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Sphero: the coolest robot around

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Evaluate, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 14-04-2014

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Sphero- coolest robot ever

This week, the wonderful people at Orbotix sent me a Sphero to try out and play with. HOLY COW, I haven’t had so much fun with a new toy in a long time. The better part of today was spent learning about the Sphero and stealthily “driving” it into classrooms (much to the delight of kids). Sphero is a robotic ball that gets controlled by iPhone, iPad, or android device. I had it rolling all over school this morning…I only wish I had thought ahead to record student reactions (I was using my iPhone to control it and didn’t think about video and pictures). I had so much fun with it, that I brought it home to play and learn some more. It is equally loved by my dogs! ;)

Sphero seems like a simple concept, a ball that can be controlled via tablet or phone. Even though the concept is simple, I have to admit, I’m pretty floored by the way that this little ball moves around effortlessly as if by magic. We have a hallway in our school that includes an incline and it rolled up it without any trouble, like a champ! It is SO much more than a fun rolley ball. There are a slew of apps that interact with the Sphero making it ultra fun and educational. The majority of apps available are totally free to download. There are a few that cost $0.99. Apps include:

  • Sphero Nyan Cat Space Party- Even if you have no idea what Nyan cat is, your students will. They will think it is awesome.
  • Sphero Dark Nebula Episode One- A labyrinth game for the 21st century.
  • Sphero Dark Nebula Episode Two- Defeat obstacles and enemies using your Sphero.
  • Sphero- the app I played with all day. This app drives Sphero and teaches it (and you) new tricks with basics of coding.
  • GoGo Mongo- Designed to teach toddlers and primary students healthy eating habits.
  • Sphero Exile- Arcade-like space-fighter game. But with real life actions!
  • Sphero Draw N’ Drive- Use your finger on the tablet or phone to draw a shape or path and watch Sphero follow it.
  • Sphero MacroLab (great for education!)- Learn basics of programming by arranging simple commands and settings in any combination. Save favorite programs and share them with friends.
  • Sphero TAG- A great tag game when you have access to more than one Sphero.
  • Zombie Roller- A zombie app. Need I say more?
  • Sphero Lights- Basically the coolest night-light ever. Keep the Sphero lit even when charging.
  • Last Fish- Try surviving as a fish in toxic water filled with goo and shadow fish. The goal: survive.
  • Sphero Macro Draw- Draw using your Sphero robot.
  • DJ Sphero- Go ahead and be a party rock star with Sphero. Load tracks from your iPad/iPhone music library . Cross fade between songs and speed up or slow down music by spinning your sphere robot. Basically you will be the star of the lunch room.
  • Astro Ball- An arcade-syle 3D flight simulator.
  • Sphero Golf- I played this one as soon as I got home. Create a physical golf course and then virtually control Sphero to make it into the holes that you create. Hit Sphero with either a flick of the finger, or (for more fun) by swinging your arms while holding your tablet/phone.
  • Sphero Cam- Currently Android only. Use the built-in camera on Android to record video with Sphero.
  • orbBasic for Sphero- This is a great app for learning and practicing program. Students can execute basic programs and create and prototype autonomous behaviors for their Sphero robot.
  • Sphero H2O- For real, this robot can be played with IN water!! This is a game for a summer pool party.
  • Etch-o-matic- 21st century toy makes drawings like it is 1965. LOVE this app! Brings me right back to about 1987 when I sat in the back seat of the Jetta on the way to Grandmas. Just like an etch-a-sketch, only better.
  • Sphero Snake- Classic Snake game brought to life.
  • Disc Groove- Control your Sphero to avoid being hit by “flying meteors”
  • Doodle Grub- A new twist on the classic Snake game. Lots of fun.
  • Sphero Pet- Wishing you had a class pet? Sphero fits the bill well without being overwhelming. Kids can teach it to shake, flip and move in any direction.
  • Pass the Sphero- A game of dare for multiple players where Sphero becomes a ticking time-bomb. Lots of fun when there is lots of snow and recess has to occur inside.
  • Sphero Measuring Tape (AWESOME, measuring our Anastasis Academy garden!) Virtual measuring tape. Amazingly accurate. Our kids have been learning Area/Perimeter and using the Anastasis Academy garden as a learning space. Sphero helped verify their calculations.
  • Sharky the Beaver- Sphero turns into an augmented reality beaver that you can interact with.
  • Sphero ColorGrab- A multiplayer tabletop game. Sphero flashes colors and you have to pick him up at the right time to earn points. Best indoor recess ever!
  • Sphero Chromo- Like an old-school Simon game for this little robot. Makes me a little nostalgic for my childhood. :)
  • The Rolling Dead- an augmented reality game featuring zombies. Not sure how it gets better than using Sphero as a fireball to shoot virtual zombies. Anastasis Academy backs to a cemetery where the teachers walk/jog after school. I’m pretty sure the Rolling Dead/Sphero combo will be a welcome addition to our exercise.

