TCEA Day 4 and 5
February 4th and 5th 2016
Unleash the Power of Mobile Devices with Immersive Educational VR
Over 90% of high school students have smartphones in their pocket. Experience interactive virtual reality (VR) learning environments using smartphones along with inexpensive headsets. We'll discuss the potential ease-of-use, and resources related to educational VR. Content can be used to teach middle and high school language, physics, and space science. Experience VR using your own smartphone's built-in web browser without any special apps.
Camping for the VR session was worth it because I got to be right in front of the presenters and get to hound them. There weren’t very many people attending though and this is not surprising when it comes to bleeding edge tech. Some might view it as niche but that’s what this presentation is about; introducing it to the skeptics and let the believers nod their heads in acceptance. This session will focus on the mobile solutions which will be easier to get in the classrooms. These include Google Cardboard which I mentioned during my attendance at the Girls in STEM session on Day 1 and GearVR which Jaime and I tried during the expo.
First an intro to what VR actually is. It is a medium composed of highly interactive simulations that provides a sense of presence. If AR was all about bringing the digital world to the real world, VR is about immersing yourself in the digital world completely, providing experiences that that you could not otherwise do in the real world, or going to places not readily available to the user. There are three types of virtual reality: Ones that track 180 degree head movement, ones that track head positional and hand positional movement which allows for a more immersive environment that you can physically interact with, and ones that track full body positional movement which allows you to walk around and fully immerse you in the virtual environment.
The current VR industry is divided into two segments: the commercial segment and the mobile segment. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are the two major players in the commercial segment and provide full blown positional tracking. These are the headsets that are going to pave the way for the industry going forward, and are priced comparable to an HDTV and require a pretty powerful PC whose components add up to the $1500 range. Not cheap, but when taken into consideration what kind of technology and experiences these provide, they are inexpensive.
Mobile headsets use your smartphone combined with the headset to provide the VR experience. These setups still provide a sense of presence, but are limited to 180 degree head movement. The two major players in this group are the Google Cardboard and the Samsung GearVR co-developed with Oculus. These are cheap (Cardboard can be had for $5-$20!) and would be easy to get in the hands of every child. Mobile headsets accommodate 4.5” to 6.0” phones, though the GearVR works exclusively only with Samsung phones.
So how we can we easily use this tech in the classroom? Many of our students have a smart phone and as I said earlier, Google Cardboard is very cheap. There are a plethora of readily available apps for Cardboard. With Google Expeditions, teachers can take their classes on immersive virtual journeys to bring their lessons to life. The app is completely free and the software was developed for teachers WITH teachers (lucky…). The app includes a script that teachers can read from so they can act as tour guides for their virtual trip. You can also monitor what they are looking at, and direct their attention and where to look by highlighting and creating visual cues.
Please watch this video. It is incredibly charming and does a great job of demonstrating the app and the use of VR in the classroom in general.
Some other great apps and website are Discovery VR where you can wat visit locations around the world. The New York Times app takes you inside simulating immersive scenes and documentaries from across the globe such as the Syrian refugee crisis through the eyes of the refugee children. With YouTube 360 you can make virtual reality videos with the Rico Theta S. This is a camera that with one shot takes 360 degree photo-spheres and video-spheres. I will actually go into more detail about this method of capturing your classes’ moments at a different session. Adventure Learning allows you to visit other countries and provides students with opportunities to explore real world issues through authentic learning experiences. Dev tools A-FRAME is a logically very simple tool that allows students to develop VR apps. This works using the WEBVR program language and very boiler plate. This simply means it allows you plug in your experience into a template. Unity and the Unreal Engine 4 are for the high end systems. These commercial programs however would transfer to the real world and would help students prepare for jobs in the gaming industry as well any field that utilizes 3D modeling, computer programming, and physics modeling.
To best utilize VR in the classroom we must make it interactive instead of a novelty. What can we do to make the experience more interactive? The main purpose is that VR creates authorship learning. It blends project based learning, student ownership of learning, and collaborative learning. Students can have authorship and relive the experience from a first person perspective when they get back to the classroom. Imagine going out on a field trip and recording key experiences. When you get back to the classroom you are then able to relive that experience completely. As opposed to just watching a recording you are immersed in the situation again and are able to have a sense a presence that photos and videos cannot provide.
