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From the Classroom to the World

Michigan teachers draw audience eager to learn about 4D technology.

Drew Minock and Brad Wald look on as
student Natalie Ramirez explores augmented
reality on her iPad.

When it comes to classroom technology, Drew Minock and Brad Wald are rock stars. They produce the popular blog and podcast “Two Guys and Some iPads”—a venture that attracts classroom teachers and enthusiasts from around the world. All of them are eager to absorb the duo’s classroom experiences using iPads and new 4D technology called Augmented Reality, a program that combines the digital and physical worlds.

The two men crossed paths when Minock was hired as a third-grade teacher at Eastover Elementary School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “I was lucky enough to join an amazing team of educators which included Brad,” Minock says. “[He] was part of a district iPad project that gave him five iPads to use in the classroom.”

As members of the school’s technology committee, Minock and Wald shared the iPads. “We immediately saw the impact they were having on the way we taught and the way our students experienced learning,” says Minock.

At the 2013 Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning meeting, the men discovered augmented reality—called AR, for short. “Most people are familiar with the QR code, a machine-readable barcode that can be read by mobile phones or tablets. Think of this as a QR Code on steroids,” explains Minock. “AR takes 2D images and brings them to life with digital content. For educators and students, it opens up a world of teaching and learning that was impossible before.”

The teachers’ work and skill with augmented reality in the classroom also drew the attention of Daqri, the world’s leading developer of AR apps for the classroom. Today, Minock and Wald act as educational advisors to Daqri.

“With AR products like Elements 4D by Daqri, students can manipulate blocks representing elements in the periodic table and see how the elements react to one another when they are placed together—right from their Android or iOS devices, rather than just reading about them in a textbook,” explains Minock. “Another free Daqri app, Anatomy 4D, allows users to explore the human body and isolate different systems.”

Minock also points to the AR app Daqri that allows students to engage in and create Augmented Reality experiences of their own. These include:

  • Homework Mini-Lessons—Students scan a page of homework to reveal a video of their teacher designed to help the student solve a problem.
  • Word Walls—Students record themselves providing vocabulary definitions on a word wall. Afterward, any student who needs help with a word can use the Aurasma app to see a peer defining it and using the word in a sentence.
  • Lab Safety Triggers—These images are placed around a science laboratory. When scanned, they activate media that provides students with safety procedures and protocols for the lab equipment.

Follow Minnock and Wald on Twitter at drew-@TechMinock and Brad-@techbradwald  or find their blog.

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