Create A QR Treasure Hunt! Simply and Quickly!

QR Treasure HuntI have come across many different websites that help teachers incorporate technology into the classroom but the QR Treasure Hunt Website simply is one of the best. It is engaging, different and really captivates students attention. It is a win win for any teacher to use.

QR

Teachers can use this website to create a series of questions which are then converted into QR codes, (like the one above) that contain text files for your students to read. Then you simply place these QR codes around the room or school and give them a time limit to answer all of the questions. The student back with the most correct answers at the end of the time limit wins. It is a fantastic first week of school exercise to get students thinking about a specific topic. This website does all of the work for the teachers. Just simply type in the questions and the site creates all of the QR codes. If you are looking for some QR code readers for the students to use see the list below. This is a must try in the classroom for all teachers.

QR Code Reader List: If I am missing one please let me know.

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What is Augmented Reality?

As many of you know I have discussed “Augmented Reality” many times in this blog. To see these posts check out the “Augmented Reality in Schools” under my blog topics. Lately I have received many comments and emails from my readers asking me to explain this concept a bit more for them. So as I sat down to compose a response I came across a great video on the topic by the Common Craft Show. They state that this video is, “An introduction to a new technology that adds a layer of useful information to the “reality” we see on screens of mobile phone and computers.” So here is a great starting point that might help some of you who are visual learners like me.

Augmented Reality – Explained by Common Craft (Free Version)

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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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Piloting 30 cell phones in the classroom: Test One “Twitter”

This past week I introduced my students to the 30 HTC Touch Pro2 I am going to test for the remainder of the year.  Each student was assigned their own phone.  After allowing the students a day to familiarize themselves with the phones I decided to try them out.

My first use with the phones, as a resource, in the classroom was to test out Twitter with my Jr. High Students.  As I presented information to them on Washington State history specifically the fur trade and missionaries.  They were allowed to participate in a back channel on twitter. If you are not familiar with back channeling is when people in the audience converse online about the topic being presented to them live.  To do this they use a designated hash tag in Twitter to see and respond to people in the class.  I was surprised by the by the results of my little experiment. Students were very engaged with the topic and obviously the technology.  I was also very surprised to see that they stayed on topic.   Not only were they on topic but they answered each others questions and posed other questions to each other.

On the second day, I decided to post questions to them on the topic and have them respond to those as well.  This really seemed to keep them engaged on the topic being presented.  I even had a student at home who logged on to Twitter and was participating in class from home. I did find that conducting a class and monitoring and posting to Twitter was quite difficult.  Although by the second day, I did see how it could be done.

While I was encouraged and saw the potential of this type of technology use in the classroom I am not sure if this would be a great fit for Jr. High students.  Some of the students a hard time using the phones and got frustrated with the technology.  As a result this pulled them off task as they tried to fix their phone or interrupting class to vent about their phone.  I felt that there is some true potential to using this type of social networking in class.  Will be revamping my use from what I have learned over the past week and giving it another try. Will post the results when I do.

One of the issues that I had was the Twitter client that I used.  I was using a Twitter client called MoTweets.  Does anyone know another mobile application for a windows mobile phone that that works better?  I felt that this client was not very reliable and often very slow to post to Twitter.  If you know of one please leave me a comment.

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Flash Cards a Resource to Remember

Over the past few weeks, I have seemed to slip back into a bit of drill and practice with my students.  After a little time working with them on repetition, I began to remember how useful it can be for some learning applications.  So, I started to repeat key learning targets and use flash cards to help them remember certain facts and figures.  As we then moved into studying states and capitals, again, I looked at using flash cards to help students learn.  Since I use Moodle in my classes, I started to use their flash card application, but found that it was clunky and did not work the way that I wanted it to.  So, I looked online for another application that I could use on my website and found  Pauker.

After a first look and trial run, I really think this will fit the bill for my application.  Also, it is nice that some flash cards are already created that you can just simply download.  I always like open source programs with a community behind them.  Another bonus is that  it has a MiniPauker application that will allow you to use it on handheld devices and cell phones.  This is a Java application, so you may need to look at their compatibility page to see if this will fit your use of this program.  I found it very simple to use and setup.  I recommend it as a great application for creating flash cards for your students to learn.  Check them out at the address below.

(Pauker) http://pauker.sourceforge.net/pauker.php?page=home&lang=en

(MiniPauker) http://pauker.sourceforge.net/pauker.php?target=home&lang=en&project=minipauker

Another good flash card site:

HeadMagnet: http://headmagnet.com/

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