Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented Reality. AR, is used in the classroom to enhance a student's learning and increase engagement in the classroom setting.  I have found that the use of Augmented Reality can motivate, excite, and give equity of a lesson to the students. Here are a few ways I have encouraged my students and staff to incorporate AR into school activities.

Aurasma Projects:

I love Aurasmas ability to allow the teacher and or student to overlay a multimedia aspect on top of a selected target image. Because of this I have used aurasma in a variety of different ways throughout the year in and outside the walls of my classroom.

  • Interactive Classroom\Lab Rules

    • In class I find that over time the walls of my classroom become static. The pictures and classroom rules which seemed to be placed in the perfect place at the beginning of the year, become white noise as the months progress. Because of this I decided to allow students to create short videos which represent what the poster or rule is trying to convey. These short videos can be something as simple as a motivational pep talk from one student to another, or a “do and don’t” set of rules for the laboratory setting. I take these student created videos and overlay them with Aurasma on to the posters on the classroom wall. Throughout the year i change the videos based on student submission, creating a changing classroom environment throughout the year. With this process I have student coming into my class at lunch with their Aurasma phone app to see if the posters have been changed.

  • AR Digital Yearbook

    • A few years back I noticed that our student yearbook team had a lot of free time in class once the yearbook went off to the publisher. This left one to two months of free time for the normally busy crew. As an Idea I introduced our team and their advisor, Sheryl Milhous, to the idea of “Aurasmatizing” our yearbook. I explained that since the yearbook was already done we can get with our videography team and match already made videos to their pictures in the yearbook. After a short explanation the team was off and running, “Aurasmatizing” as many pictures they could. The result was an amazing journey, in both print and digital, our our students amazing year. It was such a success that we brought back the “Aurasmatized” for our most recent yearbook. The yearbook advisor, Mrs. Milhous said “This makes our yearbook unique and special, as well, because students love connecting technology and digital devices to everything around them. I realized that using Aurasma helps get even more students “in” the yearbook.  While a photo may feature one, two, or even a group of, students, the video covers several seconds of the event or the context of the photo, and shows even more student faces as they enjoy that moment of the school year experience.”

  • AR Digital Sports Program

    • Last year after seeing that the Alta Sierra yearbook had be augmented with Aurasma, our High School (Buchanan High School) asked if I could create an Augmented sports program for their football games. I assured them it could be done with some help and planning in advance. We got together and planned to get our Senior Football players to do a short 1 minute interview on the same days they were getting their team and individual photos taken. Doing the photos and interviews on the same day ensured the photos would transition well into the videos. We asked the seniors to tell us about their position, where they were headed to college, and any message they wanted to tell their parents and/or coaches. Once this was completed I “Aurasmatized” the senior photos with their one minute interview to allow the parents and fans to see their favorite athletes come to life. We also augmented our program dedication page, producing a short video on the life and accomplishments of our districts founder Dr. Floyd “Doc” Buchanan.

  • Back to School Digital Gallery Walk

    • Last year one of my teachers, Brooke Valenzuela, mentioned to me that she wanted to do something amazing for her parents for open house. She wanted to have her parents experience her students work rather than just seeing it. After a few discussions, the idea of using Aurasma to bring the work to life was decided on. Mrs. Valenzuela had her students create a video of their work, the experience of creating it, and why they were proud of it. Once the video was created they used a picture of their work as a “Target” image, then overlaid their video on top of their work. The night of open house her parents took a digital gallery walk through their students work, experience their work first hand in their student’s own words. After the night was over Mrs. Valenzuela said “Both the students and their parents were amazed with how the auras worked. They loved being able to hover their smartphones over the pictures and see them come to life.  It was a really unique and memorable showcase of all the students work.”

  • Personal Tutor at Home

    • Early on in my teaching career, I used to handout paper worksheet to assess my students growth on a particular topic. A problem with this practice was what I asked of those kids who did not finish the work in class. I told them that if they did not finish the worksheet in class it would have to be finished at home as homework. Looking back I know this was not a good practice because one of the many reasons the students did not finish the work in class was because they didn’t know how to do the work in the first place. If they didn’t understand the work while in class, why did I expect them finish and understand the work at home. As a remedy to this problem I would video myself using a DocCam, completing and explaining how to successfully complete the various problems asked in the worksheet. I then used the worksheet as a trigger and overlaid the recorded help video onto the worksheet in Aurasma. Now when my students got stuck on a portion of the worksheet, they would use their aurasma app to a personal step by step guide on how to complete the problems. I became a digital on demand tutor.

