Sunday, September 18, 2016

Augmented Reality in an Educational Environment

An article I have written for New Zealand Interface magazine (Issue 74, September 2016) on using Augmented Reality (AR) with 5 year old students:

Inspiring and engaging my students to make their learning real is important to me and I know that technology has the power to enhance learning. I see it as essential to bring it into my classroom to focus the learning onto the students’ future.

One opportunity that it brings to learning is 'Augmented Reality'. I have been aware of using AR for a while, but it was when I was reintroduced during my postgraduate study (The Mind Lab by Unitec) that contextualised it for me.

Here are two ways in which I have used this in students’ learning through the AR app Quiver.

Cluster Summer Sports
Firstly, they had fun reflecting and talking about their participation in a Cluster Summer Sports Day in which they were involved. Without the students even knowing, in this activity they were also touching on the Speaking and Listening component in the NZ Curriculum.

After choosing one of the two pictures provided (one for their ball kicking activity and the other for the game ‘rats and rabbits’), students coloured their choice using their favourite colours and then watched as their picture came to life just the way they'd made it.

Students took a screenshot and published their reflections verbally on their ePortfolios. (

Erupting Volcanoes
A second example was when students were learning and inquiring about volcanoes. I printed the volcano picture from the Quiver website.  Students took a screenshot and wrote a story about it.  They had the opportunity to choose how they would like to present what they knew and learnt about volcanoes. This has not only engaged them, but also enabled me to see what they have learnt. Writing has also becoming more fun, especially for the boys.

Some stories were published on our class blog

Excitement and engagement
To experience students’ excitement and engagement in their learning, is priceless and shows me that engagement is critical to their learning. The use of these digital tools gives them the opportunity to deepen their skills in engagement, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, as well as creation. It also allows students with various learning styles alternate modes to interpret ideas and understand challenging concepts, enhance their engagement & success.

As I see the difference in the learning of my engaged students, it becomes easier to find ways to incorporate technology into their learning. And, in my experience I have found that AR can be used in all learning areas of the NZ Curriculum. Making a difference and engaging students is not about what I teach, rather, it is about how I teach. This experience has been life-changing for me. It really gave me an opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of my young students.

Screenshots from Interface:

~ "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein  ~

Friday, September 2, 2016

Future Focused Learning (using symbaloo as Self Regulated Learning tool)

One of my responsibilities as Learning Facilitator for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru is to organise the termly Connected Rotorua meetings.

I was lucky enough to have one of my Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru colleagues, Wendy Stafford, willing to present on the following:
Plan a lesson / unit for Future Focused Learning (using symbaloo as Self Regulated Learning tool) Incorporating:
- Key Competencies
- Thinking Tools (SMART Goals, De Bono's Hats. KWHL. etc.)
- Assessment Tools (SOLO, Blooms Taxonomy, etc)

Here is what Symbaloo offers:
"Creating a Lesson Plan
You can use Symbaloo Lesson Plans to create a gaming-style virtual lesson plan using the best educational resources. Tile by tile, create pathways for students so they may learn at their own speed. You’re able to change the route of the path by adjusting the arrows in any direction when creating tiles. Simply add videos, documents, questions, articles, and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish." (Symbaloo)

"Personalizing Lesson Plans
Not every student learns at the same pace. Some students require additional explanation on a particular topic and some simply need additional challenges.
By adding questions to your Lesson Plan, you can test whether the student has understood the material. If the student answers the question correctly, they are able to continue. With an incorrect answer, you have the ability to write in an explanation for the student as to why their answer is incorrect before having a second attempt at the question.
Students will learn the material at their own speed. There is also the ability to add in additional learning material around the pathway for students to have further explanations." (Symbaloo)

"Real-time Statistics
Built-in analytics tools gather insightful data and improve learning outcomes, while students enjoy an engaging learning environment.
How long has a student been working on each step? What questions were often answered incorrectly, and who needs extra help? The built-in grading tool helps students and teachers evaluate and archive results from multiple lesson plans." (Symbaloo)

Some of the attendants having a 'play'...

~ "You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. " 
- Clay P. Bedford ~

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Apple summit

Sue Winters, Director of Learning for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru, started by addressing attendants on:
1. Future Focused Learning

2. Learner Agency and an Agentic Learner

iPad in the classroom (Linda)
Opportunities to give student voice - ways to make meaning for themselves and others. STEAM - Adapt a Frog Activity / Assignment.

123D Sculpt+ app (students can create from scratch and adapt / change their shape etc).

Once image created, import into Explain Everything and students can then talk about their picture and explain their learning. There is also the opportunity for them to use the 'pen' to show what they are doing. This gives students a voice about their project. All the Explain Everything projects can then be put into book creator

Want to see iPad used creatively, not as word processor.

Students can print their creation in 3D.

Make a stop motion animation

Video can go in their portfolio of work to demonstrate their learning and understanding.

iTunesU (for teachers to find resources to adapt and use with their students).
Distinguished educators courses (to find lessons. Subscribe to it then to get access to lessons that is being taught in classes.
Australian national curriculum has lots of resources.

Tip: Be specific in Search function.

Apple and Education (James)

Acknowledging that New Zealand have a world class curriculum.
Using an iPad is "really about giving kids an opportunity to figure out what types of learners they are” (Corosanite).
Here is a great video as inspiration for teachers:

1:1 iPad is used for students to engage with learning.
Create learning experiences for teachers and learners.
Personalised it for audience.
Bring collective genius to the table.
Again, mentioning of stop motion lesson.
Students come to live when doing a project that interest them.
Element 4D app.

Students figuring stuff out on their own when using iPads. Not waiting for the teacher, however an iPad is not a substitute for a teacher - use technology to exemplify of what teachers are doing.

Personalisation is when we include student voice.

Tool for something much more meaningful.

Not 'special needs' - they are 'diverse learners'. You can use the 'Speak screen' on iOS devices for there learners.

Focus on apps that set task for students not just consume. They need to create something.
Students can use the camera app on iPad and the video function to record their learning.
Use a Soundscape to support creation e.g. if students create a poem.
iBooks author in iTunesU.
Check out all the functions in iTunesU - this seems to be having lot of possibilities.

Explore the 'Eight elements for success' in the iBook store.

Have a look at 'Research for educators' in iBook store.

Apple classroom app free to download.
You can see what students are doing in real time, but it should be more about celebrating work.