Friday, April 4, 2014

Bringing History Class to Life

Augmented reality is a fantastic new technology that can be used in many different types of classrooms. There are a couple different types of AR apps out there, but the one I use the most is the app Aurasma. What Is like about this app is that it is FREE and it is duel-platform so it will work with Apple or Android devices.

You can download it here on iTunes or on the Google Play store.

Augmented reality allows you, and your students to make almost any object into a scannable interactive code. This is fantastic for history, art, english, science, and pretty much any other class out there. My classes and I have used this app to explore different cities, and create interactive museum exhibits that allow the students to analyze, evaluate, and explore different primary sources and their meaning. The app is very easy to use and allows teachers to create separate private channels for the information to be stored so that student privacy remains intact. Here is a tutorial video that I made for one of my classes to help them with the Aurasma creation process.

After the videos have been uploaded, and the auras created, the really fun part begins. Since my classes use private channels with Aurasma the students need to subscribe to the channel in order to see the auras and have the images come to life. I do this by sharing the channel URL with my students via email or our Canvas LMS. Once, the students are subscribed to the channel they are then free to explore and venture around the room to see the different videos linked to the images/objects. This is a different way to showcase and share the students' work and learning. It allows to student choice in exploration and is visual, auditory, and kinesthetic in nature.

The first time that I used this was in a 7th grade World Cultures classroom. We were doing a Trip Planing project where the students had to plan an entire month long trip to a country in the Eastern hemisphere. This included creating a day by day itinerary, cost analysis sheet, Google map and KML file with locations visited, "booking" airfare, and a digital story taking us through their country's capital city in a day. The final product resulted in the students making digital stories using the app Puppet Pals HD, with themselves as the tour guide. The students then linked there videos to a postcard from that country using Aurasma. Finally, the students used iPads to scan the different postcards around the classroom and traveled the world through their classmates' eyes. Here is a short video showing how it looked.

Augmented reality can also be used to create interactive museum exhibits. My U.S. History classes used Aurasma and the app Tellagami to bring our museum exhibits to life. Tellagami is another free and duel-platform app that allows students to dive in deeply to the analysis and evaluation of primary sources.

You can download it here on iTunes or on the Google Play store.

The students were tasked with creating a museum exhibit that revolved around the concept of equality and how it has evolved throughout our country's history. The students were allowed to choose a specific era, or movement, to focus on and then they had to create an exhibit that incorporated analysis and evaluation primary source documents and information about some of the individuals involved during the era or movement. During this project we also took a field trip to the Oregon Historical Society, where the students got to see how exhibits are made, learned about the different elements that make exhibits successful, and got to conduct research in the museum's library. The students then brought this new knowledge back to school and incorporated it into their own exhibits. We then had the students set up their exhibits in and allowed them to explore their classmates' interpretations with their own devices.

Here is the Tellagami tutorial that I made for the students, and an example video that they made and linked to an exhibit.

Voices Not Forgotten

This past spring our students were studying several different themes throughout our school. To help students with their understanding of the...