Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ever feel like you're talking to the walls. Let the walls talk to YOU for a change!

This blog post finds me buried deep in the process of learning how to explore and harness Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for pedagogical purposes. I was first exposed to the idea of augmentation a few years back, and got REALLY excited about it (like I do about everything new), but after playing around with it, decided that it was just too fiddly and complicated. Since then, different apps and opportunities have been developed, and this exciting option for the classroom is getting more accessible all the time!

"Wallame"  is one of the simple apps that can be used in location-based learning, to spice up a task, get students to work together, actively and interactively. It really is easy, but dependant upon a few things:

1) Participants have to install the app. (Having said that, if you get people working in groups, only one has to actually install it)

2) You have to be AT the location: both for devising the activity AND participating in it. (Which is actually something I love about it because it gets the students OUT of the classroom and INTO the world.) 

3) Good Wifi is a definite advantage (if not - a good, fresh Internet package).   

Using walls, signs, artwork, anything that is tangible and in a specific location, you build a virtual layer needs to be discovered. The virtual layer of information will seem to appear on the wall when scanned. The virtual layer can be a message for a Treasure Hunt, another picture, or any digital object.  Here's how it works:

1) Install the app. (Be sure that your GPS is open)

2) Click on the + to make a new Wall,

3) Take a picture of the object upon which you want to embed another layer of information. 

4) Add either text (as I did here) or a picture (with or without text), or draw something! Then save it. 

5) Have participants search for the "Walls" around them. 


Yesterday, for example. I used it in the Museum for Eretz Yisrael in a fascinating anthropological, historical exhibit about Tattoos in different societies throughout the ages. We had to make up a sample Wall, in order to experiment with the tool. While in the museum I remembered a fantastic story about a TOI blogger I follow (Sarah Tuttle-Singer) and her story of how she got a tattoo. Low and behold, the tattoo artist who performed the body art on her, was shown in the exhibit! So with my team, we prepared a Wallame leading participants to Sarah, and to find the connection between her and tattoos through reading her blog post. If you go to the museum, you are invited to seek it out and tell me what Sarah's metaphor for mermaids is!

Use Wallame for a Treasure Hunt, or a fun way to review a topic taught, or as a trigger for a new topic! The hard part is thinking about how it can help  YOU liven up your teaching. The EASY part is making it, with Wallame!  :-)

So! What are YOUR ideas for using this tool? Download and sign up for the app. Play around with it. Share your ideas below!

Digitally yours!