Getting to Know Daydream VR Headsets

VR allows for an experience of immersive environments similar to or completely different from the real world. FCIT boasts a cart that provides 12 Lenovo Daydream VR headsets. Take you class to the cart or the cart to your class! Each headset has a different number from A-1 to A-12. Each pairs with a unique control pad. It’s easy to get your hands on these VR headset. 

 

  • Each headset is paired with a control pad, so pick up a headset and find the control pad with the same number. 
  • Push the POWER button on the side of the headset for a few seconds until the light starts flashing, and then put on the headset.  
  • If you want to change your position, face the direction you want and press the circle button for a few seconds. Then the direction will be reset. 

Still wondering what to do? Here are 3 recommendations:

Expeditions Expeditions provide many VR videos in different categories. It is a good app to experience, learn things and relax.  This video gives a good tutorial on how to use guided tours in Expeditions. 
YouTube VR Use your cursor to click the YouTube VR icon. Browse the 360 column or search what you want to watch and enjoy!
Google Arts and Culture  You can appreciate famous art pieces and learn the history behind them the app, Arts and Culture. Browse the collections and click on the painting that you want to view, and listen to the introduction of the art piece. If you forget how to use the cursor to explore, just look down at your cursor, and you can see all the instructions. 

 

 

How to Upload Videos from iPhone/ iPad to Google Drive.

   Recently, some have reported having difficulty with sending  video files recorded on iPhones to Google Drive. The way to do it is to pull it into drive instead of pushing it out to drive.
  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google Drive app.
  2. Tap Add .
  3. Tap Upload.
  4. Find and tap the files you want to upload. To upload photos or videos, tap the photos and videos you want and tap Upload.
This seems to work without any problems at all.

Two Storytelling Tools

There’s something about a well-done multi-media presentation that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This amazing map of the floods of 2019 along the Mississippi is a terrific example. I make no claim to produce anything so amazing, but one of my favorite digital tools- a real go-to tool for me- is Adobe Spark Page. I made sparkpage embedded below for my history students. It originally was just a google doc. But in about 40 minutes I was able to make this. To me, it is more engaging than a Google doc and I expect it is for students also.  War of 1812

Powtoon is another terrific tool. That’s why I am so happy to highlight an example from Sonia Chin and Holly McCloskey who used ed-tech tools to have students demonstrate mastery outside of the traditional test format. They asked students to produce videos as part of their Bio II Adv. Final. Sonia and Holly purposefully wanted students to use a storytelling medium to share out and reflect upon what they learned. 

These new, easy to use storytelling tools allow us to assign creative projects equal to any test’s demands for knowing at any level of Bloom’s taxonomy of while also promoting communication, collaboration and creativity. 

I’d be happy to come to any class and share these tools and others. Book me with a help ticket.

After break, I will highlight Synth (my students’ have a pending assignment with it), a free podcasting tool specializing in 256 second long podcasts. Click here for a sneak preview/ explanation.

New Google Earth Features

Google Earth has long been a terrific tool for exploring and viewing our planet. Until this past month, it has not been a creation tool. But it is now! Take a look here at all of Google Earth’s features for education here.

New tools in Google Earth allow teachers and students to create and share narratives. Even cooler, these tools  allow for collaboration. Projects can have multiple contributors. To top it off, photos and videos can be added to make tours even more engaging. I have a student who is doing a project right now for which this tool will be just perfect. I’ll share with you the finished product when she is done.

 

Visual Story Telling

I am increasingly intrigued by how I can use tech tools to enhance storytelling and narrative, expository and descriptive prose.

Digital technologies have expanded the way my students communicate their knowledge and present findings.  I find these tools encourage students to consider questions of visual presentation and the user experience. Below, you will find resources that you can use to support teaching and learning.

I like embedding tech into assignments to get students to think about ways they can share their understanding in creative ways. Embedded below is an example from my World History Course last year that I wrote about in my personal blog.

Teaching with StoryMap

Last year I blogged about Knightlab’s impressive storytelling tools. Several of these tools are used by commercial media outlets, but I was excited by their potential use in the classroom. I recently gave an assignment about the Silk Road to my 9th grade world history students to tie our study of Ancient China and Ancient India together.


Here are some of my “go-to” tools. (Note: the icons embedded in the slidedeck are clickable.)

The YouTube playlist below hosts tutorials on how to use the aforementioned tools.  As always, you can email me at amcdonnell@friendscentral.org  or put in a help ticket if you want to talk about ways to use these tools in your teaching. I have used all of the tools mentioned above in my teaching except for Toontastic. Some are real favorites. AdobeSpark is terrific. My students often use it. WeVideo is a go to tool for me when I want to flip my teaching.*  Final note, I also highly recommend Piktochart. I’ll be using it shortly to have students create visual “essays”.

 

*I screencast with Zoom, edit in WeVideo, upload the video to YouTube and embed questions on the video with EdPuzzle. The whole process takes no longer than 15 minutes to make a quality 5 minute video with questions embedded.  Padraig Barry does this even more often than I do.