Greg Kulowiec – EdTechTeacher http://edtechteacher.org Leading Change in Changing Times Fri, 26 May 2017 12:27:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Beyond Google Expeditions: Creating Customized VR Experiences with iPad & Book Creator http://edtechteacher.org/custom_vr_with_bookcreator/ Thu, 25 May 2017 22:23:48 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=11320 Moving Beyond Google Expeditions: For classroom teachers interested in integrating virtual reality into their classroom, one outstanding platform for pre-created content is Google Expeditions.  With an extensive library of expeditions, Google Expeditions offers classroom teachers a reliable pre-packaged virtual reality experience designed …

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Moving Beyond Google Expeditions:

For classroom teachers interested in integrating virtual reality into their classroom, one outstanding platform for pre-created content is Google Expeditions.  With an extensive library of expeditions, Google Expeditions offers classroom teachers a reliable pre-packaged virtual reality experience designed for the classroom.  Each expedition includes multiple scenes with pre-created areas of interest within each scene and pre-created discussion prompts.  To learn more about Google Expeditions, watch this short EdTechTeacher video introduction.  While Google Expeditions provides a solid entry point for virtual reality in the classroom, it is important to also consider the ability of both teachers and students to not only consume, but create customized virtual reality experiences.   

 

Creating Customized VR Experiences:

While the library of Google Expeditions is growing and the content is exceptionally helpful to get started in the world of virtual reality in the classroom, classroom teachers can create custom virtual reality experiences for their students with a combination of: Book Creator, 360Cities and Roundme.  Through a process of curating 360° images via 360Cities and Roundme that are compiled in a Book Creator template, teachers can reasonably create customized VR experiences for their students.  The combination of virtual reality experiences and embedding those experiences in Book Creator files not only allow students to experience virtual reality in a structured environment, but allows the teacher to include video, audio, guiding questions and provides a space for students to react to the virtual reality experiences.  While a 360° image without any context would be challenging for a student to understand and analyze, the teacher creating the customized experience can provide the proper amount of background context via text, audio and video within the Book Creator template that is needed of for the student.  

 

Tools:

Book Creator

360 Cities

Round.me

 

Process of Creating Custom Virtual Reality Experiences:

Teachers can begin creating customized Virtual Reality experiences by exploring both 360Cities and Roundme as both have a search function based on the original location of the captured image.  Once an image is found on either platform, a unique link can be copied and pasted into a Book Creator template.  To improve the appearance of the custom virtual reality book, teachers may want to capture screenshots of the original image which can be inserted into the Book Creator project and then linked to the 360° image online.  Along with the link, teachers can provide context in terms of related text, links to readings or embedded audio & video.  The highlight of this process is that within the Book Creator template, teachers can embed student work spaces where they can insert text, audio, video or images that captures their reaction and understanding of the virtual reality experience through the 360° image.  To distribute the custom virtual reality experience, teachers can AirDrop the Book Creator project, upload to Google Drive or distribute through Google Classroom.  Students have to then select “open in” and send to Book Creator for exploration.   

 

Classroom Application:

There are certainly additional websites where users from around the world can upload 360 sphere images that are then shared online and increasingly media outlets are including 360 sphere images in their reporting.  It is encouraged that teachers use this approach as a starting point, a building block to begin curating virtual reality experiences.  YouTube has seen an increase in 360° video uploads which can also be included in a custom Virtual Reality Book Creator template.  

A history teacher for example might want students to explore the beaches of Normandy in virtual reality.  Or, an English teacher might want students to visit a specific city in virtual reality where a novel they are reading takes place.  Both 360Cities and Round.me can be used to find 360 sphere images for both instances.

Search for Normandy Beach results in sixty seven 360° sphere images on 360Cities

 

Conclusion:

While the process outlined in this post focuses exclusively on teacher created Virtual Reality experiences, it would be a powerful extension of this process to have students curate or even create 360° images to include in their Book Creator creation.  Students writing a creative story for example, could provide context and a depth to their story by creating links to 360° images that allow the reader to better understand and empathize with their story and the characters involved. If students desire to include their own 360° images, tools such as Google Street View allow students to create images that can then be uploaded to 360Cities or Roundme.

