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Friday, 11 November 2011

"daqri" anyone?

Some schools have successfully launched their own smartphone app with a 3rd party developer. This can be rather costly and out of reach for many schools. There is a way however, for students to access school content within a smartphone app and this is one of those ways.

"Daqri" is a smartphone app with the potential to upload and link documents, images, websites, maps and more. The most impressive feature and the real purpose of daqri, is the integration of "Augmented Reality" content, although that is for another blog post alltogether.

A free daqri account gives you 3 "daqris" to use, each with it's own QR-Code that can be accessed by anyone through the daqri app on a smartphone. Once you create your first daqri, it's actually quite easy to upload content to it, add a background or create your own and upload it. For schools, this means that you can give students access to news items, timetables, planners/calendars, school policies, images and links to useful resources. Parents can also download the app and have access to the same content, although it's at the school's disgression as to whether they make this content public, or only make it available to particular people.

The other consideration is that not all students will have a smartphone, so it's important that anything made available on the daqri is also accessible via the website, or in hard copy.

What's this mean for teachers?? With 3 daqris for free (more if you sign up with another email), you can create a daqri for your class. This can give students mobile access to resources, a unit/course outline, assessment dates, a link to useful websites or your email address. If you want to empower your students and create a student-centred environment, you can put your students in charge of maintaining the class daqri and ask they all contribute resources to help one another.

In the Real Hands of the Students
Each student, or a group of students sign up to daqri and create their own daqri on a specific concept/theme/topic of the unit of study. They find quality resources and perhaps write an essay or a blog which the daqri links to, along with some YouTube podcasts the student has recorded to share their findings. On the due date, the student electronically submits a QR-Code which links to their daqri content. Now let's take a look at what you now have done:

Project-Based Learning: collaborating, creating something that extends beyond the classroom using authentic Web 2.0 tools. Although there may be separate goals for different students, it's the first step towards a PBL approach.

Student Ownership: Students could potentially negotiate their topic area, co-authoring their assessment with the teacher.

Digital Literacy: Students locating, organizing, understanding, evaluating, and analyzing information using digital technology. Well, that's exactly how Wikipedia defines DL at least.

Collaboration: I listed this one in PBL, but it deserves it's own mention. Your students are sharing a simple QR-Code that links to quality resources for various topics that can be shared with one another. Lets do the math....

25 students create a daqri each. You then decide to do this with all 5 of your classes. Your students now have access to 125 smartphone apps (daqris) on a specific topic or concept. You then decide to do this in the next semester. Your students now have 250...and so on. Surely within that you could find some pretty amazing stuff and before we know it, our students are more interested in what they're learning from one another, what they can teach each other and what do we become? The Co-Driver

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