconceptions that can derail early math education

From an early age, children try to make sense of their world by applying context and meaning to certain ideas. But many children also form misconceptions about number concepts and operations that can hinder their learning of early math skills.

In a recent edWeb.net webinar called “Early Number Concepts: Turning Misconceptions into Meaning,” Jessica Bobo, elementary math consultant for ORIGO Education, explored some common misconceptions that can cloud a child’s early math judgment. She also revealed how preschool and elementary educators can avoid or correct these misconceptions in their teaching of early math skills.

What causes these misconceptions? Here are four common causes:

1. Multiple Meanings

Often it’s because there are many words (and symbols) with multiple meanings, and children have confused one word or symbol for another with a different meaning. “We need to be sure we’re clear about what those words are—and what meaning we’re using when we say them,” Bobo said.

For instance, the number words “one,” “two,” “four,” and “eight” all have common homonyms: won, to, too, for, and ate.

Bobo said she likes to ask young children: “Who’s heard of the word ‘one,’ and what does it mean?” Some children will talk about how their little brother or sister is one year old, she noted; others will talk about how they won their soccer game last weekend. She uses this as an opportunity to introduce children to the idea that some words can have multiple meanings.

“Can you imagine the beautiful discourse that happens between four-year-olds when you talk about multiple meaning words?” Bobo said. “It gives them an opportunity to really think about the language they hear and say. This is part of the groundwork we need to lay for them to understand the language in the mathematics classroom.”

2. A Disconnect between Verbal and Visual

Bobo said it’s important for educators to make strong connections between verbal language and visual math models (both concrete and pictoral representations of numeric quantities).

An example of connecting visual models to verbal language might be having children roll a number cube and say the number depicted: If there are four fish pictured, the child would say “four fish.” An example of connecting verbal language to visual math models would be presenting children with several plastic insects and saying: “Can you place five insects in a group?”

“We need to go back and forth between these (methods of representation), so children can see the connections between them,” she said. “What does having these counters in my hand mean? What does having these pictures tell me? And then link that to their understanding of the language they hear, so that when you say, ‘Can you show me one animal,’ they’re not thinking about ‘won’ as in a soccer game. They’re thinking about one as a quantity.”

(Next page: Early math misconceptions 3-4; teaching by math language stages)

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OPEN UP RESOURCES RELEASES ITS FIRST FREE OER CURRICULUM

MENLO PARK, CA [August 24, 2017] — Open Up Resources, the nonprofit provider of openly licensed curriculum for K–12 schools, has released its first openly licensed core program, the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum. Developed by Illustrative Mathematics, the nonprofit founded by standards author Bill McCallum to improve mathematics instruction in U.S. schools, the curriculum is now available for free to school districts.

Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math is a problem-based curriculum that fosters discussion-filled classrooms and encourages students to show their mathematical thinking in multiple ways. The curriculum, which has been published as an Open Educational Resource under Creative Commons license CC BY, is available in both digital and print formats at im.openupresources.org.

It is the first curriculum made openly available by Open Up Resources, which was founded to develop new high-quality alternatives to curricula offered by traditional publishers, and to increase equity in education by distributing these materials freely, as OER.

“Every student deserves access to excellent curriculum, no matter the resources of their school district,” says Larry Singer, Open Up Resources CEO. “Today’s open release of the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum sets the standard for our work, as we give away a core program of truly exceptional quality and support districts across the country with its implementation.”

During the 2016–17 school year, 175 teachers across six school districts helped fine-tune the curriculum as part of a yearlong beta release. Daily teacher feedback was used by the Illustrative Mathematics authoring team in the refinement of the materials.

The beta release districts included: Sunnyside Unified School District (AZ), Buncombe County Schools (NC), Vancouver Public Schools (WA), Evergreen Public Schools (WA), Tumwater School District (WA), and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (CA). All of those districts are continuing to use the curriculum, and most are adopting district-wide.

“We adopted the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum district-wide because we saw huge increases in student engagement with the materials,” says Corrine Williams, Mathematics Specialist at Evergreen Public Schools. “Students were constantly talking about math, using precise language, and constructing mathematically sound arguments. The curriculum facilitates productive struggle for our learners, and teachers have been excited to shift their instruction from being the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side.’”

“This is the complete, aligned, big-picture-driven curriculum that we have been seeking for many years, says Stefanie Buckner, Mathematics Curriculum Specialist for Buncombe County Schools. “There are products on the market aligned to content or practice, but the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum is truly the first that aligns in equal intensity to both. We are excited to move to a district-wide adoption in all three grades this year.”

