I was fortunate to be a participant at this year’s Wolf Creek Technology Symposium. This is a Wolf Creek PD day for their teachers which has its sole focus on technology. As a result, they had many breakout sessions available which covered many areas of classroom use. Hall Davidson was the keynote speaker to start the day. He was entertaining and was able to share some of the technology which teachers can readily access. Being that he works for Discovery Education, he was able to plugin some of the resources offered by Discovery.
One item Hall shared was that of ‘Mystery Skype’? What happens through twitter, two schools hook up. Neither school knows where the other resides. The two classrooms connect via chat, email, Skype and share ‘clues’ which the other school then takes and tries to determine where it is that they reside. It’s free and it could be a great Social Studies related activity!! Go on with your twitter account and use the following to get connect – #mysteryskype.
The augmented reality session with Dan McWilliams was my favorite or the day. Dan works at the Calgary Science School where the students work in an Apple based 1:1 environment. Div II students each have their own iPad while the Div III students work with the Apple Air laptop! Through the efforts of Dan, the students are doing some really creative work in the area of augmented reality. Using tools of Aurasma, Augment and String (all apps available through the Apple App store and FREE!), the students have ‘triggers’ or ‘markers’ throughout the school showcasing and demonstrating mastery of the various outcomes assigned in class. These tools allow students to be really creative in how they create knowledge in the classroom.
Dan also share how the browsers as we know them have evolved into augmented reality (AR) browsers. Try out the following AR browsers – Junaio, Wikitude and Layar. I installed Junaio and wow!!! If you want to get a feel for what is coming down the road in regards to Google Glasses – try it out. Once Junaio is running, you can have it search for instagrams, Wikipedia, twitter feeds, etc. – and as you are walking around, you will see pop up on the iPad (or iPhone) all the feeds. It really is a remarkable technology!! But already we found a very potential issue. If a student were to leave their ‘locations’ on, their feeds would allow these AR browsers to actually ‘locate’ them – direct them and give the distance they are from the browser! Really does have implications here which will really have to be addressed. Students will definitely have to be made aware of this and its possible implications!!
On a side note – need to convert units? Go to a Google search page (http://google.ca) and in the search bar, type in ‘unit converter.’ You will then have a nice little unit converter which can easily manipulate.