The Sphero apps the are available to download range from just plain fun, to serious learning capability and augmented reality. There are so many possibilities with this little robot and, it seems, that the apps and abilities of this little robot will only continue to grow. This robot is resilient. It can stand up to dogs, water, outdoors, hills, etc. Truly so magical and amazing!

Shiba Inu playing with Sphero Robot

Shiba Inu playing with Sphero Robot

Shiba Inu playing with Sphero Robot

Shiba Inu playing with Sphero Robot

I dig technology that effortlessly blends real world with imagination and technology. Sphero definitely fits this bill in ways that I haven’t seen before. I’m excited to dig into Sphero Education to try out the STEM lessons that can be used with Sphero with students. I’ll be sure to blog our progress through them! Stay tuned.

 

Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media

Posted by admin | Posted in For Teachers, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2013

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Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 5.18.38 PM

What it is:  Summer time always seems to be a much-anticipated time for a little rest and relaxation.  Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of parents how much they enjoy the summer months with their kids…until they reach July.  This is when the “I don’t know what to do” sets in and boredom can take over.  Common Sense Media is here to help with those in-between moments when it is too hot to play outside and you prefer that they do something more meaningful than plop in front of the TV for a few hours.  Send them to virtual camp!  The virtual camp is a library of apps, games and websites that will help your kids retain all of the skills they built up over the school year and even build some new ones in anticipation of the new school year.  Recommendations are broken up by age (2-17) and have been further divided by categories including: Outdoor Exploration, Scavenger Hunt, Arts and Crafts, Campfire Friends, Indoor Activities, and Talent Show.  Each recommendation is rated with books.  You are looking for 3 books for an engaging, exceptional learning activity!

How to integrate Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media into the classroom: Camp Virtual is a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer.  Parents will be extra appreciative of the recommendations for worth-while and safe places for their kids to play while they are at home.  Each activity includes a learner rating and gives a great description of the activity as well as the learning that is tied to it.

Camp Virtual has a guide that can be downloaded and sent home with students at the end of the school year.  Too late for that?  Send a “hope you are having a wonderful summer” email with the guide and a link to the site.

When the weather is nice, I am a HUGE fan of kids getting out and enjoying experiential learning.  However; I know that like all of us, they hit the point of no return when they are hot, tired, crabby and just need a change of activity in a cooler location.  These recommendations of games and activities is a great reprieve for those moments!

Tips:  I love that at the bottom of each page there are some recommendations for parents to continue the learning beyond the game or activity.  Things like “Encourage kids to come up with as many different solutions as they can with each game. Ask them which solutions are most efficient.”

Are you using Camp Virtual?  Share your experience in the comments below!

