With the edtech boom in education, sometimes it is difficult as a teacher to decide which experiences are best for our particular students with our own limited knowledge and experiences. Recently, I attended a COMPILE workshop at the invitation of Ms. Christy Cate.
The presenter was Jaime Donally who provided the augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) training in Education. Attendees learned both the difference between augmented reality versus virtual reality, and how to use different AR/VR resources. Some of the resources were Google Expeditions/ Google 360, Nearpod, Masquerade, Aurasma, AugThat, Google Spotlight Stories, Storyfab, and EON Experience AVR. We had an opportunity to ‘play’ with these resources, learn how to implement them in our classrooms (as much as time permitted), and connected with other educators to share ideas.
Before this workshop, I was aware that virtual reality (VR) was common among gamers. However, I had not ever experienced VR nor did I understand what it was capable of providing. I was immediately struck by the potential benefit it could provide to English Language Learners, student with Special Abilities, as well as students from low-socio economic areas. To learn more about the learning theory research behind it, click here.
Most teachers want workshops to provide learning on new and better ways of teaching, but also the tools to take back and use now. I thought I’d have to wait on AR/ VR kits in order to use these edu-awesome tools for my students. While some things require most advanced access to tools, I learned that using QR codes, I could download some of the AR/VR apps on our school devices (Chromebooks and iPads) to facilitate learning easily.
We used Google Expeditions to allow students to explore different careers and famous landmarks virtually. Students who are second language learners or have special needs do not always understand descriptions of concepts (academic, real-world, objects) so they must experience it to comprehend the concepts. Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities provide this platform. Additionally, we used Nearpod for spiral review of previous math concepts. Nearpod not only connected students to me, it connected them to each other and promoted collaboration. Peer collaboration also supports ELLs and special education students.
Google translate is another awesome resource that can be downloaded onto a device and works as a ‘seeing glass’. It not only supports ELL students, but it can assist second language parents with translation as well. We also used AugThat to support understanding of measurement conversions by scanning the pictures with our device, which produced 3-D representations.
Finally, we used Google Streetview and Storyfab. We used Google Streetview to visualize and compare map scales to unit rates. We then created some panoramic pictures, which students were encouraged to create visually connections to their learning by using Storyfab to embed content scenarios.
I absolutely love what augmented, virtual and mixed reality can do for students of special populations. Considering all the benefits, however, it is a great resource to implement for ALL students.
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