A survey of the teachers who used the curriculum in its beta release showed that 90 percent found the curriculum highly effective or effective, and another 90 percent said that they would either recommend—or already had recommended—that their peers use the program.

“Built on the coherence and progressions in the standards, and designed with tasks, norms, and routines to help teachers engage students in a problem-solving classroom, the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum gives us a bearing on a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics,” says lead author Bill McCallum. “I am proud of the finely crafted work of our team of teachers and mathematicians.”

The math curriculum is expected to give districts an 80% overall savings versus the cost of adopting materials from traditional publishers. Districts need only invest in implementation services, such as printing and professional development, which Open Up Resources provides. The nonprofit reinvests revenues from those services in the continuous improvement of the materials.

With more than $14 million in support from philanthropies including the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Open Up Resources partners with expert content creators to make best-in-class OER curricula available to school districts everywhere. The nonprofit will soon release an openly licensed K–5 Language Arts curriculum developed in partnership with vaunted turnaround specialist EL Education, and it has two more curricula currently in development, including a high school math curriculum authored by Illustrative Mathematics.

Districts interested in Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math can visit im.openupresources.org.

ABOUT OPEN UP RESOURCES
Open Up Resources is a nonprofit that develops the highest quality K–12 curricula available and provides them to districts for free, as open educational resources, to promote instructional equity. Formerly the K–12 OER Collaborative, Open Up Resources partners with the country’s foremost materials experts to create superb instructional materials, then equips districts with the support they need to implement with fidelity. Its mission: to provide students with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned materials, while easing adoption by districts.

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In practice: School’s redesigned library of the future leads to deeper learning

Modern. Beneficial. Fun. Engaging. Immersed learning. Student led. Teamwork. Leaders. Creators. Inviting. What do all these words have in common? They are all terms I’ve heard used to describe the atmosphere and activities in our recently revamped Library Learning Commons.

Along with the addition of sleek and colorful university-style furniture and an Interactive Smart Screen Projector, last summer’s renovation included a variety of cutting-edge equipment to empower our new, rad Makerspace.

New Picturesque Library Layout Paves the Way for Dynamic Patron Usage

During the 2016-17 school year, nearly 14,000 individual patrons and over 450 classes visited our Learning Commons, a year-end increase of 65 percent for individual usage and 15 percent for class usage.

Whether it’s the enrichment of lessons using makerspace tools like our MakerBot 3D Printers and Merge Virtual Reality Goggles; or the use of our new appealing, multi-purpose spaces for reading, research and student-driven endeavors like the NEHS Writing Center and Student Expert Workshops (such as Puppy Care and Hair Braiding), our renovated and ever-evolving library serves as central place of innovation, enjoyment and deeper learning for students and teachers.

Learning Commons.

“I used the space this year for a comfortable place for students to spread out and do research,” commented an English and Gifted Resource teacher. “The students like the new layout because it doesn’t look like a typical library anymore. They are happy with the comfortable furniture, open spaces and freedom to move around. They also like the new technology because it allows them to take their learning to the next level.”

3D Printers Enhance Learning and Add Career Readiness by Cultivating Teamwork and Creativity

Thanks to a recent renovation and a Verizon Grant applied for and received by our district’s Science and STEM Coordinator, our Makerspace now houses six MakerBot 3D Printers. Along with being open to students daily, many teachers raised levels of enjoyment, leadership and learning by incorporating 3D printing into lessons.

“They had a great time,” a government teacher noted after a project that challenged her students to print objects related to historic bills they had studied or amended.

“The project was new and fun,” a junior student added as she held her Pentagon model. “My group felt that the military and our soldiers were a very important part of our nation. We not only gained an appreciation and understanding of what happens in the Pentagon, but using the 3D printers also added a visual, tangible aspect to the experience.”

3D Pentagon Print.

Working with the librarians and our MakerBot student experts, a veteran science teacher chose to “take a leap” from his normal Earth Science activities and implement an Asteroid Creation Project using a special CAD program.

Asteroid Creation with Learning Commons.

One junior had many positive things to say about his experience. “I hope to study botany and incorporate technology like 3D printers into my career,” he commented, “so along with shaping and printing my own asteroid, I really enjoyed doing pre-research on how things like water, fire and bacteria found on real asteroids impact their landscapes.”

A sophomore classmate, who justified her creation of icy terrain by stating her asteroid was “on the edge of our Solar System near Pluto,” agreed that this was one of the most enjoyable projects she’d ever done.

(Next page: Deeper learning success with library green screens, innovative curriculum)

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The must-have for a SIS? It’s not what you think!

Earning buy-in from stakeholders is one of the most important factors when moving to a new SIS.

At Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, where I work as a data management coordinator, our former SIS was unreliable, inaccessible, and had limited functionality. With frustration building among staff, we selected a new SIS that would allow us to become more efficient, engaged, and empowered.

It was at this time that we realized we needed to not only change our procedures for implementing a new solution, but also ensure the buy-in from staff, teachers, students, and parents. Change can be difficult, especially when you’re transitioning to a new SIS, and we wanted to make sure all stakeholders were on board throughout the entire process.

As we made our move to a new SIS, the most important factor to our success was creating a transition that was both sustainable and smooth.

To do this, we avoided making our staff feel like the new solution was being forced on them. Instead, we focused on showing our staff the possibilities and capabilities of the software and letting them have a say in where we would go from there. By listening, we communicated to them that our district’s leadership was invested for the foreseeable future, and not just during the initial conversation phase.

In less than two years, our district improved its accuracy of data and communication, which has resulted in the following successes:

  • Provided an accessible portal for all family and student needs
  • Created an automatic integration between our LMS and SIS on a nightly basis
  • Messaged families directly through our SIS, creating an additional touch point
  • Integrated our online payment system with our SIS and SIS’s app

Would your district like to see some of the same successes? Here are three tips to elevate your SIS experience:

1. Train, Train, Train

I can’t overemphasize how impactful training was for our team. Be sure that your staff has the tools needed to perform their duties. We arranged group trainings and one-on-one help for staff members. We also assisted parents at kindergarten sign-up and back-to-school nights, ensuring a smooth transition was a top priority for our district. Furthermore, our SIS offered a professional development solution that allowed our staff to work at their own pace in areas of the software that were specific to them, making training convenient, not cumbersome.

Each district should have the mentality that training never ends. We have back-to-school sessions and year-end meetings. Each opportunity gives staff a platform to converse with their peers and build on new ideas. By staying patient and persistent, staff will begin to have ‘aha’ moments and recognize the big picture. The result will be self-sufficient users who are empowered to accomplish their duties.

(Next page: 2 more ways to have a successful SIS transition)

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Believe the hype! How video games are changing education

To draw a parallel between video gaming and education may cause the more traditional educators to balk at the thought, but recent developments in the field of video game research reveal dramatic correlations between playing video games and the ability to learn.

1.2 billion people play video games worldwide. This is a rather significant portion of the population and if we ignore the negative consequences for the moment, which include addictive qualities and deprioritizing of school work, we can delve into the beneficial correlations between gaming and education.

Studies have revealed that students find gaming and gamification of work positively stimulating and motivating. Online games in particular encourage multitasking and instantaneous decision making, which helps students learn to better manage unanticipated events and above all inspires creativity.

It is also proven that video games enhance the frontal lobe cognitive functioning of the brain, which not only promotes multitasking ability and enhanced learning, but can slow the onset of age related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

The Neuroscience Behind Video Games and Learning

Image: University of California San Francisco.

To understand the application of video games in education, it is important to understand how video games affect the brain and how to harness these properties.

Recent studies have elucidated, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the fact that video gaming can stimulate neurogenesis and connectivity in the brain. This was demonstrated as an increase of the quantity of grey matter in the brain, specifically the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. These particular regions are associated with spatial navigation, memory, strategic planning and fine motor control. The increase in connectivity between these regions is linked to higher intelligence and consciousness.

There was a particular correlation between the extent of the changes and the passion a gamer felt playing that specific video game. The playing of video games improves cognitive function and performance by combining the higher cognitive function of the cerebrum with the muscle memory housed in the cerebellum providing a platform for enhanced learning capabilities. [2]

Video games are designed to capitalize on the brain’s innate reward system by exploiting the dopaminergic pathway. The neurotransmitter Dopamine, is released from one end of a nerve fiber and diffuses across the synapse enabling the transfer of the nerve impulse.

Dopamine is associated with the limbic region of the brain which controls the pleasure response and it is this response that stimulates repeating the action that motivated the response in the first place. It is this pathway that has positively linked video games with addiction citing the fact that these receptors are susceptible to sensitization and thus require increasingly more dopamine (and video game playing) to produce the same pleasure response. [3] If we overlook this adverse connotation for the moment, educators can actually utilize this phenomenon as a positive reinforcement method for augmenting studies.

Simone Kuhn, a researcher in the trial, stated:

While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase. This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games.

There have been studies conducted with mental health patients predicting that video games could be therapeutic in the treatment of schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.  [2]

In another study, researchers created a specialized video game to help elderly subjects improve mental skills such as multitasking, revealing brain activity pattern changes as these changes took effect.

