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Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom

Part of the Virtual Teacher Program Specialization »

Learn about emerging trends and technologies in K-12 virtual instruction. Join us as we explore this dynamic landscape and investigate how we can more deeply engage students in the virtual classroom through the use of innovative practices and technologies.


Course at a Glance

About the Course

Emerging technologies are quickly gaining momentum in the field of virtual K-12 instruction. In this course we will explore how the latest trends in the use of technology affect student learning and engagement. What innovative learning spaces and tools are available to instructors?  How can instructors best utilize free and open resources to more deeply engage students in their learning? What impact can the use of emerging technologies have on student retention and performance? As a class we will discuss the possibilities and challenges of using technology in fully online environments, although many of the ideas can be applied to blended and traditional environments as well. Learners will compare and contrast tools for use in K-12 virtual instruction, as well as examine best practices for implementing and managing these tools.

Course Syllabus

There are a total of five modules. All modules and their content will be made available at the start of the course. 

Module 1: Role of technology in K12 virtual education, evaluating technologies for use, and implementing technologies
Module 2: Collaborative and social learning technologies
Module 3: Game-based learning, badging, augmented reality, and wearable technologies
Module 4: Open educational content, including MOOCs
Module 5: Balancing student needs and challenges

Recommended Background

The course is primarily for:

  • Teachers working with children ages 5 - 18
  • Instructors working with further education, community college or vocational students
  • Continuing education or in-service facilitators supporting teachers and faculty
  • Educators interested in educational technology and/or online instruction
  • Please note that although this program is offered to participants from around the world, many of the examples and experiences shared will be based on the education structure and processes of the United States. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their own country-based experiences in the forums.

Suggested Readings

Free, publicly available articles and resources will be provided throughout the course. Learners will also be encouraged to explore various free, online technologies, tools, learning spaces, and resource repositories.

Course Format

  • A series of short video lectures
  • Four short quizzes
  • A final quiz
  • One peer reviewed assignment
  • Several synchronous activities (These are optional, but highly encouraged.)
  • Forum discussions (These are optional, but highly encouraged.)
  • And lots of resources


Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

You can earn a Verified Certificate by verifying your work with a no obligation Signature Track trial. Payment for Signature Track can be made anytime until the week before the course ends — so you’ll be more certain that you’ll earn your Verified Certificate.  If you choose not to verify your work, you can still participate in the complete course.  While your final score will be noted on your course records page, this course will not offer a Statement of Accomplishment.  

Will I receive university credit for this course?
At this time, university credit is not available for this course. However, this course is one of four courses offered through Coursera by UC Irvine focused on Virtual Teacher Education. Those students who successfully complete all four courses and earn a Verified Certificate with Distinction (available exclusively by joining Signature Track) for each course will be able to apply for a practicum course offered online through UC Irvine Extension.  For more information on the UC Irvine practicum visit

What resources will I need for this class?
The course is self-contained, with links to free, open resources throughout. No additional resources are needed beyond a creative spirit that is ready to explore new ways for teaching students virtually.

What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class? 
Whether you're new to the world of virtual education or an experienced virtual teacher, we hope this course helps you think critically about the latest tools and technologies available to you to further engage your students in the virtual classroom. We love teaching with technology so we think everything is cool!