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Most of us are getting back into the swing of the new school year. Classroom set up is easy for some of us and a headache for others. I am always amazed at the little things that teachers think to do during classroom setup that helps the school year run smoothly. With this in mind, I vote that we...

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Aurasma: Create Augmented Reality Experiences in Under 2 Min.

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, Classroom Management, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, inspiration, Interactive book, iPod, Maker Space, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 04-01-2017

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Create augmented reality experiences for your classroom in under 2 minutes

What it is: Aurasma is an app (also a website) that allows learners to quickly create augmented reality experiences for others. Augmented reality is the mix of technology and the real world. Probably the most popular or, at least the most commonly used, augmented reality is the use of Snapchat filters. Funny faces and masks are overlaid on top of the real world (i.e. whatever you are taking a picture of). Aurasma makes it simple to quickly create these types of experiences for others. Learners start by uploading, or taking, a “Trigger” photo. This photo is what the Aurasma app will look for to trigger the event that has been layered on top of the photo. Next, learners add overlay images. These are the images that will popup when the Trigger Photo is within the camera viewfinder. It might sound cumbersome, but it really isn’t! It is like having QR codes embedded right in any environment…without the QR code!

Empower students to create their own augmented reality experiences

How to integrate Aurasma into the classroom: Because learners can create augmented reality experiences for any environment, the possibilities are seriously endless. Below are a few ways I can see our teachers and learners using Aurasma:

  • A few years ago, our students explored How the World Works through the PBS series, and book, How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson. As a result of their learning, the students decided to build a Domino Museum (you can read about that here). At the time, they put QR codes all around their museum. Some QR codes explained how the museum worked, and others expanded on the information that was presented on each domino. Aurasma could take an experience like this to the next level by allowing students to embed information and instructions all around the museum. As people walked through their Domino Museum with the Aurasma app opened up, additional information would have automatically populated based on where they placed Triggers.
  • Anastasis students are SUPER creative in presenting their learning at the end of an inquiry block. During the last block, one of our students explored the history of dance. In one of our learning spaces she created a time machine that students could get into. Then she themed other learning spaces for each time period. With Aurasma, she could have had the students actually see the dancers/costumes/etc. of each time period as if they were really in the room, using the room as a trigger.
  • In a foreign language class, students could use objects/items in the room as triggers for vocabulary overlays. As students look through their iPhone/iPad/Android’s camera in the Aurasma app, all of that vocabulary would pop up as others explored the room.
  • Our students go on a field trip on average once a week. They explore all kinds of incredible places for learning in context. Often, another class might end up at the same location later in the month or even in another year. As students visit somewhere new, they can overlay their learning on a place. When other classes, or another year’s students visit, they can see the learning that took place when others visited. (How cool would it be to get a network of schools doing this so that we could all learn together!)
  • We have a strong social justice component at Anastasis. Last year, our Jr. High kids spent time at Network Coffee House. During their time there, they spent a day in the life of a homeless person. They held cardboard signs on street corners and panhandled, they met other homeless, and got a tour of where these people sleep, get warm, etc. Afterward they had incredible reflections about their experience. It would have been a neat exercise to have them end the day by taking pictures of landmarks at the various stops around their tour as Triggers. When they got back to school, they could have created an augmented reality reflection tour for others.
  • In art class, students could take a photo of their creation and then overlay an explanation about how they created their art, their inspiration, etc. During a school art show, those in attendance would get to experience the heart behind each piece.
  • In social studies, students could snap a photo of a place on the map, and then overlay their learning on top. As others explored the map with the Aurasma app, all of that information would populate as they explored the map.
  • Learners could take a photo of the cover of a book (or book spine) that they just read. They can overlay the trigger image with their review of the book. As students are searching the library through the Aurasma app, they will see the reviews that other students have left behind.
  • Teachers can use Aurasma to embed instructions or norms around their classrooms. I’m imagining this being useful for special equipment use in a maker space or science lab. This would also be a great way to embed instructions when you have different learning happening in the classroom in a center like environment. Multiply your reach by layering the instructions or a demonstration of each center at its location in the classroom.
  • Teachers could also use Aurasma to amplify the usefulness of posters or bulletin boards around the classroom. Snap a photo of either as your trigger and then layer additional helpful information over top.
  • It could be fun to “hide” a writing prompt or brain teaser in your classroom each day. Just snap a photo of something in the classroom so that when students look through their camera with Aurasma, the overlay pops up with instructions.
  • This would also be a fun way to lead students through problem solving of a mystery where they are discovering clues and following directions. At the beginning of the year, you could create a tour of the school or scavenger hunt around the school to help students get acclimated to their new surroundings.
  • Sooo…the possibilities really are endless with this one!

