Hottest Tech for Early Education will be at ISTE 2019

iste19 iste 2019 educational technology

If there was ever such a thing as a toy store for tech heads in education, it’s the International Society for Technology in Education conference; better known as the ISTE show.

iste19 iste 2019 educational technology



This year from June 23rd to the 26th, the ISTE conference will be in Philadelphia, PA. Manufacturers, developers, and publishers of educational products and resources will draw a crowd from all around the world to see the latest technology available for classrooms. The exhibitor hall will be packed with established, as well as up and coming, companies featuring and demonstrating their solutions for the education industry.

I personally have attended many ISTE conferences. Each year seems bigger and better than before with industry giants like Google and Microsoft, familiar education names like Follett and LEGO Education, and many new, exciting companies up and down every aisle. The media buzz for ISTE starts months before the event and lasts until the next ISTE conference comes around. Stories about the tech show cover the pages of District Administration, eSchool News, Tech & Learning, The Journal, and many more great sources of educational news.

As an exhibitor ourselves, our team at Alive Studios has had hundreds of conversations with educators from all over the US about technology for early learners. The appetite for technology has actually evolved over the last few years. In the not so past, early educators shunned technology and “screen time” for their little learners. Understandably so. Computers and devices have played a big role in weakening social interaction. But in a world where kids have access to tech products of all kinds in their personal lives, it’s tough for a teacher to compete for mind share with traditional methods. So, the pendulum is swinging back in favor of tech in the classroom, but with a caveat. Educators are now seeking technology that promotes collaboration, problem-solving, social-emotional health, and blends a multi-modal approach across subjects. It is this level of presentation and multi-sensory interaction that wins kids’ attention and gets them excited and motivated to learn.

iste19 iste 2019 educational technology



This year, Alive Studios will be introducing Classrooms alive!™ to ISTE attendees. Classrooms alive! is the magical, zoo-themed learning experience for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Our team will be transforming our booth into an engaging classroom for reading and math. The magic happens in our supplemental curriculum when our 26 zoo animals spring to life in 3D right in the classroom! Yep, a mind-boggling technology called Augmented Reality allows kids to interact with the 3D animals as they learn the foundational skills of reading and math. Classrooms alive! Is backed by brain science and includes effective tools that improve literacy scores: Learning alive Plus, student journals, and a classroom rug; all of which come alive with applications for computers and mobile devices. We’ve been told by several of our Pre-K and kindergarten teachers that their students are so thrilled by the interactive technology they don’t want to leave it for lunch or recess.

classrooms alive early reading and math



If you are planning to attend ISTE19, be sure to stop by the Alive Studios booth 3037. We will give you a tour of our zoo so you can get the full experience and see for yourselves how we are helping shift the nation’s poor literacy scores through mind-boggling student engagement.


Got Students Who Don’t Like to Read at All?

blog-deb-atchison

#HelpShiftHappen Blog Article by Deb Atchison

Got students who don’t like to read at all? Augmented Reality books can change that!

As a former student that hated reading, but turned Reading Specialist, I’m astounded by the statistic from the National Report Card that says that only 37% of our 4th graders are reading proficiently. This is crazy! If a little over a third of our students are reading proficiently, what does this mean for the future of our country? This is scary when you really think about it. I know many students are like I was in school and don’t like to read at all. Thankfully, that is not the case any longer for me and I really enjoy helping students learn to read better. I think perhaps because I struggled with reading, I can empathize with those that do and can help them to become better at it and dread it a little less.


Many times, students haven’t found anything that interests them and therefore they don’t want to put the time into reading some “boring ole book!” Or, they are too embarrassed to check out books that are on their reading level and way below what they should be able to read. Well, I have a solution for these reluctant readers. And, if it works on my own teen boys whose native language is Russian and not English, then it should work on your reluctant readers too. What I’m talking about are AR books. Not Accelerated Reader books, but Augmented Reality books. You know, books that come to life right before your very eyes! Augmented Reality or AR books have images that when scanned with a device and a specific app will literally pop right off the page.

