Monday, November 5, 2018

Fifth Graders Creating AR/VR Experiences to Enhance Learning

Today I stopped by the Minnewashta Elementary after school VR/AR club. About twelve fifth grade students meet weekly for six weeks to learn and experiment with augmented reality and virtual reality tools with the teacher, Joy Curran. When I was there, students were learning to use a program to create augmented reality scenes and stories using an iPad or Chromebook. Some were creating multiple scenes together in order to end up with a choose-your-own-adventure story. They were testing their creations by loading them onto an iPhone to hold up and see their AR character in action. 

Last year, Joy Curran and Heather Baker were awarded a Teacher Grant from the Minnetonka Schools Foundation to purchase virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) equipment for students to use in the classroom. The video above showcases some of these tools in use. 

In previous weeks of the club, Joy had students create their own 360 degree virtual reality tours using Google Tour Creator.  To do this, "students chose a country they wanted to explore and created their own VR tours using imagery from Google’s Street View. They learned how to add sound, embed photos, and add points of interest to their scenes.  Then they went on a virtual field trip and viewed each other’s completed tours in our VR headsets." Finished tours can be viewed with or without headsets.

Merge cubes is another example of an AR tool students have tried out in the club. We continue to encourage all our teachers to try out more AR and VR tools, such as Google Expeditions (see related posts below). It will be exciting to see what students create as they have more time using these tools! 

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