Five steps to use Virtual Reality in your classroom!

I recently purchased a set of virtual reality goggles for my classroom and they have been an awesome addition to create authentic learning experiences. I am so stoked to share with you what I have learned and how you can implement your own VR classroom experience.

The motivation behind exploring virtual reality in my classroom came from a few places.

Firstly, I am always looking for ways to spice up learning in my classroom, I love trying new things and I love bringing different ways of learning to my students. Secondly, I knew that creating virtual experiences for my students would make learning more authentic and the ‘why’ would visible. And lastly and most importantly, I knew that virtual reality has the ability to get to all learners. Regardless of language ability, cognitive levels, strengths or weaknesses, all of my students would have the potential to be involved in the same world together- and that potential was awesome.

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Here are five steps that you can take to implement VR in your classroom!

Step 1: Get the necessary tools!

I decided to buy the VR BOX 2.0 Virtual Reality 3D Glasses because I did not want a cardboard version that could get mangled and broken easily and they had a good rating on Amazon (pretty simple lol.)


From my experience, I would highly recommend this brand because they are durable, have adjustable lenses and straps for difference head shapes/ eye types and are easy to use.

The only down side, is that you need a device (either a smart phone, or touch iPod) to go on the inside of the goggles. This could be a challenge for students who don’t have a device. In this case, I just split the class in half and paired students with ones who had a device, or allowed them to borrow my own.

Step 2: Get the APP or use YouTube!

The first time we used the goggles I truthfully had no idea how to use them. I essentially gave them to the students and had a “let’s figure this out together” class. It was awesome to see them take initiative and problem solve to figure it out.

Essentially this is what we discovered.

In order to have the entire 360 feeling of virtual reality (with the screen moving with you as you move and walk) you need one of two things on your device; an app, or YouTube.

If you want to use an APP, there are a ton of awesome 360 VR options. One that my students liked was called VR travel because there were lots of options for students to be able to travel to different places. On this APP there were also difference experiences like a roller coaster that students like to see.

If downloading an APP is not an option you can use YouTube. This was actually my preferred method because you could better control the videos that students watched and it was easy for all the students to get it on their devices.


All you do is search a place with virtual reality or VR in the title (for example: Paris VR/ Paris Virtual Reality) and a whole list of video options will come up. Then in order for it to become VR, you need to click the goggles symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the video so that is it split screen and you are good to go!

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Step 3: Link it to core subject content to create experiences surrounding objectives!

So many amazing companies have come up with incredible content to link to objectives in your classroom from Social Studies, to Science, to second language learning-its great!

Some awesome sites to check out for curricular links to VR:

Google Expeditions
YouTube NatGeo
AirPano
AccuWeather
360cities
Round Me
JapanTravelAdventures

I am looking forward to using this in my Social class when learning about Japan!

For now, it has served an awesome purpose in my Travel and Culture class!

Step 4: Allow for exploration!

Some of my favorite moments using the virtual reality in my classroom as come allowing them to do their own thing. I have loved giving students a combination of tasks from myself and an element of self exploration so that they are allowed to experience things and places that are exciting for them.

Step 5: Allow them to team up and use collaboration!

My students LOVE to work together. This is an awesome way to build positive relationships and promote teamwork in your classroom.

Like I mentioned above, students may need to pair up out of necessity of using a device for the VR goggles; however, I also found it useful to pair them up together and allow them to go on quests and discoveries as a team. It allowed for some guided learning but required them to collaborate and have fun together.

VR has been an amazing addition to learning in my classroom. The kids are super excited about it and I am enjoying watching them explore new worlds and experiences.

I look forward to hearing about your virtual reality experiences!

Cheers,

Miss Rylance

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Reflecting on a FABULOUS year!

Welcome to 2019!

Wow 2018 was a fantastic whirlwind in so many ways. Looking back I feel extremely blessed and proud of everything that happened in 2018. This post is dedicated to reflecting on those incredible moments as a teacher, my top 8 ‘WOW’ moments of 2018.

Disclaimer: I tried to pick just 5, but it was too hard.

This year, I have some new goals for myself in my classroom and as a teacher. As I am goal planning for 2019 with my students this week, I feel compelled to give you insight and inspiration on how I’m looking forward and where you could push yourself to do the same!

Here are my top 8 ‘WOW’ moments of 2018:

  1. Opening the Cultural CenterIMG_0577
  2. Community Support NightIMG_0896
  3. Speaking about English Language Learning and Pedagogyimg_1620 (1)
  4. Writing an article for the Alberta Teachers Association
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  5. Sharing my passion on some awesome Pod Casts, check them out!
  6.  Starting my Masters of Education!

     

  7. Classroom Makeover!
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  8. AMAZING moments with my kiddos

     

I feel like I could write a book about all of these experiences- it was a fabulous year! Obviously the challenges also existed and obstacles were not absent; however, the pay off after all the burnout was worth it.

2019 goals are to continue the momentum, to push myself but remember what is important- my students, myself, and the people I love.

What are your goals for 2019?

Cheers,

Miss Rylance

 

Surviving Teaching… truly

Hello! This is the first post I have made in a few months because life has picked up speed and I have been truly just ‘surviving teaching’. Welcome back to reading!

