Fabulous FETC Finds - AR, VR, MR & AI

In January, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida for FETC 2018 (Future of Education Technology Conference). Believe it or not, it was the first time I had ever attended! What I loved most about it was the number of tracks offered: Administrator, Information Technology, Educator, Special Education, and Early Learning. There truly was something there for everyone, and so many sessions that it literally took hours to choose a single day's worth of sessions. Though my intended focus was Computer Science, I found myself drawn in by some of the other offerings.

Below are some of the amazing things I learned about the world of AR, VR, MR, and AI. I can't wait to find some time to dig in and learn more about some of these resources, products, and websites!

Augmented Reality (AR): a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. If you want a quick idea of what this can do, download the Wayfair app and place a piece of furniture in your home using their AR interface.

JigSpace - Explore and learn about objects in 3D. iOS only at this time.

AirMeasure - An AR measuring toolkit. Use the AR technology to measure real-world objects.

WorldBrush & Wallame - Create your own AR experiences in the real world.

StoryFab - Use AR and your own environment to make movies with virtual characters and objects. Their website has little information; their kickstarter campaign has more.

Google Expeditions AR - Maps the physical classroom and places AR objects for kids to explore and learn about. Just this week I had an opportunity to see Google's AR in action through beta testing program Google is currently offering. Although the teachers were not able to make strong curricular ties yet (content is limited at this time), the potential is huge. The kids were highly engaged and very enthusiastic. Teachers observed that students who rarely spoke in class or have learning disabilities were fully focused and actually interacting with their peers around the content!

Exploring the Sun
If you want to see it for yourself, sign up to test out Google Expeditions AR!

Virtual Reality (VR): the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. Check out the preview for the movie Ready Player One for a glimpse of the direction this technology may take.

Learn more about AR & VR from Kathy Schrock. 

Mixed Reality (MR): the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. A bit like AR & VR combined.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Current examples include Alexa, Google Home, etc.

Seeing AI: Narrates the world. Originally designed for the visually impaired, this app can describe objects placed in front of it, read text out loud, and more.

AmperMusic: From their website: an artificial intelligence composer, performer, and producer that empowers you to instantly create and customize original music for your content.

AI Experiments: Learn more about machine learning with these hands-on experiments.

Amazon Echo Dot: From Amazon: a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, read the news, set music alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more. What's especially cool about it is that you can code your own Skills!

If you have implemented any AR, VR, MR or AI in your classroom, please let me know what you think! I'd love to hear which apps/activities impressed you the most.


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