Augmented Reality Sandbox (Part Two)

Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 8.37.50 PMAugmented reality has evolved by leaps and bounds since I first wrote about building an Augmented Reality Sandbox.  I held the solar system in my hand this week using the new Merge Cube

.I’m embarrassed to say that when I wrote my first post on the topic, I planned on following up with a second post about the process, but I forgot.

When I returned to the University of California Davis web page of Dr. Olivery Kreylos, I didn’t even recognize it.  The page had expanded and been updated.  It was clear to me that augmented reality has evolved!

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The web page now has an abundance of resources including guidance on hardware, software, calibration and my favorite, implementation.

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The facilitation guide is full of carefully crafted scope and sequence and suggestions for how to connect this to classrooms.  It is a treasure!

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The site has blueprints that you can download and use to construct your own as well as step-by-step instructions for how to set up and calibrate your PC.

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It almost feels silly to talk about how I constructed my AR Sandbox at this point.  I’ll share a few images of my set up and materials, but the resources on the site are by far more exhaustive and useful.

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As I reflect on having the AR Sandbox in my library now for two school years, I do have a few thoughts.  The first is that set up and calibration can be time-consuming and requires someone with basic comfort in PC set up.  Thankfully, I had a couple of folks who had this experience.  I’m on my own now and I look forward to utilizing the resources on the site to help me calibrate and tweak the settings.  The facilitation guide has some excellent ideas for how I can make this resource an even more meaningful component of our IDEA Lab.

Do you have an AR Sandbox? Do you want to have one?  What questions do you have for me about how we are using ours?  I look forward to your comments and questions!

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Our First Ever PARENTS Only Open House!

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This week was our first ever Parents Only Open House at the Hubbard Woods IDEA Lab. Last year was an overwhelming success!  We had students manning each station and the response was overwhelming.  While fewer people attended this session, those who came were curious and enjoyed having the chance to see the tools and resources their students had access to.  They were impressed and looking forward to seeing how Seesaw Digital Portfolios played into the documentation of the learning of all students in the space.  They can’t wait for me to grant access to their student’s portfolios!

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We set up several stations for the parents to explore:

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Parents seemed drawn to the 3D printers; for many this was their first time seeing one in action.  It was fun describing some of our plans for them this year and explaining how they work.  They also enjoyed meeting Mr. Codell, our new tech associate who demonstrated how Bloxels worked.  Bloxels was one of the most coveted raffle prizes of the night!

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The most dazzling station was, however, the Augmented Reality Sandbox.  If you are interested in building one yourself, you can visit the University of California Davis website where Professor Oliver Kreylos has everything you might need!

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The students built a ‘house’ for the open house.   They used their absolute favorite tool, Rigamajig.  Rigamajig was the unanimous resource by both older and younger students through the first year of our IDEA Lab.  We are so excited that Rigamajig has decided to share with us two of the first sets of new tool extensions for the building sets: they are gears, cranks, chains and more.  In two weeks, our first grade students will video chat with Cas Hollman, the creator of Rigamajig, to share their ideas for ‘tweaking’ the carts that we use to store the building tool.  It’s been amazing watching some of the youngest students working through the design thinking process.

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On October 8th, we are hosting our second annual Cardboard Challenge.  I have been constructing my Halloween costume and am using it to teach the students a few ‘tricks’ of the trade when it comes to ‘joining’ cardboard together.  We love the tool Makedo because it essentially lets you ‘rivet’ two piece of cardboard together.  There are some amazingly cool tools that come with the kits: a combo saw/punch and a screwdriver that can both take rivets out as well as crank them in.

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The parents were curious how I had built it so I put the top piece of my robot samurai costume on to show them.  The chest piece fits on like a suit of armor.  I slide it on from the back and need my ‘armor paige’ to help me by fastening velcro loops on the back.  The velcro loops are conveniently hidden by my empty cheese ball containers that are painted to look like rocket packs!

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The final station I want to highlight was the collaborative string art project.  This idea came to me after a mission trip to Detroit this summer with my own children.  At a church where we stayed, there were two beautiful nail art projects that got my mind racing.  I knew I had to have our students make something like this at Hubbard Woods.  The result was a large, rectangular ‘canvas’ that had nearly 200 nails in it.  The idea is that each person will tie off on a nail and then make ten random connections to other nails.  It will take us quite a while to get every student, parent and teacher to add their connections to it, but the finished product is sure to be stunning.

 

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The whole point of the evening was to get parents in the space and see what’s possible.  We also hoped to encourage parents to sign up to volunteer with their student’s class.  We had tremendous parent participation last year.  Parents learned to hang back and watch their students learn and I modeled effective intervention (only as last resort and even then pose questions to kids rather than telling them ‘how’ to do it.)

I would say it was a fantastic success and it gives me tremendous hope for what is possible this year!  Thank you to all the fantastic parents who came and volunteered!