In the final class of the semester, we talked about coding, augmented reality, and QR codes.
QR codes are specialized barcodes that can be printed onto documents or posters. When scanned by a smartphone, provide the viewer with additional information. These can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. They can be used by students to attach additional information onto posterboards/graphics. Alternatively, they can be used by teachers to attach video or audio tutorial links to assignments or homework sheets.
Augmented reality takes QR codes to the next level. We learned about an app called HP reveal that allows teachers to create hot spots on homework sheets (or any paper) that students can scan. When these hot spots are scanned, they bring students to different web pages containing videos, pictures, or audio files that can help teach them certain concepts. Virtual reality is a different form of augmented reality. This can be useful for older students as it allows them to be immersed in different places without actually having to be there physically. There are a couple downsides to VR, one of which is that some people experience nausea when using it. Another downside is that it has been shown to have some adverse effects on some parts of the brain, which is why experts say that children under 13 should not use it and adults should limit use to 30 mins per day.
We were also given the chance to explore coding briefly. Coding was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. To be honest, I am so lost that I don’t even know how to describe it in this post. There are several games available to help kids learn how to code including Move the Turtle. Although coding isn’t specifically mentioned in the curriculum, it could be added in to address a more broad competency.
Today in EDCI 336 we had the amazing opportunity to work with Heidi James and her grade 6, 7, and 8 students today. Heidi and her students taught us how to use Minecraft in the classroom. Heidi has used Minecraft as a tool to teach science, social studies, and math. In social studies, Heidi had her class create various components of ancient civilizations. In teams, the students created entire civilizations as a final project. Heidi assessed the students on whether or not they had all necessary components in their civilization and also how well they worked as a team. She had access to all of their work and could check up on their progress along the way. In math, they used Minecraft to learn about coordinates in 3 dimensions (coordinates x, y, and z). All of the students who came to talk to us seemed passionate about Minecraft and excited about using it in the classroom. They were also confident in their abilities enough to teach us, a group of adults, how to use it. As a student, I think it would be empowering to be able to teach others, especially adults, how to do something. Minecraft also promotes collaboration in the classroom. It challenges students to problem solve in order to reach one goal.
I would love to use Minecraft Edu in my classroom one day. There are so many possibilities to incorporate Minecraft into the classroom. There are also countless opportunities for cross curricular connections. Minecraft allows students to explore and inquire about the possibilities of the world that they are in. It gives students endless opportunities to create and be leaders in their own world. I am a little intimidated about the prospect of using Minecraft in my own classroom because my knowledge is limited. There are lots of tutorials and resources for teachers available, so I would not be alone in the learning process. I also keep reminding myself that my learners will be able to help me because they will likely have a wealth of knowledge to share.