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Monday, January 29, 2018

LinguaPracticaVR - Learn English in Virtual Reality

As I walked around the BETT Show last week there seemed to be a vendor selling a virtual reality product at every turn. LinguaPracticaVR is one of those VR products that I tested.

LinguaPracticaVR offers free English lessons in a virtual reality context. LinguaPracticaVR builds short lessons into virtual reality images of places in Ireland and the United Kingdom. For example, in the screenshot below you will see an image of the Powerscourt Waterfall. Within that image there are three short lessons about the words used to describe what is seen in the image.

Applications for Education
LinguaPracticaVR is a still in the early phases of its development, but there is excellent potential for its use as an instructional tool. One thing to note is that it seems to be built with high school age or older ELL/ ESL learners. I say that because one of the tours includes a visit to a pub.

Code for Life - Coding Challenges and Lesson Plans

Code for Life is a free program that I learned about while attending the BETT Show last week. Code for Life has a programming interface based on Blockly. Anyone who has used Blockly or Scratch will immediately recognize the similarities when they launch Code for Life's programming interface.

Code for Life contains more than 100 challenges that students can complete through Code for Life's Rapid Router program. Each challenge is preceded by some simple directions for students to follow. Students can save their progress in Rapid Router by creating a free account on Code for Life.

Applications for Education
Code for Life offers an extensive collection of free lesson plans for teachers. The lesson plans are aligned to the UK Computing Curriculum. That doesn't mean that you can't adapt the lesson plans to meet the standards for your school district, state, or province.

Create Your Own Google Expeditions

To coincide with the BETT Show Google announced a new beta program that will enable schools to create their own Google Expeditions. The latest iteration of the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program will provide schools with all of the equipment required to capture 360 images and to create their own immersive Google Expeditions. The announcement didn't say this, but I will guess that the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program will provide some type of professional development or training. The application to become a part of the new Google Expeditions Pioneer Program is now open. Click here to apply.

Other ways to create your own virtual reality imagery and tours:
In the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week I featured a free program called Patches that enables anyone to build virtual reality tours. Patches provides tons of animations, objects, and scenes that you can customize. The program also supports importing your own images and animations.

Google's Cardboard Camera App will let you create narrated panoramic images to view in virtual reality headsets. Watch my following video to learn how to use Google's Cardboard Camera App.



You can get the Cardboard Camera app for Android here and the iPhone version here.

A Free Teleprompter

Thanks to Beth Holland this weekend I learned about a free teleprompter service called CuePrompter. CuePrompter displays your written script in a clear, large, scrolling format in your web browser. It's perfect for use when recording yourself or someone else on camera.

To use CuePrompter just go to the site then start entering your script into the "quick start" text box. After you have entered your script you can select the size of the prompter display, the size of the text, and the display color scheme. Click "start prompter" when you're ready to start using your script in the CuePrompter display. You can adjust the speed at which your script scrolls down the screen. If you need to stop and rewind, you can do that in the script display too.

Applications for Education
I immediately thought of my friend Joe Cummings after I tried CuePrompter. Joe is a middle school teacher who does some great video projects with his students. Many of the videos feature students on camera. A tool like CuePrompter could help students get their lines right on the first try or at least with fewer tries.