Tag Archives: Simulations

Are we really there? Virtual Reality in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

So what is Virtual Reality or VR?

img_9516Virtual Reality, or VR, provides a means to have an experience of a location or object (whether real or imaginary) through a mobile device, often viewed through a headset, in such a way that when the viewer moves around they see the virtual view moving with them. So the images are usually 360 degree images and can be in 3D so that when viewed on a mobile device within a headset with twin lenses it appears to the viewer as being  as close to being there as possible. When you move forward, tilt your head, look up – it’s as if you are doing the same in the virtual reality experience.

What are the options for the classroom?

The least expensive option for using Virtual Reality in a classroom would be Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard viewers (while they can be viewed without a twin-lens 3D viewer the viewer will lose the feeling of 3D) which are held by the hand up to the eyes. More expensive options are available with a variety of VR viewer headsets (such as Microsoft HoloLens, Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets) and accompanying sensors (often handheld) so that the experience can involve touching or interacting with objects within a VR experience – as you approach or touch something in virtual reality it will react in a way as it in real life.

Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard Viewers

img_9526Google Expeditions are virtual reality experiences designed with a classroom guided exploration in mind. The teacher downloads the choice of virtual reality location using the Google Expeditions app and starts the expedition. Then when the pupil on the same wi-fi connection starts the app on their device they will see the teacher-directed expedition awaiting them.

In Google Expeditions the teacher application provides suggestions for questions or directions to guide learners as they explore the virtual environment. The teacher can see on their mobile device app where the learners are exploring on their screens, and can make suggestions as the learners explore.

The video below is a promotional video for Google Expeditions in the classroom giving a brief overview of what it looks like in a classroom setting where a teacher with a tablet device guides pupils each holding a Google Cardboard headset viewer.

How do I get started using Google Expeditions?

The video below is a guided tutorial to using Google Expeditions

How do I use Google Expeditions with iPads or Android tablets?

The video below shows how Google Expeditions can be viewed on iPads rather than smartphones. Many school may already have iPads or Android tablets, and the Google Expeditions apps will work on these too. However the Google Cardboard viewer is designed with the size of a smartphone in mind. If you wish to use the app on an iPad or Android tablet then when running the setup at the point where you see the two images side by side there is a small icon at the top right which lets you change the twin view to single view. Having done that the view will no longer be 3D and will no longer be held up to the eyes of the viewer but simply handheld.

How to use Google Expeditions on iPads or tablet devices in the classroom

Where can I find Virtual Reality Experiences for my classroom?

Google Expeditions provides a superb source of Virtual Reality experiences ready to be downloaded for use on devices in the classroom.

discoveryvrDiscovery VR provides a wide range of downloadable virtual reality experiences in an educational context. Each is available for specific devices and come with notes for use by the educator with their class to guide their learners in the exploration of the experience.

 

Ideas for using Virtual Reality in the classroom

edtech4beginnersvr10ideas10 Simple Ways to Use Google Cardboard in the Classroom – a post by Neil Jarrett on the EdTech4 Beginners blog describing different ways in which the virtual reality app Google Cardboard can be used in the classroom.

whiteboardblogideasforvr

Ideas for using Google Cardboard Virtual Reality in the classroom – a blogpost on the Whiteboard Blog by Danny Nicholson

What Virtual Reality experiences have you used with your class?

Please share how you have used virtual reality experiences with your class by adding a comment below

 

Minecraft in the Classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

MinecraftcollageThere are many teachers who are using the enthusiasm of their learners for Minecraft to make use of this in creative ways in the classroom to engage learners across the curriculum.

Teachers can find the hook of games-based learning can bring otherwise reluctant learners to the table and let them shine. For some learners this can be one of their main interests outside of school, and a platform such as Minecraft, with a huge following, provides a motivational pull when that can be used to support learning in the curriculum.

Many teachers around the world have sought to make use of this enthusiasm by the learners for Minecraft – and many have shared their experiences for the benefit of others. This post seeks to bring together some of the resources shared by others to support teachers looking to use Minecraft to support the curriculum in their classes.

Minecraft in Education Advocates in Scotland

HotMilkyDrinkDerek Robertson (@DerekRobertson) is one of Scotland’s pioneers and advocates in the use of games-based learning and wrote about the benefits to learning  and teaching using games-based learning, including Minecraft, on Education Scotland’s blog (click here to read this).

http://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/LearningExperiences/2013/06/02/educators-learn-more-about-learning-in-minecraft/

Derek Robertson also has his own blog where he wrote more about the use of Minecraft for a local project (click here to read this).

http://hotmilkydrink.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/11/minecraft-on-the-waterfront.html

