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Encyclopedia of Life: podcasts, videos, images, activities

What it is:  The Encyclopedia of Life (eol) is a beautiful website that celebrates the biodiversity of life.  On the eol website, find podcasts where students can discover the diversity of life five minutes and one species at a time.  Students can dig deeper into their learning with extra...

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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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Science Toy Maker

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 02-08-2011

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What it is:  Science Toy Maker is a teacher-created website with fantastic instructions and ideas for science toys and projects.  These are mysterious, kinetic, noisy, do-it-yourself science projects that spur scientific investigation.  The science toys and projects are inexpensive (seriously so cheap that anyone can make them!) and don’t require special skills, tools, materials, or work space.  Each toy or project has a “more about” page that includes explanations, historical context, related activities, and high-quality links for more research.  Each toy/project also has a clear step-by-step video directions or text instructions with helpful pictures.  This is a GREAT resource for the classroom, for students interested in science and for parents.

How to integrate Science Toy Maker into the classroom: Science Toy Maker is a fantastic place to visit for fun science projects and inspiration.  These simple toys/projects demonstrate powerful science concepts and can be used as an introduction to a new concept or an illustration of a concept.  They are easy enough to follow for kids to do them independently making this a great stop for a center activity.

Do you have students who just can’t get enough science?  Send them to Science Toy Maker to continue that passion inside and outside of school.  Parents will appreciate the resource to keep their kids learning and students will enjoy the continued exploration and creating.

I love sites like this one, it may not be the most visually appealing site, but the content and ideas behind it are wonderful.  Why not have your students create their own science experiment site?  Throughout the year, students can record science experiments with photos or videos and add information and research they have gathered.  This can be added to a class wiki for reference later in the year and to share with other students.

Tips: The most developed projects and toys are at the top of the site with those that are still a work in progress toward the bottom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Toy Maker  your classroom!

How Toons

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, inspiration, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 09-02-2009

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What it is:  How Toons is like an Instructables site for kids.  Kids learn through cartoons and videos how things work and how to make things.  This is kind of a How It’s Made website for kids.  Topics include science, space, nature, events, and a how to section.  The cartoons illustrate a concept and accompanying videos expand on the concept. 

How to integrate How Toons into the classroom:   How Toons is an excellent site to excite your students about science.  Share a How Toons with your students and then explore the science behind it together.  Use a How Toons as inspiration, after viewing How Toons, students can create their own cartoon on any topic being studied in class.  How Toons are great for teaching kids how to follow step by step instructions and would also be useful for teaching them how to create their own instructions.

 

Tips:  How Toons would be a fun RSS feed to subscribe to as a class!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using How Toons in your classroom.