The Literacy Shed: a treasure trove of ideas

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Character Education, Create, Evaluate, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 25-06-2012

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What it is:  The Literacy Shed is a fantastic blog/site I learned about on Twitter from @missmac100, thanks Carol! The Literacy Shed is maintained by primary teacher Rob Smith and is packed full of teaching ideas all related to literacy.  The site is separated into “sheds,” each with a different genre.  There are short films images and book suggestions that are each accompanied by a teaching idea that includes discussion questions and writing prompts.  The Literacy Shed has plenty of ideas to keep you going all year long!   This truly is a treasure trove that will keep you coming back again and again. You will find the following “sheds” on the Literacy Shed:

  • Fantasy
  • Ghostly
  • Other Cultures
  • Inspiration
  • Moral
  • Picture Book
  • Great Animation
  • Love
  • Inventors
  • Fairytales
  • Reading
  • Poetry
  • Adventure
  • Mystery
  • Film Trailer
  • Fun
  • Lighthouse
  • Flying Books
  • Resource
  • Non-literacy
  • Weblinks

How to integrate The Literacy Shed into the classroom: The Literacy Shed is a great one-stop-shop for inspiration and ideas to improve literacy and critical thinking in your classroom.  The ideas can be used with a variety of age groups, different ages will pick up on different themes and discussions using the same videos/images/books.  Students will become familiar with a variety of genres and become comfortable with the characteristics of each.

There is something here for every classroom and unit.  As I said, it is a treasure trove of resources!  Use the ideas in the Literacy Shed to spark meaningful discussions and writing direction for your students.  I always like to start with discussion and end with a written reflection because it gives students the opportunity to listen to other ideas, and then solidify their own ideas and reflections in writing.

Tips: You can follow the Literacy Shed on Twitter: @redgierob

Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Literacy Shed in  your classroom!

Wordia

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 27-02-2012

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What it is: Wordia is a site that has been around for a little while, I recently took a look at it again and was pleasantly surprised with the updates. Wordia is game-based platform that helps expose students to a variety of words and vocabulary.  The Wordia platform uses a dictionary as its foundation and blends learning games with interactive videos that teach vocabulary.  Using Wordia, students build “Word Banks” as they engage in some friendly competition with classmates and other schools.  The games in Wordia focus on spelling, grammar, oracy, auditory and phonics.  This update has included some helpful goodies with schools and classrooms in mind.  Games have been developed for educator led one-to-many scenarios that can be played on an interactive whiteboard or or projector connected computer with the whole class.  One-to-one games are perfect for the classroom, computer lab or home.  Word lists and lesson plans are available with both options for some great ideas for whichever situation best meets the needs of your classroom.

Wordia keeps track of student progress through a series of badges.  Students work to build their own word bank and collect badges.

How to integrate Wordia into the classroom:  Wordia is a great place for students to build and practice vocabulary and word knowledge.  The games are fun to play as a class or individually and beat a vocab worksheet hands down.  Wordia has a pretty impressive search engine.  It would be an excellent site to keep bookmarked on classroom computers as a resource center in the classroom.  Any time students run across an unfamiliar word, they can immediately run a search that brings them the definition, a video, a game, and related words.  If a video doesn’t already exist, your students can record and contribute their own video!  The same option exists for games.  You and your students can easily build a game on Wordia to share.  Just upload a word list, select a game type and voila!
Why not share spelling and vocabulary words every week by building a game from the word list?  Much more fun than the boring word list that gets lost on the way home anyway.
Tips:  You (the teacher) will have to create an account before your students can save their progress in Wordia.  Searching the site and viewing content can be done without a login.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Wordia in  your classroom!

Word Girl Definition Competition: Live vocabulary game show!

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Web2.0 | Posted on 17-03-2011

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What it is: Mark your calendars now for the Word Girl Definition Competition on April 27, 2011; this is a live vocabulary event being hosted by Scholastic and is free to participate in!  You must register by April 22 to recieve your webcast event kit, participate in the definition competition, and be entered for a chance to win books and Word Girl prizes.  The Word Girl Definition Competition is a fun way to engage students with vocabulary words in a fun, interactive context.  The competition includes a 30 minute live webcast where students will enrich their vocabulary and have fun.  This will also be the kick off to the Scholastic summer challenge to get students excited about books and reading throughout the summer.

