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Augment Your Teaching

Augmented reality (AR) was a huge hit with Pokémon GO. When you turned on AR mode, the camera on your mobile device would open and a 3D video of a Pokémon would be superimposed over your camera’s view of the world, which made it look like the Pokémon was right in front of you, as shown below.

Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vastateparksstaff/27972275293

But I’m not here to talk about how much I love Pokémon, I’m here to convince you AR has a place in your classroom and I will even show you how to create AR experiences for free. What do I mean by AR experiences? Imagine pointing your phone’s camera at an image of an human femur, and that image triggers a video to open on your phone, explaining how to treat femoral fractures. This is one AR experience that you can design for your own classroom that doesn’t require a lot of time or skill. There are multiple resources available to do this sort of thing but the one I would like to share is called Aurasma. Below is a video that will show you how to use Aurasma, both with the app and the website.

So why should you care about AR technology? What place does it have in the classroom? Here are a few reasons to support the use of AR technology as a teaching and learning tool:

  • AR allows students to observe and interact with processes that can’t be viewed in real life e.g. bond formation, structure deformation (Akçayır, M., Akçayır, G., Pektaş, H. M., & Ocak, M. A., 2016)
  • The increased interactivity can encourage positive attitudes and increase student motivation (Akçayır et al., 2016)
  • Text can be supplemented with images, or vice versa, allowing for multimedia learning (Akçayır et al., 2016)
  • AR technology is conducive to student-centred learning by allowing for independent exploration of concepts (Martín-Gutiérrez, J., Fabiani, P., Benesova, W., Meneses, M. D., & Mora, C. E., 2014)
  • Student understanding is increased, and the time required by students to understand the material is reduced (Rizov, T., & Rizova, E., 2015)

Although there hasn’t been very much talk about AR in the post-secondary environment, it doesn’t mean we should shy away from it. Below is a video providing examples of how Aurasma is used in a high school that hopefully will inspire practical applications in the post-secondary setting.

References

Akçayır, M., Akçayır, G., Pektaş, H. M., & Ocak, M. A. (2016). Augmented reality in science laboratories: The effects of augmented reality on university students’ laboratory skills and attitudes toward science laboratories. Computers in Human Behavior, 57, 334-342.

Martín-Gutiérrez, J., Fabiani, P., Benesova, W., Meneses, M. D., & Mora, C. E. (2015). Augmented reality to promote collaborative and autonomous learning in higher education. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 752-761. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.093

Rizov, T., & Rizova, E. (2015). Augmented reality as a teaching tool in higher education. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering, and Education, 3(1), 7-16.

What is H5P and How to Use it?

While on a quest to find a tool that would allow me to embed questions and polls and other interactive content in a YouTube video, I stumbled across something called H5P. In technical terms, H5P is a plug-in for the blogging platform WordPress. In other words, if you have a WordPress blog on ucalgaryblogs.ca, you can use H5P to integrate interactive content (like quizzes, surveys, flash cards, and more) into your blog posts. Here, I introduce to you some pros and cons of using this tool, and offer some examples of how it can be applied in the classroom.

Pros

  • Tutorials and examples are available on the H5P website
  • With a ucalgaryblogs.ca website, this tool can be used by anyone, including students
  • This tool makes content interactive and interesting, which is great for course material and study guides

Cons

  • It’s certainly not intuitive to use (but at least the tutorials are at your disposal)
  • The responses from the quizzes can’t be recorded or linked to D2L so don’t expect this to replace your current assessment methods

So how can you integrate this technology into your own classroom?

Content Sharing

Create a set of questions focusing on new content, which students are required to complete before coming to class. This exercise requires students to draw upon their pre-existing knowledge to try and answer the questions, encouraging critical thinking. Additionally, students know what to expect when they come to class, which can lead to a conversation rather than a lecture.

Some H5P content that you can use for this activity: Multiple Choice, True /False Question, Fill in the Blanks, Drag the Words.

Studying

Encourage your students to create their own blogs with ucalgaryblogs.ca and use H5P to create study material. With the entire class making their blogs public, students can feed off each other’s knowledge when studying for examinations.

Some H5P content that students can use to make study material: Summary, Guess the Answer, Dialogue Cards.

Hello.. I am, NETWORKING!!!

Last summer I was literally forced to accompany my baby cousins to a park because lets accept the fact, “Kids nowadays emotionally torture you to an extent that you give in.” Moreover they are cute!!!! So coming back to the part where I was sitting and helplessly staring at them, I noticed a very strange thing. One kid was very “popular” and “cool” according to others because he knew everyone in the park. He was jumping like a teeny tiny kangaroo from one group of kids to other groups, playing all sorts of games and having the most fun. Later that evening I couldn’t help but think about the incident. It reminded me of a very important yet simple thing, “Your network is your Net worth.” Now the important question here is, “How to Network the right way?”

