Metaverse Augmented Reality (AR) App for Learning

View at Medium.com

Recently, I have been playing with Augmented Reality (AR) in my classroom, after discovering Metaverse. Download the app and then scan my first attempt at a breakout game.

One thing that I learned is that I don’t know how to design an escape or breakout game. Thankfully, the good people at BreakoutEDU have some good design tools. If I get the time, my next iteration should be better.

Apart from creating the odd breakout game for my classes, I plan on incorporating this into a future multi-modal project for my students. Another idea is to have my students design and build AR learning experiences for other teachers, as part of their assessment.

The Medium.com Metaverse site has a whole host of ideas and uses for the app. Try some in your classroom.

Learning About Life in Medieval Times with CoSpaces and Virtual Reality

I recently worked with a year 8 history class to experiment with CoSpaces. This is an easy to use 3D environment for creating 3D scenes, animations and interactions for Virtual Reality (VR). Have a look at their YouTube Channel for more ideas.

The Plan

I posted something of a learning sequence on Padlet, in the form of a mini project, where students worked their way through a series of questions that would lead them to develop particular objects in their Medieval Town. The kinds of questions I asked were:

  • Will you need a water source?
  • Will you need a Market Square?
  • What were Medieval streets like?
  • What was the biggest and grandest building in a Medieval town?
  • What about houses in Medieval towns?
  • What about people and animals?
  • What was the structure that kept Medieval towns safe?
  • What was Farming in Medieval times like?

The Results

The results were not too bad. For me, this was really just an experiment to see how easy CoSpaces was to use. To this end, I would really encourage you to give it a go as it is probably the easiest 3D environment I know of and students picked it up quickly.

From a learning point of view, students also seemed to pick up on the knowledge associated with the questions that I asked because they straight away recalled it and applied it to their creations.

Recommendations

As with any project that requires the creation of a PRODUCT of learning, there is quite a bit of lead-in time required to learn the skills needed to produce the 3D environment. At the other end, there is also a considerable amount of time needed to manufacture or produce the end product (the VR environment, in this case). This may be too much of an investment in time for the assessment of just one standard. Therefore, I would create a project that required all parts of the inquiry process; where students need to find gather data (primary and/or secondary source), evaluate information sources, apply, analyse and design/create a solution. This is fairly standard fare for Project Based Learning (PBL).

Basic 3D Printing in Your Class

“3D Printing” by CSM Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

This guide is intended for situations where you want to value-add to your lessons or provide inspiration to students about your content or topic. If you want to use 3D printing as part of a project where students design and make something new (create), then you also need to seek out a curriculum guide for designing and developing products that solve a problem. This guide ranges from finding a suitable 3D object and printing it, to finding a nearly suitable object and making small modifications, to customize it before printing it out. Students could extend on this themselves by making something from scratch, without the guidance of a formalized design process.

Step 1 – Find your thing

There are two resources that can be employed:

  1. http://www.thingiverse.com/ – this even has a customizer
  2. http://www.yeggi.com/ – search engine for 3D Models

Whichever way you go, you can download the .STL file you need. This can be either loaded straight into a 3D printer or customized somewhere else. Much of the 3D models in thingiverse can be customized.

Step 2 – Re-mix your thing

Go no further than https://www.tinkercad.com/ . Here, students can upload the .STL file they found and modify it. It’s a good idea for them to try the basic tutorials to get a feel for the tinkercad environment. There may even be a tutorial or project that is exactly what students want to make anyway.

Step 3 – Print your thing

To do this, your students just need to have the .STL file of their thing. For WHS reasons, someone else will print out their thing. If this is a regular activity for your class, then it’s a good idea to train several print monitors or technicians and then students can see this happening in your class. Either way, you will probably need to make arrangements for the manufacturing process.

Instructional Strategies

  1. Grouping – I highly recommend that students have a ‘buddy’ to work with when learning how to use tynkercad
  2. Discovery Learning – You will probably not have many of the skills needed for 3D creation and printing. Even if you do, I’m sure there will be some rare skills that you do not have. Therefore, guide students to the thingiverse site and have them explore it together and share what they have discovered. This may mean some movement around the room. Use the stategy, “ask 3 before you ask me”. Even when a student asks you a question that you can’t answer, call out and ask the class if they have a solution. Nine times out of ten, someone will. When students go to tinkercad, direct them to complete the basics tutorials first before attempting any modifications. These can also be reviewed as a reference point later. Again, have students collaborate and help each other.

Extensions

From here, students may well want to delve deeper into 3D design or you may want to pursue Project-based Learning in another unit. Therefore, your next steps could be:

  1. https://www.makersempire.com/ – this has entire curricular K-8, but needs a subscription.
  2. https://academy.autodesk.com/ – free design, engineering, animation, and architecture courses
  3. http://www.sketchup.com/ – very easy 3D Design software that is free for Education. It is also very well supported and has an extensive 3D Warehouse.
  4. Creo –Next level up from sketchup. Moderately easy to use 3D design app that is well supported.
  5. http://www.thingmaker.com/ – look for the app
  6. http://www.thingiverse.com/education – lots of projects