The competition is made up of 3 rounds plus a bonus round.  The competition will be in game-show format, students will be challenged to work those vocabulary skills as they answer questions pertaining to word usage, definitions, using words in different contexts, and reading comprehension.  Your students will play along with the game in real time by submitting answers online during the webcast and may be called out during the event.  This event will help your students understand the meaning of words, use context clues for correct word usage, leverage visuals to define words, draw on existing vocabulary knowledge, and present vocabulary words in varied and interesting ways.  Fun right?!

How to integrate Word Girl Definition Competition into the classroom: This one is a no brainer, if you teach elementary students this is an event that your class should participate in.  Word Girl making vocabulary fun as it is, combine that with a fun LIVE game show format and you have got yourself a winner.  This would be a great event to involve your students in and will have them flexing those vocabulary muscles.  I love that this competition isn’t just focused on definitions but on helping students learn strategies for decoding words using visualization strategies and context clues…those are skills that can be easily transferred!  Sign up your students today to participate in this fun, friendly competition!

Prior to the competition, build up some excitement and squeeze in some extra vocabulary practice by giving your students the opportunity to play on the Word Girl website.  This could be done as a center in the classroom or in a one to one environment.

Tips: If you aren’t familiar with the Word Girl website, be sure to check it out here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Word Girl in your classroom!

World Spelling Day

Posted by admin | Posted in iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 02-03-2011

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What it is: World Spelling Day is brought to you by the same folks who hold World Math Day. This year (2011) World Spelling Day is taking place on March 3.  Don’t wait, sign your kids up now and they can start practicing!  World Spelling Day is a world-wide competition between students where they engage in live games of spelling.  Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games to earn points for their personal tally.  Students can play more than 100 games during the event but only 100 count toward the Spellometer.  Students who answer the most correct question will appear in the World Spelling Day Hall of Fame.  World Spelling Day has 5 levels to play and 20 games at each level.   Just like World Math Day school age students (4-18 years old), individual children, and homeschoolers can register and participate. Register as many or as few students as you want (for free!).  Even better, if you already registered for World Math Day, your login credentials will work on the World Spelling Day website!

How to integrate World Spelling Day into the classroom: It couldn’t be easier to get your students involved, just sign them up by registering, pass out usernames and passwords and away you go.  Students can play in a computer lab setting (they like to try to login at exactly the same time so they can play against each other in games) or on classroom computers in 60 second rotations.  The 60 second time limit on games makes it easy to pass all of your students through a World Spelling Day center on classroom computers.  In addition, students can take their login information home with them to play at home.  World Spelling Day takes place every March, now that you know it is coming, plan to make it an Olympic type event in your classroom.  I have been known to hold opening ceremonies in my classroom prior to the event.

Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries?  Since I had a Promethean board, I did this digitally with a Google Map.  Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map.  Don’t have an interactive whiteboard? The paper map and actual pins are just as fun!

Tips: There is a free World Spelling Day app for the iPad, you can get it here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using World Spelling Day in your classroom!

Waltee’s Quest: The Case of the Lost Art

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Evaluate, Fun & Games, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 02-02-2011

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What it is: The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland has one of the most incredible site for students I have seen.  Waltee’s Quest is an interactive adventure where students help solve a mystery and discover a variety of art along the way.  Students begin their adventure by watching an introduction animation of the Walters Art Museum where inside curator Waltee is getting ready for an exhibit and preparing the museum for visitors.  While Waltee is preparing, lightning strikes, the elevator shakes, and a wild whirlwind takes all the museum treasures with it.  Students ride a magical elevator to travel to different worlds in an effort to find the lost art.  As students explore the different rooms, they discover treasures and learn about the real museum items. Students can click “Learn more” every time they discover a new item and the “Walteepedia” opens up with more information. This is truly one of the most engaging, interactive, sites I have seen.  I love that the site drops students in the middle of a story mystery and enlists their help to right the museum.  As students explore each room they learn more about history, see incredible artwork, and get an inside peek into being a museum curator.  The graphics and attention to detail are really amazing!

