Each year, our 4th grade creates a wax museum for their colonial period social studies standards. Students research a person from that time, write and memorize a script, dress as that character, stand throughout the school, and give their speech multiple times to visitors. This year the 4th grade team and I decided to try something different. We wanted to create a digital wax museum and expand the standards beyond the colonial period to the entire 4th grade social studies standards. This new project would use the augmented reality app, Layar, to unlock all of the digital projects that students created about their person from history. It would also be a collaborative project between 4th grade, art, and the media center.
Updating this project was a big undertaking, but we created a process that I think can grow and expand next year.
First, students came to the library and learned about the project. I showed them various digital resources that they might use for their research including Pebble Go and our state Galileo database which includes Encyclopedia Britannica. I showed them how they could search for websites within Destiny when they are logged in.
Next, I showed them how they could create a double column table in a Google doc. One side would be a space to copy and paste information from digital resources and the other side would be for putting the information into their own words. I showed them how to use the Easybib add-on within Google docs to document where their information was coming from. They loved this feature and so did the teachers.
Finally, students used a Signup Genius to sign up for their topics. This made topic selection fast and teachers were able to give a final approval to the person that students signed up for.
After that, students started their research. Most used their gathered facts to write scripts for various projects.
Then, they all returned to the library to learn about their project options. Students did not have to use technology to create their project, but they did have to use technology to document their project. For example, if they made a physical poster, they had to use some type of technology tool to record some information about their poster using their script. Many digital tools were suggested to students, but students were welcome to find and try their own tools. We suggested Chatterpix, Tellagami, and iMovie as main options. Students chose projects and continued working in class.
In art, students researched images of the historical events their person was involved in and created an image to serve as the trigger image for the Layar augmented reality app. The images were created with water colors, pencils, crayons, markers, and various other tools.
As images were finished, they came to me in the library so that they could be photographed and uploaded to Layar. I also printed each photograph so that we had a uniform size picture to scan in the hallway. This wasn’t necessary, but it was nice to have a smaller image to scan since some were large.
Students made multiple kinds of projects to attach to their image in Layar. Some chose to make gamis in Tellagami. Because this app lets you make 30-second clips, some students chose to make multiple videos to upload to Youtube while others used iMovie to compile their videos.
Some students used Chatterpix to make a picture of their character talk. Once again, they either created multiple files or compiled them.
Some students chose to do the traditional wax museum project of dressing up as your person, but this time, they filmed themselves and uploaded to Youtube.
A few students created unique projects that no one else attempted. One student used Powtoon to make a Common Craft-like video about indentured servants.
Another student wanted to do an interview, so she filmed clips of herself as a news reporter asking questions and made response videos using Chatterpix. Then, she used WeVideo to put them together. Because the free version of WeVideo doesn’t upload to Youtbe, we had to do a screencast of her project in order to view on the iPad.
Another student used Songify to record a rap song about Martin Luther King. We converted his file in Any Video Converter and put it into iMovie so that it could be uploaded to Youtube.
Once students had a video or link to their project, they emailed it to me to upload to Layar. They could have done the uploading to Layar themselves but we wanted to test most of the Layar pages before we put them in the hall. Many people helped students with the creation and uploading of their projects. Many thanks to the 4th grade teachers, our grad assistant Carol Buller-McGee, our instructional tech specialist Todd Hollett, gifted teacher Heather Carlson, special ed teacher Haley Beaver, an EIP teacher Lee Rogers for assisting me with getting students videos uploaded and emailed.
Students worked with me to connect their links in Layar, put them in right spots on the image, and test them out. I went ahead and published our “campaign” in the Layer creator. You have to “publish” before the images will work when they are scanned. You can still add pages and links even after you have published.
We also uploaded all of the content to a Smore page so that families (and the world) could view the projects from home without Layar.
The 4th grade team and art teacher displayed all of the art in the hallway. Today, families were invited to stop by and view the gallery. I rolled the iPads to classrooms and took headphones too. Students came out with their families and showed off their projects and the projects of their friends. They showed parents how to open the Layar app, point the iPad at the image, tap the screen to let Layar scan the image, and watch the content magically pop up on the iPad screen. Several parents had already downloaded Layar on their phones too. There was excitement in the air as families experienced augmented reality for the first time. I overheard some of them saying how they wanted to go home and try it themselves. Others were amazed by the variety of projects that students made. I overheard conversations about social studies content but also conversations on how to use all of the tool that were needed to make this project happen. I loved seeing the students taking a leadership role in sharing with their families how to use the technology that they use at school.
Next week, classrooms will be invited to tour the gallery. I think we learned a lot from this project. One of the things that I loved most was how differentiated it was. Some students created multiple projects for their person while others focused really hard on one project. Students were able to showcase their strengths and interests, and I felt that every single student was fully engaged in this project. I hope that others found value in this project as well so that we can continue and expand upon this type of experience for projects next year.
Also, take a look at what our augmented reality wax museum looked like in action today.