  • Science Fair AR

    • This past year we toyed with the idea of augmenting our students science fair boards for our county and state science fair participants. We decided it would be a good idea to have our students record and document the trials, experiment, and data explanations. On the board our students placed pictures in the necessary locations and augmented them with their hypothesis, data/graph explanations, and results. The result was a board they dug deeper into the results than a normal type and printed project would have done. This coming year we will dig deeper into how AR can transform our boards like no board has ever been put together.

  • Student created Book Review AR videos

    • Our library has lots of posters to encourage kids to read. These poster were like movie posters to me, which got me thinking about movie trailers and movie reviews. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if a student could see a review of the book by a student or a trailer of the book to decided if they should read it or not? So we decided to ask students to record reviews, which we would then Augment over the poster so students would be able to listen to the advice of one of their fellow students about the book. Once the poster was taken down, the poster was removed as the trigger image of the review and replaced by the book cover image. This way over time our books will have more and more reviews attached to them right off the shells. This coming year I plan on working with our teacher librarian to introduce green screen videos to see if we can get students to create creative trailers for the books as well.

Elements 4D

  • AR Element Bonding Lab

    • Elements 4D is an AR app from Daqri that brings elemental blocks to life right in the hands of the students. Because of the power this app has to inspire awe and amazement in my students eyes, I was trying to figure out a way to convert its use from a demonstration into an actual lab. After trial and error I decided to put together a bonding lab that incorporated covalent/ionic bonding, equation balancing, and the students favorite digital device. I asked my students the night before to download the Element 4D app from the play/app store while they were at home. When they came in I randomly handed out the the element block templates, there are six different templates with six different elements on each one, to each of my students printed on card stock. I asked my students to lightly shade in the elements which would have a positive ionic charge one color and also shade in the elements that would have a negative ionic charge another color. Student would then walk the classroom with their blocks placing them next to another students block. If the elements were able to bond the app would transform them into the compound they would create in real life along with the compounds balanced equation. For example, if a student had the element sodium (Na+) and touched it with another student with the element chlorine (Cl-) they would see that it makes the compound salt (NaCl). The student would record their bonding results on their lab sheet, and then find another element to bond with. Soon the students started to see that elements with opposite ionic charges formed ionic bonds. This was a fun and exciting lab for both my students and myself.


  • About me ARt

    • On the opening week of class I like to get to know my students through a little art project called :About Me Art. In this project my students would be given a blank piece of paper and asked to draw five things that represent them. I thought it would be fun to use this project as a way to introduce my students to augmented reality by instead of handing them blank paper I gave them a choice of a Quiver Flag, Starbucks cup or Dot Day target. In the targets blank space they would draw in color five things that represented them. For the flag I said to imagine that they were a country, what five things would represent you as a country. For the Starbucks cup I said what if instead of your name the barista had to list five things that represent you and that what they would call out to give you your drink. My students had a blast finding the quiver app and watching their drawings come to life. What great ARt!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hacking Remind

Ok, before you start reading let me let you in on the idea of hacking and educational tool. I am not referring to the tactic of breaking into a digital location and lurking around. I would never want any of my favorite edu-tools to be hacked by you or anyone. When I use the work "Hack" here I am referring to a practice of turning the tool on its head, and begin utilizing it in a way that it was not original attended. I believe ALL of our educational tools can and should be "Hacked" in this fashion to best benefit our kids each and every year. Below I will layout some of the ways I have used remind in the past to increase student engagement even when they are not in my class.

Lunch Time Scramble
I love keeping my student on their toes, both in and outside my classroom. Because of this I am know to throw out lunchtime questions via remind to keep my students thinking. These questions can be as simple as "What is Newtons 3rd Law" or as complicated as "What is the balance equation of Photosynthesis?" Regardless, I throw these questions out to my students during lunchtime. My students are instructed that if they know the answer and are the first to write the correct answer on the board in my room, they will win a prize. It is hilarious to see the door burst open with 5 to 10 students rushing to the board to answer a science question with a white board pen in one hand and a burrito in the other. 

Lunch Time Photo Scavenger Hunt
No that remind allows students to message you back via the remind app, scavenger hunts are so much fun. At Lunch I will ask my students: "Science is all around us, look around. Try and find any instances of Newtons 1st, 2nd, and 3rd law in action right now. Take a picture and tell me how it represents one of the three laws. Best picture and description wins a prize." It is great to see our lunchtime photo journalists out in the field surveying the field of their fellow students trying to find science in action.

