Reflective moment.. Having it all come together

So this year, I have been working on myself a little..

I had a job coach in fall and took a class on emotional reflection .. (both of these made available by wayfinding academy connections)

So some things that I noticed about myself that is good for those of us in higher education to think about.

We live very segmented lives…. we make it through the day or to the weekend, but we don’t really take the time to think like we should any more..

I was asked several times in the last few days about how I like to think.. and you know the answer was, I like to think in big pictures and think ahead.  but I found myself asking, if that is how I like to think – why I am just crossing things off list.. and how does it make it me feel?

Every experience makes you feel something, but given some meetings I had this week, and a project I am working on public speaking, I am realizing that reflection is important and it is okay to decide what we love doing and pursue it.

I think I am close to breakthrough (note: not breakdown) where there are a bunch of ideas that I have been thinking about are coming together.  I have had some amazing experiences in the last 5 years since we started the iPad project at OU. I have learned so much, changed how I learn, networked with some of the most amazing people in the world, and changed my views about expertise and educational change…  but where can I take those ideas? How can I combine them together? Research? Service? Teaching? or something else.

So I challenge you, my higher education friends,  have you reflected on where you are, where you have been and where you are going?  It is both scary and fun..

Join me on the rollercoaster and lets see where it can go!!

 

Teaching Ja’Corie about OU Create

So today in my EIPT 5513 class (yes the Saturday of spring break!)  I was showing Mr. Maxwell how to use OU Create.  I realized I have blogged a lot in the last year and while it is not peer reviewed publication, it has served me well and I would encourage someone else to do it. It helps for informal writing, and also connecting with others on social media.

OU uses the create system to allow students to start their own wordpress blog and transfer the content when they graduate.

For this graduate student, it will help him meet his own personal professional goals.  Isn’t that the purpose of higher education?

Meeting Merge Cube App Creators Steelehouse Productions

So as my friends remind me, I am bit #MergeCube obsessed.. My “teacher hoarder” “extreme couponer” tendencies are definitely awakened with this opportunity..

However, it has lead to other conversations.. that are proving to very fruitful. I have been collaborating with other ADE’s on ideas, working with former students on school integrations, and networking with new educators.   So at #EdcampOKC I did a session on AR and VR and showed the MergeCube.  As part of my practice (and general EdCamp practice) I tweeted out that I was doing the workshop. I showed a picture of Hangry Herb an App that is kind like a gigapet where you need to feed and water the little guy to keep him happy.

The creators  saw my tweet and responded to it on Twitter.. See the exchange below.

When I found out Steelehouse (http://steelehouse.com/ ) was an Oklahoma company, (Tulsa about 2 hours away).. I started to make arrangements to visit. So I went to meet with them on Friday, and figured I would drive 4 hours, to meet them for an hour..  but I ended up spending the better part of the day. They have created Super Sugar Crush, Hangry Herb,  Invasion for Merge Cube, and Ask Kranky.

So I will be honest, with my terrible eyesight, I have never been one to enjoy VR, I am more of an AR girl – because in early VR – I just cannot see..   but Steelehouse and their founder Kevin Anderson changed my mind after showing me some of their work and some of the favorite VR inspirations. 

While I thought we would spend a lot of time talking about Merge Cubes – it really just opened the conversation.   This company is well known production company in Oklahoma and they make their living on ads and promotions but their team is clearly seeing the potential of AR and VR and using it as part of their storytelling efforts.

So we had a fun frenetic conversation about the current status and future of AR and VR in education.  It was a great exchange where we got to show each other stuff and make sure we were on the same page.   I learned so much from it and I found my head spinning with new ideas, research ideas, and applications..   I went home and started reading some theory on AR and VR in education, and its been a long time since my creative gears have turned so fast..

