Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What is Augmented Reality?

Guest post by Kelsey Randall, Student in EDU 222-2, Murray State University

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a technology that imposes a computer generated image on a user's view of real world, which provides a composite view. It uses the existing environment and overlaps new information on top of it. The term "augmented reality" was coined by Thomas Caudell in 1990, he used it to describe how head-mounted displays that were used by electricians when assembling complicated harnesses worked. For example, a yellow "first down" line that show up during football games are augmented reality. 

The Sixth Sense Mobile augmented reality system lets you project a phone pad onto your hand and phone a friend -- without removing the phone from your pocket. See more gadget pictures.
Augmented Reality is even being used in the classroom, many educators are using an app called Aurasma Studio where you can create your own "aura" and use them to engage students in creative ways. There are numerous ways in which the app helps, it can spice up any subject and students can trigger an aura by pointing their smartphones at a particular place. Using augmented reality apps in a classroom can not only be fun but be a really good way in which you get more students to interact, it especially helps those who learn better visually. Augmented Reality can be as easy or as hard as you want, you can make your own in a matter of minutes. 

Augmented Reality helps teachers add digital contents with a lot of information as well as geographic locations about objects and places. Many different ways in which teachers can use augmented reality in the classroom are through: Homework (students can scan homework pages and they can see videos of their teachers assisting them in solving a problem), Photo Walls (they can display photographs of faculty or teachers at the display board and students can scan the image and get all the info related to their teachers), Book Reviews (By scanning the cover image of books, students can get overviews of that book), Deaf Students (AR technology can allow students who are deaf to see the video that demonstrates how to sign a phrase or word.) As you can see there are many different ways in which augmented reality can be used in the classroom and you should consider using it. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

KATE's Digital Product Online Judging Project for STLP

Part of preparing our students for life after school is to help them develop skills that include researching, designing, and creating a project, and then publishing it for the world to see.  The STLP DPOJ (Digital Product Online Judging) event lets groups of students submit their work for statewide recognition as part of the STLP process.  KATE has created this year's project in cooperation with the Kentucky Center for School Safety's yearly theme for safe school's week in October.  This year's theme according to KCSS's website is:

“Be the HERO; STOP the Bullying!” which focuses on everyday heroes, their roles in our lives and how each one of us need to step up and "Be the HERO" when the opportunities arise both in school and in life. "Honor", "Encourage", "Respect" and "Opportunity" will be the powerful words emphasized in our campaign to empower students to choose to be a HERO either openly or silently using an online tipline. Being a HERO isn't just a label for a time it's an attitude and a code to live by." (http://www.kycss.org/ssw.php)

We have sponsored this project for the last several years and have received some awesome projects from schools across Kentucky.  We ask that student's show the process they used to create their project and Marion County High School shared this video with us.  We wanted to share this with anyone who is thinking about doing the project this year to help them with the process.

As you can see from the video, they spent a lot of time planning and researching their project before they started filming.  This is essential to creating a successful project.  We also ask that students cite their sources.  For elementary students, you should include the author's name, the name of the book or website where you found the information, a link to it if it is online, and the date published if you can find it.  This video explains it:

For older students, you should basically follow the MLA format:

If you are interested in creating KATE's Be a Hero Project, check out the directions and rubric here:  KATE's Project.  We can wait to see what you create!

Blended Learning and How It Works

Guest post by Kelsey Randall, EDU 222 student at Murray State University.
Blended learning is also known as "hybrid learning" and it combines the uses of online learning and face-to-face instruction in order to enhance a student's learning. A common question is "How much face-to-face instruction will be replaced by online coursework?" and the answer is about 30 to 70 percent according to The Online Learning Consortium. Blended learning allows for more flexibility for both students and instructors, it gives more time for students who aren't understanding material to get that one on one instruction that they need and for the students who are already excelling to get time to do work on their own without being held back by the students that are struggling. Blended learning allows both students and instructors to develop better technology skills.
Student wearing headphones working on a Chromebook.
It is said that blended learning has three primary components: In person classroom activities facilitated by a trained educator, online learning materials that often include pre-recorded lectures by instructor, and structured independent study time guided by the material in the lectures and skills developed during the classroom experience. Courses in blended learning use the face-to-face time to do activities that are mostly benefited by direct interaction instead of just delivering material by lectures, teachers now deliver those through online programs and use class time for more hands on learning.

