Atomic Learning:Web Based Technology Training
by Rana M. Smith
Atomic Learning is a unique resource for accessing training on a wide range of software programs. This web-based system allows users to watch tutorials from any computer on which they have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day. The short and informative training videos range in length from one to three minutes. They can be used by people who would like their software questions answered immediately, as well as by individuals who are interested in increasing their technical skills. The videos are concise, yet detailed enough to give users quick and accurate answers to their software questions.
The Atomic Learning videos are organized into two collections: the Technology Skills Collection and the Assistive Technology Collection. Both include show-and-tell tutorials on a variety of levels. For example, for computer novices the Technology Skills Collection offers how-to videos on how to copy and paste in Microsoft Word or how to use the SuperGrouper tool in Kidspiration. More advanced computer users can find tutorials on web-authoring programs such as Contribute, Flash, and Dreamweaver (all by Adobe) and on technology-based activities such as podcasting, video editing, and Google Earth. A section on School Productivity offers training on educational applications such as interactive white boards (SmartBoard or Promethean ACTIV), grading programs, Geometer’s Sketchpad, and Inspiration.
Some of the many short training videos offered for WYNN 5.1
Assistive Technology Collection
The Assistive Technology Collection focuses on accessibility features on both Macintosh and Windows platforms, assistive devices such as the ClassMate Reader, IntelliKeys and the Neo notetaker, and specialized software such as BoardMaker, Co:Writer, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil 3000, and WYNN.
All Atomic Learning videos are correlated with the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) developed by the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) and are aligned to individual state standards. The site has an easy to use search tool that allows users to search for videos according to either or both of these standards. The search tool also makes it very easy to search for the videos that are most closely related to your software questions.
The Atomic Learning training videos provide an alternative to professional development programs and a valuable resource for teachers working to strengthen their technology skills.
Atomic Learning also offers a training package that is a complete online training system. The Atomic Training package provides users with an environment in which they can upload their own digital resources and have access to all the Atomic Learning video tutorials. The training tool is customizable to fit the needs of each organization and includes a tracking tool, which can be used to monitor which digital resources have been accessed, and by which user.
Additional Resources for Teachers
As a former technology teacher involved with staff development training, I can definitely see the usefulness of this convenient and flexible online learning tool. It is an interesting alternative or addition to any professional development program and a valuable resource for teachers working to strengthen their technology skills. Educators will be particularly interested in the Lesson Accelerators, which are specific plans and tools teachers need to incorporate technology into their curriculum. The Project Activity Guides that accompany the Lesson Accelerators provide step-by-step directions on how to infuse technology into a lesson, and each project guide includes a rubric for assessment. Another strength is that every video tutorial has closed captioning for the deaf/hard of hearing. The company’s regularly published e-newsletter includes commonly asked questions and upcoming release dates of new video tutorials.
Access to Atomic Learning’s video collection is by subscription. A “department” license to one collection, for example, grants access for one year to 600 full-time equivalent faculty and students for $800; both video collections would be $1,500. An individual license to both collections is $149.95/year.
Purchasing multiple subscriptions to either collection substantially lowers the cost. Free demo video tutorials are available on their website.
Assistive Technology Collection
Boardmaker Plus 6
Dragon Naturally Speaking 10
Intellitools Classroom Suite 4
JAWS (coming soon)
Low-cost text readers
Overlay Maker 3
Read & Write Gold 8
SOLO Teacher Central
Writing with Symbols 2000
Acrobat Professional 9
Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger)
Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard)
Windows XP & Vista
Kid Pix Deluxe
SMART Board Notebook
IntelliKeys USB Keyboard
See www.AtomicLearning.com for complete listings.