The Power of Connection
This week we welcomed former Greenwood Elementary students back home. Several graduating Seniors walked the hallways they once traversed as K-5 students.
Music played over the P.A. system to celebrate returning Alumni. After the “walk” the Seniors took time to reconnect with former teachers and even shared some inspiring advice with our 5th graders. Seeing the power of “connection” is hard to put into words.
This short (2 minute) video captured a few of the hugs, high-fives, and connections that were made. Click HERE to view the video.
We’ll also be embedding this video into our K-5 students’ yearbooks using augmented reality (AR) technology. To view the video using AR follow these three quick steps:
- Download the Aurasma app
- Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel
- Point the Aurasma viewfinder at the cover of the yearbook and watch the magic begin.
In addition to the “Welcome Home” video, we will also include several other fun surprise videos throughout the yearbook that are accessible using augmented reality and the directions above. Enjoy the memories and stay connected!
“Once a Grizzly…Always a Grizzly.”
Image Credits for Video:
Thanks to Adam Hinnenkamp for the drone footage of Seniors as they arrived!
Special thanks to Greenwood Elementary and Wayzata District staff for sharing photos to the #GWgreats Twitter hashtag and shared folder in Google Drive.
Talking Business Cards
Each year I share a principal baseball card with families prior to school starting. It’s a great way to make an initial connection and help students see who their principal is prior to school starting; call it an initial investment in the relationship.
The cards typically portray me participating in a hobby I enjoy. Past cards have featured reading, football, soccer, writing, technology, basketball, and more. (When one of our students was ‘Principal for a Day’ we created principal baseball cards for her sitting at my desk.) The back of my card always shares some ‘stats’ too (i.e. favorite book and school lunch). However, if you read the back of the cards carefully you’ll notice a fun surprise.
The back of the card includes directions for accessing bonus video content powered by augmented reality technology. Augmented reality is simply supplemental digital content that is overlaid directly on top of the business card. This is comparable to watching an NFL football game on television and being able to see the digital first down lines and video replays on the television set. Those who are in attendance at the football game do not see the digital first down lines or video highlights on the actual football field, but technology allows users at home to enjoy an enhanced viewing experience.
Sometimes the bonus video I embed in the business cards via augmented reality includes a special message to students and other times it incorporates humor or special effects. One year I ended my video greeting on the baseball cards by telling students, “All we need for this to be a great school year is YOU!” I had parents of kindergarten students approaching me sharing that their children were super excited to come to school, in part, because “The principal said he needs me.” It was so cool!
Well…we still need our fantastic kids to make our school the special place that it is. However, this year I’m highlighting some of the amazing work of staff as well as pedagogy in the augmented reality videos. To access the bonus video content you need a tablet or smartphone and an augmented reality app. Simply download the Daqri app and scan the photo on the baseball card in the Daqri app’s viewfinder.
**Occasionally educators will inquire about how the cards are created. This year I designed the cards in MS Publisher and sent the file to a local printing press for production. The cards are printed on cheap cardboard (just like real baseball cards) and I’ll pass them out to families at Open House.
Voxer + Augmented Reality = #Mind-Blown
I belong to a collaborative group of educators that connect on a daily basis using a mobile app called Voxer. The app allows us to converse about important educational issues, and to network as professionals. One of the powerful features of Voxer is that it allows users to share their voices (and not just 140 characters of text). We recently created T-Shirts for our group…but the fun did not stop there.
We published a collaborative video using TouchCast and linked the video to graphics on the T-Shirt using two augmented reality apps. The image below is a trigger that can be activated using the Daqri app. After you download Daqri, point your viewfinder at the state map and an interactive experience will launch! Download Daqri and see what the MN Educators are up to…we dare you!
We also used the Aurasma app to create an additional augmented reality experience. Download Aurasma and “follow” the Greenwood Elementary channel. This will allow you to interact with the T-Shirt’s main logo below. Be sure you are following our channel in order to view a video featuring more than ten teachers and principals across the Midwest.
By combining Voxer and augmented reality we were able to feature several of our group’s team-members in the video powered by TouchCast. Now that is some MAJOR app smashing!! If you happen to meet a member of the MN Educator’s Voxer group at a local conference be sure to say hi…and don’t forget to test out the augmented reality on the shirt’s logo.
**Special thanks to Brad Waid (aka @TechBradWaid on Twitter) for support creating the Daqri experience.
**Huge shout-out to Aaron Schmidt (aka @Schmiaah on Twitter) for designing the T-Shirt logo.
Traditional Yearbooks Meet the Digital Age
Walking the hallways at Greenwood Elementary I often say, “It’s an amazing time to be a student.” Meaningful opportunities to connect and create using new mediums abound. Students can use digital tools to take their learning to new levels. This year they can do the same with their yearbooks!
Our yearbooks are loaded with Augmented Reality (AR) pictures, videos, and snippets of school concert footage. (If you’re unfamiliar with AR, it’s very similar to the yellow first-down lines that are displayed on television during NFL games; the supplemental digital content adds to the viewing experience!)