Tips: Learners can create augmented reality experiences from the Aurasma website, but to actually view the augmented reality, an iPhone/iPad/Android device with the Aurasma app is needed.

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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.

 

An inquiry into sharing the planet: embodied energy awesomeness

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Character Education, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, Inquiry, inspiration, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 18-03-2013

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You may think that when I’m not posting here regularly, it is because I’ve run out of cool new technology to share…or maybe I’m just being lazy…or tired of blogging.  While I’ve had moments of the latter two, it really boils down to the 24 hours I have in a day.  Sometimes I choose sleep!

This week, I’ve been pulling together our last inquiry block of the year at Anastasis.  I can’t believe that we are down to counting weeks before we say goodbye for the summer.

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Our last inquiry block is an inquiry into sharing the planet.  For our 6th through 8th graders the focus is: “People can choose to take specific actions to help conserve Earth’s resources.”  Each time I put together an inquiry guide for teachers, I am sure to offer plenty of more detailed questions that they can use to help guide the inquiry.  Below are some of the questions I included.

  • What can people do to help conserve Earth’s resources?
  • What are other countries doing to help/hurt conservation?
  • How does United States demand impact Earth’s resources?
  • What country has the most impact on Earth’s resources/the least? Why do you think this is?
  • Is conservation a political issue?
  • What is ecological overshoot?
  • What is embodied energy?

I love helping teachers craft the opportunities for students to be curious, to dig into learning.  During this planning, I found the following resources that are too good not to share!

What it is: Embodied Energy free ebook download.  Created by a design firm, this ebook does a nice job explaining embodied energy.

How to use the Embodied Energy ebook in the classroom:  This ebook is a well designed book that will introduce students to the energy that we don’t see in the objects around us.  This pdf can be projected for a whole class, downloaded on individual student devices or, if you must, printed out.  Use this ebook along with the Sustainability by Design TED talk playlist to spark student interest into embodied energy and how it can impact the decisions we make every day.

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These introductory activities led me to the Energy Trumps project.  This is a design project by the Agency of Design that looked at using design to help people better understand, and take-in-to-account, the way that we build, design and consume.  I absolutely love the idea of students working together as a class to study a variety of materials.  Each student could create one (or several) of their own embodied energy trading  cards to help others understand the environmental impacts of materials.  Students can research key environmental properties of materials including embodied energy, embodied carbon, embodied water, recycled content, extraction intensity and years of reserves.  These can be used to compare materials at a glance.  (If you purchase the cards created by Agency of Design, you get the added bonus of an augmented reality feature that brings the material properties to life to explore in 3D.  Students can test out the different amounts of material they can get for one megajoule of energy.)

Take this a step further and ask students how they can use that information to help design a more sustainable future.  How can they hack every day objects?  How can they change the way that society builds, consumes, etc.?

How can the idea of embodied energy be communicated to a larger audience so that more of the picture is taken into account by the average consumer?

Any time I create a new inquiry block, I work to remember that we are in the business of apprenticing change makers.  These students matter and WILL change the world.  I love reminding students that age does not have to act as a restriction for world change.

Felix Finkbeiner is a student in Germany (similar in age to these Anastasis students) who is changing the world in HUGE ways.  Felix’s Plant for the Planet initiative has started a movement of planting trees…millions of them!  Read the an article about Felix here.

Felix has also addressed the United Nations with a speech to open the International Year of Forests which can be viewed here. 

Students can use this embodied energy calculator to explore their own curiosities.

The Happy Planet Index is a fantastic way to discover the extent to which 151 countries across the globe live happy and sustainable lives based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental input.  Data can be viewed in map or table format.

