Wednesday, April 03, 2019

I love Brenthaven!



If you follow this blog, you know I regularly review items from Brenthaven, a great company with an awesome focus on the educational market! Their designs are intended to withstand even the most careless student, with cases that can take being thrown in the locker, to headphones that have a breakaway plug for those students who get tangled up in wires easily. And, although we can try to control how the school's technology is treated while in school, we have little control over the out-of-school safety of the devices, as illustrated below! It is important schools invest in protective and proven device protection of the type Brenthaven offers.


"A mess of wires" by Marshall Vandergrift. CC license: CC-BY-SA. Flickr, 2007. 

Brenthaven allows me to look through their offerings and pick two or three I personally feel are items that would be great for schools! I view their collections with a different point of view each time. Sometimes, as I did in my previous reviews of the Tred Zip Folio and the Edge Carry Case for the iPad, I am considering ways the student devices can be kept safe when in and out of the backpack.

This time, I was interested in reviewing two backpack-- ones that work well for student and teacher smaller devices.


TRED SLIM PACK

Brenthaven's Tred Slim Pack backpack is made especially for the K-12 environment. I chose to review it because of its smaller size. With many schools supporting a 1:1 laptop initiative and providing students with digital copies of textbooks (with sets of paper textbooks being kept in the classroom), there is no need for students to carry the large backpack of a few years ago that weighed in, with books and larger devices, at 20-25 pounds.

Below is a video I created in 2013 illustrating this transformation of a student backpack because of smaller and more powerful technology tools and apps.


The Tred Slim Pack holds a 14" (or under) laptop or tablet, and the Tred's back zippered pocket is totally padded to keep it protected. The shoulder straps are also nicely padded.



In addition, there are two large zippered outside pockets that can be used for cables and power supplies, snacks, or even a water bottle. There is also a full-width horizontal zippered pocket located on the outside for a cell phone, sunglasses, or a wallet.




Brenthaven has included some specific features on the backpack to support its educational users. First, there is a reflective item on the front, back, and sides of the Tred Slim Pack to keep students visible and safe as they wait for the early morning bus or walk home in the late afternoons. In addition, the rear of the backpack includes a clear card pocket for easy access to gift students easy access to their ID card.

The Tred Slim Pack is very sturdy and protective, but also very lightweight at less than 1.2 pounds. Its external dimensions are 16.5" high, 11.5" wide and 4" deep. I loaded up the Tred Slim Pack with my 13" MacBook Pro, the power adapter and charging cable, my Apple XS Max phone, my headphones, a filled metal coffee travel mug, and a paper notebook. The full backpack weighed only 5.4 pounds!


Band for excess strap





Another nice little feature is the inclusion of a stretchy band to hold the excess from the backpack straps nice and neat. As one who hates those hanging straps, it is a great addition! And, again, it is a safety feature for students who might be riding a bicycle to school or any other activity that may cause loose straps to get caught.




The Tred Slim Pack would be a good choice for students in grades 4 -12 due to its smaller size and light weight! Give it a look, and, if you are considering this backpack which will protect the technology and the posture of your students, request a sample unit of Brenthaven's Tred Slim Pack to review!


COLLINS BACKPACK

Brenthaven also makes a line of bags and backpacks for educators. I am partial to the Collins series, which comes in graphite or indigo, and I already own the ones starred below. I decided I wanted to review the Collins Backpack.





The Collins Backpack is a feature-rich, professional-looking backpack for any educator. It is large enough to replace your "teacher bag" with lots of storage!

The side-load, fully padded and quilted laptop pocket can hold up to a 15.6" laptop. (I actually plan to use that area for books, papers , and a light sweater, since my 13" MacBook Pro fits nicely in the middle section padded, quilted pocket (shown on the left with the iPad in it).


This second full-size zippered section is an organized teacher's dream! It includes a smaller padded and quilted pocket that can hold a tablet, small laptop, or a sheaf of papers. The front of the padded section includes three pockets for power bricks, cables, and  a cell phone. The front flap of this section also includes a half-height zippered pocket to hold additional teacher necessities!

