Category Archives: iSummit 2014

The New AR

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In the beginning of my teaching career (not that long ago), the acronym AR was not my favorite thing.  It was associated with Accelerated Reader – and probably still is for some.  Hearing someone speak about AR used to elicit feelings of annoyance and often resulted in me hopping on a soapbox (which I am trying desparately not to get on now).
Recently, I have been reconditioning my brain to associate AR with Augmented Reality. My reaction is the complete opposite of what is used to be.  Augmented Reality makes me excited!  Excited for where technology can lead us – especially in the field of education. Excited for the possibilities AR gives our students to learn in different ways.

If someone asked me six months ago about AR, I wouldn’t have been able to explain it.  I’m still not so sure I can do so correctly now.  Simply put, most of us use some form of AR everyday and we don’t even realize it.  If you scan a QR code, check in with FourSquare, or workout using wiiFit – you’re using AR.  AR takes our reality and enhances it (augments it) to give us the information we need, shows us more than we are able to see at once, or lets our friends know what we are up to.

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How does AR impact education? In any way we want! While attending iSummit last month, I sat in on a session all about Augmented Reality and how teachers are using it with their students.  To say I was blown away would be an understatement.  I was energized and motivated to begin exploring and creating foundations to use these apps and websites in my classroom.  From enhancing field trips to creating scavenger hunts for test review to manipulating the Mars Rover – the possibilities are astounding.

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Here are some user friendly apps that I have been testing out the past few weeks:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.42.29 PMMy class began getting to know Chromville at the end of the school year.  They enjoyed creating their 3D world and then writing about it.  After coloring a world downloaded from the website, students then open the app, select the appropriate world, and their coloring comes to life!  It does take a little practice to manipulate the character on screen – for example, it is easier for the students to put their paper on the floor and stand over it to get a good scan. The camera feature is easy to see and for students to use.

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icon_340 Spacecraft 3D brings Nasa to the palm of your hand!  After downloading and printing the marker, students can manipulate a 3D version of the Mars Rover, Voyager, or 14 other spacecraft.  Using the animation features, you can rotate the craft, move parts, etc.  By shifting the angle of your iPad, you also shift the way you see the craft.  I took screen shots of my rover, but within the app settings you can select the camera. I love that the marker target image is a sand sample taken by one of the spacecraft.

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iTunesArtwork402x Shape Quest by PBS Kids offers 3 games (2 non AR).  To play the AR game, you need to download the game board marker (black and white or color).  Once users open the app and aim the camera at the game board, their game begins!  I found this a little more difficult to maneuver, but I’m also sure my students would have any easier time with it.  Students are able to use shape knowledge and their bodies to work through levels of the game.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 7.41.10 PMPerhaps the AR app/website combo I am most excited about is Aris. Using the website, the creator can drop pins on the map of a specific location (school, field trip destination, classroom) and add fun facts, videos, or trivia questions.  When students/users open the app and begin the project, they are notified when they arrive at a destination that has been pinned.  They are then able to scan the QR code (or other marker) and learn more.

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Imagine scavenger hunts around campus to review content, book trailers on a library tour, welcome videos from school staff for visitors – – – if you can dream it up and find a map, you can create it!  It is advised that you practice the project first to make sure characters/pins are dropped in the exact place.

To learn more – surf on over to  arisgames.org for demos, to play projects that are already created, or to create your own.

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Additonal Resources:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/augmented-reality-new-dimensions-learning-drew-minock

http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com/p/meaningful-integration.html

http://www.kleinspiration.com/2013/05/using-augmented-reality-via-aurasma-in.html

http://www.teachthought.com/technology/32-augmented-reality-apps-for-the-classroom-from-edshelf/

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Filed under iSummit 2014, Technology

Digital Literacy

21st century kid

 

As years go by, buzz words and terms come and go.  Currently – I feel inundated with 21st century learner, 21st century skills, and digital age. While attending iSummit earlier this month, I participated in a session about Digital Literacy led by Angela Maiers (see more love for her here). At the crux of her presentation is that literacy (of all types) is a HUMAN RIGHT. Devastatingly – a human right that is still not afforded to all.  To be literate means you have lifetime membership to the “reading club”.  You have access to resources, ideas, and even joys that nonmembers do not. There is confidence and POWER in literacy.  With our membership, comes responsibility – to members and nonmembers alike.

With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, et al our world feels in some ways more intimate.  We share everything, at times too much, and we get responses instantly. We get feedback – instantly. We become validated – instantly. We are insulted – instantly.  We are heartbroken – instantly. We realize the pros and cons of having an audience to our writing – instantly.

Friends of mine poke fun at me for correcting myself in the comments section of a Facebook post for a grammar error.  They wonder why I type out every single word in a text – refusing (for the most part) to use the lingo.  I do not speak BRB, TTYL, LOL, SMH, TY, IKR, ICYMI, YW… At times, I have to ask what an abbreviation means.

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Why am I this way?  Am I an officer of grammar law? Not really.  Am I snobby?  I try not to be. Am I just a little crazy? Most definitely.  Mainly, though, I feel a writer’s responsibility when putting  my words into the world through media. People are reading what you say – even strangers.  Haven’t you seen the fun Buzzfeed has with texts, comments, and posts?

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Part of being literate in the 21st century means you are able to learn, process, share/teach others, and – if necessary – relearn and unlearn.  When you blog, you’re speaking to more people than you imagine.  Blogs are not just online diaries to unload your thoughts.  After you unload your thoughts – someone reads them.  That someone may have a comment for you.  Then, it becomes your turn in the conversation again. Our members of the “club” need to understand this.

Since blogging, tweeting, and commenting are becoming the new form of written expression, we as teachers have a responsibility to create opportunities for students to practice these skills OFFLINE first.  Essentially, they are prewriting. Pretty sure they fits in a standard somewhere!

Resources for building skills offline:

http://purposedriventeaching.net/2013/09/29/connecting-your-students-with-authors-with-twitter/

http://www.teacherstechworkshop.com/2013/08/6-amazing-facebook-templates-to-use.html

http://conversationsinliteracy.blogspot.com/2014/02/twitter-tweets-graffiti.html

http://langwitches.org/blog/2010/04/11/skype-jobs-for-students/

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2014/03/pinterest-inspired-project-and-hallway-display

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/526147168938992093/

Happy Blogging-Tweeting-Chatting-Hashtagging-Commenting-Pinning!

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Filed under iSummit 2014, Literacy, Technology, Uncategorized