Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts

Monday, January 23, 2023

Using Google Slides to Organize Research

Like many of you, when I was in middle school and high school I was taught to create index cards to organize our research. After creating the cards we sorted them into an order to support writing our research papers. That same concept can be applied to organizing research with Google Slides. In the video below I demonstrate how this is done.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Try Using Vocabulary Lists to Help Your Students Conduct Better Searches

This is an excerpt from this week's Practical Ed Tech Newsletter

I'm in the process of updating my Search Strategies Students Need to Know online course. In the process of doing so I revisited a good article that I read a few years ago. That article is Characterizing the Influence of Domain Expertise on Web Search Behavior (link opens PDF) written by White, Dumais, and Teevan at Microsoft Research. They found that domain experts (domain referring to subject matter) conducted searches with more branchiness than non-experts.
Branchiness is defined as "the number of re-visits to previous pages in the session that were then followed by a forward motion to a previously unvisited page in the session."
Furthermore, the search sessions of domain experts consistently include more pages, more queries, and more overall time.

The findings of White, Dumais, and Teevan were consistent with findings of previous researchers on the topic including Ingrid Hsieh-Yee who is cited by White, Dumais, and Teevan. In 1993 Ingrid Hsieh-Yee found that students used more of their own search terms and less of external suggestions when researching topics for which they had prior expert knowledge.

What's this mean for teachers and students?
It would be unfair to expect students to be "experts" before conducting a web search. However, it might be worth having students develop a bit more prior knowledge of a topic before turning them loose to search the web for information about that topic. This might be done through reading materials provided by the teacher. It might also be done through mastering some vocabulary terms before embarking on a search. Increased prior knowledge could lead students to have more branchiness in their search habits.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A Short Overview of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine - And How I Use It

The Internet Archive can be a great place to find all kinds of old videos, audio recordings (there's a huge collection of Grateful Dead show recordings), pictures, and books. The Internet Archive also offers a tool called the Wayback Machine that you can use to see what a website looked like on a previous date. 

In this new video I provide a short demonstration of how to use the Wayback Machine


Applications for Education
I've used the Wayback Machine to show students how breaking news was reported for significant events. Depending upon the site that you choose, you may find that the Wayback Machine has multiple snapshots of that site for the same day or week. Looking through those snapshots can be a good way to see how much the reporting of a story changed throughout a day or week. 

I've also used the Wayback Machine to show students how the marketing of some products has changed over time and how much the value of products has changed in their lifetimes. For example, have students take a look at this snapshot of Dell.com from 2000 to see what a computer cost and the specifications of it for that price compared to today. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Searching is a Thinking Skill

Have you ever had a conversation with a student that went like this?

Student: “Mr. Byrne, Google has nothing on my topic.”

Mr. Byrne: “What is your topic?”

Student: “The Civil War.”

Mr. Byrne: “Are you sure that Google has nothing about the Civil War?”

Student: “Well I looked at a bunch of links, but they didn’t say anything about what I was looking for.”

If you have had a conversation like the one above then you have experienced one of the flaws of the digital native concept. Yes, most students today do know how to navigate to Google.com and enter a search term. But that just proves that they can remember a web address and use a keyboard. Increasingly, due to the proliferation of voice commands on mobile phones, it doesn’t even mean that they can use keyboards. Typing or speaking a query into a search engine isn’t difficult. Knowing which terms to type, which type of resources to search for, and how to discern the good from the bad are the skills that search requires.

Those of us who grew up without ubiquitous access to the Internet remember searching through libraries to find one good book on the topic we were researching. Then diving into the bibliography to hopefully find more resources that we could track down through an interlibrary loan or by making phone calls and driving to libraries far away to find a good reference. The process was long in part because of the time it took to locate resources. And it was long due to the fact that when we did find good resources, we pored over them to squeeze everything we could from them. Whether we knew it or not, the length of the process was good for us as it provided more time for thinking, asking more questions, and analyzing what we did know. Unfortunately, all three of those things are often shortcut by students when they rely on just typing things into Google.

Researching is a thinking skill. It requires that the student first state what it is he or she is trying to determine. Without a clear purpose for the research, students will simply click around the web hoping to find “something useful.” That’s why years ago I developed a pre-search checklist for students to complete before embarking on a research project. A copy of that pre-search checklist is available for free at http://bit.ly/presearch17.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Spot the Differences - Another Founder's Day Lesson

As I mentioned in a blog post yesterday, I'm spending today helping with one of our community's Founder's Day events. The event that I'm helping with is the car show. I'm doing it because I'm friends with care-taker of the collection and because it gives me a chance to look at the cars up close. One of the cars that will be on display today is the 1942 Cadillac that is in the featured picture of this blog post. 

The car isn't just any 1942 Cadillac. It has some features that make it different from any other Cadillac produced in the 1942 model year. If you're looking for a little research challenge for the weekend, see if you can figure what makes this car so unique. (A larger picture is included below). 

If you think you've figured it out, please let me know. If you'd like help, send me an email and I'll give you some hints. And if you'd like to use this picture as part of your own research lesson, please feel free to do so (just credit me for the picture). 

At the end of this month I'm hosting a webinar about teaching search strategies to students. Activities like this one will be included in the webinar. You can learn more and register for the webinar here

Monday, April 4, 2022

Thank Your School Librarians! And Ask Them for Help!

While looking at the Kikori SEL calendar I noticed that today is National School Librarian Day! Many of you who read this blog are school librarians, thank you! Thank you for the work that you do in schools to help students (and staff) become better researchers, discover new and exciting books, and generally just being awesome! 

Ask Your School Librarian!

"Ask your school librarian" is one of the things that I say at the start of any presentation that I give or course that I teach about search strategies. Why? Because your school librarian is an expert on search methods. Additionally, your school librarian can give you and your students access to many subscription-based databases that your students would otherwise not know about and or would avoid because they didn't know how to access those databases. 

Go to a Library Conference

For those of you who are not librarians, here's something you should know. I've had the pleasure to speak at many library conferences over the last decade. Without exception they are always fantastic and fun learning experiences. If you get a chance to go to library conference, take it. You will learn something that can apply to any classroom. Personally, I was excited to learn that the CASL-CECA conference is returning this fall (thanks to Emil for that news). 

Friday, March 18, 2022

A Short Overview of the Wayback Machine

In yesterday's blog post about unraveling an email scam I mentioned that I used the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine as a part of that process. The Wayback Machine is a useful tool for finding out what a website looked like a given point in time over the last 25 years. 

The Wayback Machine can be useful in attempting to verify the citation of a webpage in an academic work. As is demonstrated in my video embedded below, you can use the Wayback Machine to see how a website looked and read the text of pages as they were originally published.

On of the ways I've used the Wayback Machine in history classes is to have look at how major news websites reported on significant events in late 20th Century and early 21st Century. Not only does the Wayback Machine show you the text, it may also show you images that may have since been removed. 

You can seen an overview of how the Wayback Machine works by watching this short video that I recorded a handful of years ago.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Five Helpful Google Keep Features for Students

Google Keep is a great tool for middle school and high school students to use to create assignment reminders, bookmark important research findings, organize information, save images, and re-use notes in their research documents. All of those features and more are demonstrated in my new video, Five Google Keep Features for Students

Five features of Google Keep that students should know how to use.

➡Reminders
➡Labels
➡Bookmarks
➡Images
➡Inserts

Friday, August 6, 2021

Add Google's Ngram Viewer to Your List of Research Tools

Google's Ngram Viewer is a search tool that students can use to explore the use of words and names in books published between 1800 and 2019. The Ngram Viewer shows users a graph illustrating the first appearance of a word or name in literature and the frequency with which that word or name appears in literature since 1800. The graph is based on the books and periodicals that are indexed in Google Books.

The Ngram Viewer will let you compare the use of multiple words or names in one graph. The example that I give in this video is to compare the use of the terms "National Parks," "National Forests," and "National Forest Service." By looking at the Ngram Viewer for those terms I can see that they start to appear more frequently around 1890, have a lull in the 1940s and 1950s, and then appear more frequently again in the 1960s. 

Ngram Viewer is based on books indexed in Google Books. That is why below every graph generated by Ngram Viewer you will find a list of books about each of your search terms. Those books are arranged by date. 

A third component of Ngram Viewer to note is that it works with multiple languages including English, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish. 



Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, the Ngram Viewer can provide a good way to start a research activity for students. Have them enter a few words then examine the graph to identify peaks and valleys in the frequency of the words' usage. Then ask them to try to determine what would have caused those words to be used more or less frequently at different periods in history.

