This is what Google Expeditions can do in a classroom

Virtual reality is one of the latest tools to hit education, and educators across the country are excited to engage students with dynamic, immersive visuals and virtual field trips. But getting started can be overwhelming, especially with different platforms and devices on the market.

During a virtual reality session at TCEA 2017, three educators shared their experience using Google Expeditions with students.

To get started, educators need a teacher tablet; virtual reality viewers; student devices; and a peer-to-peer enabled wi-fi network, hotspot, or closed network, said Julie Brem, a librarian at Colleyville Heritage High School in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. Most students at the secondary level will have their own devices, and those who don’t can share or borrow school-owned devices. Larger device sets will likely be needed at the elementary level.…Read More

12 augmented reality apps students can use today

Augmented reality–a technology that uses a trigger image to superimpose digital content over a user’s view of the real world–is growing in popularity and accessibility, and it holds a wealth of potential for education.

Often described as “QR codes on steroids,” the technology offers new and exciting ways for students to interact with lessons, said Jeff Peterson, an instructional technologist in the Lamar Consolidated ISD in Texas. Peterson presented a TCEA 2017 session on augmented reality’s application in classrooms.

Augmented reality-based apps infuse more engagement into learning exercises, and students often grasp complex concepts quickly with interactive content, said Peterson, referencing Drew Minock, an advocate for augmented reality in the classroom and outreach manager at augmented reality company Daqri.…Read More

If you give a kindergartner a Chromebook…

Although even the youngest children are considered tech-savvy today, there exists a difference between a child who knows how to use a tablet to watch videos and a child who knows how to navigate a device for active learning.

The thought of giving 30 kindergarten students their own Chromebooks might be daunting. But for one classroom, the move yielded some surprising results for student engagement, learning progress, and for students with special needs.

“We had surprising outcomes from students with special needs,” said Jamie Morgan, an elementary school teacher in the Wichita Falls ISD in Texas. In her classroom, she had students with ADHD, ODD, autism, visual disabilities, intellectual delays, and gifted and talented students. “Chromebooks made it really, really easy to differentiate instruction–I can’t imagine doing the differentiation that needed to be done without having the Chromebooks,” she said.…Read More

20 lessons that incorporate the 4Cs

By now, the 4Cs–communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity–are part of most educators’ vocabulary. But it isn’t always easy to put these concepts into practice, especially when the 4Cs can look vary depending on students’ age and ability.

At TCEA 2017, Donna Lusby, the K-6 instructional technology coordinator in the Lovejoy ISD shared how her district moved from what she characterized as “hesitant technology integration” to teachers embracing the 4Cs in their lessons.

“We discovered that we had the classroom access and teachers had the skills, but we were lacking in classroom use,” Lusby said. “Our instructional technology team analyzed the situation and discovered the district was lacking in the use of the 4Cs.”…Read More

Seven new ed-tech tools to know about

These seven tools were on display at major education conferences in the last month

ed-tech-toolsIn just the last month, Austin has hosted two major ed-tech conferences: the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference and the South by Southwest Education conference (SXSWedu).

You can find our full coverage of TCEA 2014 at this link, but here are some leftover announcements from that show—along with new ed-tech tools and products that caught our eye from SXSWedu as well.

(New tools are listed in alphabetical order by company name)…Read More

Math products seek engagement with robotics, gaming

RobotsLAB, KnowRe try a new approach to math instruction

RobotsLAB’s ‘quadcopter’ helps teach students about quadratic equations.

At the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference in Austin this month, several companies demonstrated products designed to help teach math.

Two that stood out in particular were RobotsLAB and KnowRe, which have taken different approaches to boost engagement in a subject that’s often inaccessible to students.

Robots show real-world relevance of math equations…Read More

Two handy products to support school iPad use

These two products could make iPad deployments more convenient for schools

Here are two products that could help make iPad rollouts easier for schools.

At the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference last week, our editors were on the lookout for innovative, yet practical ed-tech products and services.

Here are two such products that could help make iPad rollouts more convenient for schools.

New ‘app-enabled’ charging stations can notify you when iPads are charged—or removed…Read More

zSpace takes 3D learning to a whole new level

3D images become teaching manipulatives with a new ‘immersive desktop’ system

Using the special stylus, students can “pick up,” rotate, and otherwise manipulate the images they see on the 3D monitor.

Imagine being able to learn about the human heart by picking up a still-beating heart, turning it over, peering through its outer walls, and watching the various valves open and shut as blood pumps through them.

Talk about bringing science to life!

For the last few years, three-dimensional science curriculum software has been available to schools with 3D-capable digital projectors. While these programs have allowed students to visualize various structures in much more vivid detail than the static, two-dimensional images found in a traditional textbook, they’ve come with certain limitations as well.…Read More

Four school video tools worth exploring

These school video products and services caught our eye at TCEA 2014

video-tools-schoolA free library of instructional videos that comes with a powerful search tool for finding just what you want, and a platform for editing video collaboratively in the cloud, were among the most notable school video tools on display at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) annual conference in Austin last week.

Here’s a description of the top video tools that caught our eye during TCEA 2014.

Mobento…Read More

TCEA: Digital content’s impact on teaching and learning

Annual survey data reveals benefits, barriers to digital content

digital-contentDuring a crowded TCEA 2014 session, attendees received an exclusive look at the upcoming Speak Up 2013 survey data from Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit that researches and evaluates the impact of digital learning on students.

A digital conversion is occurring in schools across the nation, with many schools moving from printed textbooks and computer labs to digital textbooks and content, and one-to-one or bring-your-own-device initiatives.

But how, exactly, are schools going about this digital conversion? What benefits are there to using more digital content? The 2013 Speak Up results have answers.…Read More