How AR and VR Can Make Students Laugh and Cry Out Loud – and Embed Them in Their Learning

Michelle Furtado


McMahon, W. (2018). How AR and VR Can Make Students Laugh and Cry Out Loud-and Embed Them in Their Learning. EdSurge, 28.

This article discusses a teacher’s experience using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) hardware and software to teach English lessons in a College class. The teacher purchased forty AR headsets and used them to create lessons in which students could experience literature in innovative ways. As an example, for a study of poetry and lyrics he had them visit a U2 site which demonstrated interaction with a worldwide community in song creation and performance. Students were then asked to share their experiences and reflect on them. Students reported a higher level of emotional engagement in their learning than they had without the technology. After the lessons, the students were challenged to create products that would be useful using the software and hardware. They had to write up their proposals and present them to a panel of venture capitalists.

The article is a useful one, given the movement toward AR and VR technology. Students are already interacting with the world through technology with such games as Minecraft and Fortnite. This article discusses the value of incorporating immersive technology into teaching. The problematic portion is, of course, the current cost of such technology. While this may not be a viable option today in most k-12 public schools, the cost will probably come down in the years to come. AR and VR will no doubt allow more lessons to achieve the Redefinition level of SAMR technology integration.

The Critical 21st Century Skills Every Student Needs and Why

Butler, Vienna


Watanabe-Crockett, L. (2016). The Critical 21st Century Skills Every Student Needs and Why. Global Digital Citizen Foundation. Retrieved from

Summary: The skills that were deemed the most important are problem solving, creativity, analytic thinking, collaboration, communication, [ethics, action and accountability]. Students should focus on solving real-world problems, learn from their mistakes and take initiative and risks. Creativity allows students to realize who they are, what they can do, and take pride in their accomplishments. Analytic thinking allows them to compare and contrast, synthesize and evaluation information and allows for higher order thinking. Collaboration and communication incorporates multi-faceted interaction and information sharing. Being a global digital citizen and being aware of online safety is necessary when interacting with others globally in a way that is productive and respectful.

Evaluation: When people talk about 21st century skills, and preparing students to be career and college ready, it is apparent that the shift is happening in education.  With the initiatives I see these days in public education, such as peer collaboration and opportunities to develop oral academic English language skills, schools are preparing students to be strong communicators and team players.  With the Common Core state standards and the emphasis on assessments that require coherent writing, evidence and justification, students must develop analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. Finally, many schools are becoming more technologically advanced, so utilization of iPads or Chromebooks, and the practice of digital citizenship is more and more common.  It is no wonder that schools focus on the development of these skills; the reality of the world we live in today demands them for success.

Exploring mindfulness and meditation for the elementary classroom

Jane Rollin


Routhier-Martin, K. , Roberts, S. K. & Blanch, N. (2017). Exploring mindfulness and meditation for the elementary classroom: Intersections across current multidisciplinary research. Childhood Education, 93(2), 168-175. Doi:

This is a review of psychology research that provides evidence that meditation and mindfulness work to balance the often negative effects of students’ social-emotional environments, stress, anxiety, and even poverty.

“Overall, the study finds the advantages as corroborated across disciplines encourage use of mindfulness and meditation exercises or schoolwide programs to achieve improved student behavior and academic benefits.”

EML436 – The Multimodal Writing Process | 21st Century Literacies | Lewis Dennis 1489881

Bost, Danielle


Dennis, L. [Lewis Dennis]. (2017, April 16). EML436 – The Multimodal Writing Process | 21st Century Literacies | Lewis Dennis 1489881 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discusses 21st Century Skills and Learners and how teachers can adapt to teach students 21st century skills, based in Australia.

As a beginner to the concept of 21st Century Skills, this helped me grasp the concept a lot better and understand how to incorporate ideas into my future curriculum.

Fake News

Katy Golden


Coughlan, S. (2017). Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’. Retrieved from

In an article that I thought was especially relevant given the current political climate, this author discusses how the educational leadership in England plans to alter their standardized test, the Pisa, to assess students’ abilities to think critically and distinguish fake news from real news. They talk exstensively about the idea of critical judgment, and how students need to have the 21st century skill of being able to parse out truth from fiction.

Now that you can’t necessarily trust everything you read, especially on the Internet, it’s particularly important that kids can think critically and decide for themselves what is and isn’t true. They warn of other dangers inherent in the current social media culture as well, such as the development of a mono-culture and the belief in one right way to do things, that they suggest teachers address as well.

As school librarians, it’s a big part of our job to help kids become information literate and a very big part of that is developing the skill of parsing fake news from real news.

Zepnick, Jaclyn


Ray, M. (2016). Changing the Conversation About Librarians. Retrieved from

This Ted Talk by Mark Ray is empowering. He discusses the idea of creating “future ready librarians” and how school librarians need to work together in order to connect and be truly transformative district leaders. Also check out his collaborative endeavor: Project Connect.

Spector, J. M., Ifenthaler, D., Sampson, D., Yang, L. (., Mukama, E., Warusavitarana, A., & … Gibson, D. C. (2016). Technology Enhanced Formative Assessment for 21st Century Learning. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 58-71.

This article details the importance of providing formative assessments.  It discusses how formative assessments have changed over time and how now they are more important than ever. Since, these types of assessments have grown in importance they have changed a great deal in structure. This article discusses how formative assessments how grown to include 21st century learning topics or technology.  It discusses how educators have changed their assessements to reflect these new 21st century skills.