Augmenting Reality in First Grade

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As we inch closer to the end of the school year, I’d like to share a particularly creative project taking place in first grade at SCH Academy.  Stephanie Moore, Karen Kolkka, and I have had an ongoing dialogue, entertaining the idea of integrating augmented reality into one of Stephanie’s first grade units.  Collectively, we developed a concept to redefine a research project focusing on Kenya.  The girls will use Explain Everything to create a screencast, demonstrating their understanding of Kenyan geography, culture, wildlife, and more. To use the videos as a presentation platform, the students will then integrate the augmented reality layer using Aurasma to share the videos with their families at the African Market Day event at the end of May.

Stephanie describes the project below:

In the spring the first grade girls study the people, landscape and wildlife of Kenya.  They compare the lifestyles of urban and rural children to their own and have a focused study of the Masai culture.  Each girl also becomes an expert on one animal that inhabits the bush.  They utilize early research skills to answer specific questions regarding their animal.  What are the babies called?  What do you call a group of the animal?  How do they defend themselves? What is the Swahili name for your animal? They also pull out interesting facts that they want to share.  There are several ways that the girls share their facts including art, presentation and digital media.  This year the girls are collaborating to create an interactive digital safari guide.  They will create an informative movie about their focus of expertise and use Aurasma to link the information to the “safari adventurer.

As a team, including the students, we’re approaching this project the same way we have with previous SAMR projects—working backward.  We begin with learning goals and objectives, then figure out how to best support and enhance the work with technology.  The lower school students are currently working with iPads, as the device’s intuitiveness, versatility, and app library provide a unique learning opportunity for each child.

The Kenya project illustrates a rapid rise to the height of the SAMR continuum—Redefinition.  Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the creator of the SAMR model suggests As one moves along the continuum, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning.  With every SAMR project developed in the lower school, a key focus is to remain true to the teacher’s learning objectives, while increasing student engagement and building a strong digital skill-set as students begin to use higher order cognitive skills.  

Still not sure what the SAMR model is? In his blog iPad 4 Schools, Richard Wells writes The SAMR journey is more about mindset than tech competence.  Take a look at this short video from EasyBib for more information on the learning framework.

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3 responses to “Augmenting Reality in First Grade

  1. Great post, Vince. I never cease to learn something new from your articles that encourages me to stretch my teaching and integration of tech tools. Keep them coming!

  2. Pingback: Follow up to “Augmenting Reality in First Grade” | Daytime·

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