Technology integration specialist Jaime Donally shares the latest in augmented and virtual reality with education instructors and students

9th March 2020

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Jaime Donally, technology integration specialist and author of Learning Transported, visited IU Southeast for a day of learning with School of Education students, faculty and staff, and guests from partnering school corporations.

Donally’s visit was sponsored by IU Women’s Philanthropy and the School of Education, and was hosted by Dr. Sumreen Asim, assistant professor of elementary science and technology education.

This seminar was part of a series of four “edtech” seminars that began with an Edcamp in Fall 2019 and ended with attending the Kentucky Society of Technology Education (KySTE) in March 2020. The purpose of the project is to bring innovative pedagogical skills to methods courses in order to motivate teacher candidates to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) content areas, and to enhance sustained student engagement in partnering P-12 school corporations. This initiative comes in response to the Indiana Department of Education’s six-year STEM initiative. 

Donally led four sessions in the all-day event, introducing trends in technological wizardry that can enhance teaching, with a special focus on augmented reality and virtual reality instruments, and a strong emphasis on inexpensive and even free apps that are available today and can be easily accessed via the ubiquitous iPad or iPhone.

Education students (l-r) Katelyn Uhl, Jade Keith and Jennifer Steele take a journey into the virtual world.

“Kids are using iPads at age three,” Mink said. “If we, as teacher educators, can’t incorporate technology into our college courses, we are not preparing our teacher candidates to teach in today’s classrooms and most certainly the classrooms of the future.”

Education students including Christina Warren (l) use the Wonderscope augmented immersive reading app to place animated characters in the real surroundings of the IU Southeast Library.

Gary Pinkston, associate professor of education and educational technology instructor at IU Southeast, uses a variety of tools in his classes, but is always on the lookout for digital novelties.

“It is always important for both students and teachers to be aware of what is possible with new digital tools,” Pinkston said. “These tools not only complement subject area instruction but also extend the students’ learning experience to more fully experience it from a different way.”

Jennifer Steele, a senior from Louisville, Kentucky majoring in elementary and special education, was like a kid in a candy store, trying out Wonderscope, Merge Cube, Mel Science, Curiscope, Augmentifyit, Virtual Reality headsets, and more.

She was especially enthusiastic about Wonderscope, an augmented immersive reading app that places imaginary characters into the reader’s actual surroundings.

“I think Wonderscope would be a great resource to help reluctant readers begin finding a love for reading,” Steele said. “Since the app is interactive, it seems more like a game than a story book.”

This fall, Steele will begin student teaching in the Jefferson County Public School system. She appreciates the diversity of learning styles, and believes resources like those demonstrated by Donally can help reach visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners, keeping students more attentive and involved.

“Students do not want to be sitting all day staring at textbooks, and as a teacher I want my students to be moving, engaged, excited, and having fun with hands-on experiences,” Steele said. “Learning is social, so the classroom should be buzzing with collaboration.”

Homepage photo: Technology integration specialist Jaime Donally.

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