#iLRN2018 Immersive Learning Research Network Conference in Montana

iLRN

We develop & support a community of educators, scholars, and practitioners dedicated toward research in & on digitally-enhanced immersive learning environments.

Global Network
You will have to check our twitter feed for individual presentations This was not a vendor driven conference but a thought driven conference with participants from all over the world with several very extensive tracks. It was small enough that you got to meet people and to have great conversations with them,
There was a pre-conference event to Flathead Lake, and to Glacier National Park.
Those of us who love ESRI were delighted to learn about the support and interest in the Flathead Lake. Do you know about the threat of Zebra Mussels.?
We learned first hand in an environmental discussion about invasive species
This is one of the tracks and a paper

Flathead Lake is a large natural lake in northwest Montana, and is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area that is west of the source of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. en.wikipedia.org

  • Location: Lake / Flathead counties, Montana, US
  • Area: 510.23 km²
  • Length: 43935.09 m
  • Width: 24944.832
  • Outflow:Flathead River
  • Inflow:Flathead River

We learned that the Montana Geographic Alliance had spent time at Flathead Lake.

Here is our hostess.

 

We reviewed the biological history of Flathead Lake.

A current concern is the Zebra Mussel. It is an invasive species in the US.

What problems can they cause?

Zebra mussels can:

  •   clog irrigation intakes and other pipes,
  •   attach to boat motors and boat hulls, reducing performance and efficiency,
  • attach to rocks, swim rafts and ladders where swimmers can cut their feet on the mussel shells,
  •  attach to and smother native mussels, and
  •  eat tiny food particles that they filter out of the water, which can reduce available food for larval fish and other animals, and cause more aquatic vegetation to grow as a result of increased water clarity. A lively discussion was of interest to all.

Then we went to Glacier National Park. We had lunch by the Lake and we chose one of

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If you go there.

Visitors to Glacier National Park will be treated to all kinds of amazing scenery, from jagged peaks to mirror lakes to wide blue skies. This scenery can be enjoyed on a drive, from a boat, during a hike, or while sitting on the porch at one of the park’s historic lodges. Because Glacier National Park preserves a convergence of different ecosystems, varying in moisture and elevation, the views are diverse and ever changing.

Glacier National Park is part of Waterton – Glacier International Peace Park, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. The World Heritage Site designation recognizes places that are considered natural or cultural treasures of the entire planet.

There are so many things to see and do in Glacier National Park, you’ll want to visit more than once. Your first visit will assuredly leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Glacier National Park.

  • 01 of 08
    Road in Many Glacier Valley

     

    •••

    The Going-to-the-Sun Road runs east-west through Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot Logan Pass. Along the way, it passes through some truly amazing scenery, from glacier-carved lakes and valleys to rocky peaks and snow-topped mountains. There are scenic turnouts, hikes, waterfalls, and views galore. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is 50 miles long, runs from the western park entrance at West Glacier to the eastern entrance at St. Mary.

    We had dinner at a place near the lake, close to Missoula and we prepared for the first day of the actual conference. This was a pre-conference trip.

    We put the Geo in the conference with https://www.esri.com/en-us/about/about-esri

     

     

 

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GIS, Geoliteracy, and ESRI..What are you waiting for?

This year the changes in climate, the storms and devastation have caused us all to take time to pay attention to weather, to where places are and to what a disaster map is in many places. You should have also learned how and why storms are tracked.

People all of a sudden were worrying and watching the weatherman or a climate mapping system for news about fires, floods, the hurricanes. ESRI provided story maps and data for all to see. Problem? Many students  in the US do not study or use resources that are available free for schools.

During the Hurricane emergencies we could use this map.  There were individual story maps that you could use during the hurricanes, to learn to read, see , big data define the hurricane.Hurricane Harvey  , Hurricane Irma, Hurricane-Irma-1054595

Hurricane Maria

http://gis.ruekert-mielke.com/2017/09/14/esri-story-map-of-hurricane-harvey/

There were also story maps of the fires.