 

I love the potential that a new inquiry block holds.  We offer guidance and some starting places to spark interest, but where students find passion is always exciting to watch unfold.  We truly are in the midst of genius in our students!

The other reason to love inquiry? The brilliant way that it allows room for transdisciplinary exploration, and touches each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I mean really, how can you beat learning that looks like life?

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.

ArcGIS Explorer Online

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-08-2010

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What it is: ArcGIS Explorer Online is a neat mapping experience powered by BING that lets you use, create, and share ArcGIS (Global Information System) maps online.  The online software lets you read and write ArcGIS maps that can be used with the website, ArcGIS for the iPhone, and ArcGIS desktop version.  Mark up maps with notes that have photos, text, and links embedded directly in the map. Measure distances on the map and include them as a layer of the map.    Create a presentation in the map that guides viewers from one location on the map to another.

ArcGIS lets you create an interactive map experience.

1. choose a basemap to display your GIS data on top of.

2. Click on one of the map notes shapes to add a GIS note to your map.

3. Click "edit note" along the bottom of the note and add text, a picture, and a link.

Create a slideshow presentation of you map by clicking "Edit Presentation"

Click "Capture New Slide" to take a screen shot of your map to become a slide in the presentation.

Format the slide with the formatting tools above the map. View slides in the slide pane to the left of the map.

Click the home tab to return to the default tool bar. (You can switch back and forth between the two).

Click Measure to measure distances on the map. Click "add to map" if you want to add the measurement to the map.

How to integrate ArcGIS Explorer Online into your curriculum: ArcGIS Explorer is an impressive online mapping tool.  Use it to create guided tours for your students that can be played on classroom computers as an independent learning system or on the interactive whiteboard as a whole class map tour.  Embed links to informational websites, pictures relating to learning, and text to help guide your students through their journey.  Do one better by asking your students to create a map where they layer information, pictures, measurements, etc. on a map.  Students could create and swap tours of their home town with pen pals/blogging buddies around the world.  Create historical maps by adding notes with primary sources, pictures, links to additional learning (or blog posts that your students have written), and text that indicates the importance of the place.  Create literary maps by making note of key locations in literature that students are reading.  Students can add a note to the map with a quote from the book or a description of what happened there.  When they are finished reading, students can create a presentation/tour of the literature by creating a slide out of each place in the book.  An interactive literary tour of learning beats a traditional book report hands down!  ArcGIS would be a really neat way to plot a Flat Stanley project in the elementary classroom!

Tips: ArcGIS requires the Microsoft Silverlight plugin to work.  You can download Silverlight for free directly from the ArcGIS website.

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

5 of the BEST Virtual Field Trips

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 26-01-2010

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Kelly Tenkely | TheApple.com (Posted at The Apple.com)
Field trips can be amazing learning experiences.   They provide students with the opportunity to actively participate in education, offering learning possibilities that aren’t readily available in the classroom.  Unfortunately, it isn’t always practical or possible to take students on field trips.  Tight budgets, location, transportation, time, and resource restrictions can keep your students school-bound.  Virtual field trips can fill this void.  Virtual field trips have come a long way from the page of links they used to be.  Now students can explore the world with simulations that are so realistic, they will believe they have left the classroom.  Below are five of the best virtual field trips on the web:

Virtual Field Trip #1:

Smithsonian Museum
Not all cities have access to an incredible natural history museum like the Smithsonian.  This virtual tour is the next best thing to taking an actual field trip to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian Virtual Museum is truly remarkable.  Students can ‘step’ into the exhibits and take a tour through the entire museum in a 360 degree environment.  The virtual museum is made up of panoramic pictures of the actual exhibits inside the Smithsonian.  Using their mouse, students “walk” through the museum room by room. They can zoom in, look left and right, look up and down, and walk forward or backward.  Camera icons throughout the museum show students hot spots where they can get close to an exhibit panel.  As students explore the museum, they will see: the ocean hall, ancient seas, dinosaurs, early life, fossils, plants, mammals, African cultures, the Ice Age, Western cultures, reptiles, insects, butterflies, bones, geology, gems, and minerals.