With a recent update to Book Creator, authors can now publish their Book Creator projects online where anyone can read the creation without the need of downloading the Book Creator project to an iPad.  This update allows students to publish via their classroom teacher to a broader audience without the need for the end user to have Book Creator or even an iPad.

While the impact and outcome of virtual reality in the classroom has yet to be completely determined, this process of slowly integrating 360° images can act as a logical first step to implementing this emerging technology.  To explore virtual reality in greater detail, please explore the extensive work and writing provided by the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

 

Learn with me!

To learn more about Virtual Reality, join me this summer in Chicago for a hands on summer workshop.  EdTechTeacher is also hosting their annual Boston Summit again this November where Virtual Reality will be one of the many innovative ideas explored.  Learn more and join us this November in Boston.

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Create Immersive Virtual Reality with Storyspheres http://edtechteacher.org/create-immersive-virtual-reality-with-storyspheres/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:05:18 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=11169 Though impressive, the first Virtual Reality offerings in education primarily consisted of pre-created experiences where students could explore famous landmarks, geographic regions and unique locations.  For instance, thoughtfully developed tools such as Google Expeditions and Nearpod VR allow teachers to guide their students through …

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Though impressive, the first Virtual Reality offerings in education primarily consisted of pre-created experiences where students could explore famous landmarks, geographic regions and unique locations.  For instance, thoughtfully developed tools such as Google Expeditions and Nearpod VR allow teachers to guide their students through powerful pre-created immersive virtual reality environments.  While their approach allows students to consume and experience virtual reality, there are a host of tools now emerging that let users create virtual reality content.  What’s more, creating virtual reality environments is no longer limited to those with an advanced skill set or access to advanced creation platforms.  Now anyone with a smartphone and access to a laptop can create and share VR experiences.

VR Quote Greg 2

Virtual Reality Creation Tool: StorySpheres

StorySpheres is a powerful web-based platform to create Virtual Reality environments.  A project developed by Grumpy Sailor and Google, Storyspheres takes a unique approach to VR by allowing users to add audio to their 360° sphere images.  Further, multiple 360 Storyspheres VR environments can be linked together, allowing the viewer to experience multiple VR environments with embedded audio.  The creation process with Storyspheres is exceptionally straight forward and the platform is easy to build with.

Here are 4 steps in the StorySpheres creation process:

Step 1: Create and upload 360 sphere images to Storyspheres.  360 sphere images can be created with most modern smart phones.  One strategy is to capture the images with a smartphone, upload the image to a cloud storage platform (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc..), download to a laptop and then upload to Storyspheres.

Step 2: Once the 360 sphere image is uploaded to Storysphere, creators can add audio (mp3 files) to the image.  Uploaded audio can play as a loop within the VR experience, or the audio can be initiated by clicking on the audio icon when inside the VR environment.

Step 3: Place the audio files in specific locations within the 360 sphere image & link to other Storyspheres.

If the viewer needs to navigate back and forth between Storyspheres, be sure to link spheres together in both directions.

Step 4: Publish and share either the web link or the VR Cardboard link.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

While the first steps to start using virtual reality in the classroom will likely be through pre-created content such as Google Expeditions and the numerous immersive environments to choose from, ultimately the transformative power of virtual reality in education lies in the ability of students to become virtual reality storytellers.

Virtual Reality Poetry:

Consider the student writer in an English class that can now bring their poem to life in the very environment where they envision the reader experiencing their words.  To add another layer of experience, the music or background score can also be experienced by the view.

Virtual Reality Historical Research:

Imagine students in a history class exploring a historic site where they can capture immersive 360° photos of the location and can later embed their own insights, experiences and perspective on the meaning and significance of the location.