This section of the Collins Backpack is very deep and can hold notebooks, papers for grading, and your lunch bag, too! The dimensions of the entire backpack are 16.6" high, 12.5" wide, and 6" deep. It weighs practically nothing -- 1.8 pounds!

The front of the backpack includes two zip pockets. The top one could hold a cell phone, small e-reader, or a snack for the teacher's room. The second zippered section unzips on the top and right side and provides access to a key fob, a small padded pocket I would use for glasses or sunglasses, a pencil or stylus pocket, and a small slip pocket for a license, ID card, or credit cards.

I love the "vegan leather" bottom on the Collins Backpack since it is easy to sponge off after setting it on a dirty floor. If you load this backpack evenly, the 6" deep bottom will also allow it to stand on its own. The matching integrated handle on the top of the backpack is substantial and allows you another way to tote the bag. However, the padded back and backpack straps make the Collins Backpack comfortable to wear as a regular backpack, too!

If you are looking for a nice backpack to tote back and forth to school, take a look at the Brenthaven Collins Backpack!





Friday, March 22, 2019

Review of Vivi

As more schools move from interactive whiteboards to wall-mounted televisions or interactive panels, and from teaching in front of the roam to roaming the classroom, a simple screen mirroring and robust video streaming device is needed. This device needs to work with all platforms -- Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, Linux DEB, and Linux RPM -- and be easy to use. It would be useful if it also included an administrative component to allow IT departments to manage the users and collect data on usage.

There is already a solution designed specifically for education called Vivi (http://www.vivi.io) that does all of this and more! I was sent one by the company to try out. 





I cannot speak to the administrative portal and central management components of the device at length since I do not have a school network to experiment with. However, I did have to use the admin panel to set myself up as a teacher user. You can find out more about the administrative portal here, view all the technical details here, and the company will gladly set up a demo to both showcase the Vivi's capabilities as well as answer any questions you might have!

PASSING CONTROL

The goal of the Vivi is to support real-time communication and collaboration in the classroom. The teacher is free to move about the classroom and mirror to the television or interactive panel. The teacher can give a student (or all students) control of the Vivi to share and showcase information with the entire class, too. 

Students can digitally "raise" their hand to ask for control from the Vivi app on their device as seen below. It does not matter what device they are using. This is a great feature for BYOD or 1:1 initiatives! The teacher is easily able to grant control by clicking on the student's name from the Vivi app on the their device.



Students can request control to screen mirror
Instead of worrying about a student in a nearby classroom requesting access to share their device's screen, you can put a 4-digit Room Code on your Vivi that your students need to type in to access the device. Also, once you have Room Code on your Vivi, you can give open access for your students to share their screens. Now, as with any code, you have to insist your students do not share the code with others. However, if you teach multiple classes, you probably will want to change the code regularly!

SHOWING VIDEOS

There are three ways teachers can show a video using Vivi

The first method allows the you to copy an online video's URL from the Web and paste it into your Vivi app. The video will play through the Vivi and the your teacher computer is free for other tasks, such as gathering additional information to share with students, monitoring a student chat about the video being shown, etc. View a training video about this feature here.

The second method is for the you to play a video directly from your own device, rather than from the Internet. This is done by simply navigating to the video on your device through the Vivi app, and clicking play! You will still have access to their computer screen for other tasks with this method.

The third method is called "Movie Mode" by Vivi. This option screen mirrors the video from your computer. When choosing Movie Movie mode as an option, there is a very short delay before the video begins to stream to allow for some buffering ahead of time so the video will play smoothly. To see more in-depth overviews of showing videos., check out this training video from Vivi.

Some of the options for showing videos through the Vivi

PAUSING A SCREEN

If you are is mirroring your screen, and need to gather some additional resources for students, you can freeze a piece of content, like a Problem of the Day or a paragraph to read. While the content is "frozen", you are free to use your computer for gathering additional items of interest for students, opening a different app to showcase something else, etc. To learn more about the pause feature in Vivi, check out this video!