By the way, the book that I mentioned in the video is That Wild Country by Mark Kenyon. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Five Things Students Should Know About Google Books

Last week I wrote an explanation of why Google Books can be a helpful research tool for history students. In short, it helps students locate and search inside books without having to track down a physical copy of each book that they are interested in reading. If students do want a physical copy of a book, Google Books can help them find a local library that has a copy of the book they desire. Those features of Google Books and more are demonstrated in my new video Five Things Students Should Know About Google Books

Friday, July 30, 2021

Using Google Books in History Classes

As the name implies, Google Books is a search engine for locating books. Through Google Books you’ll find books that you can read in their entirety for free and books that you can preview for free. Most importantly, Google Books lets you search for keywords within books. Searches on Google Books can be refined according to date of publication, access level (full view vs. preview-only), and publication type (book vs. periodical).

A typical example of using Google Books in a history setting is found in a search for information about the Battle of New Orleans in The War of 1812. Head to Google Books and enter a search for “War of 1812.” Then refine the search to books with a full view published in the 20th Century and you’ll quickly locate The Naval War of 1812, volume 2 authored by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. You can then use the “search inside” function to find every page that makes a reference to New Orleans. You can then quickly jump to each page that references New Orleans because each page in the search result is hyperlinked. You can read those pages online or print them for reading offline.

It should also be noted that you can search within books that are marked as preview-only. The utility in that is identifying how much content there is related to your search term within a chosen book. If that search reveals that there is a substantial amount of useful content, you can then use the “get the book” function in Google Books to locate libraries in your area that have a copy of the book. The “get the book” function will also provide links to places to purchase copies.

A video overview of how to use Google Books is available here and is embedded below.


This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere it has been used without permission. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

How Excluding Words Helps Narrow the Scope of a Search

One of the options in Google's Advanced Search menu is to exclude specific words from search results. At first, excluding words from search results might seem counterintuitive to learning as much as possible about a chosen research topic. After all, reading extensively about a topic is the best way to learn about it. However, there comes a point in the research process that we realize there are certain terms or names that are no longer germane to our research but still frequently appear when researching our chosen topic.

Researching Harry Lyon’s car provides an instructive example of the benefit of excluding words from Google search results. The prompt for that challenge is,
Everyone knows that Hannibal Hamlin (Abraham Lincoln’s first Vice President) lived on Paris Hill in Maine. What you might not know is that Paris Hill was the home of another person who participated in a notable first.
The prompt itself tells us that we can probably eliminate mentions of Hannibal Hamlin from our search results. However, we don’t know that for sure until we’ve established that it was Harry Lyon we were looking for. Once we’ve done that, removing Hannibal Hamlin from our search results can narrow our search. However, the words that will turn out to be the most useful to eliminate are “Founders Day” and “Bob Bahre.”

Bob Bahre was a wealthy businessman who purchased the Hannibal Hamlin estate on Paris Hill in the early 1970s. Bahre was also a collector of expensive antique cars, many of which are pre-World War II vintage. Every year for the last 42 years Bahre’s family opened the collection to public viewing as part of a fundraiser for the local library. That fundraiser is known as Founders Day.

Google searches that mention “cars” and “Paris Hill” return plenty of articles about Founders Day, Bob Bahre, and his car collection. So when trying to determine what kind of car Harry Lyon was sitting in in this picture, “Bob Bahre” and “Founders Day” may seem relevant at first, but you’ll quickly find that it’s actually not helpful to find articles about Bahre, his car collection, or Founders Day.

By the way, this is a good article if you are interested in learning about Bahre and his car collection.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A couple of times this week I have written about using primary sources in history lessons and or research lessons. That has reminded me of a couple of good videos that can help students understand the differences between primary and secondary sources. 

The Minnesota Historical Society offers a fantastic video on the topic of primary v. secondary sources. By watching the short video students can learn what a makes a resource a primary or secondary source. The video provides a handful of examples of each along with a description of what makes the example a primary or secondary source. This is probably the best video that I have seen explain the differences between primary and secondary sources.



Using Primary & Secondary Sources is a video that was produced by the Oregon School Library Information System. The video is intended to help elementary school students understand the difference between primary and secondary sources. The video uses some clear examples of each type of source and how those sources can be used in the research and writing process. The best part is that there are examples aligned to multiple subject areas including art and science.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Challenge - Introduce Students to Academic Search Engines and Databases

In the minds of many students yelling “Hey Siri, tell me about Martin Luther King, Jr.” or “Hey Google, when did the Soviet Union collapse?” is conducting research. As teachers we know that research is a process that goes far beyond telling a machine to give us some information. The challenge is to get students to understand that research is a process and is not just typing a question into a search box or speaking a query aloud in the hopes that some AI-powered machine spits out new, useful information.

