Digital Learning Consultant
I had the privilege of spending a morning at a local elementary school with Learning Design Coach, Frank Slabaugh and fellow Digital Learning Consultant, Amber Bridge. We were invited in to Mrs. Bell's 2nd grade class to share a virtual field trip to United States Monuments with Google Expeditions.
mTo understand this exciting morning - I need to explain a bit about Google Expeditions. Grant Wood Area Education Agency recently purchased a Google Expeditions Kit that includes 30 cell phones, 30 view finders, a router and a teacher notepad. This is all housed in a large moveable case ready to be wheeled into classrooms across southeastern Iowa. But, that is only the hardware - the true power is the Expedition app preloaded on these phones. This app (Android and iOS friendly) offers the ability to be the guide or a follower for hundreds of expeditions, or virtual field trips. As the guide you see all - the whole panoramic image, the tour guide spots including details and bits of history and you get to take your students along with you by pausing the expedition or adding a arrow to focus their attention. So, you can share the wonder of the monuments of Washington D.C. including the top of the Washington Monument or swim among exotic fish around the world. You can also turn them loose and allow the students to explore around the exhibit on their own.
That all sounds rather academic - after all what is so exciting about a virtual field trip? We can see a movie of Washington DC or Mount Rushmore any time on the internet anytime. But, that is not how it felt in Mrs. Bell's classroom this crisp, fall morning. Instead, the students were VERY excited and completely engaged! Their expeditions began with Mr. Slabaugh setting a few ground rules for the experience, as any good tour guide would. And then, as they picked up their viewmasters - the 'magic' happened. Not only did the world appear on their screens, but they could interact with it. As their heads moved up and down and they twisted and turned in their seats, their views changed as if they were standing beside the Statue of Liberty and taking in all of her glory. They were really peering out of those tiny windows at the top of the Washington Monument or wandering around the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the other tourists. Google Expeditions took them to the actual site and offered them the opportunity to experience a completely different view of their world.
Take a moment to see the excitement and hear first hand from 2nd graders and check out this video. Then contact your Digital Learning Consultant to schedule a Google Expedition in your school district!
Beth Swantz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Learning Consultant
Since it’s release in late 2014, Osmo has proved to be an engaging way to interact with an iPad in a whole new way. If you don't know, Osmo is an accessory for the iPad that connects physical objects around us to the learning environment created within the Osmo Apps, creating a whole new platform for interaction.
In the two years since it’s release, they have done a lot of great updates and extended into new products and apps, so my question to you is How Well Do You Know Osmo?
How many of the questions below can you answer?
How many apps work with your Osmo?
Words, Tangram, and Newton were the first three apps that Osmo released. They have added to the app family with Masterpiece, a drawing app, and Numbers, their math app that covers skills of counting, adding, and multiplying. They came out with two new releases this summer including Osmo Coding, a stem-based app that has students determine a path for Awbie to help him navigate the forest and collect strawberries. The Coding Set includes interchangeable buttons to help write custom code that interacts with the character on the screen. As with computer coding, there is not one correct coding path and allows the users to learn about different code blocks along the journey. And last, but not least, Osmo Monster which takes a completely different turn than the other apps, as part of their creativity suite of apps (Monster, Masterpiece, Newton). Kids interact with Mo, who asks questions and has students draw objects that get pulled into the app by Mo. The animation really starts to blur the line between physical and virtual world, which creates a customized experience for each student.
Altogether, there are now 7 apps that work with your Osmo!
Can you customize any of the apps?
There is more to the Words app than meets the eye. If you have your Osmo set-up and using the Words app as is, you are missing out on an important component of helping to customize the experience for your students. I would encourage you to go to https://my.playosmo.com/ and set up your free account. In the Play Osmo account, you can create customized word lists based off of your curriculum that you can download onto your iPad to make it relevant to what your students are doing in class. Use your own pictures and scaffold the words you will connect with that picture by adding a difficulty level to the word. So, if a student is performing well in the app, they will start to get more difficult words or easier words if they are struggling.
Also, in the Masterpiece App, students can take photos of what they would like to draw. I love this idea on their blog, where students can take a picture of their mom to create a customized mother's day card. One of my favorite features of this app, is the stop motion video that is generated when a drawing is finished that it really shows the creation process of the student.
You can also create custom profiles for your students on the Osmo and review those profiles and student progress using the Play Osmo Account.
How can I find ways to fit it into my curriculum?
Osmo has created a Teacher's Guide that highlights the ins and outs of each app and includes lesson plans through 8th grade as well as some all ages curriculum. There are some fantastic ideas to help you get started.
Have you learned any tricks of the trade while using your Osmo? Let us know! We love to hear how educators are using technology in the classroom.
~Amber Bridge, @abridgesmith
Digital Learning Consultant
Grant Wood AEA
The year is in full swing and we are excited to share what we are learning and how we can support you this year! This update includes:
~Stacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning - @sbehmer +StacyBehmer
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