You can learn using ESRI resources.

What is a disaster that is likely to happen in your area? What is the history of weather in your area? What actions should you be ready to take?

 

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There are lots of fabulous tools that we can use to learn about Earth Science. One of my favorite is Science on a Sphere. You can learn about it here. SOS  There are lots of locations where you can go and participate in an SOS program. There is also SOS Lite. That is a download that you can install on your computer. Here is the link. SOS Lite.

Climate Models?

What Is a Climate Model?

Global climate models (GCMs) use math – a  lot of math – to describe how the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, living thingsice, and energy from the Sunaffect each other and Earth’s climate. Thousands of climate researchers use global climate models to better understand how global changes such as increasing greenhouses gases or decreasing Arctic sea ice will affect the Earth. The models are used to look hundreds of years into the future, so that we can predict how our planet’s climate will likely change.

There are various types of climate models. Some focus on certain things that affect climate such as the atmosphere or the oceans. Models that look at few variables of the climate systemmay be simple enough to run on a personal computer. Other models take into account many factors of the atmospherebiospheregeospherehydrosphere, and cryosphere to model the entire Earth system. They take into account the interactions and feedbacks between these different parts of the planet. Earth is a complex place and so many of these models are very complex too. They include so many math calculations that they must be run on supercomputers, which can do the calculations quickly. All climate models must make some assumptions about how the Earth works, but in general, the more complex a model, the more factors it takes into account, and the fewer assumptions it makes. At the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), researchers work with complex models of the Earth’s climate system. Their Community Climate System Model is so complex that it requires about three trillion math calculations to simulate a single day on planet Earth. It can take thousands of hours for the supercomputer to run the model. The model output, typically many gigabytes large, is analyzed by researchers and compared with other model results and with observations and measurement data.

NESTA  Souce

There are currently several other complex global climate models that are used to predict future climatic change. The most robust models are compared by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) as they summarize predictions about future climate change.

There are tools that are used to predict weather and to define possibilities that are data models. There is a European Model, and a US Model which we learned from with all of the storms, and fires, in the last several months.

The European Climate Model

  • produces numerical weather forecasts and monitor the Earth-system;
  • carries out scientific and technical research to improve forecast skill;
  • maintains an archive of meteorological data.

To deliver this core mission, the Center provides:

  • twice-daily global numerical weather forecasts;
  • air quality analysis;
  • atmospheric composition monitoring;
  • climate monitoring;
  • ocean circulation analysis;
  • hydrological prediction.

They also provide advanced training to scientific staff in our Member and Co-operating States and assist the World Meteorological Organization with its programs. We make 25% of the supercomputing facilities available to Member States.

The US Climate Model is here.

https://www.climate.gov/teaching And you can look here

How reliable are computer models of the Earth’s climate?

Climate models are used to analyze past changes in the long-term averages and variations in temperature, precipitation, and other climate indicators, and to make projections of how these trends may change in the future. Today’s climate models do a good job at reproducing the broad features of the present climate and changes in climate, including the significant warming that has occurred over the last 50 years. Hence, climate models can be useful tools for measuring the changes in the factors that drive changes in climate, including heat-trapping gases, particulates from human and volcanic sources, and solar variability.

Scientists have amassed a vast body of knowledge regarding the physical world. However, unlike many areas of science, scientists who study the Earth’s climate cannot build a “control Earth” and conduct experiments on this Earth in a lab. To experiment with the Earth, scientists instead use this accumulated knowledge to build climate models, or “virtual Earths.” In studying climate change, these virtual Earths serve as an important way to integrate different kinds of knowledge of how the climate system works. These models can be used to test scientific understanding of the response of the Earth’s climate to past changes (such as the transition from the last glacial maximum to our current warm interglacial period) as well as to develop projections of future changes (such as the response of the Earth’s climate to human activities).

Climate models are based on mathematical and physical equations representing the fundamental laws of nature and the many processes that affect the Earth’s climate system. When the atmosphere, land, and ocean are divided up into small grid cells and these equations are applied to each grid cell, the models can capture the evolving patterns of atmospheric pressures, winds, temperatures, and precipitation. Over longer timeframes, these models simulate wind patterns, high and low pressure systems, and other weather characteristics that make up climate.

Some important physical processes are represented by approximate relationships because the processes are not fully understood, or they are at a scale that a model cannot directly represent. Examples include clouds, convection, and turbulent mixing of the atmosphere, for which important processes are much smaller than the resolution of current models. These approximations lead to uncertainties in model simulations of climate.

Climate models require enormous computing resources, especially to capture the geographical details of climate. Today’s most powerful supercomputers are enabling climate scientists to more thoroughly examine the effects of climate change in ways that were impossible just five years ago. Over the next decade, computer speeds are predicted to increase another 100 fold or more, permitting even more details of the climate system to be explored.

.Source

ucar_model_inputResources for schools.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids in a Network Learning Science, Geography, GIS, Computational Thinking and all of that Jazz ..it worked!!

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Many people embrace what is called STEM at this time. There was SMET before there was STEM.

There was a time when science was pushed aside and people who dared to advocate it were not in the right political space. We suffered but continued the practice of good teaching.

We had our champions, and one of them was Dr. Robert Tinker of Concord.org who got great funding for a number of revolutionary programs and projects and many of them were for K -12.

His projects were much needed to change teaching and learning .

More alphabet soup.

You may ask what is TERC?

For more than fifty years, TERC  introduced millions of students throughout the United States to the exciting and rewarding worlds of math and science learning. Led by a group of experienced, forward-thinking math and science professionals, TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities.

 

What is really important is that there was extensive broadening engagement and the vision that TERC and Robert Tinker had was an immersive imagining of a future in which learners from diverse communities engaged in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives—a future where teachers and students alike are members of vibrant communities where questioning, problem solving, and experimentation are commonplace.

This ideational scaffolding worked.

One of the projects was the NGS Kids Network , standards-based, online science curriculum that allowed students from around the world to investigate topics and share their findings.

Students explored real-world subjects by doing exactly what scientists do: conducting experiments, analyzing data, and sharing results with peers.

You will remember the climate march and the scientists march. With Bob Tinker we marched with our fingers and minds exploring real world science and the ideas are still being used and referenced.

There are pieces of this work that are still relevant. There was an extensive set of resources for teachers at each topic.

You can explore the Unit TRASH here.

You can explore the topic “What’s in Our Water?” here.

Here is the background for water. 

You can explore SOLAR ENERGY here. It has been updated.

HISTORY

A National Geographic Summer Institute was where Concord.org was introduced to me. I believe I met Dr. Tinker however, at the NSTA conference. or at the George Lucas Educational Foundation in a round table discussion.  There we learned about probes. The way we worked was revolutionary in science , and we true pioneers got some push back. We had Dr. Tinker as a resource and the information was free. The promise of the Internet for all has never happened , but if you could get on the Information Highway, well, Concord was there for you.

 

 

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If you ever taught a National Geographic Kidsnetwork Program and did it well ,you know that it changed the face of teaching and learning. Here is a research report that explains the way in which it worked.

The National Geographic Kids Network

REFERENCE: TERC. (1990). The National Geographic Kids Network: Year 4 Final Annual Report. Cambridge, MA: Author.

In conjunction with the National Geographic Society, TERC created The National Geographic Kids Network as a resource for improving elementary science and geography instruction in classrooms around the world. Since its inception in 1986, more than a quarter of a million students in over 7,500 classrooms had then used the network to collaborate on science and geography projects ranging from the study of solar energy to acid rain.( old data)

The primary goal of the National Geographic Kids Network was to promote science and discovery in elementary classrooms by combining hands-on science, geography, and computer technologies with telecommunications activities.

GIS 1The topics were the beginning of real science study for many students.