Students that ordered yearbooks will receive them this week. In addition to the traditional fun of exchanging autographs, kids can experience some supplemental digital content by following the directions below.
1. Download the Aurasma App on an iPad or SmartPhone.
2. Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel in the Aurasma App. (This step is important.)
3. Aim your iPad or SmartPhone’s Aurasma viewfinder at the yearbook to begin hunting for the bonus photos and videos.
There are 30+ Augmented Reality photos/videos embedded in your child’s yearbook. Some of the AR photo links may be sensitive to ink smudging, so avoid excessive scribbling to preserve the functionality of embedded videos.
Yearbook ScavengAR Hunt:
- Can you find the Principal’s video greeting on page 1?
- Find the 5th grade musical, Annie, and you’ll get footage from the show via the Aurasma app.
- Locate our Head Custodian, Jesse Husby, and watch the picture of him in -45 degree windchill transform. Brrrr!!
- Search for Police Chief Mike Goldstein to hear a special message to our students about DARE.
- Find our Character Trait posters to see student-created character education videos. (Special thanks to Mr. Uselding!)
- Look for the surprise engagement photo with one of our teachers.
- Check-out the Home Base & Bright Start preschool video highlights.
- If you search long enough you’ll even find hidden Field Trip footage from a winter trip some students took.
- Each 5th grade classroom has a virtual tour linked to their class so our “graduates” will always remember their elementary years!
- Every grade-level has at least one AR surprise to find on their grade-level yearbook page…good luck!
Special thanks to our PTA yearbook chairperson, Kari, for the countless hours she invested into the yearbook this year. Kari and her team compiled some really great pictures that will help us all remember what a fantastic year this was. She was extremely collaborative and worked to make it possible to add AR surprise content to the yearbook. (If you lose this blog post she included directions for downloading the Aurasma App to the fist page of our yearbook.) A big thanks to Kari and the entire PTA team…we are so thankful for your support!
A Surprising Twist on an Educational Staple
Students love field trips. They love the change of pace as well as the chance to visit places they might not otherwise get to see in person.
Educators love providing students enriching experiences, and we’re also cautious to purposefully plan the excursions so there are no surprises. However, there is one surprise that will have everyone on a field trip engaged and talking about the curriculum…
I recently went on a “date night” to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (The museum is also a place our school has taken our 5th graders in the past.) The date started out great…and things really got exciting when I began listening to another principal as we brainstormed all the ways Augmented Reality could be used on future field trips with students. By-the-way, Augmented Reality is a technology used to add supplemental digital layers of content to virtually anything.
The view from the observation deck at the top of an old grain elevator was breath-taking…I felt as if I could reach out and grab the Gold Medal Flour sign that towered above the boulevard. As we took in the rich history of the museum, I began recording video greetings with information and questions for students. I even integrated some of my own childhood memories into the recorded messages as they pertained to the exhibits. After I got home I linked the video messages to photographs I took at the museum using the Aurasma app.
The next time our students go to the Mill City Museum for a field trip they can experience a surprise from their principal! I’m even more excited to see the types of Augmented Reality content or scavenger hunts that our students could create on a field trip! With the technology and support we’re providing them they could document their learning in new and innovative ways.
How have you used educational technology to meaningfully enhance the student learning experience? I’d love to hear your comments!
The photographs I took above now serve as AR triggers.
Use the Aurasma app and follow the Greenwood Elementary channel to view.
Double-click each photo to enlarge it; then let Aurasma do the rest!
Reflective Practitioners: Phases of AR in Education
Last evening I was engaged in a collaborative discussion on Twitter with two connected educators; Brad Waid and Kristen Eveland. We were discussing the possible phases of Augmented Reality (AR) in Education. The diagram above represents many of the ideas we brainstormed, and if you click on the image you’ll see a more complete PDF with one possible application of AR.
It’s important to point out that the phases are not intended to represent a hierarchy, and as such the “Awareness” level seemingly encompasses all of the phases. There is certainly a comingling between different phases; certain Augmented Reality apps are inherently more equipped to allow for “Creation” than others. However, I strongly feel that innovation is possible with most of the AR apps available to educators today.
What I valued most about our dialogue wasn’t the topic (although I LOVE the possibilities that AR presents). I appreciated the deeper reflection and questions that our exchange generated. Late in the evening on a Saturday night we were brainstorming the hows & whys of a game-changing tool. It was also clear that the comments that Brad and Kristen shared were in support of creating an engaging student learning experience.
Connecting with fellow educational leaders to reflect on our practice and discuss the purpose of what we are doing for our students is one of the many things I value in my Professional Learning Network (PLN). A special thanks to @TechBradWaid & @KEveland2 for their sharing.
What are your thoughts on the phases of AR in Education? What did we miss?
THANKFUL for my PLN: EduBlog Award Nominations
BEST GROUP BLOG
Brad Waid and Drew Minock join forces to collaborate, connect and inspire educators across the country. Their blog is filled with quality resources to support meaningful technology integration in the classroom. The dynamic duo also host a weekly podcast called The Two Guys Show. I had the pleasure of experiencing their engaging energy during the live broadcast of Episode #11. These guys not only walk the talk, but they empower others to join them in making a 21st century difference for kids!