The study paradigm includes participants from 20 – 70 years old and subsequently confirmed that multitasking skills deteriorated with age. Subsequently, the older participants, aged 60 – 85 underwent a four week training program with the game.

After the time period, the elderly subjects exceeded every untrained 20 year old’s scores, and this cognitive enhancement remained in place 6 months after the study without any further training. The neurological battery of tests included those for working memory and sustained attention was also improved in the subjects after the training period. [1]

This can be easily adapted to fit into the school and college curriculum to enhance the cognitive faculties of students, and this has specific important for those with cognitive function disorders such as attention deficit disorders.

Many of these programs incorporate the model of play. From the first stages of life, this activity is important for the physical and psychological development of an individual. By activating the reward system of the brain, “play” reinforces life affirming behavior in an attempt to promote behavior that results in life sustaining choices. T

his can be reasonably applied to the learning context, as the playing of video games stimulates these very pathways and results in the highly engaged state which is conducive to learning and acquiring new skills. [6]

(Next page: The applications of gaming technology)

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What education inspiration looks like on a global basis

Recently, some of my colleagues went to the Imagine Cup, an annual technology and Innovation competition sponsored by Microsoft and held at their mammoth Redmond, Washington headquarters. The campus is so large that when one of my colleagues quietly called me during his initial tour, he told me that they were just now passing building #99.

This year’s competition featured 54 teams of college students from all over the world. The teams were a geographically diverse bunch, hailing from Russia, Nepal, Australia, Jordon, Romania, Sri Lanka and even a few countries that were probably geographically smaller than Microsoft’s 99+ building campus.

The Imagine Cup competition, and competitions like it, are so inspiring. This year’s competition, though large and very well done, is only a small representation of the vast amount of innovative talent out there who use technology to work together to solve many of the world’s future challenges.

While my colleagues were there, they interviewed several of the top contestants and some of the folks at Microsoft who were responsible for making the Imagine Cup happen. Dr. Rod Berger, our lead correspondent and one of the world’s top education news personalities, along with Producer/Director Jessi Scherr, brought back some amazing footage.

One of the contestants was a young woman from Nepal named Melisha Ghimire. Like two-thirds of the people living in Nepal, her family raises livestock. To put things into perspective, Melisha’s family is considered wealthy by local standards. They own about 45 animals. Ten years ago, the family suffered a devastating animal health disaster and lost over half their livestock to disease. Ten years later and the family is still getting back on its feet.

Melisha and her teammates from Nepal created a project called Echo Innovators. It’s a wearable device for livestock that monitors vital signs like a FitBit does for humans. The information is sent to the cloud, where animal health is analyzed for temperature, step count, stress levels, sleep patterns, pregnancy status and more. Machine learning results combined with an expert knowledge base provide actionable recommendations, sending that information back to farmers.

Melisha originally wanted to be a doctor, but was introduced to technology and she loved it. Fast forward a few years, and Melisha and her teammates have created a program that can potentially improve the economy of her country in a very significant way.

Talk about inspiring. It’s an example of the way our young people are using technology to work together to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

Another great example of youth innovation is the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. Each year, my friend Nancy Conrad, wife of the late astronaut Charles (Pete) Conrad, invites teams to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present their ideas designed to benefit our world in one of four areas: Aerospace and Aviation, Cyber Technology and Security, Energy and the Environment, and Health and Nutrition. If you don’t know Nancy, she’s a force of nature. Tragically, she lost Pete 17 years ago in a motorcycle accident, but his spirit lives on through the works she does and through Nancy’s annual innovation competition.

Like the Imagine Cup, the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge assembles some of the brightest young minds on the planet. High school students participate from all 50 states and 72 countries, and the competition touches over 100,000 students. This year, almost 35 percent were girls, and that number continues to climb through a concerted effort by Nancy and her team.

I am very inspired by our young people. Not only do they continue to exceed the expectations that we place on them, but they have almost an innate sense of responsibility to create enterprises that give back and make the world a better place.

It’s so easy to become discouraged, particularly when we are mired in a system of education that seemingly does not reward excellence. But every now and then, while we are dodging the bulleted challenges that come our way, it’s important to look up and see the incredibly bright and ambitious students whom we serve.

Sometimes, I think if we could just get out of their way, we’d be amazed at what they could do.

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15 of the best apps to engage students outside the classroom

Learning shouldn’t stop when students leave for summer vacation. Rather, this extended break from the classroom is the perfect time to introduce kids to a variety of mobile apps that can continuously promote creativity and critical thinking. From kindergarten to grade 12, the vast assortment of digital offerings can meet any student’s interests, all while providing valuable lessons that will appropriately challenge each user. Here are a few great options for rainy days, road trips or any time in between.