In many cases where blended learning has been implemented by many teacher, educators are redefining their role as teachers. Instead of being called teachers many that work with blended learning are calling themselves facilitators, this meaning that they emphasize highlighting and guiding students skills and knowledge that are required in order to make the most of the online material and independent study time. "Facilitators" focus on four main areas: Development of online and offline course content, facilitation of communication with and among students, which includes the pedagogy of communicating content online without the contextual clues students would get in person, guiding the learning experience of individual students, and assessment and grading (www.mindflash.com/elarning).

Monday, November 14, 2016

What is Google Hangouts?

Guest Blog by Bailey Porter, EDU 222 Student @ Murray State University

The online application Google Hangouts is a video chatting and messaging app much like Skype or FaceTime. However, in my opinion, Google Hangouts offers a more pertinent option for the classroom setting. Google Hangouts provides an opportunity for educators to redefine a once unengaging lesson. The introduction of technology into a classroom has the ability to reinvent assignments. Hangouts offers several opportunities to do just this. Google Hangouts is available on a smartphone, tablet and computer, making it simple for the whole class to access. An entire classroom can connect with people from around the world using one computer with a camera, and a projector. This gives teachers the ability to take the class to any location on the globe, connect with a scientist and watch his exploration, the opportunity to connect with the author of a book the class is reading, have a debate with another classroom, and the ability to play "Mystery Hangouts" in which a classroom video chats with another class and both attempt to identify where the other class lives through yes and no clues.

None of this would have been possible without this technology. Students now have opportunities to learn in a completely different way. The once boring lesson comparing regions like the Amazon Rainforest to the Sahara Desert can now be an engaging activity  through speaking to people who actually live in those locations. Students are also able to work on projects cooperatively with other students no matter the distance. While these activities are possible through other technologies, I believe Hangouts offers the simplest and most reliable option. 

Incorporating these unique and engaging lessons into a classroom will make the class more enjoyable for both student and educator.

For more ideas, check out these sites:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Learning With Minecraft

Guest post by Katie Groendyke, EDU 222 student at Murray State University

Blog:  http://kgroendyke.blogspot.com/

Engaged in Learning? 
  • Gives way for creativity in classroom
  • Students more open about what they have learned
  • Learning in the classroom and everyday experiences (see the comparisons)
  • Helps teachers and students explore the Minecraft community made
How to get the students involved?
  • Have the students work in pairs or groups
  • Give an activity involving ways to communicate with others
  • Have a common goal for class, do a competitive activity
  • Let student work out problems in front of class
  • Students can solve math and engineering problems
Is this accessible for everyone?

No, you have to receive an email from your teacher, for the Education Edition. This way only students have access to their work and teachers as well. This not a normal game, it is for helping students branch out and express their creativity. Here is a video to help understand more of what you can do on Minecraft:  https://youtu.be/fcmAAvbskAk

Is this beneficial for students in the classroom, why or why not?
I think this does help students broaden the creativity scale. And learning to solve mathematical problems on their own in a game is good. Understanding that certain types of this learning can enhance engineering skills, communication with others; students and teachers, and ability to create whatever they what on the screen. As this can help students I also think it can be a little too technical for them, not everything will be accessible like in the game, and students still need to be taught the basics. And to realize that this is a game and not real life.


@PlayCraftLearn. "Minecraft: Education Edition - Home." Minecraft Education Edition. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.     