Vacation Photo Chasin': Random Acts of Science
Just because our students are on vacation doesn't mean they have to be away from learning with us. Charge your student to think back on what they have learned so far and take pictures during their vacation and post them through the remind messaging feature in the remind app. Its fun for the students to see science in their favorite vacation spot, and fun for you to get random acts of science from your students over vacation. And why just do this over vacation? Encourage Random Acts of Science throughout the whole year!!!

 I do not claim to be the only educator in the world utilizing Remind in the hacked fashions listed above, but I had not yet seen a blog post listing these learning opportunities. If you are an educator who uses remind as told in the descriptions above AWESOME! Let me know and share out with the community. If you use remind in a way I have not listed PLEASE share out and let us know, I will update this post with any new ideas and be sure to link your info along with the addition. Now Lets Get Hacking!!!

Pokemon Go Edu

I have seen a lot of blog posts and ideas about using Pokemon go in the educational setting, but many of the ideas have to do with conversation starters or a discussion on Augmented Reality or GPS. I think all of these are great examples of ways to bring in the phenomena into the classroom, but how can we actually utilize the platform and gaming aspect of PokemonGo during an actual lesson., The following are a list of my thoughts on how I can see an actual, practical, and factual way of using Pokemon Go in the classroom or Edu setting.

This of course is a fantastic way to answer the question on how technology and PE can be brought together. I am a huge fan of competitive scavenger hunts and have always believed technology could be used to add a digital component to an already competitive and gamified subject. I could see Pokemon Go being utilized as a tool to create a variety of activities to be run through PE.Now I am by no means a Pokemon Go expert so I would love to hear back whether these ideas are practical or impractical to be completed in a class period.

Also before I run down my ideas let me ask you who you think your Poke' experts will be. Will it be your star athletes? Maybe, but probably not. Most likely it will be your introverted students who would rather be in science class than PE. Wouldn't it be a phenomenal experience for you and the students to see those students who reluctantly follow in PE, become Team captains to train their hand selected group of Pokemon catchers? 

  • PokeTrap Dash: I know that use of Poke' traps/lure  in the game are used to entice a Pokemon to head to the trap. How about utilizing this feature to allow teams to place traps all over the campus. Here would be the rules:
    • Each group will have one leader with the Pokemon Go App at his disposal. His team will have 5 flags, of the teams color, at their disposal. 
    • Each team will need to place 5 traps/lures around campus. Each trap must be placed at least 50 yards apart for their own and other teams traps. 
    • The team will need to use the App to identify their next trap location and RUN to their next location before another team puts down their trap before another group does.
    • After the team finishes they must run through the designated finish line.
    • Once completed, each teams distances are vetted by other teams to ensure the 50 yard rule was obeyed.
    • In this fashion on a few students, the captains, would need to being out a digital device.
  • Pokemon Go (non-digital): I can see some reluctant PE teachers worried about students bringing an electronic device outside. Questions like "What if a kid loses it?" or "What if he drops it and I'm responsible?" Both are valid points, so why not create a non-digital form of this game. I could see using Hula Hoops as Poke stations, and small foam balls used by the participants to catch Pokemons. You could separate teams and designate students as Pokemon to be captured. You could use a large field to create an arena with possible areas of where a Pokemon will appear. Students as Pokemon can jump in a Hula hoop full of flags, if he stands in the hula hoop for longer than 10 sec without being tagged by the foam balls he grabs a flag and then runs out of the hoop. If you "catch" the Pokemon he joins your team and his flags get added to your group pints. This way the "Fastest" Pokemon Students end up collective more flags and become more valuable to the team who catches him. Think of this as a combination or capture the flag, freeze-tag, and dodge ball. 
  • Pokemon Go Edu Expeditions: Now I know this does not exist, YET, but wouldn't it be fun if the creators of Pokemon Go created an Edu version where a teacher could place Pokemon's around campus and had their student run to each new character they find. This would allow teachers to create isolated games for their students and reset the characters or replace each character after each game is over. The instructor could see the whereabouts of each group via a dashboard view ala Google Expeditions.
  • Pokemon Go Scavenger Hunts: Have the students the first few days of school travel around campus on a scavenger hunts to discover all the campus buildings and meet the support staff of each building. The could get to the building and screen shot that they are there. Bonus point if you capture and screenshot a Pokemon Character. 

No as I have said above, I am NOT a Pokemon Go expert and I have only casually played the game, so if there are suggestions on how to make the above work OR you have a better way to utilize this app in an Edu setting PLEASE let me know. I would love to revise and add to our Pokemon Go Edu list!!.