Students can explore the various exhibits on individual computers in a computer lab setting or life size with an interactive whiteboard or a projector.  Split your students into groups and assign them an exhibit to explore and take notes on.  After students have explored and become the ‘expert’ on their exhibit, project the Virtual Smithsonian Museum on an interactive whiteboard/screen.  Explore the museum as a class. As you enter an exhibit, invite the group who explored the exhibit to act as tour guides.

Even if you have access to a natural history museum for field trips, the Smithsonian Virtual Museum is still incredibly useful.  Prepare for a field trip to your local history museum by visiting the virtual museum.  After the field trip, students can compare and contrast what they saw at the local museum with the Smithsonian.

Virtual Field Trip #2:

UPM Forest Life
A field trip to a forest is a wonderful way to learn about tree species, ecosystems, habitats, and animals.   The UPM Forest Life virtual field trip will have your students believing that they are actually in a forest smelling pine trees.
UPM Forest Life aims to teach about forest sustainability.  It does this by inviting students to take a virtual hike through a forest.  The forest is made up of panoramic pictures of an actual forest.  Students can zoom in, look up and down, left and right, and ‘walk’ through the forest with their mouse.  Students start their field trip with a virtual tour guide.  As students ‘hike’ through the forest, they will click on hot spots that reveal videos of forest life, pictures with information, and sounds.  Throughout the forest are opportunities for learning about forest planning, harvesting, regeneration, re-spacing, thinning, transport, recreation, training, berry picking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, natural forests, valuable habitats, deadwood, forest structure, water, native tree species, and the various animals that call a forest home.   This virtual field trip is impressive on individual computers and amazing when viewed as a whole class on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector.  Allow students to take turns acting as forest rangers. They can click on various videos, pictures, and information embedded in the forest.  Students can record their observations of the forest, trees, animals, and sounds they experience in an observation journal.

Virtual Field Trip #3:

Moon in Google Earth
The moon is no longer off limits for field trips!  Students can visit the moon virtually using Moon view in Google Earth.  Google Earth makes for excellent virtual trips around the world; in Google Earth 5.0 you can also take your students to the moon.
Moon in Google Earth makes it possible for students to take tours of Apollo missions to the moon, from takeoff to landing – all narrated by Apollo astronauts.  Students can explore 3-D models of landed spacecraft, zoom into 360-degree photos of astronaut footprints on the moon, watch rare TV footage of the Apollo missions, and, of course, explore the surface of the moon.   Take your virtual field trip to the moon as a class with an interactive whiteboard/projector, or send students on their own mission to the moon using student computers.  Assign groups of students to an Apollo mission to explore.  When the ‘astronauts’ return to earth, they can tell other students about their mission to the moon or write a newspaper article about their journey.

Virtual Field Trip #4:

Planet in Action
Real field trips don’t allow for adventures like a helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon, an expedition to Mount St. Helens, or a helicopter tour of Manhattan or Disneyland Paris.  Planet in Action makes all of these possible with the help of Google Earth.
Planet in Action is an outstanding way to bring learning to life.  Students can take a guided tour of the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, Manhattan, or Disneyland Paris or take control and explore on their own.  These journeys are incredibly lifelike on an interactive whiteboard/projector.  Take your whole class on a virtual helicopter ride above famous landmarks that they are learning about in class.  First, watch the recorded tour and discuss the different landmarks as you see them.  Then ‘hire’ a student helicopter ‘pilot’ who can navigate a trip for the class.  On individual computers, students can create postcards of their virtual field trip or create their own virtual tour that can be saved and shared with others or with Planet in Action.  As students fly above the landmarks, a Google Map will show them exactly where they are in the virtual tour.

Virtual Field Trip #5:

AR Sights
Most students probably won’t have the ability to travel to the pyramids or the Eiffel Tower for a field trip.
Augmented Reality makes it possible to see these landmarks, and more, using Google Earth in 3-D.
Augmented Reality requires a webcam, browser add-on, and a printout provided by the AR Sights website.
After a simple graphic is printed out, it is held up to a webcam.  Students will see a landmark spring to life right before their eyes on the computer screen.  As the printout is tilted, twisted, and moved the landmark moves accordingly.  Students can view the famous landmark in 360-degrees, 3-D, and up close.  It is truly incredible!
AR Sights makes it possible to view Google Earth right in a web browser and then zoom into places of interest, looking at them in 3-D with Augmented Reality.  Students can ‘fly’ around Google Earth, when they find a place of interest, they will hold the printout up to the camera and explore the landmark.  This is an amazing visual method for learning about geography and famous landmarks.  If you only have access to one webcam, use it with a computer connected to a projector or interactive whiteboard for whole class exploration.