To move students past entering simple queries into Google and onto conducting research, we should show them that Google.com is not the only search engine they can use. There’s a good chance that your school library and or local public library pays for a subscription to a database of academic articles. A few examples of those include JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, and ScienceDirect. The librarians in your school and public libraries will be happy, perhaps thrilled that you asked, to show your students how to access those databases through a library login.

In addition to the aforementioned subscription-required databases, there are free databases that your students can use in their research processes. Some popular choices include ERIC, Semantic Scholar, and Get The Research.

History teachers should also be sure to point their students toward digital archives such as those housed by The Library of Congress, The World Digital Library, and The Commons hosted by Flickr. Additionally, most countries, states, and provinces have digital archives of their own that can be freely searched. Some of the records in these databases may appear in Google search results and some may not. In either case, the records within the archives aren’t likely to rank highly in a Google.com search result and it’s therefore worthwhile to compile a list of the digital archive databases that you think will be helpful to your students. Somewhat ironically, the easiest way to find these archives is to type into Google.com the name of the country, state, or province followed by “digital archive,” “national archive,” “state archive,” “provincial archive,” or simply “archive.”

Another good source of information for student researchers is in the digital archives of libraries, museums and historical preservation societies. The largest of these, like The British Museum and The New York Public Library are well organized and relatively easy to search. Smaller ones like those of small-town historical societies may not have a search function at all. In that case students will have to browse through archives in hopes of finding a useful piece of information.

One of the primary differences between searching for information through Google.com compared to searching through academic databases and digital archives is found in the organization and presentation of search results. Google.com ranks search results based on five key factors; meaning of your query, relevance of webpages, quality of content, usability of webpages, and context and settings. In short, Google is trying to predict what you’re searching for and serve up what its algorithm predicts is the best thing for you to read or watch. The results are therefore a ranking based on that combination of factors and some lesser factors that Google doesn’t always publicly acknowledge. With few exceptions, academic databases and digital archives are not in the prediction game. Their search results pages are based on matching your query to the content of items in their databases.

The difference between how search results are organized and presented matters to students for two reasons. First, in a quest to appear at the top of Google search results website owners often publish material in a quest to satisfy Google’s algorithm which leads to lots of superficial or basic content rather than in-depth academic content. Deep, academic content is rarely written to satisfy Google’s algorithm and therefore rarely appears in the first pages of Google search results if at all. Second, the predictive text or suggested search terms provided by Google can lead students into searches that distract them from their original search strategies.

Finally, many academic papers are not indexed by Google at all because they are behind the paywall or login of a database and or the owners of those databases have requested that Google not index their content. Students who rely solely on Google.com for their research needs are missing out on valuable information.

This writing and image originally appeared on FreeTech4teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Writing and feature image created by Richard Byrne.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Seven Free Tools That Help Students Format Bibliographies

Back when I was in high school we had to learn how to create bibliographies by working from a template that my history teacher, Mr. Diggs, provided to us. When I went to college, I referred to that template and an early version of The Student Writer to make bibliographies. Today, students have a wealth of online tools that can help them properly structure citations and bibliographies. I've featured a handful of them over the last couple of years. Here they are. 

Google Docs includes citation tool that makes most citation add-ons redundant. With citation tool in Google Docs you can create MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations directly in Google Docs without the need for a third-party add-on. You'll find the new citation feature in the tools drop-down menu in Google Docs. Watch this video to see how it works.


Microsoft Word users have a couple of options available to them when it comes to getting help with bibliography formatting. First, Word has a built-in reference tab in which you can choose the style for your bibliography and then simply enter the requested information to have your bibliography created for you. The other option is to use the EasyBib add-in for Word. The EasyBib add-in for Word will generate citations and bibliographies from links and book titles. 


Bibcitation is a free tool that supports dozens of citation styles. To use Bibcitation select the type of resource that you're citing and then enter the requested information. In many cases, just entering the title of a book or a webpage URL will fill-in all of the other required information for you. After you have entered into Bibcitation all of the resources that you need to cite, a list of the citations will be generated for you. You can then download all of the citations in your preferred style as a document, as HTML, or as BibTex. Here's a video overview of how it works.