VR is finally here. If you have ever want to get on the ground floor of a soon to be widely accepted piece of educational technology, now is the time. My interests extend outside of education and I keep an eye out for all developments in the field. It is definitely something hard to conceptualize unless you try it. At the end of March I will receive the first commercially available headset the Oculus Rift, and will gladly bring it to school to demo for you guys and I intend on using it to show ecosystems, weathering, erosion, the sun, Earth, and moon systems. Additionally as a reward for my camping and general enthusiasm, I was given a Google Cardboard by the presenter (I even got a second one at a different session) so I can also demonstrate how you can use those in the classroom as well. Introducing this technology to the students will benefit them greatly because this will be (and already is being) used by many different career fields. Medical fields, business, architecture, training, entertainment, the possibilities are endless, and will it drastically change how we interact with computers and technology in the same way radio, television, and the internet allowed us to interact and connect with the world in ground breaking ways.
Leggo My LEGO
Come learn to use LEGO's StoryStarter and WeDo kits to accomplish meaningful learning objectives. With LEGO education, collaboration skills aren't the only thing your students will build.
LEGO is engaging and allows for all students to experience success. It has a focus on metacognition in that it ignites incite. It helps develop skilled communication and knowledge construction through robotics and STEM. LEGO promotes real world problem solving and collaboration. So it is perfect for project based learning in your classroom.
With LEGO Story Starter, students use LEGO to recreate stories and create their own stories. This is perfect for checking for reading comprehension and for creating writing prompts. Students are required to work in pairs or groups and students have a shared responsibility. Students make substantive decisions together. Work should be interdependent so students need to work back and forth.
If you want to get started with LEGO Story Teller, have a plan in mind. Work with students to plan for builds in progress and help make a child an expert on managing all the pieces, because you will lose them(Robotics club can attest to this). The speakers suggest investigating storage solutions such as tackle boxes, craft boxes, and tool boxes. You will also need to teach “LEGO-ese” vocabulary so you can easily communicate what piece is what.
So you are set up. What about lesson planning? Begin with a simple build and try the build yourself. This provides important insight for classroom management. Focus on how gathering materials, collaboration, trouble shooting, and problem solving will work as well as how they will return materials. Students should gather only the parts needed for the build. Plan time for students to fail, troubleshoot, and refine. One way of doing this the speaker suggested was to create challenge cards for the students.Some examples of the challenges were show a picture of an object and have them rebuild it. The missing piece challenge asks students, “How can you complete the build without that piece”? You can also create a prompt that they have to accurately represent with their builds.
When retelling a story or when creating a story, start with three platforms. These bases will act as the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Then create your characters. Now you’re ready to sort the remaining LEGO pieces. Get a spinner that has the pieces placed in the sections and have them randomly pick from five spins, ten pieces. They need to get pieces for creating setting and props. They then create (or retell) the story using the “Four W’s”. Who is it about? Where does it take place? When does it take place? What happens?
You then create a final product using the LEGO Story Visualizer app. If you have made it this far in my writing I have a free code for you at the bottom of this section. This app allows you take pictures of your sets and add word bubbles to makes a comic strip.
If you are interested, a core set comes with curriculum and software. They suggest 1 core set per 5 students ($250). I will be bringing two sample kits for the ELAR teachers to check out!
Oh yeah, your free LEGO Story Visualizer code is w147z1gsw8
Google Maps/Views=DIY StreetView
Learn how Google Maps/Views and your mobile device let you publish 360x360 panoramic PhotoSphere images and link them into StreetView tours of your camps or other favorite locales. Join our "Google Maps/Views for Educators" G+ Community prior to this session. http://my.eustaceisd.net/MapsViews
The Google Street View app for iOS and the Google Camera app for Android, allows you take a 360 degree photosphere view of your surroundings the same way street view works. You create a montage of your soundings and it pieces and stitches it together. You can then contribute this to Google Maps.
This would be great for social studies, science, math, and ELA. In social studies you could show the places that you discuss. In science it would great for when you teach ecosystems and weathering by going to well know locations. In math you could use it to discuss measurement and how the images stitch together. In reading it would great for showing setting and creating writing prompts.
It’s also great for creating group photos or for showing off your room or the campus. It would be a great way to journal activities you do in the class, capture moments during a field trip, and would be perfect for documenting the Outdoor Learning Center. Another cool function is that it tracks the paths that you take.