You can follow them on Twitter at:
BEST TEACHER BLOG
Nesloney’s Adventures: Thoughts from an Elementary Teacher
Todd Nesloney is a 5th grade teacher in Texas. His blog offers genuine insight into his journey as a teacher and connected educator. He wears his heart on his sleeve and possesses a passion for learning that oozes out of the words in his blog posts. Todd was gracious enough to create a custom author’s greeting for our school that we linked to his inspiring book, Spruce and Lucy, using Augmented Reality and he’s also a contributor to the #WorldBookTalk project on Twitter.
You can follow him on Twitter at:
BEST ADMINISTRATOR BLOG
Jimmy Casas is a transformational school leader in every sense of the word. He’s a high school principal in Iowa that approaches his work and writing in a very purposeful way. I love Jimmy’s relational approach and have taken many of his blog posts to heart. His blogs have inspired me to take action and continue to enhance my learning. Knowing Jimmy and reading his blog has made me a better leader.
You can follow him on Twitter at:
BEST INDIVIDUAL TWEETER
Rafranz Davis is one of the most collaborative professionals I’ve had the pleasure of learning from on Twitter. Her Tweets are a “cornucopia of tech-goodness.” I’ve named her my unofficial WordPress blog mentor and appreciate her perspective and sharing. Without her support and encouragement I’m not sure that you’d be reading this blog post today.
You can follow her on Twitter at:
BEST EDUCATIONAL USE OF AUDIO / VIDEO / VISUAL / PODCAST
Curt Rees is a principal in Wisconsin and technology “triple threat.” Some of the most engaging educational technologies that I’m learning about have been shared from Curt. Whether he’s rapping with Smule’s Auto Rap or creating student podcasts using the TouchCast app….it’s bound to be worthy of a “mic drop.” When Curt is not dominating the recess kickball field he’s busy co-hosting the Techlandia Podcast.
You can follow him on Twitter at:
BEST EDUCATIONAL USE OF SOCIAL NETWORK
Tony Sinanis is the lead learner at Cantiague Elementary in New York. He’s also one of the most fun and student-centric principals I’ve ever hung out with (virtually). His weekly school podcast segments truly amplify student voice! I was so inspired by some of the communication tools he’s using to enhance the student learning experience that I connected with Tony and another connected administrator in New Jersey to create a cross-state student podcast project we affectionately refer to as 3 Leaders Making Videos. Having Tony in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) has turned up the “fun factor” at school while connecting our students to other schools across the country!
You can follow him on Twitter at:
BEST MOBILE APP
Aurasma is an Augmented Reality app that allows students to create their own supplemental virtual content and attach it to any trigger image. It is one of the most engaging new educational technologies I’ve seen in my career, and it offers limitless possibilities. Our school is using Aurasma to celebrate student creativity by embedding art talk videos into a student gallery. We also used Aurasma to create the World Book Talk project. Click HERE to see some other ways we are leveraging Aurasma to engage students in their learning! Needless to say…with Aurasma the future of education is full of limitless possibilities!
You can follow the company on Twitter at:
Greenwood Elementary is filled with talented professionals committed to the success of each and every child. Connecting with students and staff on a daily basis is one of the priceless privileges I have as principal.
Lately, I’ve also had the opportunity to share some of the things our school is doing to engage students via Twitter. It’s difficult to explain the magic our teachers bring to their classrooms in under 140 characters, so some of the collaboration has spilled over into video-conferencing and direct messaging. (Twitter has been invaluable to my own professional development and getting connected was one of the best moves of my career as a leader/learner.)
I recently had the opportunity to visit with two game-changing educators, Drew Minock and Brad Waid, from Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan. We met on a popular podcast they host called the “2 Guys Show.” They also have a website www.twoguysandsomeipads.com
Click on the photo above to view a recording of the live show. We had a blast discussing meaningful technology integration, Augmented Reality (AR) and making a difference for kids! A memorable moment from the show for me was the “AR Ambush” that occurred. You won’t believe how cool Brad Waid was under pressure and how he reacted to the Augmented Reality surprise!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the entire team at Greenwood Elementary for the passion they bring to our shared journey together, as well as the countless others that enrich my Professional Learning Network (PLN).
You can follow Brad and Drew on Twitter at:
Augmented Reality in Education: The Video
Our school is innovating to enhance the student learning experience. Click on the photo above to see how!
We’re utilizing Augmented Reality (AR) to connect at a deeper level with stakeholders while relying upon meaningful technology integration to promote 21st century skills. AR in education is about possibilities and relationships.
In case you were wondering, AR is defined as a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input like sound, video or graphics (Wikipedia.org, 2013). We are seeing more and more value in this cutting-edge educational tool.
We’re connecting with parents and school systems across the country in unprecedented ways. My vision is to engage each and every student in a personalized 21st century educational experience marked by high levels of learning, creativity, positive character development and unceasing opportunities to collaborate in a technology-rich environment.
AR is one way we’re connecting with students. The technology itself is astoundingly immersive and we are seeing that first-hand. Share your AR story and questions by leaving a comment.