QR Codes

QR codes are a useful tool for teachers to use when creating handouts and worksheets. They are small square boxes which, when scanned, bring the reader to an external link. The codes are quite easy to create as there are many websites which will generate them for you! All you have to do when making them is attach the link or file that you are wanting the code to bring your students to and then click “go”. The website will then generate a code for you which you can copy, paste, or print to wherever you would like!

QR Code for peacemaking in Victoria

In the classroom this is an awesome way to link tutorials onto complicated math problems, audio clips onto readings, and even youtube videos for extra information/visual aides! And example of this could be on a complicated question from a math homework sheet. Attached to the question and be a code which will show students how to do the problem if they get stuck.

If you have followed my other blog posts you may have seen the one under the “Open Inquiry” tab titled “Placemaking”. When a group or my peers and I created a handout for faculty and parents about the positive impact of peacemaking, we added a QR code at the bottom which would bring them to an interactive map of popular placemaking sites around Victoria. If you are intrigued by QR codes and are now wanting to try one out, feel free to give that one a shot and experience some of the beautiful art that this city has to offer. This is placed above!

Advertisements

Augmented Reality in the Classroom


Augmented reality is an awesome learning tool that can be used in classrooms for all ages. There is a cool app that was demonstrated to us today in class called HP reveal. This allows teachers to create hot spots on text which, when students scan, whatever the teacher links to it will appear on the screen. Teachers can link tutorial videos to math problems. answer keys, audio clips, and so much more! A specific example that was shown to us was with chemistry. Our teacher had three cards with elements on them, in this case there were two single hydrogen cards and one oxygen card. As our teacher pushed them together the cards appeared to be folded together to show the element created: H2O. This technology can be used for so many learning opportunities which students would not otherwise have!

Virtual reality is a form of augmented reality which can be users useful learning tool for older students. This technology allows students to be brought to and experience different places around the world in a realistic manner. It is a great aide for hands on and visual learners to be able to experience and learn! The downside to virtually reality is that many people grow nauseous while using it, it has some affects on brains functioning systems, and, because of these affects, children under the age of thirteen should not use it. Everyone should limit themselves to 30 minutes maximum while using this equipment to help ensure their psychological and physical safety remains the same.

Coding

In class today we had a group of classmates present what they have learned about coding over the past few months. They showed us all the hard work that they had put in and explained that so much work and understanding goes into a basic code. Basically coding is even more difficult than you think it is going to be, which my preliminary assumption was already that it would be quite difficult! They also explained that it is easier for children to learn, as with any new skill, and there are apps that are being made to help teach students how to code such as Move theTurtle.

The group used the app “Scratch” to teach themselves how to code and then gave us some time as a class to try and figure out what to do. I must say that this is not an area of technology where I excel, but it was definitely cool to see what I can do! The website we went to was: http:// codeclubprojects.org/en-GB/scratch/

This website offers step by step instructions on how to code multiple different things. It contains many different projects for people of all coding levels. This would be an awesome tool to incorporate into the classroom to help teach students how to code. It not only will allow each individual to work at their own pace in an encouraging way, but also will advance students technological knowledge and will provide them skills which will help them throughout their future educations and career.

Microbit https://microbit.org is a different coding program which is in javascript instead of blocking. The group learning to code recently moved on to learning on this platform but I am far from being capable to do so. Basically Javascript shows you underneath the hood of the car and blocks are like being able to change your windshield wiper fluid and fill the gas tank. The group learned how to pay rock paper scissors against a computer.

Audio and Video Editing

A few months ago we learned some useful tools for audio and video editing that are simple and get the job done. I’m not sure why I never wrote about it, however, I want to share this experience and these tools with you all!

To edit our movie clips they introduced iMovie to the class. For some this was a new experience, but I had already used this tool to edit some projects in past semesters. It is definitely an intimidating app when you first get into it because it takes some practice, so don’t jump in right away thinking you can easily do it, definitely a lot yourselves some time to research tutorials. Once you upload your videos that you are wanting to edit together or cut, you can easily follow the directions on the bars below and above! Remember that nothing is permanent and you can always undo your edits. The one part that confused me the most was trying to add music/audio files on top of your videos. iMovie has fixed sounds that you are able to use, and granted there are many sounds, but because of copyright reasons you can’t actually add music over your videos! Maybe you can and have just yet to figure it out, so if someone know how please message me and teach me how!

Garage band was the next app that we used and this is for audio editing. I used this software once in high school when our teacher assignment us a “Bio Rap” so we had to take the audio track, record ourselves singing, and then overlap the two. This is also a tricky tool when you first get into it so its important to give yourself a little bit of time to learn the terms, controls, and to figure out the overall software. Once you get a hang of it it is a very simple tool to use! I was able to figure out how to use it at the age of 17 with no help so it is definitely a tool which can be easily incorporated into the classroom!

You can also use the musical keyboard which is where you click the keys to generate sound and the sounds go directly onto garage band an allow you to overlap them! You get a very crisp sound which goes right onto your track when you use the piano, it also makes it so that you don’t have to own keyboard. It only had one octave at a time though, and because if this small range of keys you cannot do a duet.

