Can virtual reality teach empathy?

Google Expedition aims to connect students with refugee experience

can virtual reality teach empathy?Teaching empathy to our future citizens of the world may be the most important work that we can do as educators. And it’s not something we can force. It has to be an organic outgrowth of the other lessons we build.

Let’s look at how we might make it happen with virtual reality.

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Use Thinglink to explore identity

Creating and sharing digital selves

identityI’m participating in Thinglink’s Summer VR Challenge, and the first exercise in the challenge is to design your Digital Self, a visual representation of yourself with embedded links to things you feel are important people know about you.

A key component of the exercise is to share your Digital Self with your PLN. But I warn you: you’re not ready for this jelly.

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Going on Google Expeditions

Too many ‘awesomes’ to count.

using Google tools to connect classroomsThat was a note I took while experiencing students’ reactions to Google Expeditions at Lamoille Union Middle/High School this week. Audible collective “wows” along with “this is awesome” “I feel like I’m flying, that’s why I’m scared” “I love this” permeated the air as students put the cardboard devices to their faces and entered a virtual world. As the Google representative described it to one class, “buckle up your magic school bus seat belts for a virtual reality tour of National Parks and the world’s seven wonders.”

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Interactive map tools for creating deeper place-based learning

Revisiting the possibilities of student-created geographies

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsThe rate at which technology changes has reached a dizzying speed, with new tools and platforms emerging constantly. But what hasn’t changed is students’ curiosity about the world and their need to explore their own place in it. Young adolescents in particular, burn with the urge to make and personalize. So what does it look like to tap into that urge as it pertains to physical landscapes?

Yes indeedy, folks, it’s time once again to talk place-based learning and edtech.

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Augmented reality and student identity

Students explore the geography of self(ies)

augmented reality and student identityAn innovative way for students to explore who they are happens in Lori Lisai’s classroom at Lamoille Union Middle School where she works with them to craft an interactive biography through her Geography of Self project.

A bulletin board houses the student self portraits; 8th graders include their 7th grade portraits side-by-side: a visual representation of growth-over-time.

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B is for Booktracks

The ABCs of edtech with the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education

Augmented reality enhances reading — with sound

After being introduced to Booktrack Classroom at an ISTE 2015 session, it struck me as the perfect tool to help students play with the ways tone is established. One of my favorite passages that teaches the power of syntax to convey meaning is the first paragraph of Ray Bradbury’s short story The Long Rain:

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Student-made geology games

Putting a human face on science storytelling

student-made geology gamesLava flows down the halls of Main Street Middle School, in Montpelier, Vermont, and you must choose whether you’ll go with the flow or try to cool off somewhere and become an igneous rock. In another portion of the school, you’re the new kid, getting a tour from one of your peers when a volcano erupts, and you have only your geology wits (and a science teacher with fabulous hair) to save you.

These are middle schoolers building mobile, place-based games with ARIS, taking advantage of the game editor’s powerful new re-design and one science educator’s trust in letting his students demonstrate what and how they learn.

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3 ways to use Chatterpix with maps

Thinglink, augmented reality and gaming

ways to use Chatterpix with mapsAlert reader Lucia Hoegeveen asked a question about our suggestion that you create a map of a country and give each state it’s own voice. Now, as she pointed out, each Chatterpix you create can have only one mouth. So in order to make our Chatter-map, we’re going to need to app-smash Chatterpix in one of a couple different ways.

Or maybe we’ll just put them all together in a blender and hope for the best. I’ll let you know after I finish this delicious coffee.

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Innovative learning shared at Nashville conference

Music City learns a thing or two about Vermont ed tech

Innovative learning shared at Nashville conferenceHalf of the Tarrant Institute staff and a special guest headed to Nashville last week to present at the Association for Middle Level Education Annual Conference. We set out to share with middle grades educators from around the world the incredible, tech-rich teaching happening in Vermont schools. As we always conclude after visiting national conferences, Vermont really is on the cutting edge. Here’s a roundup of our presentations about learning management systems, authentic assessment and augmented reality.

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Molecules in Augmented Reality

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonOne of the challenges in science is to help students make connections from concepts to their real world. This can be a particular challenge in the field of chemistry. We talk about atoms, molecules, chemical reactions… but how does that connect with the things we see every day?

Augmented reality is one way to make connections from the abstract to the real world. We’ve seen Aurasma in use in the science classroom before. This free app allows students to create content that becomes an overlay on the actual item. The “aura” is triggered through image recognition. Students can overlay videos, web content, or images on their trigger images. Allowing video and web content means that Aurasma is a great candidate for “app smashing.”

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