Geography, budget, and time are no longer field trip restrictions.  With virtual field trips, students can explore the universe using a computer.  These simulations are so realistic that your students will believe they have traveled the universe, actively participating in their learning.

AR Sights

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 16-03-2009

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What it is:  Augmented Reality, how cool is that technology?  Dialing up the awesome factor a couple of notches is AR SightsAR Sights is a company who makes it possible to view Google Earth right in a web browser and then zoom into places of interest (Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, etc) and take a look at them augmented reality style.  The site brings landmarks to life in four easy steps.  Download the browser add-on, download some points of interest, print out the AR Sights marker, and zoom into Google Earth and take a look.  I am amazed at what this technology provides for students!  Students can zoom right in and manipulate the landmark by moving the paper around.  Now for the downfalls, AR Sights only works on PC’s right now, us Mac folks will have to hunt down a PC or wait until it is available for the Mac.  The other downfall is the downloads, they require administrative rights (some of you may have to convince your IT to let you download this goody).  After you print off the AR Sights marker, you hold it up to your camera and up pops the landmark you have chosen in Google Earth, as you twist, tilt, and move the paper the landmark moves accordingly.  This is SO outstanding!

How to integrate AR Sights into the classroom:  AR Sights makes virtual field trips so impressive!  As your students are studying geography, allow them to travel around Google Earth and take a look at the landmarks.  Use AR Sights with a projector or Interactive whiteboard to show your whole class landmarks at the same time.  Create a travel center on your computers where students can travel around and learn about the world.  AR Sights is a great way to bring geography alive!  AR Sights also has a download to use with Google Sketch-up 3-D drawing program (free from Google).  Older students can create their own 3-D augmented reality landmarks.  Students could draw places of interest, your school, etc. and view them with AR Sights as augmented reality.  Talented high-school and college age students (or ambitious teachers) could create Sketch-up models that can be used in education such as the skeletal system, a beating heart, the solar system, historical landmarks, etc. for students to interact with in 3-D augmented reality.  The possibilities with this could be endless!!

 

Tips:  I learned about AR Sights from a wonderful blog that my friend Raul writes from Spain called technoTIC, check it out!  Thanks Raul!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using AR Sights in your classroom.  If you or one of your students creates a Sketch Up model for AR Sights let us know about it!

GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality!

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 09-03-2009

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What it is:   Okay, sometimes I just have to share things because they are off the charts amazing.  Augmented reality is something I was introduced to by my graphic artist husband.  Until I found this GE Smart Grid site, I wasn’t able to share it with others and let students play with it.  What is augmented reality?  Basically you print off a sheet from the website that has a bold graphic on it.  When you hold up this graphic to a web cam, a 3-D model is produced on screen, by moving the paper you can look at different views of the 3-D model, zoom in and out, and in some cases cause the model to react to other inputs (like blowing into the microphone).  The GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality shows a digital hologram of smart grid technology in the form of wind turbines and solar energy.

How to integrate GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality into the classroom:  I am introducing this site to my students as a discussion starter for where technology is going and brainstorming what augmented reality could be used for.  The Smart Grid site can also be used when teaching students about alternative energy sources like wind turbines and solar energy.  They can actually see 3-D models of each and interact with them.  This would be a great introduction and attention grabber for an energy unit in science classes.

 

Tips:  Augmented reality is still relatively new technology, it is starting to pop up in the advertising world and in baseball trading cards.  Hopefully the education sector will jump on this technology, how amazing would it be to hold up a science worksheet to the computer and be able to see a 3-D model of a skeleton, or a beating heart?!  (I’ll see if I can talk my husband into working on a few augmented reality education goodies). 🙂   Mac users, if you can’t get it to pick up your camera, ctrl + click on the popup window and choose the USB camera option.  Enjoy!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality  in your classroom.