How To Make Powerful Virtual Learning Tours

As some of you may be aware I have finally purchased an iPhone and couldnt be happier. To put it simply they are simply amazing and certainly get me really excited about the future of mobile learning. Anyway I decided that I would try to avoid posting too much about its features given the fact that most people still don’t have one, however I couldnt pass up the opportunity to share my ideas about using it to create virtual tours. So here it is…

The idea uses the Run Keeper app which comes in both a free and pro version ($12.99 AUD). Run Keeper uses the iPhones GPS to enable users to track their outdoor activities and then have them displayed on a Google Map for review at a later stage. Not only is your path recorded but your distance, speed, pace and elevation are logged making for a powerful workout analysis.  On completion your information is automatically sent to the Runkeeper website and can also be auto shared with social networks. Anyway the feature that becomes the most important element of my idea is the ability to take geotagged pictures during your activity which are referenced to the place at which they were taken.

For a more detailed explanation check out the screencast that will take you through all of the features and share a few ideas of how it could be used in classes outside of Phys Ed and Outdoor Ed.

Sound interesting? Check out the link to my tour of my town ‘Boort’, which includes some of the main attractions. Now we might not be at the stage where our students have iPhones, but there is no reason why schools couldnt invest in the technology. One iPhone would bring about endless possibilities with our students, including activities like this.

So what do you think? Could this be used in your classroom? How could you make a  virtual tour? What would your virtual tour be about?

A Kinesthetic Reading Adventure

Remember those books where at the end of every page you had the choice to turn to say page 15 or page 35 depending on how you wanted the story to eventuate? Well for a long time now I’ve been thinking about how well this idea would work with QR codes in the place of page numbers. Here’s what I want to do.

  1. Go to a QR code generator website such as http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/
  2. Select the ‘text’ option to bring up the template to create a QR code that contains text and select the barcode size as ‘Large’
  3. Write a piece of your story or copy and paste from a document.
  4. At the end of the section leave an option to “scan code 2 to …..” or scan code 3 to …..”
  5. Hit the ‘Generate’ button to create a QR code that contains the text you entered in the template.
  6. The reader then scans the CODE 1, to read the start of the story and then has the choice to scan different codes depending on how they would like the story to turn out (See the example below)

 

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Once you have generated all of the codes you need you could then print them out and stick them onto an A4 piece of paper with the appropriate number written above. For example QR code 1 would be stuck onto a piece of paper marked with the number 1. You would then scatter the codes throughout the room or around the school and give kids a map that outlined the general location of all the codes.

They would then start scanning their codes, starting with code 1 reading the story and then ‘choosing their own adventure’ which would lead them to a new code and the next part of the story. This would continute until they had completed the entire short story and returned back to the original code.

Now I must admit an activity like this may take some time to set up, however the fact that it is very simple to create a QR code using the generator means students could easily write their own stories using this method.  In my opinion this would be well worth the effort and prove to be a highly engaging way to read and write a story. What do you think?

For information on how you can get QR code reader software onto your cell phone, you can read my previous posts here