Virtual Reality Art Installation:

Consider the student in an arts class, capturing a 360° photo of their work on display in a gallery setting.  While the gallery event may only last for a short time, the Storyspheres created during the event can last as a shareable archive of the artist’s work, with embedded audio in the experience with the artist explaining their work, process and inspiration.

Virtual Reality Science:

Consider the student in a science class capturing a physical environment or habitat in a 360° photo that can be transformed into an immersive virtual reality audio report.  Instead of simply writing about a location and explaining their perspective through text, their voice can become part of the environment and their ideas, connections and insights can be experienced directly in the environment being explored.  Further, the sounds of the environment, animals, water and wind can be captured and embedded as background looping audio to further assist the viewer in understanding the environment and location.

Impact of Virtual Reality as a Storytelling Tool

But what are the implications for education? The New York Times has recently adopted journalism in VR, even sending out thousands of Google Cardboard sets to their subscribers.  The New York Post even recently documented New York Fashion week using Storyspheres to create immersive fashion-week experiences with audio from artists involved.  The NBA provides one game per week in virtual reality and Facebook plans on a significant financial investment in VR.  While the future of virtual reality in the consumer and social market appears to be moving forward, we are only at the infancy of virtual reality in education.  As a storytelling platform in education, virtual reality presents significant opportunity for students to creatively share their experience and understanding.  Yet, the entire field and technology is so new that even professional cinematographers are just beginning to explore the impact of virtual reality on their craft.  Consider the upcoming piece from PBS, My Brother’s Keeper, groundbreaking in its use of 360° virtual reality and at the cutting edge of cinematic VR.  With professional cinematographers just beginning to explore and understand the implications of virtual reality beyond pure novelty, our hope is that virtual reality in education will to move beyond pure novelty and into a legitimate and recognized storytelling platform.

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2 Ways to Publish eBooks from G Suite http://edtechteacher.org/2-ways-publish-ebooks-using-g-suite/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:29:46 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=11055 G Suite for Education provides an extensive set of classroom-ready tools for students to create and collaborate.  While most student work within G Suite stays in the original format of a document or slide, there are two methods that take advantage of …

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G Suite for Education provides an extensive set of classroom-ready tools for students to create and collaborate.  While most student work within G Suite stays in the original format of a document or slide, there are two methods that take advantage of exporting options from within Google Drive and allow students to publish their creations as eBooks.  These two approaches provide an audience for student writing outside of the classroom and enable the published work to be accessed by multiple devices.

G Suite Approach 1: Google Document to ePub

An underutilized feature of G Suite is the ability to export a Google Document as an ePub file.  ePub is a universal file type that can be read as a digital book on most mobile devices, MacBooks with the iBooks App, and even Chromebooks with ePub reader-apps installed.  By combining the power of G Suite and Google Docs collaboration with the ePub exporting feature, students can now collaborate to write and publish outside of the G Suite environment to a larger audience of their choice.  The process (shown below) consists of creating content within a Google Doc and then exporting it: File –> Download As –> ePub Publication (.epub)G Suite eBooks Google Docs

Once downloaded, the ePub file can be published and shared online for anyone to download and read.

There are several approaches to publishing and sharing a digital book in a way that anyone can download and read the text.  Students could upload their digital book back to Google Drive and make the .ePub file accessible to anyone via a link.  ePub files can also be uploaded to the Apple iBookstore by creating an iTunes Connect account and uploading files with iTunes Producer.

G Suite Approach 2: Google Slides to Issuu

Another approach to publishing eBooks via G Suite is to transform Google Slides into a book creation platform.  Whereas slides are typically viewed as a tool to create presentations, they can also become a collaborative book-creation platform where each slide represents one page of the eBook.  Because slides easily accommodate images via either the “Explore” tool or from images inserted from mobile devices, eBook creation with slides allows students to easily integrate images into their creation.  Once students are done creating their collaborative eBook — with a combination of digital text, web-based images via the “Explore” tool or even with photographs of offline creations via mobile devices — they can proceed to export the slides as follows: File –> Download As –> PDF Document.

