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Top Ten Posts of 2016 #1: 3D History: Exploring the World with Virtual Reality & Google Cardboard

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


 

There’s nothing quite like being part of several thousand social studies teachers – all hanging out together in Washington D.C at the #NCSS2016 conference. It doesn’t get much better than cardboard-womanspending four days chatting about history and best practice and tech integration and resources and geography and civics and econ while spending the evenings at the new Smithsonian African American museum, the Newseum, and the National Portrait Gallery.

And getting the chance to lead a couple of conference sessions – one of them with Kansas Council for the Social Studies president and superstar middle school teacher Kori Green? Icing on the cake.

Kori has been using the Google Expeditions app and Cardboard VR viewers with her kids this fall semester. Together we shared her experiences and a few other suggestions for classroom use. For those of you not able to make our session, I’ve posted some of the conversation and a few additional resources here for whoever might find them useful. Read more

3D History: Exploring the world with Virtual Reality & Google Cardboard

There’s nothing quite like being part of several thousand social studies teachers – all hanging out together in Washington D.C at the #NCSS2016 conference. It doesn’t get much better than spending four days chatting about history and best practice and tech integration and resources and geography and civics and econ while spending the evenings at the new Smithsonian African American museum, the Newseum, and the National Portrait Gallery.

And getting the chance to lead a couple of conference sessions – one of them with Kansas Council for the Social Studies president and superstar middle school teacher Kori Green? Icing on the cake.

Kori has been using the Google Expeditions app and Cardboard VR viewers with her kids this fall semester. Together we shared her experiences and a few other suggestions for classroom use. For those of you not able to make our session, I’ve posted some of the conversation and a few additional resources here for whoever might find them useful.

This is a short list. Have some of your own goodness to share? Post ’em in the comments.

General resources Read more

11 awesome places to visit with Google Cardboard

My current kick is virtual reality. I’m loving Google Cardboard and their new Expeditions app. And there are more and more tools showing up that take advantage of the VR buzz.

Some of the latest I’ve found are the Google Arts and Culture app and website, a very cool NPR tour of Rocky Mountain National Park, and some sweet pre-built tours at Nearpod. There will be more.

But if you’re still trying to figure out places to go and cool stuff to look at, the simple Google Street View app that goes quickly to 3D view and the basic Google Maps Street View button can take you all over the world. Seriously, Google has sent their pano cameras everywhere.

Start with these eleven very cool places: Read more

Google Cardboard, VR, and the future of social studies

I got my first Google Cardboard just a few weeks ago. And if you got your Cardboard this spring or summer and have already been using it, seriously. No heads up on how cool this is? Cause it really is a lot of fun to play with.

Google Cardboard was released last year but iOS / iPhone apps for it have been slow in coming. So . . . being an Apple guy, I hadn’t jumped onboard yet. But I am full on Cardboard mancrushing right now. I’m sharing some Cardboard ideas at the Kansas state social studies conference in Topeka today and I figured I should share some of those resources with you.

Not exactly sure what Google Cardboard is? Read more

Best posts 2017: Tips and Tricks for using Google Expeditions

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much Chex Mix, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read seven of the most popular History Tech posts from 2017. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


I will be the first to admit that I love new and shiny gadgets quickly catch my attention. I love finding new tools and ideas that can help teachers and kids do their jobs better and more effectively. And here at ESSDACK, it’s actually part of my job. I get the chance to play with and learn about all sorts of shiny toys.

My latest gadget? Virtual and augmented reality tools. The potential for engaging students and using this sort of technology to gather, organize, and create information is pretty mind blowing. I especially love the work that Google is doing to make the tech more accessible for schools. The Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer is especially affordable and easy to use. Plus it’s designed to be used with a wide variety of third party tools. And the Google has also developed its own apps that work with their Cardboard viewer. Read more

Quick and easy way to find the perfect Google Expeditions tour

Even after a couple of years working with Google Cardboard apps and tools, I am still fascinated with the possibilities of virtual reality as part of the instruction and learning process.

And, yes, there are other VR viewers and apps out there. But the price (free) and ease of use (super duper easy) of the Cardboard viewer and associated Google VR apps makes it a quick and simple entry into integrating virtual reality into the classroom. I especially like the power of Google Expeditions.

You can catch up with a longer description of the Expeditions app here but the quick overview is that the app allows you and your students to experience virtual reality together – each on your own device.

As the Expedition Guide, you have some control of what students experience while using the app and allows you to direct the learning that happens. I also like that students can switch roles in the app, moving from Explorer to Guide. This makes Expeditions not just a consumption tool but a creation tool as well.

(Want to extend the learning? While it’s not yet possible to upload Tours to the app’s database, you can still ask students create their own “Tours” – researching a specific place or event, finding or producing their own 2D or 3D images, and writing contextual information for each of their scenes. Share their “Tours” with with a Google Sites or Doc.)

It’s a great way to create emotion as part of the learning process and build empathy.

One of the shortcomings in the app has always been actually finding just the right tour to use with your students. There is a search function and several categories that you can browse through. But as new Tours are added, these simple search features become a more cumbersome to use.

The solution? Read more