Archive for the ‘Technology Tools’ Category

Google Expeditions – VR in the Classroom

November 8, 2017

At work, I was detailing my experience with virtual reality using a Play Station 4 virtual reality system when a colleague asked if I had looked at Google Expeditions.  No I had not!  That night I did some research and found out that a Google Expeditions app had to be download on my Android phone (Samsung A5).    I made sure I was using my WiFi so that I would not incur data charges.  After the app was loaded, I was not finished because this app requires an appliance to hold the phone and view in 3D.  Searching on the Net, I found that Google Cardboard was required.  There are many different models available and yes, some are cardboard, but I purchased a plastic device that had mostly 5 star reviews.   It was under $8!   The next day it arrived and I found it easy to set up.  After loading the app on my phone, I had to scan the QR code on the side of the viewer to let my phone know which ‘cardboard’ viewer I was using. I placed my phone into the device and very soon, a series of scenes loaded and I could see children in a classroom, view the planets, look around Paris and more.   In one expedition, I had a 360◦ expedition to the Taj Mahal, which described its history through audio and visual text.

The Google ‘Cardboard’ experience differs from the 1850s to the 1930s stereoscope or the View-Master, which was introduced in 1939 in that they produced static images.  With Cardboard, moving the head left, right, up or down, reveals different parts of the image as if you are standing in the middle of the scene.  I did find the image to be pixelated and thought it might be my phone. However, further experimentation with an iPhone 5S resulted in a similar appearance.  This is not close to the interactive experience I had with PlayStation 4 VR but for an $8 device I was more than satisfied,

I am not recommending a particular Cardboard device as I have only had experience with one model.  However, if you go to YouTube and type in Google Cardboard VR, you will find many videos that describe different viewers and explain how they work.  Google states that as of May 2017, there were over 600 expeditions and about 2 million students have had the Cardboard experience.  This technology could increase understanding of topics that in the past were difficult to describe.  There are exciting times ahead for our students!

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

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Future Possibilities with VR

October 25, 2017

My nephew saved his money for many months so that he could buy a virtual reality (VR) system and the other day I had the opportunity to try it out.  I am blown away.  I put on a helmet and headphones and then he gave me two wands.

With the system fired up, I saw that I was in a room with a 360◦ view and I had in front of me, a computer, desk, coffee machine and donuts.  My hands no longer resembled my own but I was able to control the ‘new’ hands with the wands.    First, I tried making coffee but because I was clumsy, I dropped the mug.  It would take some practice to become dexterous.  When I brought the donut to my mouth and then pulled it away, only half the snack remained.  A computer voice continually gave me tasks to perform.  As instructed, I deleted virtual email and hired workers for my business.  My nephew filmed my progress and it was funny to see my image moving about the space, carrying out the tasks when in reality there was NOTHING there.

This is only the beginning.  In the future, with the ability to perform in virtual reality, students could be transported to other countries, places of work, space and more, all in the safety of the classroom.   What impact will VR have on our youth as this technology becomes more widespread and affordable?

Check out this video to see how it works.  At approximately three quarters of the way through the video, you can see the wand system I was using.  https://www.cnet.com/special-reports/vr101/

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

3D Printer on Wheels

November 30, 2016

We are still busy learning about our 3D printer and because so many want to use it, we purchased a cart that will allow us to move the printer from class to class.  The small cart has a footprint (24″D x 26 1/2″ W) but it contains 5 tubs for storage, an adjustable 4 spool holder, and a 6 outlet power bar.  You can see the printer stand and watch a movie about it on our website at goo.gl/bd6xeN

 

For more information about 3D Printer carts, please contact us at info@advanced-education.com

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

A New Technology Arrives

November 23, 2016

We are so excited to learn about our new printer.  It prints 3D objects!  This is perfect when we cannot allow students to handle precious artifacts or perhaps we have only one unique object but we really need four.   It also allows students to learn some programming.  Software such as Sketchup, Tinkercad, Autocad etc. are used to design the object and then the printer builds up layers to create the item.  You can download thousands of completed projects from Thingiverse.com as well. Check out their featured collections!  Learning to use this printer will provide students with skills that can be used in the future!

I am getting trained next week so I will be getting back to this topic in the near future that details my experiences.  Also watch for my blog about the special Copernicus cart that holds the printer.

For more information about 3D printers, please contact us at info@advanced-education.com

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

A Fast Image Search in Notebook 16

September 21, 2016

There is a new add-on in SMART Notebook 16. It is now possible to search the net for graphics and then drag them onto a page.

This means I don’t have to leave Notebook and there is no need to copy and paste or save images.  Just click on the puzzle piece in the tabs and choose Image Web Search.  You can select pictures or clip art, type in the object you want to search and then click on the magnifying glass.

A search for ‘apple’ resulted in 28 clipart images and 20 pictures.  I dragged one of them onto the page and made it just the right size for my application.  At the bottom left of every picture you will see a small globe.  This is the link to the page where the image was found and it can demonstrate to students that we credit items we take from the web.  It is possible to remove that link and credit the picture somewhere else.

Click here to download the step-by-step instructions

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Our Tech Tubs2 Arrived!

September 7, 2016

My class received a modular tech tub2 that holds 24 iPads and has a usb syncing hub.  The four modules can unclip so that we can share the iPads with four classes or we can use the cart on wheels to roll all of them to another room.

Two students got busy putting the iPads into their slots and then plugging them in so that they would not lose charge over the summer.   The great thing is it only takes one electrical outlet to support the whole cart.

I am so happy that our iPads are protected and locked safely away.

I used Google to create this shortened url so you could watch a video about these tubs.  Go to goo.gl/n5TUz4.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Testing out new softwares

April 15, 2015

Our school bought SMART Notebook Advantage which is an annual paid subscription program that gives us access to some really great learning resources that are not available in Notebook 11.  We can use this with our new Hitachi interactive projector.  However, since we have the Hitachi we decided to check out Starboard software which is the Hitachi interactive projector software.  You can download a 60 day trial at http://psg.hitachi-solutions.com/starboard/60-day-trial.

I will post news about this produce once we have had a good trial.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Hitachi Interactive Projector

February 18, 2015

We just got a Hitachi interactive projector for one of our classes.  This projector can be used with a white board or a wall and suddenly they become interactive surfaces!

One of our teachers said that she loved it because there was instant orientation.  On some interactive white boards we have to press in target zones to orient the boards but with the Hitachi, press one button and it orients itself!  How much easier could it be?

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

OH Flip!

November 27, 2013

I have been learning about the flipped classroom and I wish I was as cool and confident as Aaron Sams who shows how he flips his classroom in a video that you can watch in the link at the end of this paragraph.  He has a lot of energy and creativity and he is able to make effective videos for the students to watch at home.  I have to remember that he can use these more than once so I am thinking that once he has a bank of them, it would be piece of cake to function on a day to day basis.

The youth of today are learning through social media.  It is good to know that there are teachers out there who are using it so creatively and wisely!  Aaron and Jonathan Bergmann have written a book that will help you understand the process.

Check out the paperback ‘Flip Your Classroom’ and see the video www.teachthought.com/learning/the-ultimate-guide-to-flipping-your-classroom

Let me know what you think!

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom

On Guard with Wrist Guard

November 20, 2013

One thing I really like about our new Samsung Tablets is the wrist guard.  What is that you ask?  As you write you can let your hand rest on the tablet surface but it ignores the larger part of your hand so that it is very close to the ‘writing on paper’ experience.   I am also very impressed with the handwriting recognition and the students are amazing at figuring out all the ins and outs of the tablet.  So far… SO good!  Lovin’ the tablets.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom