Interested In Augmenting Your Classrooms Reality?

AR Game

Over the past year I have begun exploring different Augmented Reality learning environments for my students.  I had the good fortune of receiving 30 GPS enabled cell phones for my class that I could experiment  with the last three months of last year.  In that time I was able to piece together some Augmented Reality games for kids to play on our football field.  The results were astounding, the level of engagement and the conversations among students were highly educational and inspired me to look into this type of learning environment more. As I surfed the web I came across games such as:

I began to wonder why could we not use this type of technology in our classrooms.  Getting the students into the real world and interact with virtual items or people to solve real world problems.  While the games I employed were simple and crude do to the time frame that I was under last year I did find that the learning and engagement of the concepts I was trying to teach increased in all students.  Also the post game discussions about the topic were much more productive since all of the students had a stake in the conversation due to the experience they just had playing the game. So this summer I have been looking at creating different types of Augmented Reality learning environments to use in my classes next year.  If you are looking to create these same types of learning environments or know someone who is please contact me.  I would like to know what you are looking at creating.

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Social Networking hits the Radio with Jelli

Here is a site that fascinated me over the weekend.  Social networking and democracy decide what music is played on this site. Once you log on you can go to a particular station and vote in real time with other users and decide what song to play next.  I found this interesting because for me listening to the radio is a way to relax.  The concept of voting and lobbying for your song to play next seems like to much work.   This is a great example though of just how embedded social media has become and an example of how social media is being used by kids everyday.  Not using it in our schools and classrooms seems to be something that educators really need to look at and consider.

Check it out at the following address: http://www.jelli.net/landing/

GPS Technology in the Classroom (LESSON SETUP)

Well as I stated in my last post, I was looking to create a hands on lesson that would get students up and moving in the week before Christmas break, since they are so wound up anyway. So this was my plan.  It seemed to have worked very well with my 8th grade students. I will post again once I get the results of my survey from the kids completed.

Lesson Learning Target:

Identify and explain at least two reasons why the United States entered into WWI.

Set Up:

This lesson required them to move to five different locations throughout the school. To locate each of these locations they had to solve clues left for them at each location. As they solved each clue, they were required to answer the question, “How does this impact the U.S. involvement in WWI?”  Their goal was to write a memo that will convince the President to enter into WWI. This memo must include at least two facts that they discover on their quest. Each student is provided with an organizer handout and a copy of the blank memo they will turn in at the end of the lesson. I set this lesson up to last about 2-3 days.

Students started in the computer lab, and I gave them their first clue. This took them into the library and they found a biography of Woodrow Wilson. Students learned about the President of the United States at the time of WWI. Here they also received some GPS coordinates that sent them out on to the football field.

At the second location on the football field they receive a cipher key. This allowed them to decipher future clues that they were to find on this quest. The first thing that they deciphered was grid coordinates to another location.

The third location provided a clue that sent them back into the computer lab to research and find clue number four. Here the students learned about public opinion in WWI and Executive Order 2594. They began to see that public opinion on the war had to change, before the U.S. could enter WWI. Finally, they received another clue hidden in this room.

The fourth location provided the students with a clue to the final location and dates of the sinking of the Lusitania and Sussex. Here students were informed about the importance of these events on the American public opinion.

The final location provided the students with the Zimmerman letter that they need to decipher key elements of the letter to ascertain why this letter was so important in our entrance into WWI.

Assignment:

Once they have completed the quest, they had to sit down as a group and figure out how everything was connected. This led to some very good conversations among the students. Even students that typically aren’t engaged participated. I was encouraged by the level of engagement by all students. I do realize that the novelty of this new type of assignment was part of the engagement, but students seemed genuinely interested in the lesson. The conversation that I heard and the group dynamics seemed to work effectively. Students seemed to enjoy themselves. I even had to plead with some kids to move on to their next class. I anxiously await their memos and the survey results.

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Great List of Top Educational blogs!

In reading my morning educational technology blogs I came across a great resource for finding relevant educational blogs. This list covers many educational topics and also ranked these educational blogs. Take a look and see what you think. I now have five new blogs to peruse through each morning.

http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2009/01/13/determining-the-top-education-blogs/

http://oedb.org/library/features/top-100-education-blogs

The Top Eleven Things All Teachers Must Know About Technology

In reading my morning blogs I came across an article that really made me think about technology. This is a good blog located at http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com/2009/07/top-eleven-things-all-teachers-must.html. This would be great to hand out to at the beginning of the year to other staff members in your school. I think it puts the use of technology in perspective.