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Cover Feature WEL C OME TO THE FUTURE >>>


A classroom in Jenks, Okla., engages in creative learning. Photo by Laura Araujo


For innovative educators, using technology in the classroom—even at the earliest levels of learning—is a way to engage kids where they are. “Technology is changing so quickly; I can’t believe how much it’s changed in the past couple years,” Drew Minock, an ed-tech innovator, says. “This is the world kids are living in now days.” A former elementary teacher in Michigan, Minock started a blog


called twoguysandsomeipads.com with his co-teacher at the time, Brad Waid. The duo began sharing the innovative ways they were us- ing iPads in their third-grade classes. A few years later, they are using their passion for and knowledge of technology to help other teachers; they speak worldwide and share what they’re doing with a wide audi- ence on Twitter. Minock says their niche in the world of education technology is augmented reality or AR. Classrooms around the globe are using AR to enhance the student learning experience. For example, an elemen- tary class studying the solar system can use their devices to interact with the solar system in 3D. They can isolate planets and even open them up and look inside. He says AR is a powerful learning tool be- cause the visual aspect helps students grasp concepts faster and re- tain information longer. Minock expects virtual reality will start to play a role in classroom


education as well. Virtual reality participants put on “wearables,” such as headsets and glasses, that virtually transport them anywhere in the world. Such technology will enable students to connect with and learn from peers on the other side of the globe. “We’re really only limited by our imaginations as to what we can do with technology,” Minock says.


Elementary Classrooms Go High-Tech


VISION


By Laura Araujo


Casting a Vision for Technology When it comes to technology in the class-


room, a common question is where to fi nd funding. A better question, however, is how to cast a vision for technology. Nancye Blair


Black, owner of


EngagingEducation.net, is a former class- room educator and technology specialist who now consults with schools districts across the country to create technology plans. “Whenever you plan to integrate technol- ogy in the classroom, you should start with the end in mind. What is the goal?” she says. “By beginning with that goal, I be- lieve it is possible to create a strategic technology plan within any budget that can work toward that vision.” According to Black, there are many


grants and free tools available for schools and districts looking to implement more technology in the classroom. Two helpful starting places for Oklahoma educators are the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust: www.oett.org and the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal: http://k20center.ou.edu.


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