STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Stuff this week - Augmented Reality in the Classroom

I was excited to read in the news this week that Canberra Grammar is the first school in the world to trial Augmented Reality in the classroom using Microsoft Hololens. Its great to see Australia leading the world in using edtech to enhance and redefine the learning process.
In case you don't know the difference, augmented reality is where computer generated images are overlaid on the real world. This differs from virtual reality when the user is completely immersed in the computer generated world. Personally I believe that augmented reality will find a greater use in the classroom.
This is not to say that virtual reality is a non-starter. Google has recently made their Google Expeditions application available to all. With hundreds of places to explore if you have a phone, a tablet and a cheap headmount for the phone (like the sub-$20 Google Cardboard) then you are good to go. My girls have been on many an expedition around the world and the solar system! The problem for schools is the cost of entry is high as they will likely need to purchase 20+ phones.
This is not the same with augmented reality. Whilst Canberra Grammar is trialing Microsoft Hololens which starts at $4300 you can also get some great outcomes with tablet based apps. Schools typically already have iPads so they can jump straight in with some awesome free software. In my schools after-school STEM club we have used 4D elements which takes paper cubes with one of the periodic elements printed on each face and changes that into a transparent cube with the element inside when viewed through the app.The company also make another app called 4D anatomy. Another app aimed specifically at younger children is Chromville which has a series of science based experiences amongst others. Lastly, Aurasma is an app that allows you to make your own augmented reality experiences for the classroom.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are not new ways to teach per se. What they do is provide an extremely engaging way of introducing lessons or topics. It allows for the redefinition of the way a lesson is delivered which is exactly what edtech should be doing (rather than just being another way to do the same thing). It also encourages communication (one of the 4 Cs) as the students are immersed in and then discuss this amazing blend of the real and computer generated worlds.
What innovative things is your school doing in the classroom with edtech? If they aren't using augmented reality then show them how easy it is to get started!

Stuff in the news

Australian students being taught via hologram - Australian students are being taught via hologram in a revolutionary world first that is being trialled at a Canberra school.An article from 3 May 2017
Making the Grade: State’s first STEAM-certified school energizes kids - In the USA many states have a STEM or STEAM certification programs for schools. This article discusses the positive benefits fpr all learning by taking this approach. An article from 25 April 2017

Stuff to buy

DFRobot's BOSON Kit: Powerful Building Blocks For LEGO STEM - This is being funded through Kickstarter. So if Littlebits are too expensive and you missed out on the Makeblock Neuron then this might be a good option. 
iMicroscope R - Bring a Microscope with Your Phone - Another Kickstarter campaign. A nice handy microscopic tool - Solid, easy lens switching with dedicated APP, perfect for either education or professional applications. 
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

STEM in the Primary Classroom: 4 Ways Educators are Acclimating to STEM Education - An article discussing how teachers can move to incorporate more STEM activities in their classroom. 8 January 2015

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - For grades 5+.The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge will ask participants to develop games in response to a central theme or idea. Registration open 1 May and submissions close 25 August.
Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
CSIRO CREST Program - CREativity in Science and Technology. Engage your students with open-ended science investigations and technology projects through the CREST program.
Edutech 2017 - EduTECH is the LARGEST education event in Asia-Pac and the Southern Hemisphere. 7-9 June 2017 in Sydney.
National Science Week - Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology and thousands of individuals – from students, to scientists to chefs and musicians – get involved, taking part in more than 1000 science events across the nation. 12 - 20 August 2017
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club
Code Club Australia - A network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

STEAM EXPO – A Festival of Education for the Future. This event is being held on the 21st May from 9.30am – 5pm. Entry is FREE. 14 different workshops $25-$50 each. Bulimba State School.
Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
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Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
STEAMPUNX - Not to be confused with the organisation above! Offers in-school and out of school workshop programs
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane
It's Rocket Science School Incursions - Educational and fully interactive project based rocket science incursions for primary and secondary schools in a safe and empowering learning environment.

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