Back to Life, Back to (Augmented) Reality

ARToolkit-imageEver heard of Augmented Reality (AR)? I know, I know–for some of us, conventional reality is stressful enough without adding to it. However, imagine harnessing the potential overlay of virtual images on the real world.  What if educators and students could create and superimpose a 3D virtual character over what’s real? It’s an exciting posssibility that’s being brought to fruition through work being condcuted by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (also known as the HIT Lab) at the University of Washington and other research facilities around the globe. If this kind of intriguing, engaging, real world application of technology excites you, check out ARToolKit. It’s a free, downloadable software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

Helping Writers Get it Right

There are definite advantages to having pupils compose written assignments using a word processor. For starters, many young authors are reluctant to write with pencil or pen because they know that, after initial editing, they’ll eventually have to reconstruct the work again and again and again. Typing their thoughts, no matter how meager the text, saves nascent scribes the hassles and frustrations of rewriting. Once aspiring writers have captured the essence of their ideas in digital form crystallizing and refining concepts becomes even more efficient. The availability of a built-in dictionary/thesaurus ever present, ever ready to offer linguistic assistance makes word processing even more attractive. Digital manipulation of written assignments also makes sharing drafts with teacher and peers possible and much more likely. For educators who are prudent enough to allow learners to integrate technology in this manner there’s an additional perk: an online text analysis resource from UsingEnglish.com. After pasting student-generated text into the UE Text Content Analyser this useful site displays statistics such as:

Go Green!

st_patricks_day_hatHappy St. Patrick’s Day! After you get the facts beyond the blarney about this day, take a look at what you’re wearing. Traditionally, anyone not wearing a wee bit of green is likely to be soundly pinched by their properly-clad peers. Not wanting that to happen to any of our gentle readers, this blog has amassed enough examples of verdant-tinted vocabulary to keep everyone safe. What’s nifty about the terms we’ve pulled together is that the internet makes all of their rich histories available to anyone, anywhere. So, if you’re caught without any emerald apparel, take a stroll down memory lane, check out the scenery and ponder the following cultural greenery:

Sample a little of Green Onions (via the classic music variety show, Shindig!) and think about how you can use multimedia resources to spice up learning experiences for your students.