Google Tour Creator
When I saw the announcement last Wednesday that Google has created a really cool, easy to use tool to make VR tours right on a chromebook, I envisioned using it for a current 4th grade project on regions. Well, we're still waiting for it to roll out for our district. But, I do have access on my personal Google account and will keep checking the domain settings to see when it lands out heah. Essentially, you start here, then you go to Google Maps, street view (grab that little peg man and plop him where you want to look around), use the images found there or upload your own 360° images. So, I decided to test it out by looking around on the Kenai Peninsula where my son is doing some forestry work. Guess what- no roads= no Google street view- duh! But I did check out Yellowstone and found some good street view images there- although of course not everywhere I wanted to see.
But, if you want a couple of really good tutorials- turn to Richard Byrne's blog and learn more. I will put the 1st tutorial below, but he has another one to add even more detail. Check out his second tutorial here.
Applied Digital Skills
I posted a video about this back in March, and although I signed up to try it out for Digital Skills Week, life intervened and I didn't get back to it. Since then, I have talked with other educators and some are using pieces of this all the way down to 3rd grade- or at least upper elementary. EdTechTeam hosted a couple of half hour webinars that you can check out on YouTube. There is so much to explore in this well organized system that is already made for you. I loved the clickable pdf that Heather Sanders made. If you have a few minutes, check out a tiny piece of the curriculum- theIf-Then adventure stories are great for all ages.
I know- too early to even think about... let me get through the year... BUT I just wanted to let you know that MassCue is sponsoring yet another PD opportunity in Western Mass! This one will also be at Gateway- over in Huntington. Their IT director-Chris Parker- is a Hadley native and I have to say, having met him all of one time at #EdCampWesternMass - he's kind of awesome. Lots of ideas, runs a great program in his district. So- this will be in August. My all time favorite Google Guru to learn from- Jenn Judkins will be there. Honestly, I can sit in her sessions all day long and come away with something new every time. She actually uses these tools, has incredible work flow ideas, and she's funny. It's $65 for the whole day. I can pretty much guarantee that you will come away with ideas that you can use in the classroom, as an admin, etc. Check it out here.
Those of you who know me, know that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality both make me feel seasick. I can be sitting down, I can hold a 3D image way out away from me, but I am the Dramamine queen. But, that does not mean that I don't see the value in this for some of our students. I have a whole box of Merge Cubes that I picked up when they were on sale at Walmart for $1/each, but haven't had the time to mess around with them. If you have time, stop by- I'll share. I love the Merge Cube educator group on FB. The ideas being shared every day are really amazing.
I was fortunate enough to catch Michael Fricano's webinar on Saturday. It went long- so you can watch the whole hour plus if you have time, or just check out the resources he shared in the Livebinder. He is also consolidating all of the AR/VR stuff into a nice new website- check it out here.
Click here to open this binder in a new window.
Brain Pop has a new movie maker! I liked the way you could pull images from the movies before to help show learning, tell your story with the materials, but this is even better. Here's a quick tutorial from Joli Boucher. We have the premium version for HES, in case you're worried about the access level. See me if you do not know how to access Brain Pop at the elementary school. You can read more about it on BrainPop Educators - and go thru the step by step tutorial or print out a guide if you'd like. They have resources on using Brain Pop's Make a Movie tool with ELL students and more, complete with curriculum connections and rubrics. Check it out!
Pixar in a Box
"Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar. This collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy is sponsored by Disney."
Using the Khan Academy interface, which many of our students are already familiar with and have accounts on, Pixar in a Box goes through lessons step by step. Teaching storytelling? Teaching animation? Writing? Science? It's all available in an easy to digest format. Try it!
CoSpaces is a relatively new platform. Using a 3D modeling system- online or Android or iOS app, students can make simulations, tell stories, model cell structures and much more. It is 3D/AR type system, which on first look will kind of remind you of Second Life (another one of my least favorites). I am not a big AR fan, but for many kids this a brilliant way to show what they know or to explore new content. It is a bit of a bandwidth hog, as you may imagine, but it was easy to use. I showed this to some 5th and 6th graders this fall, just for fun and they had no problem using it with little instruction.
So, if I compare this with SketchUp- it is far easier to use, is online and free (altho there is a premium version) and is collaborative and dynamic. You can use this on an ipad, on a phone and on the web and it updates almost automatically as you make changes. Oh... and it now lets you use Blockly to program your space. Very cool! Take a quick look at the videos below, and then head over to check out the platform online. They have some great examples of student work you can check out. This first video below is a bit on the long side (10 Min)- but it's a good, fair review of the system.