The National Geographic Kids Network includes seven 8-week curriculum units focusing on “increasing the time spent on inquiry-oriented, hands-on science instruction, strengthening science process and data analysis skills, raising public awareness of the value and feasibility of appropriate science instruction, and publishing and widely disseminating curricular materials that further these goals.” While students research, collect, analyze, and share data with their peers they also problem solve and collaborate with students at other schools. In addition, the network also features a scientist who works with students electronically to evaluate their data, make comments, and offer suggestions. The seven 8-week units include:

  • Hello!  This was a special introductory unit that let us learn how to use project based learning and collaborate with other classes.
  • Solar Energy
  • Acid Rain
  • What Are We Eating?
  • What’s in Our Water?
  • Too Much Trash?
  • Weather in Action

The beginning unit was very special.

Students and teachers and community collaborated and shared , giving information, history, geography and data about where they lived. They got mail. This was a personalized way  , it was a pre-social media of talking with and learning with students in other parts of the world.

How excited my students were to link with a school in Moscow, Russia, or to figure out what animals were pets in some places of the world that we considered pests.

 

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For those of us who used the units , the task of classroom management was quite different from that faced by teachers employing the traditional instructional methods of lecture, discussion, and seat work. Geography was a huge factor in the work. Sometimes there was application of the arts, and yes, there was purposeful reading and writing. The face of the working classroom was changed. Extensive resources were shared with teachers.

Students were involved in an inquiry process and reported back to a scientist who helped them analyze their data . There were geographical teams of students sharing information , and collecting data and sometimes telling their stories. I was a teacher of the Gifted, but I was able to use technology to transition into being a classroom teacher for all. Parents and community members were excited about meaningful  uses of technology.

With NGS Kidsnetwork, students spend the majority of their time working on their own or in small groups collecting and doing research.

Teachers often spend their time participating in projects as peers , with community interface of experts, parents helping with the data.

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Dinosaurs and Many Ways of Learning!!

What is a field trip? It could be VR, AI or real. It could be short, a day field trip or long as in Earthwatch , or the Fulbright Experience. It could be online and after school in learning places in the neighborhood. I love it when they are journeys of the mind.  I love taking kids to a place prepared to stretch their minds with a head full of knowledge. We prepared for our field trips and profited from pre-learning.

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This was a field trip with students to the Science and Engineering Festival. It would be hard to prepare for this one, but we had been studying Dinosaurs, reading books, looking at images online, seeing videos, using ramification ( Dynotycoon) and making them out of clay. We can’t take a real dinosaur field trip, but we know where to go to learn more.

We could learn with a game. That is not a field trip, but a trip using ramification to explore a mythical Dinopark. Here

You can just imagine the shrieks of joy as students programming a robotic  dinosaur. This learning venture required some base knowledge, some reading, some knowledge of geography and study of a special kind of dinosaur. As far as I know the closest dinosaur field trip a real one is to Saltville , Va.

HISTORY

After nearly 100 years of study, the town’s ancient fossil beds continue to yield surprises.

ETSU paleontologists are the most recent in a long line of researchers to collect specimens in the Saltville Valley. This year is the 50th anniversary of a Virginia Tech agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to excavate and study specimens found here in the 1960s, including a 7-foot-long section of mastodon tusk.

Scientific digs began much earlier, in 1917, when a collapsed industrial salt well revealed a rich layer of prehistory that drew the attention of the Carnegie Institution. The town’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians, which now oversees the digs, is planning to celebrate next year with a centennial symposium, executive director Janice Orr said.

But accidental finds go back at least to the 18th century, and possibly much further.

In a letter dated 1782, Arthur Campbell wrote to Thomas Jefferson, former Virginia governor and future U.S. president, about the discovery at Saltville of the bones of a “large jaw tooth of an unknown animal lately found at the Salina in Washington County.”

MUSEUMS AND MAPS?

