Sunday, February 3, 2013

5 Uses of Augmented Reality in Education

Last week I mentioned augmented reality during a presentation and I could tell from the looks on some people's faces that augmented reality was a new thing to them. That's not uncommon. Sometimes when people hear "augmented reality" their minds drift to some vision of a science fiction world. The truth is augmented reality isn't science fiction, it's technology that is readily available now. To learn more about it, watch the short video below (if you're reading this in RSS click here for the video).




Here are five potential uses of augmented reality in education today.

Create 3D, augmented reality stories with ZooBurst. ZooBurst is an amazing service that allows you to create a short story complete with 3D augmented reality pop-ups. Students could use ZooBurst to create short summaries of books that really jump off the screen. ZooBurst offers an iPad app to complement the web-based version of the service.

The Getty Museum offers a neat way to view art through augmented reality. As employed by The Getty, augmented reality creates 3D displays of art from printed PDF codes displayed in front of a webcam. The example that The Getty provides in the video below is a 3D display of one of the cabinets of curiosities created by Albert Janszoon Vinckenbrinck. If you want to try it for yourself after watching the video, the directions are available here.


Fetch! Lunch Rush! is a neat use of augmented reality to create a mathematics lesson for young students. The free iPhone app (it also worked on my iPad 2) was developed by PBS Kids. The purpose of the app is to get kids moving about a room in search of numbers that are the correct answer to the questions posed to them on the app. Students read the arithmetic problem on the app then search out the correct answer. When they think they have found the correct answer they scan it with their iPhones or iPads to find out if they are correct or not.

Spacecraft 3D is a free iPad app produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Spacecraft 3D uses augmented reality technology to bring NASA spacecraft to life on your iPad. To get started using the app you first need to print out the spacecraft target codes. Then your students can scan those target codes with their iPads. The spacecraft then becomes a 3D model that your students can explore.

Star & Planet Finder enables you to locate the planets and stars in the night sky through your  iPhone or iPad. To use the app, select from a list the planet or constellation you want to locate. Star & Planet Finder will then give you directions to move your iPhone or iPad until you can see through the camera display the planet that you're looking for. The free version of the app only identifies planets. For $.99 each you can add lists of constellations, lists of satellites, and lists of brightest stars to the app.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Week in Review - On The Road Again

Good morning from Greenwood, Maine. This week I had the opportunity to present at an SDE conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was a pleasure to meet and chat with some long-time readers this week and I look forward to meeting more of you in 2013. Next week I'll be working with a school in Arizona. In the meantime I'm going to enjoy the weekend at home with my dogs and I hope that all of you have a great weekend too. If part of your weekend calls for catching up on some ed tech resources, the week in review has seven items for you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Good Mathematics Feeds for Teachers
2. Five Good Feeds for U.S. History Teachers
3. A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Backchannels and Informal Assessment Tools
4. A New Collaboration Option in Google Forms
5. How to Manage 3rd Party Apps Accessing Your Google Account
6. This Link Will Self-Destruct - Create Links to Share for a Limited Time
7. How To Password Protect Posts and Pages in WordPress Blogs (Including Edublogs) In Two Steps

Would you like me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
ThingLink is a great tool for collaboratively creating interactive images.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTech Teacher is hosting iPad Summit USA in Atlanta this spring.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

5 Good Task Managements Services for Teachers and Students

This afternoon I was looking at a web-based to-do list service and I was about to write a review of it when I realized that it wouldn't function well on my iPad. The way that we work today requires that our to-do lists and task management services be accessible from whichever device we're using at the time. Here are five to-do list and task management tools that work on the web, on Android devices, and on iOS devices.

Astrid is a to-do list management service that functions on the web, on Android devices, and on iOS devices. To get started using Astrid you can register with a Google account, Facebook account, or you can register for an Astrid account. Once you're registered you can start creating lists of tasks to complete. Astrid provides four default list categories but you can add more if you like. Each task that you enter can be assigned a due date. Astrid can be used collaboratively. If so desire you can share your task lists with others in Astrid.