Grades K-5: (in no particular order)

Osmo introduces children to hands-on play through the iPad. With its offerings, like Newton, Masterpiece and Coding, kids use physical manipulation to navigate a variety of digital activities. Once they master one skill, they can move on to more challenging options.

LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 combines physical LEGO materials with virtual coding. Through project-based activities, students bring science to life in a fun, playful way. Plus, with no internet connection required, kids can enjoy this option anywhere at any time.

Comic Life brings out a child’s creativity by enabling them to create a totally unique comic with their own photos. A variety of fonts, templates, panels, balloons, captions and more give each child the opportunity to explore their imagination and tell a story.

SPRK Lightning Lab combines virtual coding with robotics. Built for students, instructors and parents, Lightning Lab also has an online community that shares activities with other users around the world. It’s a new way to engage with robotic technology.

Swift Playgrounds extends coding into a virtual world. The program provides youngsters the opportunity to learn Apple’s programming language, Swift, in a fun, interactive setting. As kids master the basics, additional challenges allow for step-by-step growth.

(Next page: 10 more apps for engaging students outside of the classroom)

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3 reasons why tomorrow’s workforce needs 3D printing education today

Remember the original iMac G3 desktop computers with their sleek, translucent designs in a colorful collection? Likely you saw these computers in ads, store windows or even owned one yourself. Millennials might also recall seeing these systems introduced to classrooms during elementary school, and that’s because Apple made a massive push in penetrating the education market throughout the ‘90s by exposing millions of children to this product.

Though to a lesser scale and profile than Apple, there is a similar technology immersion taking place today with 3D printing education. Companies like Ultimaker and more are all working to bring 3D printers to classrooms across the country. This growing accessibility is due largely to open source formats that support collaboration along with more affordable, yet still professional-grade desktop options. High-quality 3D printers are no longer just massive bulky units with price tags in the tens of thousands. That’s why from primary to higher education, the benefits of getting 3D printing into the hands of students are numerous.

Below, let’s take a closer look at why.

1. Fostering Group Learning and Teamwork

While some jobs might be more isolated than others, teamwork is almost always an essential component of any position regardless of the company. The ability to effectively work and communicate with others is something educators develop early on for students through cooperative assignments—which helps explain all those group projects growing up.

New technologies, especially when introduced at early ages, can capture imagination and inspire learning together. 3D printing a given design requires going through multiple iterations before arriving at a working form, which gives students the chance to learn firsthand about identifying flaws in preceding versions to make the necessary adjustments for success. As makers, students can embark on an explorative journey filled with trial and error to stimulate creativity by turning ideas into tangible objects.

Not only does 3D printing invoke a modern-day learning experience, but it also prepares students for accomplishing more real-world business goals as a collective team.

(Next page: 3D printing for digital-savvy citizens; the fun of learning)

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VR is great, but here’s why hands-on learning can’t disappear

With 80 percent of teachers reporting that they support the use of technology in the classroom, it is important to integrate tools that best fit with a child’s learning abilities, as well as school curriculum. Just this spring, a tech trend spun through the nation and it seemed as though almost every elementary school child was holding a fidget spinner. It was reported that the momentum of these small, ball-bearing devices provide a pleasing sensory experience, and therefore help hold the attention of those with ADHD or Autism.

This trend sparked a national conversation around keeping children focused in the classroom. While some may argue that the spinner is not classroom-ready and may serve as more of a distraction than an aid, tangible toys and gadgets are undeniably the best way to engage with children and it is important that we utilize tools that effectively teach math, science and the arts.

With the help of technological tools and toys, children can now engage with worlds that they could have only experienced before in their dreams. However, we must find a way to teach children to utilize these tools to interact with the world around us, not just the digital world.

Reality vs. Virtual Reality

AR and VR have enabled teachers to augment the scene of the classroom to not just tell, but also show lessons of the past and lessons of the future. But while our children are exposed to the many benefits of augmented and virtual reality, it is important that we avoid at all costs the distortion of reality.

Teachers are all too often pressed with the burning question “but when will I use this in real life?” and it is imperative that we make sure the lessons that we teach our children in an AR and VR space is actually applicable to their everyday lives.

Physically engaging with tangible toys is the best way to take a lesson that is taught on a computer screen and apply it to everyday skills. Pairing augmented or virtual reality with physical products gives children the ability to learn through virtual technologies and simultaneously interact with digital tools. It is proven that the most powerful learning happens when the integration of body and mind are engaged at the same time.

(Next page: Examples of VR pairing with physical tools; customizing for individuals)

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