All of these photospheres can viewed on the computer, tablet, or smart phone. On the computer students could interact with the photo by clicking and dragging to view the surroundings. With the gyroscope in your tablet or smart phone you could view it by holding it and rotating your body to view the surroundings. So of course I have to plug VR and with Google Cardboard you could easily view these surroundings by actually immersing yourself in the photo. Of course you can share these photos through social media to promote your classroom or brand. #AELearningRocks!
Another speaker came out and talked about how this is great to get kids moving. Her campus uses it to teach sequencing by having them go on a virtual road trip and have them journal the pictures that they saw on their way to their destination.
Use Music to Educate and Promote Understanding
Music is a very powerful way to engage learners, transport them to another place or time, energize their minds, and soothe their souls. Add music to your strategy list and discover techniques that will help you set the tone of your classroom environment and support the content that you are teaching.
I was very interested in this session but it was riddled with technical problems and the speaker was not very good at presenting the information. This is reflected in my notes which, for the first time, I am presenting in a raw format! Now you can see how I prepped for all of these write ups. Seriously this presentation was VERY disjointed and hard to follow. You might get the gist of it though….ENJOY…I guess…
Music is very powerful
it can energize us
calm us when we are stressed
can transport to another place and time
Music use should be intentional
know what your outcome should be
Using it as students enter the classroom to set the tone for the day or period. *cool idea
You could also have it to where students couldn’t come in until the music was playing.
Using it as transitions between class and even while transitioning in the classroom
Let students help curate the soundtrack for your class
Use it for cues to start typical routines like turning in your homework, sharpen pencils,
use the bathroom or morning work.
Can calm the students and can calm you
Using them for Brain Breaks which is a time where everyone gathers their thoughts.
Gonoodle.com is a service that allows you to track students and provides brain breaks curated for individual.
Ways to use with specific learning content.
Direct instruction is a typical way of incorporating music into a lesson. Think School House Rocks.
Flocabualry is a website with a large collection of
Freeplay music is free fair use music
Oh she got this all from a blog… great!
BrainPOP: Connecting the Dots for Learners
We’ll share tools that enable deeper learning and make connections to prior knowledge. Research-based strategies like mind-mapping and gamification come to life in a whole new way as students employ their creativity in personalized activities.
This BrainPOP session focuses going beyond the cartoons and the quizzes. My students and I love BrainPOP and so finding out more about all of its resources means more BrainPOP for us to intake! If you don’t know what BrainPOP is (SHAME), it’s a website and app for all of the content areas featuring 800 topics, 100 games, 1000s of support resources and 40,000 questions. The main draw is Tim and Moby, who are the stars of a very well written cartoon series. These short movies are based on some sort of content area concept and move at clip your students might associate with cartoons like SpongeBob, Adventure Time, and Gumball.
For those of us that use it as a way to quiz students, it’s a much easier process if you create a class and enroll your students the same way do in something like Showbie. This method allows access to create your own quizzes and offers a good amount of analytics. You can also have access to other user’s quizzes and be able to add them to your question bank. These can be edited to fit your needs as well. On the student side any quiz, FYI topic, or concept map they complete is visible.
I am real big about making concept maps in our journals and while I was aware of the Make a Map feature, I have never used it. What it does is allow the students to watch the movie and then create a concept map. While the movie plays a camera function is added to the window. At any time you can take a screenshot and it is added to the map. You can then write a description of what this image represents and color code it. When you add a new picture an arrow connects the images. It also gives you access to the individual assets used to make the movie (think clipart). Another function you can add to the concept map is the featured vocabulary words for that movie. When you add these to your map, a play button appears next to the word. When you push the button it plays the clip Tim says during the movie. You can even add an additional movie with all of its included assets to you your map. So for example, you can watch the movie about weathering, do the concept map, then add the movie about erosion to the map and make the connections between the two. These can be submitted to the teacher to check for assessment.
You can further extend the movies by using the FYI function. This is a database of articles that you can read about the topic that are edited and written in the same tone as the Tim and Moby movies. A great way to connect literacy and comprehension to the lesson! These also have activities like filling in the blanks of a diagram. This can be further extended with vocabulary lessons, vin-diagrams, and short answer questions with embedded links to age appropriate sources.
So in my class we have been playing the games off and on, mainly in social studies. There are some great role playing and choose your own adventure games. I was not even aware that some of these games have an included lesson plan aligned to state standards with assessments! GEEZ MR.PORTER!!!