We are so busy in our work and lives that we tend to forget the basic rule of living, “Dependence”. We all are dependent on each other for healthy relationships whether they are Personal or Professional. Our network defines us. We need to invest into our relationships. There is a reason why Multinational Companies spend so much on Social Gatherings or monthly/yearly employee meetings and Why Employee referrals are given so much weightage. Also, Why people with better networking skills are more successful. It all makes sense now. So I decided to share a few tips and tricks that helped me to network my way in.

 

BUILD A CONNECTION:

Honestly, one year ago, I was at a stage in my life where I had no connections. I was new to this country and I knew no one at the University. I did not know where to start. I had no idea whatsoever that how to make connections and how to talk to Professionals without awkward pauses and awkward conversations. I thought, “Networking was a necessary evil and I had to build a network” similar to the fact that “I have to eat Broccoli because it’s healthy” (PS I am not kidding here…I hate Broccoli!!!). But my whole approach was wrong. So I changed this perception and with the help of few online videos and articles, I started understanding the concept of Networking. The secret to networking isn’t to attend a networking event and pass out as many business cards as you can. It’s not how many people you know, it is how much you have transformed yourself into a better person. It is what you are sharing with other people and how much you are enjoying the process. If you really want to learn Networking, try to make authentic connections.

 

DON’T HOLD BACK:

We all have our own difficulties and fears. I understand that some people have a fear of talking to other people. It is completely normal. We all have been there. Nobody was a born speaker. We all learn and in the process, we overcome our fears. We can help ourselves. As students, we have plenty of opportunities to go out and meet new people. We must attend seminars and workshops that are specially designed for this purpose. There are ‘Networking 101’ sessions that are hosted by Career Services at the University where you can meet the prospective employers or Professional people and grow your network. Participate in Volunteer programs. You will be surprised to see how many new people you come across. You can always talk to your peers, seniors, Teaching Assistants and Professors.

 

FOCUS ON THE RIGHT PEOPLE:

Sometimes two people fail to connect because of the difference of opinions and interests. Similar is the case when it comes to Networking. You need to figure out your goals and passions and then try to connect to people with similar goals and passions. Thus, in the beginning stage of Networking, if there comes an instance where you feel out of place, don’t loose heart. It might be the case of a “false positive” where you were trying to connect to someone completely different and you failed. It is normal too. It’s not meeting as many people as possible and hoping something will work out. Instead, you need to concentrate on the people who you know will be able to make a difference in your career.

 

USE SOCIAL PLATFORMS:

There are many different social platforms where we can meet different people. Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc can help us meet our prospective connections. There are more specific platforms as well. For example, if you are interested in coding then StackOverflow, Quora, CodeRanch, Google Groups etc. can really be helpful in building your own network. Social networking demands that you share, like, comment and respond to what you read, watch and hear. The two-way process of sharing, liking, responding and commenting means you can build up a dialogue with your followers and respond to their needs. In order to maximize your presence, you have to keep your profile up to date, share relevant information, post comments and intervene in debates. This doesn’t need to take up a lot of time. Even 5-10 minutes a day should help.

 

ALWAYS RECONNECT:

Despite our best intentions, projects at work and family at home sometimes put our networking activities on the back burner. There are many reasons why we may lose contact with someone. They move away, we change jobs, one of us stops the hobby or common interest that brought us together. But it is very important to stay in contact or revive a lapsed connection. One of the easiest ways to reconnect is via email. You should always follow up with your friends, co-workers or people you have met at some Networking event. It is nice to read emails that say, “It was nice meeting you and how much you are acknowledged.” Instead of beating yourself up and following the rules of Professional emailing, give yourself permission to be human and try to add a personal touch to your message. Don’t assume that the person won’t want to hear from you. If you need a recommendation or would like an introduction, say so. Chances are your contact knows that there is some reason that you’ve reached out to them. They are waiting to hear it and are probably willing to help. 

 

GET IT TOGETHER:

A network has become a crucial part of our Personal and Professional Lives. We need to start building our network and try to work together in a collaborative team environment. It is healthy to build symbiotic relationships where we can grow together. The best relationships are born from mutual benefit and that goes double for professionals who are building new networks from scratch.

So, here I am trying to expand my network. Hello, my name is Suchina Parihar. I am a Learning tools coach at Schulich School of Engineering. My Professional interests are D2L, TopHat, Active learning techniques etc. My personal interests include dancing, solving puzzles, blogging, gymming and cooking. Let’s get acquainted. It would be my pleasure to get to know you.

 

Useful softwares to record your educational videos

Here is a list of some useful softwares that help you creating an exciting video for your class.
1- Camtasia (Video editor, screnn recording, effects)

https://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-camtasia-9-3-record-edit-share.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1s5GWW4vlI 

2- Snagit (Screen recording)

https://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-snagit-13-quickly-capture-your-screen.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ElBZZcMoA

3- Powtoon (quick animated videos)

https://www.powtoon.com/tutorials/

 

4-Articulate storyline (Interactive videos, quizzes, adaptable with D2L and SCORM)

https://articulate.com/360/storyline

 

Nedal Marei