 Todoist is a task management service that impresses me with its clean design and intuitive user interface. Todoist on the web makes it easy to create to-do lists in chronological order or in order of priority. One of the features that I think a lot of people will like is its synchronization with Outlook and Gmail. This synchronization makes it easy to set reminders to follow-up on emails. Todoist allows you to share your lists with others so that you can divide the work load of group projects. Todoist offers Android and iOS apps that provide a variety of ways to manage your to-do lists anywhere that you go.

Fetchnotes is a neat service for creating and keeping notes online. Fetchnotes uses an interface for creating and sharing notes that will feel familiar to Twitter users. When you write a note, just use a hashtag to label your note. Then whenever you want to search for a note just enter a hashtag. For example, if I was a student taking notes in a history course I might use the hashtag "#revolution" for all notes related to revolutions. Then I could go back and read all of my notes about revolution by just searching for that hashtag. When you want to share a note with someone in your contacts you can do so by just putting "@" before the person's name. Fetchnotes works on the web and offers Android and iOS apps.

Any.DO is a slick collaborative task management tool that initially launched as an Android app. Any.DO now offers iOS and Chrome apps too. Any.DO is designed for creating to-do lists and sharing them with your friends and colleagues. On Any.DO you can type out a list of tasks or enter tasks by speaking into your phone. Once you've entered your task you can assign it to a day and time for completion. After assigning a completion deadline you can share that task with anyone in your contacts list even that person doesn't have the Any.DO app installed on his or her phone. Any.DO also gives you the option to attach notes to your tasks, set reminders for your tasks, and put notes into folders that you've created.

Wunderlist is a free task management service that syncs across all of the devices that you use. Wunderlist works the same way on iOS, Android, and in your web browser. Creating task lists in Wunderlist is an intuitive process. Just click the "new list" button and start typing out your list of things to do. You can create as many lists as you like within your account. You could create a list of things to do at home and things to do at school. Or you could create lists for the week, the month, and the year. You can set a due date for each task in all of your lists. All lists can be shared if you would like others to access them.

FREE Webinar - 10 Easy Ways to Participate in Digital Learning Day 2013

Next Tuesday I will be a guest on a free webinar hosted by Pearson's Online Learning Exchange. The webinar is titled Ten Easy Ways to Participate in Digital Learning Day. The copy below was written by the OLE team. I'd never call myself a "guru."

Pearson's Online Learning Exchange is celebrating this year’s Digital Learning Day with Ed Tech guru Richard Byrne, author of the 2012 Edublogs, Best Ed Tech Blog award-winning website, Free Technology for Teachers. Richard will share 10 easy ways for you and your students to participate in this year’s Digital Learning Day event.

Learn how to host your own student TED Talks, how to search for quality digital educational content, how to share your knowledge with your community of peers and much more. Use these ideas to create authentic learning experiences and prepare your students to become productive global citizens in the 21st century.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear from one of the most prominent professional's in education technology. To learn more about this FREE webinar visit http://www.olecommunity.com/digital-learning-day-2013.

Event Details 
Who: All K-12 Teachers When: Tuesday, February 5th, 3:00-4:00 MST
Where: Register at http://www.olecommunity.com/digital-learning-day-2013
Goodies: All webinar attendees will receive a snazzy certificate of attendance as well as a Free 30-day trial of Pearson’s Online Learning Exchange. One lucky attendee will receive a year-long Online Learning Exchange subscription for their entire school!

200+ MOOCs and Free Online Certificate Programs

It seems like every day a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) comes online. Some of these courses offer "certificates of satisfactory completion" or similar recognition while others do not.  To help you find a MOOC that interests you and or your students Open Culture has created a list of more than 200 MOOCs and free certificate programs.

Stephen Downes also has a nice MOOC listing going on his MOOC.ca page. 

Applications for Education
Some MOOCs, like this biology course through Harvard and MIT's EDX program, can provide a good challenge to high school students who have the interest and initiative to complete it. I'm not aware of any high schools that are doing this yet, but it seems like it's only a matter of time before some high schools start awarding some type of recognition or credit to students who earn a certificate of completion from a course through EDX and similar programs.