Distributed Learning

Throughout all of my schooling I have only taken two distributed learning/online courses, both of which were in high school. I found it was very difficult for me to stay on task and stay up to date on all the assignments and information when there was no one leading me. I also found it very difficult to reach out and ask for help or clarification with assignments and topics when there was not specific teacher for me to ask. I am a kinaesthetic learning, meaning I learn best with a hands on approach and when I am able to do an activity in order to learn, distributed learner was not right for that learning style. For students who are more visual or auditory learners, meaning they can see or listen to the information and then understand, these courses would be very useful.

Distributed learning offers more opportunities for students to learn new materials and also offers ways to take more courses than needed when on a time crunch. If a student is ill then they will still be able to complete these courses at home without falling behind with their schoolwork. I feel like before signing up for a distributed learning course, it is important to know yourself as a learner as well as know whether or not you have to drive to stay on task and not put it off.

I believe in K-12 learning (but more specifically in K-9) face-to-face contact with a teacher, supervisor, and with peers is very important for cognitive development. While incorporating some distributed learning is okay, students should still have in class time. As students age and progress online learning tools become more easily available to them and technology is being incorporated into their face-to-face classes. How a teacher designs around modality will have a large impact on learners want to engage as well as the efficiency of work being done. While with age it is important to allow students to take more responsibility, it is important to also offer them an outlet (other than google) to plug their questions, comments, and concerns.

Video conferencing in classes is a very useful tool to have guest lecturers provide information to a class without having to travel to a destination. This is a great way for teachers to incorporate multi-media modality without losing their own time with the class.

Before deciding on the incorporation of distributed learning into a learning plan a teacher must know their learners. Not everyone learns the same, and to many students this could have a very negative impact on their education. In high school I was on the honour roll, I was a close to straight A student with many volunteer and work hours. Throughout this time I took two online courses. It took me two and a half years to complete one of them and I never completed the other.

Minecraft as an Educational Tool

Today we had an amazing middle school teacher named Heidi James and some of her students come into our class to teach us about how they have been using Minecraft in their classroom. I was very skeptical at first as I have never been a very big gamer, but after listening to the middle schoolers enthusiasm while speaking about everything they learned I eagerly jumped on board! They spent some time explaining different project that they had done using the game as an outlet for inquiry learning, and then even gave us the chance to learn how to play!

This class did some really cool activities in their Minecraft world, but my favourite one that they explained would have to be learning about ancient Egyptian civilizations. The class was split into groups and each group nominated a leader for their own civilization. The leaders were then given some supplies and resources that were different from other groups. At the beginning the students spent their time building housing and different infrastructures to create a community, but after that they had to learn about trade between different communities. Instead of reading this in a textbook the class was able to experience this first hand and learn through doing! Further into the semester the students then began facing obstacles that would attack players such as: starvation, animal attacks, natural disasters, etc. I was so inspired by this lesson and all the students were able to accomplish on their own.

When they began to teach us to play I didn’t realize how hard the game was. Perhaps it’s because I’m not very video game savvy, but I found that guiding my character around our practice was very disconcerting. With a bit of practice (and accidentally digging out of the world) I got the hang of it. I think students would have an easier time picking these skills up than I did, but even if they didn’t, this would be an amazing learning tool.

For those who are interested in finding out more about this topic, I have attached Heidi’s twitter handle below as she is the awesome instigator of this new learning tool

.https://twitter.com/h_james18

h_james18

Staying Warm

It’s starting to get cold here in Victoria again, and keeping our heat on is just too expensive! This week we decided to get crafty and sew up our very own microwaveable heating pads. All we needed to make them was:

  1. Fabric (100% cotton so that it’s microwave safe)
  2. Thread (also cotton so that it’s microwave safe)
  3. A sewing Needle
  4. Scissors
  5. Pins to hold the fabric in place (you could also use hair clips or sticky tack)
  6. Filling (wheat, dried peas, say beans, rice, barley)

This is a very inexpensive way to spend an afternoon, especially when you are buying fabric and other supplies for a group of you. We thought that this project would relate seamlessly (pardon the pun) to the home economics curriculum in middle school, or even for a fun cross curricular art/science project. All we had to do was pick a fabric pattern that we liked, cut it to any size we want, pin it so that the pattern is on the inside, and sew it together leaving about a one inch whole! We hand stitched them because none of us have a sewing machine so we had to reinforce our stitches a couple times to make sure our grains would stay in. Once the pouch was stitched we turned it right side out and filled them with barley. We chose to use barley because it was on sale in the bulk isle, has no smell, and won’t expand or explode in the microwave. After filling our pouches the last step was simple, stitch up the remaining hole!

My roommate and I have been fighting over mine every night this week, it is an awesome way to stay warm and the weight from the pouch helps to calm anxiety and stress. It’s great for sore muscles, warming up cold toes, or simply having something warm to snuggle while falling asleep.

The photography documentation of this project was not our best work, not only did we have other friends come over to make them (which distracted us), but we were also so busy with our hands that we did not think to pick up the camera!