Like many busy working moms I was recently last-minute Googling birthday ideas for my 10-year-old son. One particular item popped up that caught me by surprise. Not because it involved slime (always popular) or Nerf (If I find one more stray Nerf bullet!), but because it was a product that I recognized from working in EdTech, an augmented reality product produced by MergeVR that my company, EdGate, had recently aligned to science standards. A product had actually passed through that invisible toy/curriculum barrier into the microcosm of cool educational products that a 10-year-old might actually dig AND learn something from.
I realized it wasn’t just the MergeVR cube that has made its way from suggested Amazon.com birthday gift lists all the way to the classroom. We all know how much kids love Minecraft. I mean breeding virtual sheep while also learning multiples of four; who can resist? And now Sony has landed on the scene in a big way with a kit that contains…wait for it…all the tools to build robots! Honestly, if teachers are arguing over who gets to build the Sony KOOV robot, students must be clambering to build them too.
But then you have to ask yourself the age-old question; can a product be considered super cool AND actually teach to standards? Of course, the answer is yes and not just because I’m writing this article about how products can be educational and fun.
Take the MergeVR cube. Imagine using a cube that offers augmented reality experiences where you hold the solar system in the palm of your hand, examine dinosaur fossils and ancient artifacts, and investigate the human heart. Students use a smart phone, tablet, or laptop to interact with the MERGE Cube, learning complex concepts through the mixed reality experience, as well as accompanying lessons.
“This is the first school year that we’re rolling out – but teachers and students are absolutely in love with it,” said Jeremy Kenisky, Vice President/Creative at MergeVR. “Students get super engaged and often are able to retain the information much more clearly than looking at photos in a book or reading something off of a web page. By holding digital objects in their hands and creating their own experiences using some of our apps, they learn faster, easier, utilize a lot more of their senses, and have fun.”
Gina Faulk is a guest contributor for MDR Education’s blog. Visit their website for the full article.
By: Gina Faulk