QuickCite is a free tool that helps students create properly formatted MLA 8 citations. QuickCite can also be used by students to create informal citations for use in things like blog posts, slideshows, and videos. One of the features of QuickCite that I particularly like is that it provides little help bubbles for students to consult if they aren't sure what to enter into the citation. I highlight that feature and other features of QuickCite in the following video.



MyBib is another free tool that students can use to create citations and bibliographies in a wide range of styles including the popular MLA, APA, Chicago, IEEE, and Harvard styles. Watch my video to see how your students can use MyBib to create bibliographies.



Formatically is a free tool that was designed by college students to help other students create properly formatted works cited pages. To use Formatically's instant citation tool just paste the URL of the page that you want to cite into the instant citation tool. Once pasted into the tool you can choose the format that you want to use for your citation. If there is an error in the citation, you can correct it by clicking the edit icon at the end of the written citation. The system works the same way for books except that rather than entering a web page URL you enter a book title. Watch the video embedded below to learn more about Formatically's instant citation tool.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Five Uses for Wakelet in Your Classroom

Disclosure: Wakelet is a new advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Over the last few years I've watched Wakelet grow from something that looked like "another bookmarking" tool into a full-fledged platform for creation and sharing of educational resources. Wakelet can be used for creating instructional videos, building portfolios, making online art galleries, bookmarking, and much more. A quick look at the Wakelet for Educators page will give you lots of ideas about how other teachers are using Wakelet. Here are five uses that I've mentioned in the past and or jumped out when I visited Wakelet for Educators.  

Create an Instructional Video





Prompt of the Day.
If you're not using a learning management system that contains an easy way to post daily prompts for your students to reply to, consider using Wakelet. You can post a prompt in the form of text, picture, or video and then have your students reply by writing a reply, recording a video, or by uploading an image. Just make sure you've enabled collaboration on your Wakelet collections.

Organize Research
With Wakelet's browser extension it's easy to save links and files to then organize into collections for a research project. Here's a video on how to use Wakelet's browser extensions.



Video collections.
Want to do more than just make a playlist in YouTube? Consider making a collection of videos in Wakelet. You can include videos from many sources besides YouTube and organize collections by theme or topic.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Research Starters from the National WWII Museum

Last week at the end of one of my classes we were talking about how everyone was adjusting to wearing masks all day and social distancing in school. A couple of my students grumbled about it. That grumbling was met by a reply from another student who said, "Guys, it's not that big a deal! It's not like World War II and we have to ration everything!" That statement then launched the conversation down the road to explaining what rationing in WWII meant. (Yes, this was all happening in my computer science class). I did a quick Google search to find some images of ration books from WWII to help some of the students understand what we were talking about. 

My Google search for "WWII ration books" took me to the National World War II Museum's website (a great museum to visit in person if you're ever in New Orleans). On the website there is a digital exhibit about ration books. That exhibit is part of a larger section of the National World War II Museum's website. That section is called Research Starters

Research Starters covers ten topics related to American involvement in World War II. Some of those topics include rationing, D-Day, and the role of women in WWII. The research starters aren't intended to be comprehensive overviews of the topics. Instead, the research starters are designed to launch students into further investigation of the topics. In some cases the research starters will point students to another section or collection on the National World War II Museum's website and in some cases students will have to leave the site to further their investigations. 

Applications for Education
When I taught U.S. History I always found visuals like those in the ration books exhibit to be useful not only in helping students understand the topic at hand but also for inspiring some conversation and curiosity. If you teach U.S. History, the Research Starters collection on the National WWII Museum's website is one that I'd keep bookmarked. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

How to Search for Open-Access Datasets

Last spring I had a chance to see Dan Russell give a presentation of a new Google search tool called Dataset Search. It spent 2019 in beta. Last week it lost beta label and is now widely available to anyone who wants to use it. In a recent blog post Dan Russell explained a couple of the features of Dataset Search and highlighted four examples of datasets that you can find through Dataset Search.

Google's Dataset Search is designed to help users locate publicly available datasets. Through the Dataset Search tool you can find datasets in the forms of Excel and CSV files, Google Earth files, zip files of images, and collections of documents. In the following video that I recorded last spring I provide an overview of how to use Dataset Search.



On a related note, Dan Russell's book The Joy of Search is a fantastic resource for learning advanced search techniques.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How to Use WorldCat to Locate Books in Libraries Near You

Over the last couple of days I've seen a lot of summer reading lists floating around on Twitter. If you're starting to acquire your summer reading books, before you hit "buy now" on Amazon, search on WorldCat to see if a library in your area has a copy of the book that you want to read. WorldCat lets you search for a book then enter your zip code to see a list of the libraries in your area that have a copy available to borrow. In the following video I provide a demonstration of how to use WorldCat.org to find books in the libraries in your area.