There are many AR books out there for young learners. Kids of all ages love to read and experience H.C. Anderson’s original fairy tale about The Little Mermaid who swaps her fishtail for human legs to be able to follow her heart. The great thing about this book is that it lies flat, making it easy for the young reader to hold on to the iPad while experiencing the book. Some of my other favorites for young readers are the Arbi books, https://www.arbibook.com. These storylines are exactly what our kids need to hear. Teamwork, friendship, getting along and working together are skills that are so important and they are valued and the focus of these stories.

Rocks In My Socks, is the story of Gracie, an adorable pint-sized pink triceratops, who learns about acceptance through some unexpected visitors that show up in her favorite pink and white striped socks. There are 13 activities that can be played manually with colors, markers, or pencils. Learn about colors, matching, recognition, colors and music associations, and even some of Gracie’s favorite dance moves.

Holo Pop Ups, https://holopopups.com/ has a handful of books that foster learning in an innovative way – vocabulary, spelling and science all become part of the fun! The characters leap out of the page, living, breathing and speaking to you. And, who could forget the Color Alive Coloring Books from Crayola. They give kids the opportunity to see their coloring pages come to life right before their very eyes!

student assessment journals with augmented reality
And, of course, we know educators of the little ones swear by the Alive Studios’ My Letters alive Journals, which help early readers with letter naming, letter sounds, and letter writing. Alive Studios also has a super cute story that teaches the value of being on time, Amos Arrives at the Airport. You definitely need to check those out if you haven’t yet. Even if you are a parent of little ones and not a teacher, you will love how easily your kiddos can learn their alphabet with them.

I love all the great AR picture books and I’m still very excited over those, but I’m really pumped for the books for older readers that are interactive and engaging! For example, the company Anomaly World, http://www.experienceanomaly.com, has many books that will particularly attract those that are interested in science-fiction, fantasy and comic books. Their flagship book, Anomaly, is an epic tale of deception, redemption, and unity set on a strange alien world and the longest original full-color graphic novel ever published. With lush illustrations, action-packed storytelling, and awe-inspiring interactive features, Anomaly is a must-have multimedia experience for any reader, especially the reluctant one. They have several graphic novels and comic series that use augmented reality to engage their readers. The most exciting part for me is that these books and many others are becoming more and more sophisticated, not just in the artistry and AR, but also in the content of the storylines. There are more and more graphic novels and even novels for young adults that are incorporating AR. I’m really pumped for these new books for older readers that are interactive and engaging!

When my, then 17, year old son was looking at the @AnomalyWorld AR graphic novels for the first time with me, we were both blown away by the digital graphics along with the intense and interactive AR that was popping off the pages. I knew this company was onto something, when he said, “Wow, I can’t wait to read this book to see what this (AR character popping off the page) is all about! I want to learn more about him!” What? A 17-year-old, non-native English speaking boy wants to read a book? Yep, pretty powerful stuff if you ask me!


Personally, I really liked the Anomaly Productions illustrated novel, Between Worlds. It’s a story of misfit teens that wander off during a school field trip to the forest, on a dare to find a local legend, The Wishing Tree. But they get more than they bargained for when they find themselves in Nith, an alternate universe. Along with amazing new powers and furry friends, Nith holds danger and intrigue. With the help of the mysterious Aaron, these two friends try to find their way back home. But some of the inhabitants of Nith have other plans for the teens… Together, Mayberry and Marshall must learn to control their new powers, escape their enemies, find their way home, and come to terms with their growing attraction. This book reminded me of novels I would read as a teacher to my middle school students. Yes, I made it a common practice to read aloud to my teen students who were often reluctant readers. You should too! The storyline is great and very engaging and about every two or three chapters, you get to an amazing illustration in the novel that you could scan with your mobile device and app to see that character come to life. My son couldn’t wait until he got to one of those pages to scan and neither could I. The anticipation of the next one, kept us both reading.

I also like that the AR in books for all level of readers is becoming more and more interactive! Not only is something coming out of the books, but you can actually interact with and control some of the AR content. Seeing is believing, but holding it in your hand and manipulating it, is way better!


