[callout]This post is written by Mary Howard, a fearless edtech innovator and 6th grade teacher in Grand Island New York. You can connect with Mary on Twitter at @mrshoward118 and on her blog yoursmarticles.blogspot.com.[/callout]
When Merge Cube eMERGEd onto the instructional technology scene, this six-sided sensation triggered a veritable frenzy of educators trying to get their hands on the tool to bring the power of Augmented Reality (AR) into their classrooms. If you haven’t heard of Merge Cube, I encourage you to check it out here. Basically, it’s an AR trigger that works with a host of apps designed to bring to life a variety of curriculum experiences.
As Merge Cube arrives into more and more classrooms, with its suite of over 34 experiences (and counting) available on miniverse.io, educators are finding out how Augmented Reality can be a powerful tool for instruction.
As other educators explore MergeCube, they’re clamoring for ways to customize experiences, or better yet, allowing students to create their own customized experiences, that’s where CoSpacesEDU enters the picture. CoSpacesEDU allows students (and teachers) to create customized AR experiences viewable through digital devices on the Merge Cube. Although CoSpacesEDU is not a free site, you CAN access the power of CoSpaces by reaching out to CoSpaces Ambassadors. Curious? Use COSMARYHO for a free 30 day ProTrial License!
Six CoSpaces Customized Creations for the Merge Cube
CoSpacesEDU and Merge Cube have been a fantastic amalgamation for me and my sixth-grade students to concoct a variety of projects this year. We started simple by editing Google Slide Decks and uploading images of the slides into CoSpaces, but eventually progressed to the point we were able to add some simple coding features using the built-in CoBlocks interface.
Below I’ve featured six of my favorite projects to perhaps inspire you to give it a try!
This AR book review is a great starter project for anyone interested in customizing a Merge Cube experience. Essentially, students design six 5 x 5 slides (in Google Slides or Powerpoint) to reflect their understanding of elements of a book they’ve read. Slides that are downloaded as .jpg files can then be uploaded and attached to the Merge Cube within CoSpaces. Characters and other elements of the story can also be attached/arranged within CoSpaces to create a more complete reflection of the novel. For more on this project AND for a tutorial, check this out.
With this CoSpaces poetry assignment, students put themselves inside an AR Snowglobe…literally! By taking a photo of themselves, removing the background and uploading it into CoSpaces, students can build themselves into a snowglobe and include seasonal artifacts within the globe. Creating a piece of writing on a Google Slide and saving it as a .jpg file to be uploaded into CoSpaces allows them to reflect on their experience of being “trapped” in a snowglobe. Grab a template and tutorial here.
The VocARbulary Cube concept is inspired by the traditional Frayer Model that asks students to conceptualize vocabulary words using multiple modalities, including synonyms, antonyms, illustrations, examples/non-examples, etc.
Using a strategy similar to creating the Book Review cube, students begin creating their VocARbulary Cube on 5X5 Google Slides with a one slide showing the vocabulary word and the definition, two slides showing word clouds of synonyms and antonyms and other slides showing, examples/non-examples of the word. The project extends to include an easy peasy piece of coding that activates audio of students reading their word in a sentence! Students can share their VocARbulary cubes in centers or in a vocabulary enriching gallery walk experience.
Using CoSpaces to customize experiences has allowed me to create “overlay” activities that guide students through learning. This Merge Cube AR Overlay helped me teach students the many features within a Graphic Novel.
It was created by uploading animated .gif arrows and positioning them to point at elements on a real page within a Graphic Novel. The pop up informative panels were created using a very simple bit of code within CoSpaces. A tutorial and directions for this project are available here.
In need of a unique way to demonstrate student understanding of a person of significance? Try this MergeCube BioCube idea! Again, using 5X5 slides within Google Slides, students can create a six-panel slide show to adhere to the MergeCube in CoSpaces that reflects the life of their chosen person of study. Aspects such as name, time period, place, personality traits, accomplishments, challenges, and even a quote can be included.
CoSpace even allows for uploading of sound files and videos! Imagine an AR experience including actual voice or footage included from the person being studied. So many possibilities!
One final way I integrated CoSpaces and Merge Cube was by creating a Merge Cube clue for a digital escape we completed in class. With this project I used a set of 5X5 Google Slides to make a problem ‘path’ for students to follow. The slides were converted to .jpg files and placed strategically on each side of the cube so that a virtual “path” was created along the sides of the cube. When all of the problems were solved, students had a 5 digit code which could be used to unlock a locked Google Form. An engaging challenge for students with or without a breakout!
For more inspiration and to access an amazingly supportive group of Merge Cube educators, I encourage you to check out the Merge Educators and CoSpacesEDU Facebook Groups. Feel free to reach out to me as well! I share my MergeCube musings @mrshoward118.
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