So what did I learn from my visit:

  1. Well done Virtual Reality is about the story. If there is one great takeaway that is it.. It is not about touching unrelated stuff with goggles on, it is about having a narrative that engages the learner or participant!    Steelehouse showed me some projects they are working on – and I was engaged in the story. I forgot where I was. Even though the graphics were sometimes cartoony – the story got me.. I learned something, and I found myself wanting to know more about the topic.  And after talking to Kevin Anderson the owner – they are storytellers and that is why their content is so good.

2.   Good AR and VR content is not free.  After talking to several different app developers over the last year, this is a lesson that we must learn in education. I know we are broke.. (Come on, I am in Oklahoma.. right now we are the “brokest” education state in the country!)   but we have to be willing to pay for content that is worthwhile.  Now there is a Merge Cube app that is $50, that is a bit much, but we have to be willing to buy some apps at a reasonable price to keep the content coming or find funding to create apps to give away..(ie.. write a grant to fund the development).    This goes for all apps.  However, quality AR and VR requires animation and programmers to bring it to life.

2b.  Also I had not really engaged in Oculus beyond just grabbing stuff, engaging in an Oculus story driven scenario was totally worth it.. and the goggles and computing power was an important part of the experience and the graphics continue to come a long way from my earlier experiences. Those things all come at an expense as well.

3)The Education market for AR and VR is not clear. To prepare for our meeting, Kevin got a list of the AR and VR apps that listed as being in the education space. I only knew one of them,  Nearpod and I was able to show it to him and explain why it was so popular in education (a combination of teacher control and easy device integration).   However, the other ones that were being promoted were not on my radar. and others that I know that teachers are using like Discovery VR and NYTVR were not even listed as education VR endeavors and I know they are used widely.   For many of the VR apps that he showed me as being promoted in education, the cost of use of too high. Ie..  $10 per student per month.. Wowza.. Even CoSpaces, which I was so excited about, has gone to a subscription that does not work for US schools.  We need to pay for content -but some of the pricing models are not school friendly.  The VR content that is being developed specifically for schools is often quite pricey an maybe more appropriate for higher education settings.

4) Those that develop content want to talk to educators.  We see this with the Merge Educators group on Facebook too, and all the ambassador programs, but developers want to create meaningful and successful apps.  Having a relationship with developers helps them create things that educators can use and buy and meets our needs. Quality development has educators in the equation but also may need for us to support the apps by buying them and sharing our experiences with them.    They are business people, they don’t want to spend countless hours to develop content that no one wants.

5).  Entrepreneurs are fun to talk to . I found my day at Steelehouse productions energizing. Creatives have great ideas and they like to talk to about the future.  For a professor that is lots of fun.

So after my visit to Steelehouse in Tulsa, Kevin is coming to talk to my graduate education class on April 13th to show off his team’s projects and brainstorm with my educator graduate students.   I am super excited to see what we can come up with. We are also proposing  a research/evaluation project that has great potential if we can make it happen.. I am excited for the possibilities.

We all have a role to play to harness the power of VR in education – there is a lot of room to learn and collaborate and these technologies can be the future of education if we work together to create amazing content with learning in mind.

 

 

 

Some Merge AR VR updates

As people still search for Merge Cubes they are not totally sold out yet but there has been some really cool stuff happening..

  1. Merge has started an educators group.  with currently 358 Members.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/mergeeducators/

This group is great in that it has many people sharing curriculum guides for the Merge Cubes and new ways to use them.

2.   I taught about Merge cubes at #EdcampOKC and I posted some pics on Twitter and low and behold one of the companies that has 4 Merge Cube Apps is in Tulsa. So Friday, I am driving out and seeing where the Magic Happens and talking about collaboration..

Check out Steelehouse Productions http://steelehouse.com/  Super excited to take a personal tour this week.. more to come!!!

Check their Merge Cube  Apps Hangry Herb,  Mr Kranky, Invasion, and SuperSugar Crash!

The Time is Now!

So teachers in Oklahoma and I never thought I would see the day and I am excited for them.

