Innovate to Educate Entry
The University of Texas at Tyler
Julie Delello, Assistant Professor
What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?I work with and teach pre-service teachers (PST) how to create augmented reality (AR) lessons for use with children in classrooms around the country. The technology is still somewhat novel and it has really sparked engagement from kindergarten to college. In fact 97% of PSTs stated they would keep using the technology. In the fall semester, in classrooms, these PSTs used the words amazed (n=30), excited (n=22), and attention getting (n=10) to describe the enthusiasm in the classroom. One PST noted, "There is one student in the classroom that is inclusion and that student even performed higher than she regularly would with the use of this technology." Another PST remarked, "It was a very awesome 'teacher' moment, watching their reactions as the overlay popped out of the trigger image." I thought my Aurasma was very basic, but the students thought it was the coolest thing in the world, and data showed learning improved overall, 68% of the time when compared to non-use of AR. In describing the reaction of the children to the playback of the lesson, one PST composed the following sentiment:
They loved seeing themselves on the screen after they got over the fact that it was coming from a picture. They would look at the iPad screen and then try and look around at the image to see if it had changed. This project made me hunger more for technology to be placed in the classroom for our students. Kindergarten students need engaging activities to keep them on task (learning). For example, the image I am providing is part of the engagement piece a 5E Lesson Plan where the pre-service teacher was dressed in overalls, house shoes, and a straw hat. In addition, she held a stuffed animal and "The Night before Christmas" storybook. The class was learning to identify objects that one would use or see when the Sun is up (day) and when the Sun is down (night). After the lesson, the PST created an infographic for the trigger image combined with a video overlay of the children listening to the lesson she had taught.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?Although the majority (97%) of PSTs felt that using AR was beneficial to students, there were challenges to using AR applications in the classrooms. These barriers primarily dealt with the available technology. For example, the PSTs reflected that in some classrooms, the Wi-Fi was not strong enough to support the technology and there was a lack of sufficient devices (iPads, iPods, headphones) to enable the students to view the auras. For instance, one prospective teacher noted, "I would like for each student to have their own iPad or iPod so that they can view the aura individually." Another student reflected, "Next time I would like to have more than one iPad so all of the students could see the Aura and not have to all look through one iPad." For those campuses who couldn't afford to purchase individual iPads for students, it was advantageous to team with other teachers and share devices. Another option was to tether an iPad to an iPhone in order to get connectivity as needed. There were also some issues with the mentor teachers the PSTs were assigned to as some did not want to try something new in the classroom for fear of disruption.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
|Schools will need to make a significant investment in the resources (hardware and software) to meet the needs of the 21st century learner.|
|Teacher preparation programs may also want to consider the placement of PSTs into more technically advanced classrooms as some of the mentor teachers noted having limited time to teach science or integrate technology effectively.|
It is vital that support, time, and training be provided in order to integrate technology and pedagogy effectively into classrooms.