G Suite eBooks Issuu

Once downloaded, the PDF document is uploaded to Issuu.  Issuu is a free, web-based publishing tool that transforms PDFs into online eBooks that creates a page-turning reading experience online.  As a publishing platform, Issuu is exceptionally flexible as eBooks can be read from any device with access to the link.

Moving Forward:

Both approaches to creating and publishing eBooks via G Suite apply to specific-use cases and classroom scenarios.  While each approach can be created and edited on any device (Chromebook, iPad, laptop), the “Approach 1”  would be used primarily if the intention is for the end user to read the eBook on a mobile device.  “Approach 2” is best used if the eBook is intended for a broader audience that might access the eBook on a number of devices, including laptops.

Publishing student creations outside of a school G Suite domain can have a tremendous impact on the purpose and meaning of student work.  Both of these approaches have the potential to create an authentic audience for student work, an audience that can amplify student voice and motivate students to become creators and publishers.

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Hacking G Suite – 4 Creative uses of Google Sheets in the Classroom http://edtechteacher.org/google-sheets-in-the-classroom/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:45:50 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=10874 Google’s G Suite is a proven platform that allows schools, teachers and students to maximize the potential of a 1:1 classroom environment.  Sheets, one of the tools on the G Suite platform, is traditionally viewed as a data collection and organization tool. …

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Google’s G Suite is a proven platform that allows schools, teachers and students to maximize the potential of a 1:1 classroom environment.  Sheets, one of the tools on the G Suite platform, is traditionally viewed as a data collection and organization tool.  From teacher-created gradebooks, to data collection in a science classroom, to resource management and inventory, using Google Sheets is an exceptionally flexible and powerful tool.  With a bit of creative perspective, using Google Sheets in the classroom can benefit both teachers and students in a 1:1 environment.

Google Sheets in the Classroom Scenario 1: Digital Portfolios with Google Forms

Google Sheets in the Classroom 1
Rethinking the combination of Google Forms with Google Sheets can transform the use of these tools into a simple digital portfolio tool.  The process relies on a recent update to Google Forms, which allows a form responder to upload a file as a response type within the form itself.  The process, as outlined in the image above, consists of a student creating a Google Form as the entry tool to archive elements and artifacts for their digital portfolio.  Because students can now upload files (image, document, audio, video, etc.), there is increased flexibility around the types of artifacts students can include.  As the responses are collected on a spreadsheet, the student’s digital portfolio can easily be shared with a teacher for review and even added feedback to the student.  

Note that all uploaded files from the form are automatically added to a folder in Google Drive.  That folder also needs to be shared with the teacher if the files are going to be opened and viewed by the teacher.  Alternatives or extensions with this process could include a teacher making an entry on a student form to assist in the archiving process in the portfolio.  Further, a teacher could create one form with a drop-down menu question of student names.  This would allow the teacher to archive student work onto one spreadsheet that could easily be sorted later when examining the work of one student.

Google Sheets in the Classroom Scenario 2: Digital Rubrics and Rubric Portfolios

Rethinking Google Sheets can also assist in the process of creating, using and sharing rubrics with students in a classroom using G Suite. Originally created by my former colleague Katrina Kennett ( @katrinakennett ) in an effort to provide timely feedback on student writing, rubrics created in Google Sheets improve upon paper-based rubrics in a number of important ways.  

First, once a Sheets-based rubric is created, a master rubric sheet can be duplicated for any future assignment.  Also, within a sheet that has a master rubric, the master rubric tab can be duplicated within the sheet to evaluate each student submission.  This process allows the teacher to have one Google Sheet for each assignment evaluated with the master rubric.  Within that sheet, tabs are created for each student, allowing the teacher to have all student rubrics in one organized spreadsheet for each assignment.  Further, because these rubrics are digital, teachers can take advantage of conditional formatting and formulas.  The former allows teachers to create rules on the sheet rubric that can change both the cell and text color.  A helpful rule for example, “When a ‘.’ appears in a cell, turn the cell purple and the text bold.”  By simply adding a period to each cell, the rubric instantly becomes color coded.  The latter, including formulas on the sheet rubric, allows teachers to have the score instantly calculated in a “scoring” column.  By aligning the formula with the conditional formatting trigger, the teacher simply needs to add a “.” to a cell to create the color coding conditional formatting trigger and to initiate the auto grading formula.

View Only Live Rubrics Template: https://goo.gl/OE4VkW

Link to Published Slides: https://goo.gl/17FXql

Google Sheets in the Classroom Scenario 3: Class Resources Sheet

Google Sheets in the Classroom Resources

While Google Classroom is an outstanding tool to manage digital workflow in a 1:1 G Suite classroom environment, there is an alternative approach to posting and sharing class resources and assignments using Google Sheets.  The process consists of a teacher structuring a sheet to resemble a course calendar with columns such as date, date, unit and chapter.  By including columns such as: assignments, notes, slides, homework and video playlists, a teacher can efficiently organize an entire course into one sheet.  As the class progresses, additional sheets can be added as tabs across the bottom to differentiate between quarters, semesters or units of study.  To easily distribute and make the course content available to the students, the teacher has to simply create one course folder in Google Drive that has “anyone with the link can view” privacy status.  This allows all course materials to be opened, and copied by students that have “view only” access to the course spreadsheet.  This approach can also integrate with Google Classroom.  The course sheet can be added to the About page in classroom as a permanent course resource.  Also, when assignments need to be collected, students can make a copy of the original template file from the course sheet and turn in their copy through Google Classroom.  This strategy could decrease the number of posts a teacher makes in Google Classroom over the length of the course.

Google Sheets in the Classroom Scenario 4: Research Planning & Archiving

Google Sheets in the Classroom Research

Helping students organize an extensive research process is a challenging task and Google Sheets can provide students with a structured approach to organizing, categorizing, and tracking their research process.  By creating headings such as “Source,” “Original Text,” and “Summary,” students can effectively keep track of the sources they are discovering, as well as the most critical elements within those sources, bolstering their overall  understanding of the concept.  Additionally, by adding columns like “Sub-topic,” “Planned Usage,” and “Key Words,” students are essentially creating a digital outline of their research.  When the research process is complete and students transition to synthesizing their research into a final research paper, the Sub-topic, Planned Usage and Key Words columns can be used in conjunction with filters in sheets to limit the view of their research.  Students can also then use the “find on page” function in the Chrome browser to find keywords.

Google Sheets is an exceptionally helpful component of G Suite and with a creative perspective, it can become a regular additional to any classroom using Google Classroom, G Suite or Chromebooks.  Rethinking Google Sheets is part of a three part series on rethinking the use of G Suite tools: Docs, Slides & Sheets.  With a big of creative thinking, the efficient, collaborative and classroom ready G Suite platform can become even more powerful in the classroom.

 

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#ETTchat: The Chromebook Creation Studio – an Interview with Greg Kulowiec & James Daley http://edtechteacher.org/ettchat-chromebook-creation-studio-interview-greg-kulowiec-james-daley/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 21:17:35 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=10557 This fall, as part of our #ETTchat series, Communications Editor James Daley will be chatting with our EdTechTeacher instructors about some of their favorite tools, apps, and strategies for the classroom. In this post, he interviews Greg Kulowiec, about How to Harness the Creative …

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This fall, as part of our #ETTchat series, Communications Editor James Daley will be chatting with our EdTechTeacher instructors about some of their favorite tools, apps, and strategies for the classroom. In this post, he interviews Greg Kulowiec, about How to Harness the Creative Potential of Chromebooks in the Classroom.

Greg Kulowiec of EdTechTeacher is a Google Education Trainer who has spent years helping teachers across the country find ways to incorporate Chromebooks and Google Apps into their daily teaching practices. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Greg about the challenges teachers face with Chromebook integration, and why he believes that creativity is the key to using Chromebooks in the Classroom.

