We’ve seen many resources in our app stores that use augmented and virtual reality for entertainment and gaming in the past few years and trying to find the right resources for our classroom can be an overwhelming challenge. Our students need the learning opportunities that AR/VR offers, but at the end of the day, the apps we find don’t seem to bring value to our curriculum.
Spending an enormous amount of time researching the best AR/VR apps is not only impractical, but it’s also unnecessary. I’ve gathered some resources to get you started for successful augmented and virtual reality implementation. In addition, I’ve created a module that covers the resources below on how to use these tools in depth and practical classroom application.
One of the tools that I most recommend when beginning to use virtual reality is the Nearpod app. The flexibility and ease of use allow this tool to transport our students anywhere. The search for locations is as simple as typing in “Mars” and then add the field trip into your lesson. Students can explore the scene on a Chromebook, PC, tablet or mobile device. Allow students to enjoy the Nearpod lesson in a viewer for full 360 immersion using the Nearpod app.
Google Street View
A simple tool to create your own 360 images is using the Google Street View app. The app uses your camera on your tablet or mobile device to snap several images around you and then stitch each image together to create a 360 view. Our students should be creators of content, and the Google Street View app allows them to develop and publish the content to Google Maps.
While you can create 360 images using various apps, the benefits of Google Street View is having the 360 loaded on your device. The RoundMe site is a perfect place to upload that 360 to add portals, hotspots, and directional sound. Our students can create their own tours while transporting from one 360 image to another giving the illusion that your moving in the space.
If you want more functionality in your virtual reality space, consider using CoSpaces EDU to drag objects into a 360 space. Change the environment by uploading a 360 image or add animated characters to your scene to describe a story. CoSpaces EDU is easy enough for early elementary students to drag and drop objects into the space to scripting languages for our more advanced students.
Creating a movie using augmented reality has never been easier. Students scan an image to layer customizable 3D characters on top. Record your scene on top of your desk while walking around the scene to capture every angle. Storyfab provides a creative way to design videos using AR.
The Qlone app (pronounced clone) makes the 3D creation easy by scanning objects in the app. After scanning the object, easily view it in your space using augmented reality. In addition, the option to purchase and download specific file types opens the door for 3D printing.
Leave augmented reality notes around the room and the world using the WallaMe app. Students can layer images and text that’s seen by others in the same location. The option to leave “invisible” messages makes the learning exciting, especially when combined as a scavenger hunt.
Using the new ARKit platform released to app developers by Apple, several new augmented reality apps have been released. The features in the app have never been available before such as floating portals in your space. Using the FigmentAR app, students can walk in and out of portals of 360 images and videos. Use the 360’s provided or add your own 360 experiences inside of the app to bring your students on a journey inside of their classroom.
Personally witnessing my dyslexic daughter embrace vocabulary words using the CatchyAR app, I was immediately sold on the concept. As letters are floating around the room in augmented reality, the students grab them with the device and place them in the right order to spell the word correctly. Learning our spelling words should never be the same.
While I share many of these tools at conferences, districts and on social media, I found that many educators want to explore the resources on their own. Having the freedom to watch a video multiple times has made this module a necessary component for true implementation. The LearnIt, DoIt, ShareIt and ProveIt framework takes the ordinary “sit and get” training to an interactive experience.
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