How to integrate Waltee’s Quest into the classroom: Waltee’s Quest was created with attention to detail.  When students begin their quest, they are asked to enter a name and passcode.  This combination can be used at a later time to access a saved game.  This makes it ideal for the classroom where students may not have time to complete the game in one sitting. Students can visit Waltee’s Quest as a center on classroom computers.  Because students can track their progress, they don’t have to complete the game in one sitting but could work on it in bits and pieces throughout the school year.  The quest allows students to get up-close and personal with a variety of art and history.  Students can use what they learn in Waltee’s quest as a launching point for art history or as inspiration for a creative writing piece.  Students can write a story about the art itself, about Waltee and his quest, or a mystery based on the game.

In the elementary classroom, Waltee’s Quest can be used to introduce students to the idea of mystery.  If you have a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard, students can work together to explore the museum and find treasures.  As students find clues, they can work together to solve the mystery.

Waltee’s Quest can also be used as a virtual trip to an art museum, if you can’t swing a trip to a local art museum as a class, this site will provide students with the next best option in a way that engages them in discovery.

Tips: Make sure that students know to write down the name and passcode they use to login, if they want to return to their game they will need this later!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Waltee’s Quest in your classroom.

14 Online Interactive Advent Calendars

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 30-11-2010

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It is December again, which means the beginning of Advent.  Advent calendars are a fun way to reveal information and “surprises” for your students to look forward to each day in December leading up to Christmas.  This year I thought I would make an advent calendar of my own using Wix.  I created a Web 2.0 advent calendar by choosing 25 of my favorite web 2.0 tools for the classroom.  Each day you can check out a new one.  (I’ll let you in on a secret, you can cheat and look at them all by clicking on the bird to get back to the calendar page…shh don’t tell anyone!)  You and your students can create your own custom advent calendar like I did using Wix.  Students can create an advent calendar of pictures of their school work, trivia for their parents, special audio notes, or anything they are learning.  To create your own Wix advent calendar, choose a template, add shapes to the template to create your calendar pieces, add 25 pages to the site, add links to those pages.  You could also create an advent calendar of your own using Glogster.  Create a customized advent calendar for your students with fun surprises, quotes, video clips, sound bites, etc.  It can be related to the learning they are doing in your classroom, suggestions of books to read,  or reveal special rewards like extra computer time, time playing a favorite game, time for reading, etc.  Be creative!

Woodlands Jr has a great online advent calendar every year that tests students knowledge about Christmas around the world.  The Woodlands Jr. 2010 advent calendar is now up and ready for viewing! This is a fun way for students to test their knowledge and learn about the ways that Christmas is celebrated all around the world.  As an extension, plot the places around the world that they are learning about on a world map.

BBC Radio has a fabulous Bach advent calendar. Each day your students can listen to a story about Bach or music.

The National Museum of Liverpool has an advent calendar that reveals a piece of art from the museum each day.

The Dirt Dirt advent calendar is purely fun, each day click on a number and an animation will be added to the tree.

For those of us who are app inclined, you can download a free app for your iDevice every day from Appvent Calendar.

Below you will find my interactive advent calendar finds from last year.  You are bound to find one that is a perfect fit for your class!

What it is: It is December!  This means the beginning of Advent along with the anticipation and excitement that it brings.  The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world.  These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.

Santa’s House Advent Calendar- This advent calendar tells a fun story.  Each day reveals another secret about what goes on inside Santa’s home on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  In each picture, there is a little mouse hiding.  When students click on his ears, he jumps out.