CAPTURING AND ANNOTATING

The capturing and annotation component of Vivi is very cool! First, you can mirror a piece of content from your computer screen via the Vivi app -- say projecting an unlabeled image of the parts of a flower or pausing a video you are currently showing. Students can then capture the image/video screenshot, use their Vivi app to pick the annotation tool and annotate their own personal version of the image or video screen capture.

There are three choices to pick from when providing students with an image to annotate -- what is showing on their screen, an image from your device's photos, or a blank whiteboard students can create on.

Below is a sample of the student view of the annotation tools.


Student annotating an image captured with the Vivi annotation tool.

When students are done with their annotations, they can either download the annotated image to their device and submit it to you, or copy it and paste it into another document, like a shared Google Slide or another document of their own. To see this feature in action, view this training video!

There are three choices to pick from when providing students with an image to annotate -- what is showing on the screen, an image from your device's photos, or a blank whiteboard students can create on.


MY EXPERIENCE

I wanted to put the Vivi through its paces, so I set up my Mac laptop as the "teacher device" and my iPad as the "student device". I attached the Vivi via HDMI to a television and via Ethernet to my Internet connection.

I printed out this useful PDF with a labeled overview of the features of the teacher dashboard in the Vivi app that provides a simple explanation of each of the teacher tools.

I logged in as a student in the app with no problem, but needed a presenter code (which would be supplied by your IT department) to log in as a teacher on my laptop, so I knew I had to open the admin portal.

The company had set me up as an admin, so I opened the admin portal from my computer and had to put in a change of PW to create my own so I could log-in. The default options in the portal were already turned on, such as allowing me to direct-play videos, share links in the app, etc.

I then plugged in the Vivi and it took a minute to show up on the television screen because it was setting up, but was ready to go in no time. I went back to the admin portal and noticed the Vivi I had plugged in was now showing up as a room, and, as an admin, I could change the splash image, manage the locations of the boxes, push out an emergency broadcast, and a ton more customization  options. Everything seemed quite straightforward and the user guides included were very detailed if I needed help, but I really did not!

On my "teacher device", I tried out all the features of screen mirroring, the different options to play videos, to supply the students with a static image to annotate, and pausing the mirroring. I found a feature I had missed, which was the ability to share a URL with all the students. The shared URL showed up in their Vivi app, and they just clicked on it!

I then turned to my "student device" and requested control access, and went through all those options available to students. One thing I learned -- if your students are using iPads -- is to have students turn on AirPlay and pick the classroom Vivi to mirror to. Another option I appreciated finding was, when a student has control and is sharing a video through their Vivi app, you can pause their video from YOUR teacher Vivi app if necessary. Just in case you want to discuss something...or something not quite right is on the screen!

The set-up and administration of the Vivi was straightforward, and the classroom use by teachers and students was simple. The mirroring from the devices was instantaneous, the streaming did not hiccup at all, and the pass-off of control from teacher to student was very easy!

If you are moving to televisions or wall-mounted displays in your classroom, take a look at the Vivi to allow freedom for you from the front of the room and the ability of students to share with others from anywhere in the room. Vivi is a winner!



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Review of Brenthaven Tred Zip Folio 11

https://brenthaven.com/education/products/tred-zip-folio-11/
Keeping up with cases for all the new devices used in schools is never-ending. But Brenthaven is always on top of things and develops great protective backpacks, custom-fit cases, and sleeves for all types of technology devices used in schools.

They recently sent me their Tred Zip Folio 11 to review. The Tred Zip Folio is intended to be a full-time, protective case for 11" Chromebooks and laptops. The case allows use, charging, storing, and protection for the Chromebook or laptop.











I decided to try something different for this review and made an Adobe Spark Video with my overview of the Brenthaven Tred Zip Folio 11.





With the number of 11" Chromebooks and laptops in the schools needing protection, the Brenthaven Tred Zip Folio would be a great choice for student and faculty use. It is thin enough to fit nicely in a backpack, teacher tote bag, and many charging carts. The ability to add a shoulder strap is handy, but adding a storage pouch for the AC adaptor to the back (available from Brenthaven) would also help ensure users can always keep their devices charged.