ImmersiveMindsScotland’s Stephen Reid (@ImmersiveMind) is a Minecraft teacher, running a Minecraft server dedicated to teachers and parents all over the world and running lessons with children and Minecraft in curriculum learning. Find details here http://www.immersiveminds.com/ahpminecraftserver/. Stephen wrote about using Minecraft for classroom projects, such as this one here: http://www.immersiveminds.com/minecraft-lesson-idea-flags/

MinecraftEdu – an education-specific version of Minecraft

There is a version of the Minecraft software which is specifically designed for use in educational contexts and there is a MinecraftEdu wiki on setting up and using Minecraft in Education version of the software which can be found at: http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Getting_started#How_to_purchase

Andrew Miller (@betamiller) has written about the use of Minecraft in education: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/minecraft-in-classroom-andrew-miller

Article about use of MinecraftEdu in the classroom: http://www.edge-online.com/features/minecraft-in-the-classroom/

Setting up Minecraft in School

The following link provides guides to setting up a Minecraft club in school: http://www.gamingedus.org/ – with good advice here: http://www.gamingedus.org/2014/11/seven-tips-to-setting-up-a-minecraft-club-at-your-school/

The following link is to a guide to setting up and using Minecraft specifically in Primary School: http://primaryminecraft.com/starting/

There is an Australian site which is for a child and parent to set up a free online Minecraft account hosted by JoKaydia in Australia – it is not for schools but they have a contact to ask about a subscription for use by schools for a class: http://massively.jokaydia.com/about/

Set up off a network

Many teachers around the world report  technical hurdles in using Minecraft in school. The issues are not generally about the software (which can usually be purchased in the same way as other software), nor the installation (in many schools, as with most software installations onto a network device, that would most often have to be done by an ICT Engineer or support technician) but around the fact that if using a school networked PC it requires a dedicated server to be set up. That would require quite a bit more time for an ICT Engineer and may cause some anxiety for network engineers around security of the main school network and bandwidth demands, and solutions which have been found to work in schools situations in one part of the world don’t necessarily sit comfortably with the other priorities and concerns of network engineers to meet needs of all users of an education network.

One solution is to avoid the school network altogether and to use a PS3 or Xbox 360 with Minecraft in offline mode. This can present the least expensive route for some schools to get going, and to avoid issues with being on the network:

1. Obtain a PS3 or Xbox360 – someone may have one at home which they will happily donate to the school after they  have upgraded to a new model.

2. The device needs to connect to the Internet at the beginning at setup in order to download updates, set up the account and download the software, all before it comes into school (where, in many schools, you would not be able to connect to the network/Internet). So this would be easiest done by someone on a home wireless network – connect to the web, go to xbox live – create a profile – download updates – go to the store – purchase and download Minecraft and texture packs such as city (if using Minecraft rather than MinecraftEdu then educators have recommended to ensure that then when setup set to use offline, creative mode and peaceful!).

3. Back in the classroom it would then be connected directly to the projector or to a TV with DVI connection.

The Minecraft experience at Shieldhill Primary School

ShieldhillPSMinecraftChiara Sportelli wrote about the experience of first using Minecraft with pupils at Falkirk’s Shieldhill Primary School: “Using Minecraft the pupils are really engaged with their work. It has allowed them the experience of being ‘experts’ as some know more about it than some of their peers who are unfamiliar with the game. For some children working on Minecraft has allowed them to demonstrate equal or in some cases more advanced knowledge than their peers for the first time. One activity involves children completing a comprehension task where they create and build a camp based on a written description. They were all really keen to work on the project as homework (they actually asked for homework!). My idea was that they are a group of adventurers who have discovered a new land, they have had to build their camp and plant crops for survival. The write a journal entry each week detailing their progress and any obstacles they have encountered. They also created a 2D Minecraft version of themselves and character profile as part of the adventuring group, on paper. We then started a decision based continuation of their original story as settlers in a new land and planned for them to create a story path within the game and treasure hunt linked to moral dilemmas.”

So how have you used Minecraft with your pupils?

Do comment if you’ve used Minecraft in the classroom and would like to share your experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simulations to engage pupils in their learning⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

15 Simulations to Gamify Your Class – this post by Jacqui Murray lists and describes a variety of online tools which let learners interact with a situation and make choices, which lead to different options depending on their choices. These include historical situations, life choices, enterprise activities and science and technology scenarios where the learner has to understand the situations, make choices based on their knowledge, then to see what happens based on their choice. Jacqui Murray has also helpfully added further suggestions and tips for teachers using these simulation tools in a classroom context.

29 Games Kids Can Play to Try Engineering - a post by Richard Byrne describing and linking to several online game simulations with an engineering focus on the Try Engineering website. This website also includes 114 lesson plans on a host of engineering themes, including those associated with the simulation games.

More Online Learning Simulations- a post by Larry Ferlazzo listing and describing a range of online learning simulations with a focus on finance or economy at different stages, as well as providing a link to a further post by him of additional simulations sites.