From the moment I pulled out Google Cardboard, she was hooked. Immediately afterwards, she was buying one for her grand kids. My two TAs caught sight of us playing around and immediately wanted to know what we were doing.
My favorite moment so far with the device was watching my TAs play with it. They were incredibly engaged with it and wanted to learn more about it. One of them hopped onto Amazon to buy one.
The implications for this technology are awesome. Google Expeditions is quickly making its way across the country with Google Cardboard to immerse students in virtual field trips. I look forward to the day Google releases more content, but in the meantime, I definitely signed us up to beta test it!
However, in order for teachers to see this as more than just a fun little gadget, they need to see how it can be used in the classroom.
Some of the more interesting ideas I have found have involved students viewing a VR story on New York Times VR or Vrse and writing a response to the piece they watched. It brings so much more than just watching a video on your Smart Board. It puts you there, practically experiencing it.
As I explore it more and as it evolves, I'll come up with more exciting uses for it in the Classroom, and it could become a great grant application to get a bunch of viewers the library can check out to classes.
In the meantime, I found THIS wonderful Symbaloo I'll be exploring. How much do I love my job today?!
I look forward to the possibilities VR brings to education and the world in general!
One of my favorite times of the year is when we do book talks at the beginning of each quarter. I love pulling together books new and old to get kids into reading. Nothing feels better than talking about a bunch of a books with students and then seeing all those books fly off the shelf! Part of why I love my job so much!
But how do you keep track of it all? How do you organize your book talks? I developed a system a few years ago that has been very successful for me to remember all of the books I usually like to "book talk" and make switching from one class to another a snap!
When I asked my other district librarians about how exactly they put together book talks, someo f them responsed that they just grab some off the shelves and put a book trailer up. Others had a recipe box they kept 3X5 cards in to keep track of the plots and anything intresting about the books. I keep a virtual file cabinet. . . .
The tool I use is Prezi. It's actually a pretty simple template. Take a look at the Prezi Presentation below. This is the kind of presentation I would typically do for a book talk.
You can see that I usually have 4 books that I talk about. When I present the Prezi, we zoom in to each of these books covers. Each book has a plot summary along with it to help refresh my memory when talking about that book. Usually one of the books (typically the first one I talk about) has a coordinating book or movie trailer that goes along with it.
Take a look now when I zoom out in editing mode.
All of the books I ever talk about in a book talk are built into this Prezi. They are just beyond the area that is in the path of the Prezi! It's like a virtual file cabinet. All of these books already have plots written out, a cover of the book, and a book trailer hidden in it somewhere if I wanted to use a book trailer.
Therefore, if I were to do this book talk and then had a new class coming in, here are the four simple steps I follow. . . .
#1: Move the books I just talked about into the "virtual file cabinet."
#2: Move the books I want to talk about with the next class out of the "virtual file cabinet" and into the picture.
#3: Edit the path of the Prezi so now we zoom between the books that are in the picture. Adding in any You Tube videos into the path if I wish.
#4: Exit out and let it automatically save.
I do have one area in this Prezi at the end where I have all the titles I talked about. I update that as well for the new books talks.
This has worked very well for me to quickly switch gears between classes and talk about new books with every class.
What to do?
There's a book talk scheduled on Friday, but on Thursday I'm sitting here with a very sick 7 month old baby in my arms.
This is the dilemma I had in front of me yesterday. I knew my little girl could not go to daycare as she was, but I had a teacher who loves my book talks scheduled for the next day. She had booked in a good solid month in advance and was looking forward to it.
So I did the only thing I could do.
I pulled out my iPad and taped a book talk right there in my own home office and library. It even had a special guest appearance from my daughter, who picked out a book for everyone!
I could have just taped a 10 minute video this way, but I used a variety of technology to make this happen.
First, I recorded the videos with my iPad. My laptop didn't have a great quality camera, and while my Samsung Galaxy S6 has an amazing camera, I was running out of storage space on it. So the iPad it was!
I recorded each part of the book talk seperately.
* Book 1
* Book 2
* Book 3
* Book 4
Once the videos were recorded on my iPad, I uploaded them to my Google Drive via my Google Drive app on my iPad.
Once the videos were uploaded, I use WeVideo as an editor for this video.
I heart WeVideo. It's my favorite editor by far for students. There are just so many things to love about it. From the fact that everything is cloud based to it's easy interface, it makes a video project so much easier!
We have 50 "seats" in WeVideo available for student use int he library and next year we will have 150! Very excited about that.
WeVideo has Google Drive integration, so from WeVideo, I pulled all of the videos into the program from my Google Drive. Then I edited it pretty simply together using titles and pictures to make it look a little more sleek and professional. I think they help the students to remember the books I talked about!
I was also able to pull in a trailer to an upcoming movie into my virtual book talk as well. Overall, it went over very well. The whole process didn't take me too long to put together. Since I've done it before, I had it down pretty well what I wanted it all to look like.
Hopefully I won't have to do too may of these in the future! But it worked perfectly for a time where I couldn't be there. The teacher was extremely happy!
So the Art teacher is not necessarily the teacher you wouldn't expect to use a lot of technology. However, the art teacher and I have been pairing up a lot these past few months to create some really wonderful and incredibly projects.
We're especially excited about our virtual field trip project we have created! Here's the idea. . . . .
Her Art 2 students do a composition project where they found a piece of art they thought was interesting, zoomed into a smaller portion of that painting, and created a larger version of that work. She claimed her students absolutely hated doing this project because they didn't like copying other artists' work. Therefore, she came to me with an idea.
She had wanted to use a virtual walk-through of a museum she had seen in the past, but she wasn't sure exactly how to do it. Confused, she asked me if there was any ideas I had on how to use that walk through with her composition projects.
I brought Google Art Project to her attention. Google Art Project is part of a larger part of Google called Google Cultural Institute. I wrote a blog post about Google Cultural Institute in the past. You can read it HERE. I focused most of my blog post on the Art Project as the art teach and I were developing the project.
In a nutshell, Google Art Project walked through a variety of museums using their Street View technology to let anyone (students) virtually walk through a museum. They also have certain pictures you can zoom into extremely high definition. Perfect for this project!
The art teacher and I went through the list of museums and picked 15 that would be interesting for this project. The question then was. . . . .how do we seamlessly bring students into this project.
THIS Google Slide presentation was created by me with the blessing of the art teacher. I went in an presented it to her class and each student took a picture with their smart phone of the address on the first slide. Then, when they went into the library and got on a computer, they pulled up that address and were directed to the same Google Slide presentation.
Within this presentation are all the instructions and all the links to the museum tours.
Overall, the project was extremely successful. Today, I am presenting this at our staff meeting as an excellent way in which a teacher in using Google tools in their classroom. A teacher you wouldn't expect to!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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