Picture 1

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar- Each day students click on the date to reveal a fun fact about how countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  The facts are accompanied by great illustrations and pictures.  This site shows up very small inside my Internet browser (Firefox).  To remedy this problem, click on “view” in your menu bar and choose “zoom”.  You may need to zoom in several times.

Picture 2

Christmas Mice Advent Calendar- This calendar tells the story about a mouse family who celebrates Christmas.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.  Each picture includes some animation.

Picture 3

Santa’s Advent Calendar- On this advent calendar, each day reveals a new song or activity for students to complete. There are some fun Christmas themed mysteries to solve, stories to read, and activities to work through.

Picture 4French Carols Advent Calendar-  This is a French advent calendar.  Each day contains a new French Christmas carol sung by children.  This advent calendar would be a fun one to include in a study of Christmas around the world.

Picture 5

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar Quiz-  This advent calendar tests students knowledge about how other cultures celebrate Christmas.  Each day students are asked a question and given hints to help them answer.  When the answer is revealed, students can click on links to learn more about the Christmas celebrations in that country.  This site also includes great activities and teaching resources for Christmas.

Picture 6

Christmas Advent Calendar- Follow the adventures of Zac the elf as he tries to find a Christmas present for Santa.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.

Picture 7

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar-  This advent calendar has fun little games and activities to play each day.  The games and activities are quick and easy to complete, building mouse and keyboard skills.  This advent calendar would be a good one for the classroom computers as a center activity.

Picture 8

How to integrate Interactive Advent Calendars into the classroom: The season of Advent is always filled with eagerness and expectancy. Build some of that anticipation into your school day by allowing students to unlock a new secret on the advent calendar each day.  Use these advent calendars with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or set them up as a quick center activity that students can visit.  Use the advent calendars that reveal a story to practice looking for foreshadowing clues, using context clues to guess what will happen next, or as story starters for students own stories.  The Christmas around the world advent calendars are wonderful for teaching students some of the history of Christmas and the way that other cultures celebrate the familiar holiday.

Tips: Each of these advent calendars has some fun goodies and hidden surprises, find the one that best fits your classroom needs.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Interactive Advent Calendars  in your classroom.

The Augmented Reality Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Geography, History, inspiration, Interactive book, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools | Posted on 09-09-2010

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What it is: Okay, so the augmented reality library doesn’t exactly exist, but I ran across a few items today that had me dreaming about what augmented reality could do for a library.  First a definition for those of you unfamiliar with augmented reality.  Wikipedia has this definition for augmented reality (AR): “a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.”  If that is a little cumbersome for you, let me give you my definition.  Augmented Reality generally uses a camera to let you overlay virtual data on top of the physical world you are seeing through your camera lens.  The virtual data could be a map, information, multimedia, or even look like a holograph that you can manipulate.  For a really simple explanation you can check out this AR Common Craft Video.  Augmented reality apps are available for many devices, the iPhone, Android and now the iPod Touch.  Layar is a cross-platform app that is a reality browser that contains a large catalog of data layers.  The AR apps use geolocation data from the GPS to layer data over the physical view.  Junaio is another app that uses markers to help the device determine it’s location.  When GPS isn’t available, AR markers can be used.  These are square black and white barcodes that store data.  You may have seen the AR markers begin to pop-up on advertising, grocery items, and books.  The markers allow a device to gather data about the product and overlay that data on top of your physical view.

How to integrate Augmented Reality into your library: You may be wondering how augmented reality could be used in a library.  I recently read an article in the School Library Journal that got my wheels spinning about the ways augmented reality could transform the library experience.  In the article they suggest putting AR markers on a book cover so that when a device is used, a librarian could walk across the book jacket and deliver a quick review of the title.  Markers inside books could cause 2D diagrams or images to come alive as 3D interactive simulations.  Another idea I loved was to create a literary tour using an AR program, which would describe locations that appear in a book.  When you actually travel to that place, the text that took place there could pop up along with additional information or content.  Each of these ideas is amazing in itself but thinking of transforming a school library, here are the ideas I came up with:

  • Connecting your card catalog with augmented reality so that students could search for a book or topic from their mobile device and instantly get a layer that directs them to books that may be of interest.
  • Connecting a tool like Shelfari, where students keep a virtual bookshelf and rate the books they have read ,with augmented reality.  Students could instantly ask for books that are recommended based on their ratings of other books and recommendations could pop up in a layer directing students to those recommendations.
  • Turning booktrailers (professionally created or student created) into an augmented reality layer.  Students could use an AR marker on the book cover and instantly watch a booktrailer about the book.
  • A this day in history layer where a fact pops up each day describing an event in history, the layer could then direct students to additional information, include a video or challenge of some kind.
  • Connect AR to a search engine so that when students are researching a topic, book recommendations pop up in a layer with directions on where to find them.
  • Our library is often a showcase of student work, what if each diorama, piece of artwork, or project had an AR marker on it?  Students could record themselves (either audio or video) describing their work.  This could be attached to an AR marker so that as students viewed other’s work, they could get an introduction to it by the creator. (This would be awesome for parent teacher conference time as well!)
  • AR Markers next to the computers could remind students of important Internet safety rules, the school acceptable use policy, and what to do if they have been bullied.
  • The school librarian could have a special selection of books each month that contain an AR marker linked to the librarian reading the story.
  • Does your school have author visits or use the Skype an Author network?  If so record the author (audio or video) and connect it to AR markers on their books.
  • Label the areas of the library using AR so that ESL and ELL students can get a vocabulary lesson as they walk through the library.

AR could bring libraries to life in new and exciting ways.   What ideas do you have for the use of AR in the library?

Tips: Currently this technology isn’t as easy as download and go for the library.  Content needs to be created, and background building has to be done.  For now you can download Layar to get a feel for how augmented reality works.   You can also visit the “Create” section to create your own layers of AR (this is how you could make some of these ideas happen).   Junaio also allows you to create a channel that offers information.  Junaio makes it very easy to add information by tagging directly within the application.  You can tag your library with comments, pictures, audio, or 3D objects.  If you are using AR in your library please let us know more about it!

Want to see more AR tools? Here are some that I’ve reviewed.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Augmented Reality in your library.

Kidopo

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Fun & Games, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Typing, video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 11-08-2010

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What it is: Kidopo is an online coloring application where kids can color online coloring books.  The application simulates a real coloring experience (in other words you can color outside the lines and the more you color over a spot, the darker it gets.). There are a lot of coloring pages to choose from with categories like animals, cars and transportation, cartoons, food, toys, holidays, learning, circus, sports, music, nature, occupation, seasons, and more.  Kidopo has fun printables for the classroom including coloring sheets, bookmarks, birthday printables, awards and certificates, mazes, writing paper, connect the dots, room decorations, and stickers.  You will find a collection of flash games for kids including brain games, card/board games, math games, memory games, puzzle games, science games, and word games.  In the craft section of the website are videos that walk students step by step through a craft.

How to integrate Kidopo into your curriculum: The online coloring book on Kidopo is a great way to help primary students practice mouse manipulation.  I like that you can color inside or outside of the lines just like in a real coloring book.  If you are in a computer lab setting, the Kidopo coloring book is a fun way for students to practice, and a good way for you to gauge where their fine motor skills are.

The printables on Kidopo are perfect for the classroom.  Bookmarks are always fun classroom give aways and the awards and certificates are a good way to recognize your students.

The learning games on Kidopo make a good practice center activity on classroom computers.  My favorite are the math games that help students with fact recall through fun arcade-type games.   In the word games, you will find a fun game called Word Frenzy that will give your students a place to practice typing.  Check out the games, some are better than others but they are definitely worth a look!

Tips: One of the downfalls of Kidopo are the advertisements in the sidebar and introducing the games.  I use websites with this type of advertising to teach my students about how to spot ads and discuss with them why ads are placed on websites.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Kidopo in your classroom!