Much of it is being done on facebook in a group called the Time is Now https://www.facebook.com/groups/257970398074287/

The time is now logo
Time is now Logo

Right now it is still at a talking stage but districts are pledging to support teachers.

Oklahoma teachers are some of the best educators I have ever met, in the face of disrespect they use their creativity and their sweat and tears to be there for our kids and they deserve to make a living wage.

I hope that this works out, and I hope that our legislators listen.

I am still thinking of how I can best support #Oklaed, I welcome your suggestions!  here or on Twitter @DrTerriC

I may have a problem… Merge Cube

So what is a Merge Cube and why is my teacher hoarding gene acting up?

Merge Cube is a Augmented and Virtual Reality Toy that used be around $20 at Christmas and is now on Clearance at Walmarts for $1..  It has a ton of apps available for it and it allows you to video and learn more while you use it. .

Most reviews say that it is was early to market  -but it does some fun stuff.. and well there are a ton of ideas for the classroom. For example..  this video of the pirate view game could be a great writing prompt (idea from Carrie Price)  Or using one of the anatomy apps for “looking around”

IMG_1245 IMG_1244

 

Here are some videos I made with the cubes.

 

 

 

So I may have bought a few..

And I may have gotten my former students, my husband, and even my Mom to pick a up a few..  but it has great potential. I signed up for the developer program and my husband and I are going to see what we can do.. (might as well use that masters in programming right? )

My full cart of merge cubes.
So I may have bought few..
And i may have gotten others to do it well.. (a former student and my Mom)

So You might say. I am in.. I want to find these .. How do I do it.. Here is the trick. there is a site called Brick Seek that will that will search Walmart’s inventory.

Go to:  http://www.brickseek.com

Just choose Walmart and put in the code 854590007105 and then your zip and it will show you if they are available in your area and where.

brick seek search
brick seek search

Then it will give you a list showing inventory:  Then GO shopping.

 

Brick seek results
Brick Seek results

Resources

I am excited to see what educators come up with..  but there are already some resources available.

The site for the company https://mergevr.com/cube  has some ideas.

This guide is helpful including information for login issues (under 13 etc)

An Educator’s Guide to Augment Learning with Merge Cube

A review of Merge Apps for the Classroom

https://www.androidcentral.com/merge-cube-apps-school

If you start using them.. I am excited to see what you do.. and I am excited to develop some ideas of my own..

 

 

 

 

 

Should Oklahoma Teachers Strike?

You know about a year ago, someone on facebook reached out to me through a teacher group and told me about his plans to plan a strike. I discouraged him, I said you have an advocate in the state department, there is good will, lets see if they legislature delivers.  They did not strike.. I should mention that this person is no longer a teacher, they left the profession.

So now after several failed attempts a teacher raise – including the 1 cent sales text with President Boren, the Step Up Plan,  and suggestions by Joy Hofmeister in her OKSDE budget plans – I am left reflecting on if now is the time?

I see the teachers in West Virginia protesting and walking out – because they are making much more than Oklahoma and its still not enough..  and I see them on the news, and I know their legislature is getting the message.

Tonight I spent time watching the public hearing at Bartlesville as to whether they should support a teacher strike.. I was moved by the community that supported their teachers and how it was not teachers talking, it was students, business owners, and grandparents.

As I know from my study on teachers leaving, it is a hard choice for them.. but I worry that it is almost too late for your students in Oklahoma.  If another wave of qualified teachers leave, what will our classrooms look like.. 35 students, 40 students,  standing room only?  Or will we have to stop viewing teaching as a profession all together and just make sure someone is in each room?  What will the solution be?

I feel as though my perspective has changed from a year ago.  I think if teachers strike it will be justified and the only people to blame is all of us for not holding our elected officials accountable much earlier.

the whole thing makes me incredibly sad.. I know how important teachers are to our communities, to our social fabric, and most importantly to our children.

Have we crossed a line of no return?