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Atomic Learning goes back to school to perfect new product offerings

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SmartBrief is attending ISTE 2012 in San Diego, is a media sponsor for the conference and is providing coverage for educators.

With the goal of helping educators re-imagine their classrooms through the use of mobile technology, Atomic Learning unveiled its new Atomic Mobilize offering at ISTE 2012 this week in San Diego. Those familiar with the traditional screen-capture tutorials and how-to-use software of previous Atomic Learning offerings will see more video tips and best practices reflecting teacher and student experiences in Atomic Mobilize. Jonathon Blissenbach, director of product management for Atomic Learning, was proud to share the story of how the company went back to school to gather the information it needed to fine-tune its latest offering.

The design process for Atomic Mobilize got a boost from a 1-to-1 iPad initiative in the Atomic Learning’s hometown of Little Falls, Minn. The local district repurposed all their textbook dollars to buy iPads for students in grades 5-12. Atomic Learning spent a day a week on-site talking to educators and students to help shape the way Atomic Mobilize changes the education process.

While many in Little Falls embraced funding the new technology, Blissenbach shared the story of one of the biggest skeptics of the iPad initiative. One of the science teachers formed a committee to oppose iPad initiative out of concern that it was diverting dollars from textbooks and microscopes. But just six months into the program, the science teacher said he couldn’t imagine teaching without the iPad.

“After reflecting upon it, the science teacher realized that early on in his career he was really a sponge. He was trying techniques and trying a lot of new things in his classroom. Then he had probably hit a plateau at the 15-year point. He really feels re-energized now after what he has seen happen with the iPad. … He said that if they took the iPads away, he’d probably have to leave the profession. And that is after just one year.”

What’s Next?

Blissenbach said Atomic Learning is also excited about the upcoming launch of Atomic TechCore in July. TechCore is a suite of tools that helps school leaders map their Common Core State Standards implementation plans. “Seventy-six of the standards use the word technology in them and about that many more allude to the fact that technology should be used for exhibiting the competencies from the students,” Blissenbach explained. “Common Core State Standards are driving the evolution of how Atomic Learning approaches its core mission, which is to bridge the gap between technology and curriculum.”

Atomic Learning is actively recruiting schools to become what are called TechCore Centers of Excellence. These schools would get the opportunity to work with Atomic Learning’s development team throughout the summer to help design the latter phases of the TechCore rollout. Atomic Learning would also facilitate bi-weekly collaborative sessions to help those Centers of Excellence implement Common Core Standards.