The Smithsonian used to have a dinosaur outside of the museum. I was missing a child from a field trip. He had been mesmerized by the dinosaur and climbed it. He could not get down. I spotted him from the bus and a parent went to help him climb down. That dinosaur is no longer available to climb.

WHO  WHAT  WHERE  WHEN AND WHY?

Those are the questions we asked.

Where in the world did the dinosaurs live? Here and a global map

Where in the US did the dinosaurs live? Here

You can learn a lot studying paleobiology at this Smithsonian web site. Here

Who can teach me more about dinosaurs?

What are ten things Kids need to know about dinosaurs?Here

Why do we care about dinosaurs? What are the known dinosaurs?

What did they eat? 

The first blockbuster movie that influenced my teaching was about dinosaurs, I was about Jurassic Park. I had never been interested in them but I had to rise to the challenge and fit the interest of those who loved the big beasts. First, I had to see the movie and then think of ways to add, augment, share , expand their knowledge in meaningful ways. The movie is online at Amazon Prime ( the whole movie).

Jurassic Park ( the movie)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5C7dqrAItM

I also needed to share the movie experience with the students who had not seen it and make available the book and the many books and magazines about dinosaurs.

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You may not know what the learning places and museums have to offer you and your children or students. Take a planning trip there. See how they do outreach. Talk to them.

I explained to a group of interested people that 2 field trips a year were often the most that children could take and suggested use of some of the budget for a bus. Or to do outreach to the school. My school scheduled a Museum bus on Saturdays for parents and students.

I also wrote grants and requests for field trips , movies, and realia for the classroom. Virtual field trips are good, real ones are good , a combination with Skype is good.

Museums have gone digital and they have much to share online.

https://learninglab.si.edu/news/creative-introduction-into-geography

Smithsonian

There are many experiences that are virtual

Walking with Dinosaurs

Virtual Reality Dinosaur Game

Dinosaur Art ( K-3)

High School   Geniversity ( Build a Dragon)

http://geniverse.concord.org/geniversity/

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Reality and Memorable Learning, so Interesting!!

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Teachers Exploring TACC

Education and technology has changed the way we are involved with museums. There are many museums that people may never get to visit. Virtually, there are resources to help students, teachers and community to use museums to learn. One resource that is wonderful is the Google Cultural Institute

I share this blog because often a museum trip is a quick hit and in the words of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the kids don’t really see much on the trip. So I offer you some ways of seeing, visualizing and being involved in learning.

The Google Cultural Institute has many ways of sharing collections, tours, and artifacts.

Wikipedia says:
“‘Google Cultural Institute is an initiative unveiled by Google following the 2011 launch of the Google Art Project. . It is “an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.”  The Cultural Institute has partnered with a number of institutions to make exhibition and archival content available online, including the British Museum, Yad Vashem, the Museo Galileo in Florence, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and the Museum of Polish History in Warsaw among others. Further you can :

Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures in extraordinary detail, from hidden gems to masterpieces.

Create your own galleries and share favorite finds with friends.You can take a tour, Discover artworks, world heritage sites, cultural figures, and more. You can create your own..
Create your own galleries and share favorite finds with friends and take virtual tours.
Participants can Explore & Search

 

Explore to discover more categories and projects.
Or search for people, events, museums, and works of art.

You Can Share & Discover. This is a hearth. How would you cook on this? That information is available in the Google Cultural Institute.

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Share special finds with friends across all your social networks.
Compare two items side-by side.
Save favorite pieces and access them later, and even create your own gallery.
Or click Discover to see related topics and categories.

The Iron Age in Britain

I was a visitor to the British Museum and shared a few pictures with Facebook.There was so much to see and learn about. I found a new section to explore. Life in the Iron Age of Britain was fascinating. But there was not enough time to study the whole collection.

I live in Washington , DC  within walking distance of most of the Smithsonian Museums . It is always hard to choose which museum to visit and to grasp the new offerings. An entirely new offering is the 3-D Explorer.

Exploring the Smithsonian

You can explore online resources from A to Z online.

