This week I am looking at technology hardware that could be potentially used in the classroom. There are honestly more options for technology implementation than I ever could have realized, and once I get settled in my own school environment for work and determine their specific needs, I am eager to see what options are available and best suited for my future students. I generally have more interest in topics that relate to high school age learning environments, as that is my primary focus of study. However, since there could be a possibility that I might be working in a school environment that has K-12 students, I wanted to investigate a technology that could be used with students of all different ages.
I settled on VR headsets, as it is something that students may find interesting and help teachers develop lessons that are more interactive and engaging. My only real experience with VR in a learning environment was during my undergraduate studies, where I was able to sit in on high school history and biology classes using the technology to look at WWI trenches and 3D models of cells. I recognize that how this technology is implemented may look very different for younger students, but I think even elementary school students may get enjoyment out of being able to interact with the information they are learning about in a more hands-on way.
When looking at library websites for another assignment for this course, I saw another high school library that was utilizing Google Cardboard with their students, allowing them to make short interactive 360 videos. I will link to the Monticello High School Library’s website so you can see the videos for yourself, as several of them were very creative and used the functionality of being able to turn the camera in the recorded video to tell compelling stories.
From the options I looked at, the most cost-effective option on the market right now is Google Cardboard, as one headset costs about $9 at the lowest. These headsets can be made of cardboard or plastic and use android or iOS smart phones to show visuals. They are fairly easy to set up and provide awesome features related to the 360 camera. Students can tour other countries, take 360 videos with narration, or watch normal videos that float in the air around them. These two blogs share a few ideas for ways to utilize this technology as part of a classroom lesson.
Technology Integration Matrix
The next question we as educators must ask ourselves as we look at how to use technology in the classroom is how this enhances learning in a meaningful way. This should go beyond just substituting lecturing in front of students to a virtual lecture video, and the way we go about this is critical for developing a student’s ability to independently learn and explore. One framework that fits well with this approach is the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), as it describes and targets the use of technology to enhance learning. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal directed. These characteristics are associated with five levels of meaningful technology integration: entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2019). This framework is great for encouraging students to work towards independent learning as they become more familiar with the technology being utilized. For VR technology, that could mean students begin by using the headsets to listen to lectures or watch 360 videos made by their teacher. By the end of the unit, students should be confident enough to create their own video related to the unit. The ways this technology can be implemented into the classroom is quite varied and should help encourage independent learning from students.
For more information about the Technology Integration Matrix, check out this introduction video from Dr. James Welsh.
Ed Tech. (2016, August 18). 12 ways to use Google Cardboard in your class. Ditch That Textbook. https://ditchthattextbook.com/12-ways-to-use-google-cardboard-in-your-class/
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (2019). The Technology Integration Matrix. https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix/
Jarrett, N. (2016). 10 simple ways to use Google Cardboard in the classroom. Edtech 4 Beginners. https://edtech4beginners.com/2016/02/25/10-simple-ways-to-use-google-cardboard-in-the-classroom/
Welsh, James. [Technology Integration Matrix]. (2021, February 8). Introduction to the Technology Integration Matrix – Dr. James Welsh. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHlvhKrcjQI&ab_channel=TechnologyIntegrationMatrix