Is the body the next breakthrough in education tech?

Remember those teacher preparation courses you took when you learned about kinesthetic learning and figured that was just for kids in shop class, art, dance, or gym? Think again.
Favorite quote:
“The richer the perceptual experience provided by the computer program, the greater the students’ understanding and retention of the material.”

Is the body the next breakthrough in education tech? | Hechinger Report.

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Google’s Project Tango Can Change Education

This will be big. Skip to the bottom for the video…but Google’s posted a video outlining Project Tango. They’ve created a dev kit (and customized cell phone innards) that would allow your phone to constantly map it’s surroundings, and to know exactly where it is in 3D space. Why is this so cool? And how can it be a huge win for education? How about these possible applications:

  • Have your students ‘map’ their home with their cell phone. Then have their phone launch an augmented reality simulation that places historical figures in their own home – sitting on their furniture and walking around the room while having a conversation with them about their life.
  • Map any space, then launch an augmented reality ball on your phone’s screen and watch it bounce around your room. Change the ‘gravity’ settings to see how the behavior of the ball changes
  • Take the phone outside and walk around your neighborhood. As it picks out new objects based on the 3D map (and in referencing the hundreds of other phones that did the same) it can teach you a new language to describe your surroundings.
  • Got some more ideas of how you’d help your students with this technology? Share them in the comments below!

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Level Up Your Life: The Beginning

My First Fitocracy BadgeI previously posted that I was going to “gamify” my life in an effort to make improvements I’ve been desiring for a long time. Some related to health, some to matters of spirituality, and some related to my family and friends. I then began doing a bit of research on the different web apps and phone apps that are available related to gamifying your life.

A few of the apps (like EpicWin) that I was most interested in trying out are only on the iPhone. I am a staunch Android user. Additionally, some seemed a bit complicated or over-engineered for my taste. For example, Dailyfeats, which is intended to help you to form positive habits. But it works on the premise that the goals you are working towards are things you would do every day. That didn’t really meet what I am looking for. And Kwester, which looked really promising, but poorly designed and difficult to use.

Another piece of my research led me to the conclusion that gaming alone is BORING. Why would it matter if I earned 40 XP and have been raised to a new level in a game if there’s no one to know about it? It wouldn’t. So I looked for ways to integrate my social networks into my gaming as much as possible.

Here’s what I decided to use:

  • Livestrong.com: I’ve used Livestrong before and I lost about 30 lbs in 3 months…but didn’t keep it off. What I should have done was to go into a ‘maintenance mode’ when I wanted to take a break from being so strict with my diet, but I goofed. I’ll be tracking all of the food I eat and exercising I do on Livestrong.com. The site is not as “gamey” as some others. But you can earn badges and let the outside world of your social network know how you are doing.
  • Superbetter: I couldn’t undertake a gamification experiment and not include Superbetter, given it was created by the fairy godmother of gamification, Jane Mcgonigal, whose first TED Talk is clearly one of the kickstarters of the life gamification movement. The aim of Superbetter is to make YOU SuperBetter!
  • Earndit.com: I stumbled into Earndit through a Facebook friend (who works at my company but still have never met in real life). Players sign up for challenges using real money (we do $20 per challenge). The winner takes all (minus 10% that goes to Earndit). Prizes are in the form of gift cards. My FB friend – at the end of the first day of our challenge – is currently kicking my ass (24 vs. 60 pts).
  • FitBit: My new FitBit arrived in the mail today. This is my second…my first having met an untimely end in the washing machine (actually, it still works, but strangely has a seriously reduced battery life). I began wearing FitBit constantly yesterday tomorrow. The data will then feed into Earnd.it and factor into my progress on the Challenge I’ve entered. It even tracks the quality of my sleep (currently 67%…not good).
  • Fitocracy: I’m counting on the badges and leveling up of Fitocracy to encourage me even more to work out. It’s SUPER well designed – fun to look at – and lots of badges to earn. Even better, it has what appears to be a really active online community and a “hero” from Fitocarcy contacted me directly offering to help me to get started and requesting that I ‘follow’ her. Which I am.

I think this is a good list with which to start. I’ll dig into each in subsequent blog posts. Any others you don’t see here that you think I should look into?

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