The formal specifications and other info on the Brenthaven Tred Zip Folio 11 follow.

  • Size: 10.25" H x 14.13" W x 1.50" D
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs.
  • Ventilation bumpers to dissipate heat
  • Non-skid surface on the outside to keep case from sliding while in use
  • ID card window
  • Screen-clips hold the Chromebook or laptop in place
  • Shoulder strap or accessory pouch available
Take a look at the Tred Zip Folio 11 information page, request a free sample, ask about custom embroidery options, or request a quote. You can also write to education@brenthaven.com if you have more questions.


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

My new friend, Cue!

I have had the chance to use Wonder Workshop's Dot, Dash, and Cue robots at various conference sessions. But these sessions were always guided by the presenter, so I never really got a chance to explore how to code with the robots.





I was so excited when Wonder Workshop send me a Cue of my very own! I had the time to explore the many options, learn how to code with the block option and compare it to the Javascript code, and play some interactive games with my new friend!



The Cue has a fun personality which makes it feel like a true AI robot! Actually, there are four personalities to pick from, and each has its own special conversational style. The Cue is targeted for students in middle school. However, with the block programming, upper elementary students could easily control the robot, and, with the javascript programming, Cue would provide enhanced practice with an actual programming language for high schoolers.

The technical components of the Cue robot are outlined on the Wonder Workshop information page. Some of these include:

  • An accelerometer and gyroscope
  • 3 proximity sensors
  • Real-time Bluetooth
  • IR robot interaction
  • 3 processors and a sensor function
  • Dual motors and potentiometers
  • 3 microphones and a speaker
  • Programming LED and buttons
  • 2 powered wheels and encoders


All of those components make for a very powerful programmable robot, but the fun factor of my friend Cue is the part I like best! 

You can record words and sounds for Cue to emit (my son made it burp, of course) and and the ability to use easy block programming made it simple for me to control.

There are some options that are coming soon to Cue including Apple Swift™ programming, detection of the direction of a voice, and the ability to be aware of the proximity of other nearby Cue robots.




Sketch Kit

The actual reason Wonder Workshop sent me my new best robot friend was for me to check out their new Sketch Kit. The Sketch Kit is an accessory for Dash and Cue. It includes a harness for the robot to hold a marker, six colored markers, and six project cards to help students practice using the Sketch Kit to draw. The Sketch Kit allows students to code Dash or Cue to draw a picture!




In addition, there is a large Whiteboard Mat available which allows students the ability to iterate their design and erase the false starts. (The Sketch Kit and Whiteboard Mat can be purchased together in the Sketch Pack.) The markers include in the Sketch Kit are whiteboard markers, but I can see students completing their final drawing on a thick white piece of paper from a roll of plotter paper, for displaying of their artistic creations on the walls in the school hallway! 


Sketch Pack photo courtesy of Wonder Workshop


The Wonder Workshop site includes a great blog post explaining how to set-up the Sketch Kit with some tips and tricks included. Their site also includes lessons in their education curriculum such as, "Using Sketch Kit with Cue: The Geometry of Mandalas" and "Using Sketch Kit with Dash: Robot Code Breakers", based on Alan Turing and the codebreakers of WWII.

I did not read the blog post on the Wonder Workshop site first, but had no trouble setting up the Sketch Kit and Whiteboard Mat. The directions included in the Sketch Kit box were easy to follow! And, as I said at the beginning of this blog post, I wanted time to experiment on my own!

Now, remember, I am new to both block programming and the Sketch Kit when you watch the video below. I am sure I will get a lot more creative once I have some practice, but I felt good about my first drawing!




