Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pixel Press Floors

One evening, before the end of our school year, I had been on a hunt to experiment more with augmented reality (AR) with my students. One of my favorite blogs to visit for that is, Two Guys and Some iPads. Brad and Drew are very well know for their 2 Guys Show, which you can watch at anytime from their archive on their blog, but also for their use of Augmented Reality.

So, while browsing their blog I came across their latest post that caught my eye on Pixel Press Floors. See the article HERE.

Now, I've tried to be the cool teacher and introduce video games into my classroom, what student doesn't love an excuse to play games? We participated in the Hour of Code, we also used Lunacraft for math review in our classroom, but Pixel Press Floors is truly unique. Students can actually draw their own game out, on a downloadable grid sheet, using the specific codes given in their Sketch Guide. From there, students can then take an image of their grid and it will turn into a virtual world that they have created. Students can test their game out and even edit it from within the app.

I highly encourage trying this, it was by far one of the favorite projects that I received feedback on.

How can you use it in your classroom? The ideas below are not all original ideas, just blog posts I have stumbled upon while researching.

- Math Review - area, perimeter (See Lakewood Digital Literacy blog for more ideas)
- Research & Survey - What makes an engaging video game? Graph results and explain.
- Compare and Contrast - analyze various games to provide peer feedback
- Creative writing - create a comic based on your designed game (Porchester Junior School

Of course, the project couldn't be complete without a little friendly competition game-off. My students wanted to finish the year with an elimination challenge, competing in teams against one another as we reflected the iPads onto my Mac.

Here is how I introduced the App to my students.
1. This was being used as an end of the year math center, so mid week as students were getting closer to starting, I went over the directions. How-to videos and the Sketch Guide were left for their curiosity in our math Blendspace course.
2. Students had an organizer to complete reviewing 3 or 4 games that were already created in the Pixel Press Floors Arcade. Students rated the game, and included pros and cons for ideas they would use. They also received a story map to incorporate their game into creative writing later on. We talked about how games have a storyline and a purpose like our books.
3. Once their organizer was uploaded to Schoology and approved, they were able to begin sketching their plan on the grid paper with the use of their guide.
4. Uploaded their game when finished and began receiving peer review.
5. Ideally if we didn't run out of time, I was going to use the idea from above for the students to create a comic based around their character and the story line they created.

I encourage you to check the app out while it is free. It is available on both the iPad and now the iPhone! Happy creating! Visit the App Store to check it out!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Aurasma in a Wax Museum

Before moving to a 5th grade classroom last year, the biography wax museum project has been a tradition over the years. As much work as it can be, the students always look forward to it!

What is the wax museum project you ask? Well, just like the famous Madame Tussauds, students select a celebrity or historical figure that has meaning to them. They focus on the standards of nonfiction text features, while also researching to discover any unanswered questions. Following their approved figure selection, the students then receive a rubric to follow that outlines the project, expectations and check-in dates. After having a little over a month to complete this, one of the best parts is the big presentation! All three, fifth grade classrooms, invite the school to participate in this experience. The teachers turn into the museum curators and the students are dressed, silent, and standing like wax figures to mimic the individual they read about as our guests wonder around visit our exhibit.

While the tradition of the wax museum project has always been the informational poster, I remember being a 4th grade teacher and wishing I had the time to read all of the student posters as I walked through the rooms. Having had the students previously, it is always exciting to enjoy and be entertained by their hard work. After recently becoming intrigued with the Aurasma app this school year, the wax museum project was one instantly came to mind that I needed to connect this app with! With a mixture of Aurasma and Chatterpix, below you will find a brief description of how you can incorporate a task like this into your classroom!

1. Once you have your project idea in mind, have the students complete any necessary work in advance in preparation for the Aurasma and Chatterpix portion.

2. Find an image of the face you want to use (check for copyrights), preferably a front profile, and save it to your camera roll.

3. Open Chatterpix, upload your picture, and complete the process to save your Chatterpix as a video on your device.

4. Make sure you have Aurasma downloaded and that the portion of the project you want to connect the augmented reality video to is complete. (My students had their posters finished before we began the chatter pix and Aurasma portion)

5. In preparation for generating the Aurasma trigger pictures, I printed out the Aurasma logo onto labels in advance, this way students could place the label next to the picture on their poster that they were going to use. This made the process much easier for our visitors so they knew where to look since time was limited for visitation sessions.

6.  Setup your Aurasma account, if you don't currently have one. See my previous post HERE on how to set an account up and get started using Aurasma.

7. Follow the directions above to also create your Aura using a trigger picture (with the label) that will activate your video to play from Chatterpix.  I have students login and upload to one class account to make it easier for internal classroom purposes as well.

8. Once everything is connected, make sure your class or public visitors are informed of your channel name in advance. Then, test out your finished product and you are ready to go! Pay close attention to the tips given in the presentation from my previous post, it will help give reminders about lighting and on making sure to take clear trigger pictures. I even projected a reminder information page onto my Smartboard in case parents didn't catch our links on social media for instructions.

The great thing about this part of the project, is that the augmented reality really assisted our younger visitors! When they may not have been able to read, they were still able to learn while they visited our room and report back to their teacher with interesting facts!

Here are what some of the final Chatterpix videos look like once completed and attached to Aurasma. 

Steve Jobs image from NY Post, Marie Curie image from Wikipedia