Applications for Education
WorldCat.org is great not only for finding a copy of a book that you want to read this summer, it's also great for students who are conducting research on Google Books. When students find a book through Google Books they can then use WorldCat to locate the libraries in their area that have copies available to borrow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

An Update to Five Directions for AR in Education

Lately, I have been spending quite a bit of time digging into research and academic writing about the development and evolution of many of the educational technologies that are common in schools today. Last week I read through Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education authored by Steve Chi-Yin Yuen, Gallayanee Yaoyuneyong, and Erik Johnson and published in June of 2011 by the Journal of Educational Technology and Exchange. While I was reading I started to think about how far augmented reality has come in the last eight years. What follows is my commentary on those directions given the benefit of the last eight years of development of AR.

The Five Directions
The five directions that Yuen, Yaoyuneyong, and Johnson suggested in Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education are AR books, AR gaming, discovery-based learning, objects modeling, and skills training.

AR Books
In reference to books the authors highlight the potential of AR books to engage many types of learners through many paths. A great example of this potential turned into reality is found today in augmented reality apps like Wonderscope and the World Wildlife Fund's Free Rivers app.

AR Gaming
In reporting about AR gaming in the context of education the authors of Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education featured the study of an AR game called Alien Contact. Alien Contact was used in classrooms to promote engagement and learning in a lesson in which students had to determine why aliens would select an area of earth to land and settle upon. The study indicated that while some students did benefit from engagement others were overwhelmed by the technology. This was five years before the release of the massively popular Pokemon Go augmented reality game. Because of popular games like Pokemon Go students today are likely to be familiar with how to use AR games and so are less likely to be overwhelmed by the complexity of using an app to for an educational experience.

Discovery-based Learning
In Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education the authors devote a section to the potential of augmented reality as a discovery-based learning tool. In doing so they point to using augmented reality applications on field trip experiences. The authors highlight using augmented reality to replace questions on paper with instant information available through the use of AR apps that provide students with instant information about the physical objects in front of them as well as the information about the places they are standing in. The authors highlight the Wikitude service for enabling that kind of instant information availability. Relying on Wikitude could be limiting because developers are inclined to create applications for the most popular places and artifacts. Through the use of a free service like Metaverse Studio teachers and students can develop augmented reality discovery experiences for lesser-known places. As an example, in 2017 I used Metaverse Studio to develop an augmented reality discovery experience for livestock pounds in my small town. You can read about the example and see Metaverse Studio in action here.

Objects Modeling
Yuen, Yaoyuneyong, and Johnson in Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education listed objects modeling as their fourth direction for augmented reality in education. Their paper did not give as much attention to this direction as it did to the four other directions they highlighted. Still they did cite the example of researchers in the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand who developed an AR program that enabled users to convert two dimensional sketches into virtual three dimensional objects that can be manipulated to explore the interactions between the drawn objects. Again, Yuen, Yaoyuneyong, and Johnson were writing in 2011. Today, we find this technology readily available to teachers and students in the forms of Merge Cube and Quiver.

Skills Training
The fifth direction explained in Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education was skills training. In this section the authors wrote, “Augmented reality has strong potential to provide powerful contextual, in situ learning experiences and serendipitous exploration while simultaneously promoting the discovery of the connected nature of information in the real world.” They go on to cite three studies including a study of using AR for training military mechanics. The study revealed that mechanics using AR were able to locate tasks more quickly than those in non-AR environments. In all of the studies the participants wore augmented reality-enabled glasses.

Eight years after Augmented Reality: An Overview and Five Directions for AR in Education the potential for AR as an aid in improving training and in completing tasks is still strong. In promotion of the enterprise version of Google Glass, Google showcases AGCO’s study that indicated a 25% reduction in production time for complex assemblies when laborers used Google Glass. Google isn’t the only company producing augmented reality-enabled glasses. You’ll also find offerings from companies including Vuzix, Daqri, and Magic Leap. As it has been for decades, cost continues to be the biggest obstacle to use of AR-enabled glasses in K-12 classrooms. School districts that struggle to put $200 Chromebooks into the hands of every student aren’t going to be spending $1,000+ for AR-enabled glasses any time soon.