This same company has a new book releasing this coming summer that I’m very excited about, called Creative Creature Catchers! I’ve been lucky enough to preview it and it’s incredible, but designed for younger readers. The story is basically, that there are lost baby creatures all around us who just want to go home, and they need your help! Welcome to the Society of Creative Creature Catchers! You’ve been chosen to join the CCC because you’re smart, caring and REALLY fun! Your mission is simple: Find and learn about a variety of fantastical animals who have ended up lost in our world and it’s the reader’s job to send them home to their families! Some hid in the curtains. Others hid under the bed. Don’t worry. They won’t hurt you. They’re scared, and their parents are worried about them. But this is just half the story. Creative Creature Catcher isn’t just about reading. It’s about doing. Anyone can read about these unfortunate animals, but Malcolm will teach you how to get personally involved and will even read the story to reluctant readers. I can’t wait to be able to use the interactive hide and seek game with students.

If we are going to get and keep students reading and advance that percentage of proficient readers, our first step is to actually get them reading. Giving students books that initially pique their curiosity is a great start. For more AR books that I’ve previewed and used, check out http://tiny.cc/ARbooks. If I can help you introduce these and many other great AR books to your students and colleagues, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Deb Atchison
www.debatchison.com
debatchison@gmail.com
@debatchison on Twitter

Augmented Reality (3D) Storybook

augmented reality storybook for children

We are introducing a new augmented reality printed storybook, Amos Alligator Arrives at the Airport, into our current line of reading and math programs for PreK to 3rd graders. Our new interactive storybook is one of only a handful in early education that utilizes the emerging technology known as augmented reality. The accompanying free Storybooks alive™ app provides young readers with an unforgettable 3D experience and transports them into an imaginative and exciting adventure. It’s so funny when teachers see our animated characters pop into their mobile devices. They get as excited as the kids do!

Our main products are great in the classroom, but we didn’t have a product that encouraged parental engagement… until now. The free Storybook app is rich with activities for parents and children to work through together and is available now on the iTunes App Store and Google Play and the printed book can be purchased from www.StorybooksAlive.com. With the app, young readers can point their tablet or smartphone camera at the pages in the storybook and have the characters jump to life in augmented reality on the device. The 3D elements and characters then interact with the reader as they’re touched on the screen. Children can have the book read to them by the app with a simple touch or they can read by themselves. Our first augmented reality Storybook teaches the letter A and the sounds it represents, along with several sight words as children are engaged with Amos’s adventure. We’re very pleased to be announcing our new book at ISTE 2016 in Colorado June 27-29, one of the premier technology shows for education worldwide.

Another Cool Augmented Reality Tool

aurasma for education

Hello fellow CEO’s … Chief Education Officers!

I am blessed with the opportunity to speak at several educational conferences around the country about augmented reality… one of my favorite topics. I know we develop our own augmented reality software for classrooms, but it is always good to see what others are doing with this cool technology in education.

Our passion is to provide educators with nuggets of information and practical tools that can be brought back to classrooms. Augmented Reality will be a huge part of this next generation. One of the leaders in the space, Magic Leap, has raised over one billion dollars in investment startup capital; demonstrates the interest and potential this technology offers. If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out.

aurasma for educationI know we are all looking for differentiated learning experiences that engage our students. One of the products I want to share with you is called Aurasma. Aurasma is a free DIY (do it yourself) augmented reality app for your smart device. You can use it to “bring to life” anything or object in your classroom. The thing I really like is its intuitive menu system. It doesn’t take long at all to find your way around it and begin creating your own augmented reality magic.

I put a short video together to show you how easy it is to use Aurasma. In the video you will notice I make ordinary vocabulary cards come to life. You can use this wonderful little app to teach so many things… you are limited only by your imagination. Enjoy!

