Amazon’s Alexa and askMyClass allow our elementary school teachers to give students opportunities to solve problems, manage emotions, and communicate. It also allows our teachers to use the technology to set predetermined brain breaks, countdown clocks, randomizers, and review ELA and math standards.
As with all classroom technologies, protecting student information and privacy is paramount. Because of devices like Amazon’s Alexa being misconstrued in the media, our district notified parents of the program in advance and provided them with the ability to decline their child’s participation. Additionally, we developed guidelines beyond FERPA and COPPA, such as giving teachers full control over when the device is active, creating device-specific accounts using school district credentials, and limiting the type of information used.
Augmented, virtual, & mixed reality (MR)
Augmented and virtual learning is also beginning to see its way into our classrooms. Virtual field trips, virtual college tours, and simulations are most popular, but in time our students will be using AR, VR, and MR to create their own virtual worlds to build and explore. CoSpaces EDU, Figment AR, MERGE Cube, and the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program all promote more profound learning outcomes, increase student engagement, and allow for more authentic student learning.
Implementing AR, VR, and MR into the classroom is made easier with many ready-to-use resources. Vendors are increasingly releasing resources encoded with these possibilities making stress-free, engaging activities for teachers to use right out of the box.
In the past, many classroom AR and VR systems required a mobile device that limited its classroom use, but new technologies are becoming standalone, fully integrated, and classroom ready. These easy-to-use tools now embed educational resources to provide an exciting and reliable experience for all students.
We hope technology-rich classrooms will allow our student’s innate skills of creativity and innovation to shine bright and be the catalyst they need to become leaders for the generations to come.
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