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blogging in the Classroom

Guest post by Madalyn Stillman, EDU 222 student @ Murray State University
While blogging is something that has become popular in more recent years, it has become a huge hit in the classrooms. Do you remember in elementary school when your teacher would send you home with a list of announcements that may or not make it your parents? And sometimes those announcements were very important for your parent to read. Flyers sent home may soon become a thing of the past with blogging. Teachers everywhere have started creating classroom blogs that include posts about what the class is doing throughout the week, what announcements are important for you as a parent to know, and what you should expect in the upcoming weeks, not to mention students writing and projects! Blogging is a fun and creative tool used today that can be used for so many things. Blogs give you the chance to express how you feel about certain topics or to help keep people informed about what is going on in your life. And although blogging may seem like a no brainer there are some things that you should consider before creating your own personal blog or one for the classroom.
  • Choose an appropriate blogging site for your platform. Make sure that you are choosing something that is not only user friendly but that can be found easily for students and parents.
  • Think about how you will use the blog in your classroom. Discuss with parents what will be on the blog and get their permission to post about their child or possibly upload pictures of their child in the classroom.
  • Collaborate with your students and discuss what they think is most important for their parents to know throughout the week. As the school year progresses and the students become more familiar with the blog maybe incorporate an assignment where they post to the blog.
When thinking about what all your blog should include it is important to think about what your readers may want to see the most of. They will of course love to see what their child has been working on throughout the week, but begin to think outside of the box. Provide a tab that is all about the teacher. Parents love when they are able to know their child's teacher on a more personal level and will feel more comfortable coming to you with questions and issues. Possibly provide a link that provides some simple quizzes or brain teasers that students can work on at home with their parent. And lastly showcase what is going on in your classroom. Provide a link that shows what's been happening in the classroom, how the students are engaging with other students, and create a place where all important information that parents should know.  

Telling Stories. It's What it is all About!

This semester I'm teaching a section of Instructional Technology for the College of Education and Human Services at Murray State University.  In one class period, we discussed digital storytelling and as an assignment, I asked my students to pick an iPad app and create a story.  Here are a couple examples of their stories:

How Big is the Universe?  Let's Put it Into Perspective by Joshua Hawkins.  He used Shadow Puppet EDU to create his story.  If he had chosen to, he could have added audio, but I really like the fact that he used the text and pictures to convey his story.

In this example, Bailey Porter wrote her story called Lenny and the Big Red Ball using Little Bird Tales, which is an iPad app as well as a website.  Here's a link to her story.

Another story written by Jaycee Cribbs tells about a mission trip to Honduras and used ThingLink to add hotspots with additional information about the trip and the country.  Click here to see JayCee's story.

What stories are you telling?  Why not share them?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology: Screencasting

In my last post, Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology, Part I, I talked about engaging students by having them videotape and edit movies using a variety of tools to create a story project for any subject area.  In Part II, I am going to look at several screencasting apps and ideas for using them as a teacher and a student.

Screencasting is one of the most exciting tools I've used recently.  It is a way to record what you are doing on your screen while you talk and explain your actions.  This is a great way to create videos to flip your classroom or show your student's how to do something on the computer.  Student's can do this too to show what they've learned or talk through a problem while working it out on an on-screen whiteboard.  There are a number of free screencasting programs, including the following:

Screencast-O-Matic is a free screencasting tool available at Screencast-O-Matic.com.  It is web-based and will record up to 15 minutes with the free version.  The paid version gives you some other bells and whistles, along with unlimited record time.  The annual fee is minimal - $15 a year!  The program is easy to use and understand.

Here's our video on using Screencast-O-Matic:

Other screencasting apps include:

You can also use Office Mix with PowerPoint 2013 or newer to record your presentation with your voice.

Ideas for classroom use include:
  • Narrate your "old" PowerPoint, Google Slides, or other presentations from former years to create a video for your students.
  • Record your lesson live while you are teaching your class which will give your student's who were absent the video to watch and students who just didn't get it the first time, can watch it again!
  • Create content videos for your flipped classroom.
  • Training videos for staff and students.
  • Feedback for students!
  • Students can create content by screencasting what they've learned.
    • They can screencast a math problem and talk through the process as they solve the problem.
    • Illustrate concepts or show understanding.
    • They can screencast a presentation that they have created on a topic.
    • They can create stories based on what they've learned in history or science.
Comment below and tell us how you use screencasting in your classroom!