Welcome back for another review of FutureSchools. In this article, I look back on the second session of day two at the conference, featuring Michael Ha and Kaye North. If you have missed the previous article, you can find it here. After the morning break, Michael Ha (@NerdyPhysEder), the E-Learning Leader at Newington College speaking on Drones in Ed: A practical guide for drones, droids, and robots. Michael began with a story, how own story, speaking about how he migrated from Hong Kong with his family at the age of nine years old. He struggled with the language and did not have as a young man what Joe Hockey now infamously laid out as the starting point for success.
Michael jumped forward in time and spoke about how at the time when drones were becoming commercially available, there was a trend in sports and physical education towards talking about game sense and that video recording of games was becoming relatively common, but that it was limited in its usefulness from the sideline at the typical elevation a coach (or PhysEd) teacher would find themselves during a PhysEd lesson). He pointed out that we typically watch sports on tv, and play them in computer games at an angle of approximately forty-five degrees, as that allows the viewer to gain a better perspective on the play and that drones opened up new opportunities in this area.
Michael spoke about the learning curve vis-a-vis combining controlling a drone with pedagogy, and that it was not particularly successful until he found a system that allowed the wearing of a tracking device which the drone would then simply follow, allowing for a top down view of what was happening and very explicit discussion about areas of opportunity, with the students able to see what was happening in a way that they cannot when they are standing on the sideline.
Michael spoke about the parrot drone and that it can be programmed using the Tickle App. He demonstrated how simple this was by asking for someone from the audience to come up, and then giving them about one minute of instruction in how to program the drone using the app. We watched the gentleman put in some simple commands and then we watched the drone take off, move around and then do this:
Michael spoke about there being a range of applications for drones across the curriculum, beyond the obvious ones in PhysEd, for example, within the English syllabus, you could record some footage which then forms a stimulus for a creative writing task.
Michael did note that there are some legalities involved with drones and that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been active in this area, updating the regulations around Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) as recently as December 2015, but that there are still opportunities for the use of drones in education, depending on your location.
Following Michael was Kaye North (@KayeNorth1), a teacher from Maryborough State High School in Queensland who spoke under the title Create and Engage with Augmented Reality. This was something which, though not on my radar as a teacher, I was interested in hearing about, having heard Paul Hamilton (@PaulHamilton8) speak on the topic during FutureSchools2015.
Kaye opened with a brief explanation of the concept of Augmented Reality and gave some examples of AR applications including Quiver, Aurasma, Anatomy 4D, and Floodlines. Kaye then gave a demonstration of how Quiver worked, which excited a lot of people, who I can only presume had not seen it in action before, and spoke about the wide range of educational-based Quivers that are now available.
Kaye also spoke about an augmented reality app that has been put out by NASA, called Spacecraft 3D and that it allowed you to interact with various space vehicles as well as manipulate your perspective of them and then about Anatomy4D, which allowed you to overlay various systems in the human body.
Kaye closed by speaking about the use of Aurasma, combined with Tellegami to allow students to create one-page posters with embedded presentations to provide an alternative way of assessing students learning, with the possibilities for the use of augmented reality in the classroom being limited only by our imaginations.
It was nice to hear of a few new apps (Anatomy 4D, Spacecraft 3D), however, for me, there was nothing new vis-a-vis pedagogical practices or opportunities in this presentation. I feel like augmented reality does have some application within education, however, I personally do not see it as having a large scope. I am open to being proved wrong of course, and I know that Paul Hamilton has been working on some projects for a while, and it sounds like Kaye has some interesting things going on in her school as well.
Thank you for reading this (slightly) shorter article and as always, I would like to hear any feedback or thoughts on the ideas contained therein. The next article will focus on the presentations by Gavin Hays and Jill Margerson.