The Smithsonian has a new 3-D Explorer. They are excited about it.

Smithsonian X 3D launches a set of use cases which apply various 3D capture methods to iconic collection objects, as well as scientific missions. These projects indicate that this new technology has the potential not only to support the Smithsonian mission, but to transform museum core functions. Researchers working in the field may not come back with specimens, but with 3D data documenting a site or a find. Curators and educators can use 3D data as the scaffolding to tell stories or send students on a quest of discovery. Conservators can benchmark today’s condition state of a collection item against a past state – a deviation analysis of 3D data will tell them exactly what changes have occurred. All of these uses cases are accessible through the Beta Smithsonian X 3D Explorer, as well as videos documenting the project. For many of the 3D models, raw data can be downloaded to support further inquiry and 3D printing. This video explains the topic.Some historic artifacts have been placed in this model and can be printed out in a classroom, or examined online to think about the model.

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If you come to Washington , DC , the problem is , which museum to visit. I like the Natural History Museum with the Science on a Sphere exhibits that help us understand the whole museums focus on the Earth.iuri

The Smithsonian Museums are competitive .

One of my favorite museums that wraps itself around you is the Monterey Bay Museum.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is a public aquarium located in Monterey, California, United States. The aquarium was founded in 1984 and is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. It has an annual attendance of more than two million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. The aquarium benefits from a high circulation of fresh ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in continuously from Monterey Bay.

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The centerpiece of the Ocean’s Edge Wing, is a 28-foot-high (8.5 m), 333,000-US-gallon (1,260,000 l; 277,000 imp gal) tank for viewing California coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The largest tank in the aquarium is a 1,200,000-U.S.-gallon (4,500,000 l; 1,000,000 imp gal) tank in the Open Sea galleries (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world’s largest single-paned windows. It is one of the few aquariums to hold the ocean sunfish in captivity.iho

Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna. For displaying jellyfish, it uses a Kreisel tank, which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters. These are a few of my favorite museums to share.

Other options? Sure

New? Augmented reality and the Hololens. This is how Microsoft wants to change the superbowl. Immersive Superbowl.??

There is of course Google Cardboard, and the use of Skype to talk to people in museums or classes from another country. We don’t want to just look at pretty pictures. Content makes the viewing much more memorable than eye candy.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

To be in the museum in Monterey and to see this Octopus is one experience. Coming now are ways that are immersive , in that the virtual reality puts the person into the experience, well sort of.  Here is a teaser. A GIF

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/-/m/images/animated-gifs/kelp-forest.gif?la=en( in case you want to download it.)

Here is one that I find especially awesome. the whale by Magic Leap. Amazing 3D Virtual Reality Leaping Whale. There are other examples within that URL that are awesome.
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www.magicleap.com  This one has some other fascinating models. It does take a little bit of time to load. Be patient.

The virtual reality tool that I most liked was Google Glass. I could see my way through Russia , have translations, a way of going through the subways. I am sure that it will be back in another form. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Virtual , or Real..Augmenting Learning

Learning has new ways of introducing ideas and ideational scaffolding. Virtual reality is one way of changing the learning.

“virtual reality”
noun
Simple Definition of virtual reality

: an artificial world that consists of images and sounds created by a computer and that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it.

The internet of things renders this simple definition to be limited.

Here is a Virtual Reality Site that gives nuances to the definition. We will start with the definition and then go from the research to simple projects.

“The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation.”

“We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school we all learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds.”

“Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality.”

So, in summary, virtual reality entails presenting our senses with a computer generated virtual environment that we can explore in some fashion.

At the University of Illinois, I encountered , the Cave.

The Cave

CAVE_HDR_small

This shows the hardware. The CAVE was immersive.

