AR & VR Apps for STEAM Learning
Last year, I had the opportunity to present my workshop AR & VR Apps for STEAM Learning during the Conference of Science Teachers Association of Texas (CAST 2017) as well as in Region 10. My goal with this workshop was demonstrating the possibilities and usability offered by some of the apps available on the market that take advantage of new technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
In the augmented reality field I wanted to demonstrate the potential and ease of use of HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) to help teachers introduce and explain new ideas in engaging ways while offering the possibility for the students of using a creative tool for demonstration of learning. HP Reveal is one of the most popular augmented reality technologies being used in the classroom. On December 2017, the creators of this app announced that they were re-branding Aurasma with a new name: HP Reveal. By the way, all content created using the Aurasma app, and the Studio account will continue to work with the updated app exactly as before. With this app, both teachers and students can trigger digital content such as 3D or 2D videos when the camera of the mobile device is pointed to a trigger image or object.
HP Reveal(formerly Aurasma) is free and extremely easy to use. AR experiences can be created directly from the app. If you need some help creating your first educational augmented reality experiences, please use this online Guide For Teachers And Other Educators Getting Started With Aurasma. As I mentioned before this app is an excellent way for teachers to introduce new content in fun and engaging ways, but it is also ideal for students to demonstrate learning.
Many other apps take advantage of the possibilities offered by augmented reality. Some of them are:
Affordable Virtual Reality in the classroom is also available today with some of the apps designed for the Google Cardboard and other variations of the VR viewer. Here are some of the apps I cover during my workshop.
An Important Reminder
I usually start my workshops reminding participants that these “cool” technologies are useless unless we start with a clear purpose in mind for the lesson. To help them with that, I introduce participants to the ExCEL method for engaging instruction. I created this method (a variation of the 5E model of instruction) while I was in the classroom as an easy-to-follow strategy to guide me through the lesson cycle while focusing on content and language. ExCEL stands for Explain, Create and Elaborate.
It refers to taking the time to design meaningful learning experiences that incorporate the most effective ways to engage the students with the objectives for content and language (TEKS and ELPS) of the lesson.
Tip: using culture and language to activate prior knowledge is a fantastic starting point.
Providing the students with the opportunity to create a new product (foldable, powerpoint, Aura in HP Reveal, etc.) using the newly gained knowledge and ideas.
Tip: technology offers fantastic and engaging tools to facilitate this.
Encourage students to take that new knowledge and use it in multiple contexts.
Tip: using games, group projects and other challenging and playful activities are great ways to achieve this.
A final and fundamental element is the ongoing evaluation of the activities against the reference provided by the objectives for content and language. In this area is recommended using forms of informal evaluation and providing opportunities for peer review discussions.
During my workshops, I provide participants with the framework for the ExCEL method which can be used as a reference during the lesson planning phase.
I will provide more details on the ExCEL method in future posts. I also want to let you know that in my new full-day PD workshop called Three Steps to Mastering Academic Vocabulary with ELLs, which is based on the ExCEL method, I will provide participants with the opportunity to design a learning experience that includes the use of augmented reality. If you are in the area of Dallas or McAllen, I’d love to see you there. For more information about my workshops go here.
I hope you enjoy using some of the fantastic apps listed here for AR and VR in the classroom.