Augmented Reality Experiment Post 2: “Introducing the Smart Phones”

Well this is my second post on my Augmented Reality classroom experiment.  As I mentioned in my first post, I am piloting 30 HTC  Touch smart

HTC Touch Pro
Pilot Phone for class

phones to create augmented reality learning environments for Junior High students.  The goal is to get kids out of their seats and walking around the school grounds and school interacting with virtual characters and fellow classmates to solve a question or scenario.   This type of environment, I believe, can be very powerful for students.  As I begin to look at creating these environments, I have settled on two different software platforms to use since they are free. Both work well on the phones I have and have a simple interface.  To see more information about these programs read my first post “30 Smart Phones and 5 Weeks: An Augmented Reality Classroom Experiment“.

On the first day with the phones, I demonstrated the basics of how to use the phones with my pilot class. Their enthusiasm was incredible.  This became quite the learning environment, as students began to teach each other and me tips and tricks on how to work these phones.  They were very open and willing to help all students and me in the class.  I was surprised and encouraged by how the class behaved and interacted with each other. Status and cliques of students seemed to disappear and everyone was willing to help each other.  Since the students will be assigned a particular phone, they seemed to become very protective of their phone and how it was setup.  I believe that the sense of ownership is a key to using this type of technology.  So the first day was encouraging for me, and I felt like it was a great success.  Monday I will try out our first game.

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Privacy Settings that Allow Teachers to Separate Professional and Personal Life on Facebook

With all of the concern and talk about teachers and Facebook this is a great resource for all teachers.  This will help keep things secure and private so students and others can not see personal information about you.  These setting are very effective and are worth spending some time to learn.  Being able to effectively  set  these privacy settings in Facebook can not only protect your privacy but allow you to separate your personal and professional life.  A must for all teachers to remain sane and effective teachers. Check out the link below!

Click Here: 10 New Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.

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Education is there an App for that?

Over the past week, I have been conversing with colleagues about the impact of technology on our students, specifically mobile technologies like cell phones and the new improved smart phones.  What struck us most was that these new technologies are a powerful tool for students to use in the classroom.  They can surf the web, check their spelling, calculate numbers, and much more.  We soon began to wonder – will these technologies change what we currently teach in schools?  What about cursive handwriting?  I can’t remember the last time I wrote something in cursive.  With word processors, texting, IMing, and a variety of other communication tools, should time be spent on teaching students to use these tools rather than on handwriting?  All mobile technologies have calculators, so are times tables really necessary?  What about states and capitals?  Students can quickly Google the capital of a state or country.   Do these technologies need to be considered today, when we look at what we teach in our classrooms?  Or, are we creating a group of students who cannot think for themselves and are becoming too reliant on technology?  It seems as though there is an App for just about everything to help people make decisions on almost every topic.  As an educator, it leaves us with a real dilemma as to how we should use these technologies and teach kids about these technologies.  As technology increases, this question will have to be considered within our educational system.  I just hope by then they have an App for that.