The term “CAVE” refers to any virtual reality system that uses multiple walls with multiple projectors to immerse users in a virtual world. The first CAVE was built in 1992 as a method of showing of scientific visualizations. Now, many universities have their own CAVE systems. The CAVE is used for visualizing data, for demonstrating 3D environments, and for virtually testing component parts of newly developed engineering

. The examples I saw were one walking tour of Florence, a Roller Coaster Ride, a Walk in a Garden, and a program that shows children how to cross a street. There was also a farm scene but what I remember about that was touching a flower and hearing a bee coming at me. That was fun.

Another iteration of it was the “Cube”

You can explore some projects of the cube online at this site.

The ISL Cube is an immersive, stereo-capable (true 3-D) visualization chamber manufactured by TAN Projektionstechnologie of Dusseldorf, Germany.

It is located in a specially-constructed wing of the ISL building. The six surfaces of the Cube are 3-meter-square acrylic panels coated with a dark rear-projection screen material. The walls are 10mm thick and the floor and ceiling are 35mm thick. The front wall slides open to permit access and closes completely to ensure immersion of the user in the space.

You can’t take this example home, but it is amazing to explore. There are high school installations of the cube.

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At Wayne City High School in downstate Illinois, the students have downloaded the Syzygy source code and are developing Cube applications in their school’s computer lab. In 2003, they coded a visualization of the dynamics of the lorenz attractor.

But that is high level immersion. As a school teacher I could just visit and hope to be invited to learn at the University of Illinois. It was a great introduction to VR.

The Internet of Things, IOT has some examples to share. It did not matter that I knew about these things, I had no tools to share them with students except through NASA and the University of Illinois . Here is the video of the Internet of Things.

The ultimate gift is this online link to ESRI

Instructional Materials

A variety of subject-focused, standards-based instructional materials is available to enhance inquiry-based learning with students. All activities are free and completely online. The instructional materials require no installations or logins and are device neutral.

– See more at: http://www.esri.com/connected#sthash.acu6xMIF.dpuf

This is the first of a two page sharing.

 

Creating Opportunity for All

 CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. By some estimates, just one quarter of all the K-12 schools in the United States offer CS with programming and coding, and only 28 states allow CS courses to count towards high-school graduation, even as other advanced economies are making CS available for all of their students. The White House aims to change that. There is a new initiative.

Why?

The Opportunity

Providing access to CS is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.

How Do We Prepare Students? Teachers ? The Community?

One of the problems is the lack of access, interest and the knowledge of computational thinking and learning and math. There also has been a limited supply of well trained teachers for all. Most of us are aware that there are teachers in rural, urban, tribal, minority based poor communities who don’t have a computer teacher anywhere near a school. There may be teachers who are available in after school program. The Coding week also gives some impetus to making a change but sadly , it may be only for that week. It is an excellent start. It is a way to get things rolling.

Computational thinking and cyber learning and math… we must start at the lower levels to be able to graduate those with the skills that they will need to meet a high school computer teacher.

Coding?Coding in the Classroom: What is Coding and Why is it so Important?

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Computational Thinking?
“Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent.”

Cuny, Snyder, Wing

Say it again? What was that?

Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively.

Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.

Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.

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There have been people working in this field for a very long time with limited success.  One must thank people like Henry Neeman, R.N. Panoff , Concord.org and those who sought to broaden engagement to all with limited resources. Scott Lathrop has certainly impacted broadening engagement.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement being led by parents, teachers, states, districts, and the private sector to expand CS education. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative builds on these efforts by:

Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Starting the effort this year, with more than $135 million in investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support and train CS teachers, who are the most critical ingredient to offering CS education in schools. The agencies will make these investments over five years using existing funds.

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Early exposure and interest

Calling on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved. Today, Delaware, Hawaii and more than 30 school districts are committing to expand CS opportunities; Cartoon Network, Google and Salesforce.org are announcing more than $60 million in new philanthropic investments, and Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand CS; and Code.org is announcing plans to offer CS training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year.

We still need parents and the communities to grasp the important of this project and to sign on. The initiatives mean nothing if schools don’t step up to the challenge. Has your school accepted Connect.Ed?IMG_0078