Volume Bonus for School Districts

school district pilot program

Below is a recent Press Release announcing our Proficient by 3rd Grade District Level Volume Bonus Program:

Alive Studios Helps School Districts Win the Reading Challenges for At Risk Students

Alive Studios is introducing a Proficient by 3rd Grade Volume Bonus program for school districts to test and prove the Letters alive early learning reading program.

Alive Studios has structured a program that allows school districts to test and prove the effectiveness of teaching with Letters alive within eight classrooms. “We encourage districts to test and compare student outcomes between classes using Letters alive and those not using Letters alive.” stated Cynthia B. Kaye, CEO and Chief Zoo Keeper of Alive Studios. The volume program comes with a full-year of free online digital assessments for measuring, tracking, and reporting the progression of students. The generated reports can be shared with teachers, principals, and even parents in English or Spanish. The Alive Studios’ team will also come on-site and trains the participating teachers how to most effectively use Letters alive with their students and how to track their outcomes. Says Kaye, “We’re convinced that once districts try the bonus program and see the results for themselves they’ll want to make this available to all their at risk students.”

“We’ve been busy spreading awareness of our game-changing supplemental reading program, Letters alive, by introducing it to teachers around the country.” added Kaye. “What we’re finding at trade shows and during demos is that teachers love our solutions, but 74% of them don’t have the purchasing authority to obtain it. We realized we needed to take our solutions to the district level.”

at risk studentsAmerica has a literacy crisis among our early learners and serious solutions are in demand. “An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. This has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children but for their communities, and for our nation as a whole,” cited Ralph Smith, Managing Director of The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

With almost 7 out of 10 students not proficient in reading by 3rd grade, early intervention with a proven solution is crucial for establishing the foundations for high school graduation and career success. Alive Studios’ difference maker is a mind-boggling technology called Augmented Reality. It creates a 3D experience without glasses and provides off-the-charts engagement that increase student outcomes. Now, over 1,500 classrooms are learning letters, letter sounds, sight words and sentence building in a revolutionary way.

The program is especially effective with At Risk students including ELL, ESL and Special Needs. Independent Research has proven a 48% increase in letter naming fluencies and 112% increase in letter sound fluencies by implementing Letters alive in the classroom. “My students love seeing a new animal each day and their reactions to the animals coming to life is priceless! Letters alive brings a whole new engagement level to our ABC BOOTCAMP!” stated Greg Smedley-Warren, Kindergarten Teacher at JE Moss Elementary, a Title I school in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Proficient by 3rd Grade Volume Bonus Program is available to any school district. Interested teachers and principals are encouraged to inform their district leaders about the program. Details about Letters alive and the bonus program can be found at www.AliveStudiosCo.com/beta/program-2.

Content is King for Classroom Technology

Content is King for Classroom Technology

So, after a long wait and a lot of pleading you finally got that new computer, or that new smartboard. Now what? Do you have the really cool content you need to engage students?

As we make the trade show tour, we have the pleasure of seeing all the latest educational technology; fast, streamlined computers and big, crystal-clear displays. Like kids in a candy store glaring at the shiniest and most colorful lollypop, we all fall into the “I have to have this” category. But when we get it into our classrooms, we realize it doesn’t solve any of the major problems we face with early learners. Are they now learning letter sounds and letter naming more effectively? Does the new tech reach both ends of the learning spectrum? Are At Risk students now achieving better results? Can ELL students grasp the English language any quicker?

One common void we discover amongst the hardware tech crowd is the lack of content. content is king for classroom technologySure they offer the ability to do “it” quicker, bigger, and with more wow.. but do what? It’s the content ON the device that makes the difference. It’s the software application that brings the device to life and solves problems in classrooms.

It reminds me of a story about a little boy who had a $5 bill and wanted to buy a wallet. After shopping several stores, he found the perfect one. It fit his pocket, it felt good in his hand, and it only costed $5. You can guess the rest of the story. Having spent his $5, the little boy had nothing to put into his new wallet. Just like the wallet with no money, a new computer or smartboard just isn’t that impressive without content.

So, if you’re given the green light for new technology, remember to save some funds for engaging content that will help make a positive difference in your classroom.