The Sketch Pack can be used in many curriculum areas to embed the STEAM skills in all the content areas. It is not just about the coding, but about the design thinking process where students plan, test, iterate, and reflect. Some ideas include:
  • In math, students could draw the three types of triangles. The pen can be programmed to go up and down, so Cue could be coded to move to a new space on the Whiteboard Mat to draw each triangle.
  • In social studies, it would be fun to draw a state outline, a rendition of a historic building, or the path of the Appalachian Trail.
  • In science, students could guesstimate the end of the path of a object when ramps are differing heights, since the mat is broken into centimeter areas. They could then roll the balls right onto their drawing on the Mat to test their hypotheses.
  • In ELA, students could illustrate the theme of a short story or a book.
  • And, of course, the Sketch Pack would be a natural fit in the art room!
Take a look at both the Dash and the Cue on the Wonder Workshop education site and consider getting a Sketch Pack to add another level of creativity to the coding process!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Airtame Wireless HDMI review







I was contacted by Airtame recently and asked to review their wireless HDMI device which allows mirroring from any mobile device or computer to a projector or monitor/TV.

Airtame was a successful Indiegogo project back in 2014, and has continued to improve and update the device as technology advances. It is available for purchase from many of the vendors we use in education.

Airtame is intended for enterprise situations like schools and businesses since it includes a cloud-based management tool to monitor multiple Airtames on a network and, more importantly, it works with WPA2 Enterprise and WPA Personal networks.






The Airtame would eliminate cables being run from the ceiling-mounted projectors to the teacher’s computer and the teacher could roam with any mobile device and share with the class via the projector. It is perfect for a BYOD environment because it works with any mainstream mobile device students might bring in. In addition, adding an Airtame to a projector on a mobile cart would allow mirroring anywhere in the school!

Here is a quick overview of how it works.



I can also see it being used at a faculty meeting, attached to the projector, and allowing teachers to share presentations and apps while in their seat using their mobile device running the Airtame app.

There is much more information on their site (airtame.comincluding pricing, information for your IT department dealing with the technical and security side of things, and some ideas for use in education.

Their site also contains a section comparing the Airtame to the other casting, mirroring, and streaming devices on the market which provides a sensible overview of the differences.

Airtame will be exhibiting at #ISTE18 in Chicago, so, if you are attending, stop in and see them! You can follow them on Twitter at @airtame for updated news on the product.




Review written on April 17, 2018
Kathy Schrock
kathy@kathyschrock.net
@kathyschrock
http://schrockguide.net

Monday, April 02, 2018

Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case for Apple iPad 9.7 Review

With the exciting announcements recently about Apple's renewed focus on the educational market, and the release of the new iPad 9.7" with Apple Pencil support, now is the time to start thinking about cases for your staff and student iPads!

I have long been a fan of Brenthaven bags and cases to protect my technology. Brenthaven has over 35 years of experience ensuring that your items are protected -- initially for hikers and now for the mobile devices of individuals, businesses, and schools!

I am the owner of a few of their bags, with my favorites for the 13" MacBook Pro being the an older Vertical Messenger Bag (now replaced by their Collins Vertical Messenger Bag) and the Medina Fold-over Messenger Bag.





For my current 10.5" iPad Pro, I use the Edge for 10.5" for iPad Pro because it protects the device as well as allows me to use the Smart Keyboard or Apple Smart Cover to protect the front of my iPad.




However, my choice of coverings and cases for my devices are based on the fact I am very careful with my devices. I never drop them, never scratch the screens, and carry them carefully when out of their carry bags.  Past experience has taught me that this is not usually how the students treat their technology.

Schools are looking for an iPad case that is sturdy, protects the glass screen, can be tilted up for easy typing and drawing, and has a built-in carry handle. This week, Brenthaven sent me one of their new cases, specifically designed for the education market -- the Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case which fits the 9.7" iPad (5th gen 2017) and the newest 9.7" iPad (2018).



The features of this case meet all the needs of IT departments, students and teachers!

FOR IT

The IT department will be happy with the fact the Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case screws together easily with an included tiny Allen wrench, which keeps the students from removing the device from the case. A nice feature for the IT department is that the screws stay in the case when the case is unscrewed, so there is little chance one of the four screws will get lost. (Two extra screws are included just in case!)




In addition, the back of the case is clear, so any asset tags or barcodes on the iPad can easily be seen. There is a protective clear overlay screen on the front with a cut-out for the home button which should eliminate any accidental scratching of the screen.









The access to the Lightning port for charging and syncing the iPads is oversized and should fit any charging cart connection. The size of the Edge™ Carry Case is 10.8" H x "7.6" W x 1.25" D and it weights 8.3 ounces.




