I had a fun and a bit of a sad weekend. I celebrated my niece’s birthday and I said goodbye to my oldest nephew as he leaves for college this week. Yes, the kids are growing up and moving on but it was a conversation I was having with my sister-in-law this weekend that took my attention. She was telling me of someone who for the last four years was driving to work with the help of his GPS. Well, sadly his car was in an accident and it was taken to the shop to be repaired, so he got a rental car. Well, when he was on his way to work, he got lost. Why you might ask? He always depended on his GPS to get to work and back home every single day for almost four years. Didn’t even bother looking at where he turned or what streets he was during on for so long. He also did not know how to read a map, so then it hit me. So many students relay on GPS and using quick locations on their mobile devices and if they don’t use them, they would get lost. In this age of Google and Apple Maps there isn’t a reason someone shouldn’t learn to read a map. Like anything this inspired me for a great lesson using Google Glass, Minecraft, Maps and something really cool that will be coming out soon, Smartkee. So, how can you turn one person’s misfortune into a great lesson that will not only teach students how to read maps but also apply it with technology?
The first step is a teacher will either create a building in Minecraft or have their students build their school and/or school grounds using the school’s layout map. Once they have completed the school in Minecraft they will set up two areas that will house the Smartkee. Those wondering what a Smartkee is, its a small device that is a bluetooth 4.0 anti-lost accessory. If you double press SmartKee, your phone will ring, vice verse. You can keep passwords also in the key. You can read all about it here. What the students will do in Minecraft is place the area where two Smartkees will be placed in the real school. These Smartkees will be synched with either an iPad or Android device for the end part of the project. What happens next is either the Teacher or a set of students will put on a pair of Google Glasses and entering Minecraft through the Google Glass. Yes, this can happen as the wearer moves their head around, the Minecraft character also moves their head around in Minecraft and by using the scroll bar they can move the character as they walk through the school. The wearer will then walk to where the Smartkees are suppose to be in the real world as they reach their destination points both in Minecraft and the school. The wearer will then see if the Smartkees which were earlier placed in the designated areas in the real school according to the real school map. If the Smartkees are their when the wearer arrives then the wearer will take them to the final designation point where the smart device should be they are synced with. They will then press the Smartkee and if the device beeps then they will have successfully learned how to read a map and guide a person safely through to the very end.
If the wearer however does not find the Smartkees or at the end where the device is said to be placed in the real world then the teacher will go over and show the students how to make the corrections to their Minecraft school and try again. Its a fun project to create and will take a full week to explain and implement the lesson. Give it a try and Glass Over Minecraft today.