Our aspirations are being augmented

This week we completed another phase of work on the Horizon Report K-12 Edition.  A couple of things caught my eye as a result, prompted by the revisions we were doing.

I remember just three years ago how we debated, and considered ‘cloud computing’.  It was a new concept in education back in 2009, and so the Time-to-Adoption Horizon was two to three years.  Pretty accurate really!

No mention of augmented reality! No mention of quite a few things that were debated this time, some of which will make it into the 2011 report.  I think this is extraordinary really, and an indication of the pace of change.

Here are the two augmented reality tidbits that I came across – one for everyday shopping experiences, and one for education.  Keep you eye on augmented reality – it really will become a way to augment our best aspirations for making learning new, innovative, and relevant to our kids!

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the concept of superimposing virtual content (such as graphics) on top of a view of the real world as seen through a camera. AR transforms your mobile device into what has been described as a magic looking glass where you can interact with the real world. From gaming and play to interactive media/marketing to instructional how-to/aid, augmented reality opens the door for new mobile applications and services. Commoncraft provides the quick explanation which you can share with teachers.

What is Guubes? and how can they be used in education?

Guubes is an augmented reality educational  learning aid designed for Key Stage 1 children. Roleplay, numeracy and word play games provide a real engaging experience in classrooms and at home. Guubes is a scaleable augmented reality learning aid. It can be played with at home on a laptop screen with webcam, or in school using an interactive whiteboard and webcam.

Visit Guubes to learn more.

Augmented Reality for  Shopping

While this was an advertising campaign from Tissot watches,  the potential of AR to  engages consumers, test a product and make choices is tantalising. Visit AR week to learn more.  Visit here and print your own pdf to give it a go!

I do like the smiles that the Ford’s Grand C-Max inspires. Visit AR week to learn more about this and other product

What is Augmented Reality provides a comprehensive review of developments  too. Keep up-to-date with developments at Pocket Link -  AR Week produced in association with Qualcomm.

The Virtual World of Gifted Kids

Following my last past on virtual worlds and their place in the learning environment in our schools, I was pleased to learn from James Corbett about  an Irish initiative in primary schools that also provides a source of inspiration to us ‘downunder‘.

Daynuv is  an Irish social enterprise working in partnership with GiftedKids.ie in  primary schools  to bring virtual worlds into education. Not surprisingly, they are seeing some tremendous results.

At the Gaelscoil Eoghain uí Thuairisc in Carlow, Ireland where lessons are taught in Irish they are implementing the use of 3D technology for the learning support of gifted children. This is the first time that this technology has been used in Ireland to teach part of the school curriculum. The interactivity and detail of the 3D technology means that anything you can do or build in the real world can be replicated in this virtual world.   The Virtual World of Gifted Kids.

Now that their pilot program has been a success they are  planning on rolling the project out nationwide in 2011 and  will be  looking to make links with schools internationally. They use Opensim too,  which has the  advantages of the Hypergrid protocol which makes possible the option to teleport ( have  virtual field trips) between schools. Using Opensim, schools can safely collaborate with each other, and grow their virtual networks at a pace that suits their student’s own learning needs.

It’s  great to see groups and organisations helping to promote virtual worlds learning environments!

Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning

The school year is rushing to an end. Amazingly, we’re soon closing off the first decade of the new century that was going to be our hallmark of innovation and change. We promised ourselves we would put industrial models of schooling behind us.

For some this leap into new modes of learning is more than they can take on. For others it’s the natural extension of what learning has to be for our connected, mobile-enhanced learners.

I hope the next decade brings magical things for us all.

One thing we know is that we need to bring ‘out of school’ gaming and virtual worlds activities into the daily learning cyles of our students. We need to bring back the connections between school and home, and be prepared to provide environments that are authentic to the technology use of our students.

Here’s an article titled Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning which I’ve had published in the recent issue of Access, the national journal of  the Australian School Library Association.   Have a read!

Thank you to my various friends and colleagues who so willingly shared their knowledge and information about their own explorations of virtual learning environments.