FOR THE STUDENT

The Edge™ Carry Case has a ton of features that make it perfect for any age student!

First, the clear overlay screen is very responsive to the touch, whether tapping with a finger or drawing with a stylus. (I don't have the newest iPad 9.7" with Apple Pencil support but I set the clear overlay from the Edge™ Carry Case on the screen of my 10.5" iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil worked great!)

Secondly, the case is very protective, with no buttons showing except the home button, but the built-in rubber buttons for volume and up/down and turning the device on/off are well-crafted and work great! The headphone port is easily accessible and the speaker cut-out at the bottom of the case lets the sound out well.




Thirdly, the kickstand feature on the back folds flat into a recessed area on the back of the case, and does not add any bulk. When folded in, it will not get caught on anything when being put in or taken out of a backpack.







Fourth, and a wonderful feature, is the built-in handle on the side of the Edge™ Carry Case. When carrying the iPad by the handle on the case, whether the student is in kindergarten or 12th grade, the iPad is secure and should avoid the drops that occur in schools. The Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case is also drop tested to protect the iPad against falls from up to six feet!

The handle serves another purpose, too. When students are using their iPad in the field, when in front of the class sharing a presentation, or are reading their textbook on the bus ride home, by putting one hand's fingers through the handle, it allows them to have a secure grip on their device.




FOR THE TEACHER

Using the handle on the Edge™ Carry Case to hold the iPad securely is a great feature for teachers and administrators, too, as they roam the classroom or hallways of the school. In addition, teachers can easily hold the iPad in the Edge™ Carry Case in one hand and use their finger or a stylus to teach over AirPlay or Reflector. In addition, with its light weight (8.3 ounces), the iPad in the case will be easy to hold for an extended period of time without the hand getting tired.

Having the asset tags or student names visible through the clear back of the device, to easily identify a student's iPad or the cart the device belongs on, is helpful for the teachers of the younger students for plugging-in the devices to the correct charging cart. The case is thin enough (1.25") that it should fit in any charging cart slot.

PRICING

The Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case for the 9'7" iPad (2017/2018) is available now on their site where you can request a quote for the number you require and receive a free sample of the Brenthaven Edge™ Carry Case.




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Augmented reality (AR) in the classroom

This blog post originally appeared on the Discovery Education site in my blog,  Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month. It is reprinted here with permission.

I have much more information and updated AR apps on my Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything AR page.
________________________________________________________________



Last year, I wrote a blog post dealing with the use of virtual reality resources to support the instructional process. I started the article with an explanation of the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality, which I feel is important to include again since, this time, the post will be about the use of augmented reality technology to support teaching and learning. The Augment site includes a well-stated overview of the two technologies.


Augmented reality is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements on top of an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it.

Virtual reality is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or re-creation of a real life environment…It immerses the users by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.

WHY AUGMENTED REALITY?

Touchstone Research presents an infographic that showcases how various professions use AR to support learning, access important information in real-time, and for marketing purposes. With the wide-spread use of AR, our students should be provided with the opportunity to become familiar with the the technology and use it in the classroom.



HOW DOES AR WORK?

The basic use of AR requires a few things– a smartphone or tablet with a back facing camera, an augmented reality app, and a trigger image. An Internet connection is needed for real-time overlaying of information. The triggers can be something as simple as a QR code, which launches an AR event on the smartphone or tablet, or can be a special printout or photographic images that is viewed through a specialized app. The continued development of great new apps seems to indicate that the use of the app to view a specialized trigger image may be the way things are moving in the AR arena.

One fun app that is popular in schools is Quiver (formerly ColAR Mix) which uses a printed-out and colored-in page to present the student with an interactive experience when viewed through the app. The Quiver Education app (US iOS app store: $7.99 and available on the VPP), includes coloring pages specifically designed for the education market including those for cells, organs of the body, and a specialized set for celebrating “International Dot Day“.
Here is a video demonstrating how this app works.





