ED 431

Emerging Tools

Virtual reality devices can motivate students to participate as they are actively involved in their learning by taking part in the visual experience.  I often show clips, documentaries or movies in class to the students to allow them to experience history as they have the ability to visually see it. Adopting virtual reality devices in my classroom could transform this experience even further and actively engage the students. Pantelidis (2009) advocates that “virtual reality provides new forms and methods of visualization, drawing on the strengths of visual representations. It provides an alternate method for presentation of material” (p. 4). I think that this changes the situation from them passively viewing information to becoming actively involved in the experience. Students access the information in more than one format using virtual reality as a support material in the classroom can improve their overall understanding of the material. It will also allow me to engage more students as Pantelidis (2009) also argues it, “transcends language barriers” (p.4).

The widespread use and implementation of such devices are not always easily executed. Currently, there are limited virtual reality curriculums available that I have found. This along with the cost and necessary training for use of such devices makes it seem to be an unrealistic option at this time to use in my classroom. Marianne Stenger (2017) states this by saying, “although in theory VR technology should be an amazing tool for learning and teaching, the reality is that it’s been slow to take off in educational settings, in large part due to the fact that it’s still so costly to implement.” The cost of any resource for the classroom will always be a huge dependent factor on the success of the tool and if teachers can use it in their classroom. I think cost will always be the overall reason why it is difficult for emerging tools to become successful widespread.

Despite the benefits, adopting emerging tools in the classroom effectively will also take time as it is a learning curve for most teachers. The success will be dependent on the educator’s resilience to failure in the exploration of tools in the classroom. Pacansky-Brock (2012) openly acknowledges that adopting the use of emerging tools in the classroom is not easy by saying “teaching with emerging technologies is, by nature, experimental and failure is an implicit step in an experiment” (p. 1). Teachers already have too much to do and not enough time. I would think just the time alone for the teacher to become trained to use the tool and then the students might cause teachers do not want to try out emerging tools in the classroom.

Something I am interested in adopting and I can do it right now:

This school year our district switched from having laptop carts in each classroom to giving each individual student an iPad to use.  The students checked out the iPad at the beginning of the school year. They are responsible for bringing the iPad to school charged each day. It has been a learning curve for all of us adapting to the iPad during the first few weeks of school. What I have realized taking these courses is that my technology use in the classroom is very limited. I would like to increase my technology use in my classroom to allow for more ongoing participation and engagement. I think that the first area I would like to focus on using emerging tools to improve is our note taking. There were several different options that I found or my fellow classmates found that can be used in the classroom. I wanted something that would be easy to begin to use without having to have students to sign up for something. Most students use Gmail already. This would make it the easiest to implement in the classroom. Since we have access to the technology in school I really think that starting to explore and implement different emerging tools in my classroom.

One tool that I would like to start to explore its use in my psychology class, to begin with, is Google Keep. After we finish reading or completing in-class activities we often summarize the information or take notes as a class. I would like to increase classroom participation and give the students more ownership over the development of notes by creating a note page in Google Keep to share with the class.  I would start this process by putting the students into groups and having them work together to write notes for a specific topic from the section. I would set certain expectations that the class had to follow.  For example, every group member has to contribute something to the notes. I would also focus each of the groups by giving them each a different topic to address. Once the students have each taken their notes they would then share them with the class by adding them to the class Google Keep. The class can then decide if they want to add or edit anything together during discussion.

The benefits of this method start with giving students ownership of the development of the notes. The added discussion will only help with their understanding.  I can also add videos/graphics to the notes for my students when they are appropriate. I also have the ability to highlight or add to the notes. They can add to the notes as they want and access them any time. I am hoping that this can also potentially lead to the more use of Kahoot in my classroom as a review because the students can use the notes to write questions to go on the kahoot. A few downfalls would be students only focusing on creating vocabulary questions and not exploring answering upper-level questions. Another downfall could be if students do not have internet access at home I am unsure if they are able to download the notes? Will this increase participation by all of my students or only a selected few? I am also concerned about the potential in class time I will have to dedicate to setting this up in my classroom and teaching the students how to use it. Depending on my success with adopting this method in my Psychology class I would like to try to adopt it into my other classes as well. As I become more familiar and confident with Google Keep I would like to continue to explore adding other tools into my classroom.


Gupta, U. (2014, September 28). Education Technology: Could It Be Different This Time? EdSurge News.  Retrieved October 19, 2018.

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J.(2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. MIT Press. Retrieved 10/19/2018.

Pacansky-Brock, M. (2012). Best practices for teachingwithemergingtechnologies. Routledge.

Stenger, M. (2017, October 27). 10 Ways Virtual Reality Is Already Being Used in Education. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/edtech-integration/10-ways-virtual-reality-already-used-education/

Pantelidis, V. S. (2009). Reasons to Use Virtual Reality inEducation and Training Courses and a Model to DetermineWhentoUseVirtualReality.RetrievedOctober21,2018,fromhttps://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1131313.pdf



  • Sean Holland

    Erika, I agree with your conclusions on VR in the classroom. It has a little ways to go. I’m glad you mention trying to use Google Keep. I use it religiously and it helps me stay on task and remember things both personally and professionally. It’s definitely a good tool that is actually getting better with time. Please share with us what your experiences are.

  • Deana Waters

    Erika, I like the direction you are heading toward having students use Keep to store class notes. This could easily be tweaked into a collaborative study guide created by the class. I understand the time crunch in using new tools in the classroom. I would suggest starting with one class as your pilot or test group. You can see what works, what doesn’t and how students respond before unleashing the tool in all of your classes.

  • Nina V.

    So interesting! I have never heard of Google Keep before and find it very applicable to use in the classroom setting for a Psychology class.

    Check out this article I found of Verizon doing a competition on using VR in the classroom. Link: https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2018/09/verizon-opens-competition-creative-5g-arvr-and-ai-uses-k-12

    Maybe your classroom can compete in it!
    I do have a question I think about when I see what teachers use as supplemental videos, documentaries in the classroom: how do you make your decisions on what media to use and when? Also, is there a time you allot for it? I can’t imagine how hard it is to keep kids engaged. So I was just wondering. Thanks!

    • Nina Vizcarrondo


      Hey Erika, I clicked on your “Web Presence” and “Personal Learning Environment” links under your Recent Posts on the side line and they both show an error that the pages are not found. Just a heads up.

    • admin

      I have a huge collection of documentaries from the educational magazines sent to the high school for our department. I also love history so I watch historical movies/documentaries during my own time and so do my colleagues. I usually check the film for historical accuracy as well as if it fits my purpose of viewing the film in class. I also always break up my lessons so that we are not doing anything– reading, watching a film, class discussions, analyzing a primary source and so on for too long to help keep them engaged!

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