Last week I saw some fantastic learning coming out of my young readers. Our focus recently has been on visualizing in reading. I believe using Storyboardthat, iMovie and CoSpaces have really helped to deepen these visualizing experiences.
After initial teacher modelling through reading of poems and stories, with learners closing their eyes and visualizing in their minds, we moved to drawing what we visualized onto a whiteboard. While this was a good way to get learners to start identifying keywords from the text to build a more detailed image in their mind, it wasn't a particularly memorable experience nor transformative in the eyes on the SAMR model.
To use the SAMR model and truly redefine this learning experience, I chose to use a new app called CoSpaces, which a colleague +Bob Miller had put me onto.
CoSpaces is similar to Minecraft in that the user can create their own digital worlds. They choose the environment, and fill it with objects such as people, animals, trees, and landmarks. What is really cool is what comes next though - the world comes alive through virtual reality.
Learners can use either their iPad or a VR headset like Google Cardboard to immerse themselves in the world they just created. They can move around, interact with characters and objects, and really feel like they are IN the world.
When testing 3 of my learners recently going from Gold to Silver, they all passed with flying colours. I really believe that our recent learning using these tools for visualizing has encouraged learners to build pictures in their mind as they read on a deeper level than if I had not used a digital tool. One particular question in the PROBE test for 8.5-9.5 reading level asked learners "Why would a cave home not have many homes" and one of my learners said they imagined a cave in their mind. I think this visualizing technique would have helped them to answer this question.