The EON Experience VR app (iOS and Android), uses the target below to bring the hundreds of simulations included in the app to life. Many simulations can be viewed using both AR and VR. The users simply download the data for the simulation and, through the app, points their smartphone at the target. The great thing about this is the target can be used even from the computer screen!

The trigger image for the EON Experience VR app
 The trigger image for the EON Experience VR app



AR image of a synapse projected from the trigger image on the computer screen.


Marketing agencies have taken to AR to the next level to allow the user to layer furniture, paint, and much more over a live image of a room. IKEA, Houzz, and Home Depot are only some of the many companies using augmented reality to support consumers. Project Color, from Home Depot allows you pick a paint or stain color and virtually paint your home’s walls, as demonstrated in the video below.


[Commercial] The Home Depot – Project Color App ‘Virtual Test Drive’

AR is even used in real-time at this kiosk in a Lego store which shows the customer the completed Lego project by simply holding up the box of Legos to the mirror.




WHY USE AR IN THE CLASSOOM?

Adding interactivity to a classroom learning experience always enhances student engagement. To be able to view and manipulate a object being learned about can lead to deeper understanding and further exploration and questions. Drew Minock, in an Edutopia article, outlines some ways augmented reality can support instruction. Here are a few of them.
  • Book Reviews: Students record themselves giving a brief review of a novel that they just finished, and then attach that “aura” (assigned digital information) to a book. Afterward, anyone can scan the cover of the book and instantly access the review.
  • Word Walls: Students can record themselves providing the definitions to different vocabulary words on a word wall. Afterward, anyone can use the Aurasma app to make a peer pop up on screen, telling them the definition and using the word in a sentence.
  • Lab Safety: Put triggers…all around a science laboratory so, when students scan them, they can quickly learn the different safety procedures and protocols for the lab equipment.
There are some great educational AR apps to support teaching and learning available.
  • DAQRI Anatomy 4D showcases the human anatomy in augmented reality. (iOS | Android)
  • Science AR has the teacher printing out the trigger Science AR posters which come alive with animation as students use the app to view the posters.
  • Amazing Space Journey allows students to take a trip through the solar system. Available for iOS and Android.
  • Star Chart projects the night sky with all the constellations, planets, and other facts while viewing the sky through a smartphone or tablet. (iOS | Android | Windows)
In addition to students using an app to view material created by others, by using an app called Aurasma, students and teachers  are able to create their own “auras” with links to information for others. (iOS | Android)

Creators take a photo or create an image, which then serves as the AR trigger, which in Aurasma is called an “aura”. Using the Aurasma app, students or teachers link that aura to online content, which may be a video, an image or photograph, or a Web site. When viewers use the Aurasma app and scan over those auras, they are presented with the online content in a floating window.

If you have a subscription to Discovery Education Streaming, you can create auras that showcase video clips from the collection and items from the other multimedia collections including image and photos. Students can also create an aura to share their projects which utilize any of these same assets from Discovery Education Streaming.

There are also some fun AR apps that allow the creation of place-based AR pop-ups. Two that are easy to use for teachers and students are Metaverse and Traces. Users can create quests, descriptors for places, and much more. 

Imagine the incoming freshman walking around the school and learning all about the building, or a student creating an AR overview of the local businesses as a service learning project. If you are familiar with PokémonGo, you will realize how engaging these pop-ups would be for students to create and share! Below is a place-based locator I discovered at my local coffee shop!





Place-based locator


INTERESTING  IDEAS

There are many other ways teachers and students are using augmented reality in schools. Here are two creative examples that I discovered.

Northwest High School has made  the use of Aurasma an integral part of their school culture.





This educator provides a unique way to use Aurasma and Powerpoint to create interactive experiences.





There is also a new type of reality called “Mixed Reality” or simply MR, which combines some of the aspects of both VR and AR. Dr. Simon Taylor, the Co-founder of Zappar which has created ZapBox, an MR solution, states “in MR, virtual  objects or environments are anchored to things in the real world providing a new and intuitive way for users to interact with virtual content”. This started as a Kickstarter project and is now available for a very low cost.  Watch the video below to get a feel for the exciting new projects that are coming to schools soon!