In Greg’s experience, there is often very little discussion or training about how Chromebooks should actually be used prior to their arrival in the classroom. Because of this, when teachers see the basic suite of Google apps (Docs, Slides, Classroom, etc.), they naturally assume that the best use of their new devices is for basic tasks like word processing, presentations, and classroom management. While the Chromebook is certainly great for these tasks, Greg argues that its real power lies not in any of these basic functions, but rather in its incredible potential as a creative device. By moving beyond the basic suite of Google Apps, teachers can put an entire creative studio in the hands of every student, creating opportunities to incorporate student-made media into a wide array of assignments and activities.

Here are some of the ways that Greg suggests taking advantage of the Chromebook’s creative potential in the classroom.

Image Creation with Canva

Canva is a web-based image-editor that allows users to easily create graphics, presentations, and documents on the Chromebook (and other devices, as well). The best part of Canva, according to Greg, is how simple it is to use. By providing a wide variety of ready-made templates and a user-friendly, drag-and drop interface, Canva makes it easy for students to create slick, original, great-looking graphics without having to rely on more complicated or expensive software.

One of the things that makes Canva so perfect for classroom use is its built-in image search, which allows users to easily find and import images into their projects. The image search also lets users filter for

Creative Commons and public domain images, so students can easily avoid using copyrighted pictures.

Finally, Greg suggests that teachers take advantage of Canva’s Design School: a huge library of tutorials and educational articles where students can learn about various design principles, from the fundamentals of layout and composition, to incorporating color theory, to choosing the and mixing fonts and text styles.

Video Creation with Screencastify

Screencastify is an extension that allows users to create a video recording of their Chromebook screen, while simultaneously recording a voiceover narration. A favorite amongst educators, Screencastify is available on any device with a Chrome browser, and can have lots of different uses in the classroom.

A simple way to use Screencastify is to blend it with Google Docs or Google slides. For example, after a student composes an essay on Google docs, they can go back and record a screencast in which they reflect on their process and discuss their reasons for writing what they did. With Google Slides, students can record the screen while talking through a presentation to create a video archive that can be added to a class site, shared with parents, or even saved for future classes and further discussion.

For a fun and creative way to create videos with the Chromebook, Greg recommends using Screencastify alongside AwwApp (A Web Whiteboard). A Web Whiteboard is essentially a blank online whiteboard that allows users to draw and sketch directly into their Chromebook browsers. When you combine AwwApp with Screencastify, you get a live, digital canvas where students record themselves creating art in real time.

Audio Creation with Soundtrap

For Audio creation, Greg recommends Soundtrap, a web-based audio recording and editing tool that Greg describes as “a collaborative GarageBand for Chromebook.” With Soundtrap, students can use the built-in microphone to record directly into their Chromebooks, use Soundtrap’s online instruments to create new musical arrangements, or import audio files to blend and remix. This gives students lots of different ways to create audio, and opens up an entire world of teaching and learning opportunities, from creating topical podcasts and audiobooks, to remixing popular songs and other audio content.

Perhaps Soundtrap’s most useful feature is that it allows users to work collaboratively on a single project. Not only does this let students to work together on an audio project, but it provides opportunities for teachers and students to create archived conversations for a variety of purposes. One example that Greg gives is that of a language lab teacher using Soundtrap to create collaborative foreign language conversations. In this example, the teacher would record a question, then the student would record a response, and they would continue until they recorded an entire conversation. This practice allows the teacher to carry on conversations with multiple students at the same time, while also providing a record of the conversations that both the students and the teacher can listen and refer to in the future.

While Soundtrap does offer a paid plan for schools with some interesting, education-based features, the basic version is free and perfectly suitable for most classroom purposes.

Putting it all together

While taking advantage of even a few of these creative strategies can provide wonderful learning experiences, Greg imagines a way in which all of them could be brought together to create something even greater than the sum of their parts. In Greg’s words, “Ultimately, students could end up with a portfolio of work that is more than just text. You could reasonably have a Google Drive folder or a Google Site that has audio, video, screencasting, images, text, presentations: all pulled together in one spot, and that makes up the student’s entire body of work.”

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