I often get asked why I decided to call my blog Surviving Teaching, because it may elude a negative tone and generally education embodies positivity and optimism. The truth is, I decided on Surviving Teaching because as teachers, sometimes we thrive and rock it, and sometimes we are just figuring out how to be the best we can for those kiddos and are just trying to survive. I wanted to present an authentic perspective of what went into teaching, all the great and stellar moments, but also the ones where you question your sanity and at times want to claw your eye balls out.

The last few months, for me, have taken surviving teaching to another level. 

In September I began my Masters of Education journey with the University of Portland, I thought it was going to be easy to balance the needs of a full time teaching job, ESL instructional coach, planning a wedding, teaching Ukrainian dance and being a student.

HA! I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED moving through the journey of going back to school and exploring areas of leadership. BUT, as a new teacher who already has a ton on the go… it has been rough. Some days are hard, like really hard. And the online world of education and social media tends to portray the great and fantastic things about being a teacher. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of a student loosing it on you and expressing you aren’t doing a good job, nothing can prepare you for the heart break you feel when they are suffering, nothing can prepare you for the amount of patience and grit you are required to have to truly give 100% every day…. its hard.

Some days, I truly wonder if I want to be a teacher, and I definitely know other people are with me on this one.

I have been doing a lot of self reflecting over the past few months about my purpose in life, why I am here, what if I am no where near what I am destined to do. But, one wise friend of mine told me “it is ok to be blissfully dissatisfied with your life”.

The idea of being blissfully dissatisfied changed my perspective on what I am accomplishing now in my life and where I am destined to go. The blissful part comes from being truly happy where I am in my life; amazing students, great classroom, stellar support system, opportunities to grow and learn. However, the dissatisfied part comes from knowing there is something bigger and better waiting for me in my future self.

I have summed it all into one thought. Surviving Teaching… is all about being blissfully dissatisfied. About being present and happy in the moment no matter what is being thrown at us and knowing we are doing everything we can to push on and arrive how we can for our students. But the other side of it also includes enough dissatisfaction to challenge the present, grow, learn more and want more.

For everyone else struggling through balancing what ever you have going, I am with you. Surviving teaching is going to be our greatest accomplishment, and it is ok to be blissfully dissatisfied.

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Cheers,

Miss Rylance

World Teacher Day: celebrating you!

Happy World Teacher Day!

www.unesco.org states that…

“World Teachers’ Day aims to focus on “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching”

When I think about everything that comes with being a teacher, I think about so many things. Some of them include how lucky I am to live in a place where education and teachers are appreciated and how motivated I feel to improve the lives of teachers and learners in my own developments; but mostly, I feel so grateful that I have the best job in the world.

So this post is dedication for all of you fellow teachers out there. I am so proud to serve with you and I am proud of the difference that we are creating daily.

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To celebrate World Teacher Day, I decided to write a positive and uplifting post about the 7 best things I love about being a teacher. When I tell people about how passionate I am about my job, people usually think I am crazy BUT hopefully this sheds light on why it is so worth!

Reason #1: The Kids

I think this is the most cliche reason that teachers love to teach. But for me, its so much more than just working with a wonderful bunch of people. My students are like a beacon of light in my life, they give me energy and hope on the hard days, they teach me so many things about humanity and the ‘latest’ and greatest things, they bring me joy.

My students are my why. My students are why working so hard is worth it. They are my #1 reason.

Reason #2: Helping them discover themselves

I also love seeing how my students are deciding who they are going to be in the world. How they are going to be the game changers and world shakers. AND I love being a part of that discovery.

I love empowering different parts of them and helping them see their strengths and how they can change the world, I love making a difference in the person and path they are going to have.

Reason #3: My work is meaningful

I firstly just want to say, that I think many people have important work in our world and everyone contributes to making our lives awesome. But I love that my work is meaningful and making a big difference in the path of our future.

It is sometimes discouraging listening to the news, realizing the opinions and actions of others, and know that I can have a small part in making a difference in people and in lives is so worth it for me.

Teachers- you are doing awesome things.

Reason #4: The ripple effect

Teachers are making impactful change- hands down- but the change that we are creating in society is sometimes missed. The reality of why I love my job is because we are changing the world from the bottom up, teaching the future doctors, prime ministers, teachers, business people, mothers, fathers of our world- that is epic.

Reason #5: Spreading my passions

Selfishly, I love that I get to talk about what I love every single day, and I get to make my students excited about it too. World politics, cultures, languages, literature, and being Ukrainian- what else could be more amazing.

Reason #6: The fame

I love feeling important to around 160 little people every day. With all the classes I teach, I have just over 160 kids. I like to refer to it as ‘the fame’ because we all know that there is no true fame in teaching; however, feeling important and knowing that the connections I am making with these kids are long lasting is so worth it.

Reason #7: Life long learning

Practice what you preach… that’s my motto when it comes to learning. I have a deep love and passion for learning from new people, new places, new things and I absolutely love that by being in a learning environment, I can continue to learn.

My students push me to learn new things, and I feel accountable to continue to better myself for them.

So today, here is my challenge to you. Think about a teacher through your life who has had an impact on your life. Reach out to them and tell them, or thank them in your heart for the universe put them in your path.

For all you teachers out there, know that you are doing an AMAZING job and that you are enough in this crazy profession we are in.

Enjoy World Teachers Day!

Cheers,

Miss Rylance