Girl using VR goggles

Our personal and professional lives are becoming intertwined with the digital environment that is evolving around us. So, it makes sense that educators are working to bring technology into classrooms and schools that mirrors our everyday lives. The latest technology focus is on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications for the classroom, immersive technology that can engages students more with the educational content. Here are some ways that AR and VR can transform the learning that goes on in your classroom with your students.

A class without borders
Imagine being able to walk in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong on the moon, or walk through the battlefield trenches of World War I with other soldiers. Students can expand their physical world with immersive technology that can, for example, transport them to a different time and place. Teachers can then create a much deeper and enhanced learning experience that can help the content rise off the page.

Textbooks brought to life
VR and AR can take what were once abstract textbook concepts and explain these ideas in new and exciting ways. Immersive technology, for example, can take students inside the human body and show scientific processes at work. VR can also give students practice using virtual materials (for example, car parts to build an engine) that are expensive and/or dangerous that they might only be able to read about or watch in a video.

The impact of gamification
Gamification has had a big impact in educational technology. It helps all students, even those who are struggling, get excited about the content to be covered. Gamification is used in many VR apps and can be used to increase engagement, provide feedback, encourage students to think differently about the content, and accelerate learning.

What about cost?
There are certain costs associated with immersive technology that is used in the classroom, whether it’s smartphones, tablets, and head-mounted displays that are the basic equipment teachers and students use, or gloves and other accessories that enhance the experience even further. Vendors are working on providing educators with low-cost options to introduce immersive technology in the classroom, and prices are likely to fall as the technology gets more sophisticated and people understand the value of VR and AR in schools.

Source: sSchoolNews External link opens in new window or tab

This is the second in a series of news items that will provide information about essential features of OTAN for you to know as you and your colleagues begin the new school year.

OTAN offers trainings in both face-to-face and online formats on a variety of educational technology topics throughout the school year. The workshops fit a wide variety of skill levels and can even be customized to meet the respective needs of a program or site. All workshops are free for California adult educators and staff.

To learn more about OTAN trainings, first go to the OTAN website: https://www.otan.us/ External link opens in new window or tab

At the bottom of the page, click on About OTAN Training in the Training box to begin.

OTAN Training page

On the next page, you can learn more about the trainings that OTAN provides and training requirements. You can also click on links to the face-to-face and online training descriptions.

About Otan Training page

If you have questions about any workshop or would like to schedule a training, you can call our office at 916-228-2580 or email us at support@otan.us External link opens in new window or tab

Another way to learn about OTAN and other trainings (from CASAS, CALPRO, and other agencies) is to visit the California Adult Education Professional Development training calendar. The link to the calendar is https://www.caadultedtraining.org/ External link opens in new window or tab or click on the link in the Calendar box next to the Training box on the bottom of the OTAN homepage. You can register for open trainings that are listed on the calendar – use your OTAN account email address to sign up. (See the previous news item for information on how to create an OTAN account.)

One additional training opportunity to be aware of is our newest addition, OTAN Tech Talks, a quick look at the technology tools, techniques, and tips specifically created for busy adult education teachers. Each month, a new topic will be covered during a one-hour webinar where participants get tips, videos, articles, and individual questions answered. You can listen to previous OTAN Tech Talk recordings on our OTAN Tech Talk YouTube playlist External link opens in new window or tab. Look for upcoming OTAN Tech Talks on the California Adult Education Professional Development training calendar.

Please consider joining us at an OTAN training! We look forward to seeing you face-to-face or online!

Coming up next: Information on OTAN news items and social media sites

This is the fifth and final in a series of news items that will provide information about essential features of OTAN for you to know as you and your colleagues begin the new school year.

OTAN Teaching Tools Nav Bar

OTAN has a number of teaching tools and resources that adult ed educators can utilize in their instruction. Here are some resources that you should consider as the new year begins:

  • Teaching with Technology is a searchable database that teachers can use to locate websites and other tech tools related to specific lesson plan topics. You can filter your search by level, subject, and standards. Visit the Teaching with Technology database External link opens in new window or tab.
  • Web-based class activities are web-based activities organized around instructional themes or tech tools, with ideas on how to get started and how to use in the classroom. You can also see the last ten web-based class activities posted and search the list of activities by program. Visit the web-based class activities External link opens in new window or tab.
  • Curriculum offers are free or reduced-cost special offers for online curriculum licenses and professional development resources that OTAN has negotiated. List of current curriculum offers External link opens in new window or tab.
  • California Adult Education Courses are listed on our hosted and supported Moodle site. OTAN has developed and procured a number of courses which are offered to WIOA-funded adult ed agencies which can be administered and adapted to meet the needs of learners. An educator can also request an empty course shell to build their own online course. Visit the California Adult Education Courses website External link opens in new window or tab.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these teaching tools and resources. We look forward to providing you additional resources throughout the school year!

Checklist

Please join us for OTAN’s next Tech Talk on Friday, September 14 from 1-2. This month’s Tech Talk is on Evaluating Websites by Sachiko Oates, ESL Faculty Liaison at the Santa Barbara City College School of Extended Learning. Do your students find information or do research online? Why is it important for students to evaluate the information they find on the web? This OTAN Tech Talk will discuss how adult educators can teach their students the skills needed to evaluate websites as well as information found online. After the presentation, time for Q&A will be provided. A lesson plan will also be shared with those who attend this webinar. You can sign up at https://www.caadultedtraining.org/otan-tech-talks-2249-10-tr External link opens in new window or tab

You can listen to previous OTAN Tech Talks on our YouTube channel. The recordings are here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLanOvdxbZVxswxH0qJlySvUWqw_ncfuKi External link opens in new window or tab (And make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you’re there!)

If you’re interested in sharing a tech tool or tip with your colleagues in the field, submit your presentation idea using this Google Form: https://goo.gl/g12vto External link opens in new window or tab We are always interested in learning about the latest tech tip or idea that can be shared among adult educators.

We look forward to seeing you at a future Tech Talk!