Oculus Magicus

Oculus_Rift_development_kit_2

This is how they look

Magic comes to class when you pull out those bulky, cool, trendy Oculus Rift. As soon as I found out that we got two of those in my school, I knew that I had to use them in class. It turns out that it can be a great tool for the Foreign Language course, and many ideas come to mind as to how they could be implemented in the classroom, so here I am sharing it with you!

But, first things first, some of you may have never heard about this. What are the Oculus Rift? According to their Website, the Oculus Rift is a new virtual reality headset that lets players step inside their favorite games and virtual worlds. A gamer’s dream, as you may think, but what about a learning motivator to add some spark to your course?

Certainly, the Oculus have plenty of potential. In my case, I have decided to make them become my own “language lab”. Since I do not have a language lab close to my room, I think that this tool could be a good temporary solution.

It is quite easy to start using them. Check out this link for a step by step explanation.

Tuscany Demo

Tuscany Demo

The Oculus come in with a Demo. In my case, I had the Tuscany Demo already on them. I have not downloaded any other game yet, but I am sure that there is a world of possibilities out there if  you decide to go over the options provided in their system.

So, given that this is a house and you get to walk in it, what can we do with it in the Foreign Language class? You got it, house vocabulary, prepositions, directions! That’s what I did.

When wearing the Rift, you can turn and look around, but you cannot walk. In order to do so you must use the keyboard in your computer. So, I used this to my advantage requiring students to indicate the directions they wanted to go to next. Yes, an excellent way to apply the command tense (L’impératif) and prepositions. This is how I proceeded:

1. Teaching the impératif.

2. Reviewing prepositions.

3. Reviewing the parts of the house.

4. Multiple exercises in class prior to using the Oculus.

5. Oculus listening and speaking!

* Since I only have 1 oculus, I made sure that my other students had exercises to work on while I was conducting the speaking assignments.

In #5 these were the requirements (all in the target language, obviously):

1. Students describe the scene.

2. Students respond to teacher’s questions: Where are you? Do you like it? How is the weather? What is to your left? What is in front of you? etc.

3. Students direct the teacher to wherever they want to get to in the scene.

4. Toward the end of their experience, student locates an item in the house.

5. Student explains to next student how to get to the item that he located (scavenger hunt type of way)

6. Next student tries to find the object and confirms with previous student if it was the item that he had selected for the “scavenger hunt”.

Note: When using this demo, I highly advise you to limit each student’s intervention to a maximum of 4 minutes. Most of us (including myself) get motion sick after 4 or 5 minutes. I do not know if this happens with all games in the Oculus, but this is my experience with the Tuscany Demo. Also, please make sure that you tell students to let you know if they want to stop at any time if they are feeling sick.

Do you want to see it in action? Check out this video created by my favorite Educational Technologist, Lee Howell, and check out her blog here.

And you, have you ever used the Oculus Rift in your class? If so, what did you do with them? If not, how would you like to use them? Please, share and comment below.

Have a wonderful, oculus magicus lesson!

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Fun Friday!

It’s Friday.

We are all tired, and ready for the weekend. Sometimes at this time of the week students cannot focus unless the learning comes easily to them. We, as educators, must disguise the learning so that they are acquiring the content without really realizing about it. Can that be done? Yes! So what’s the deal?

Yesterday we started to learn the vocabulary of the song ¨In Summer¨ from the Frozen movie. As you may know, students are going crazy with this movie, they just love it. So this song came in handy since they AND I like it too (it makes me think about Summer). Talk about a treat for the teacher! We also want to have fun on Fridays, right? 😉frozen

 

I cut the lyrics of the song and had them put them in order. That is the way in which I started the activity with this song. Students struggled a bit but most of them got it right after listening to it around 3 times. The 3rd time I made sure to stop after every other line in order to give them time to proceed. Some of them were a bit confused at first, but at the end they found it fun. I think this is a good exercise to hone their listening skills.

Next, we just listened and enjoyed the song while singing it at the same time.

So, today, we started the class listening to it twice and reviewing the lyrics in the target language. And then, the fun began. We played freeze dance, but with a little twist. Students had to freeze whenever I stopped the song but, also, had to be paying close attention to the lyrics. When I stopped, I would choose a student randomly, and would ask him what the last word he/she heard was. The student had to tell me this word in the target language and, also, translate it into English. They loved this game and wanted to play it many times. The winners received some candy, this made the competition even more fun for them – you know how much they love food!

freeze

bingo

We continued the lesson with a bingo game. They had to include the terminology from the song and from the latest chapters. We were playing the In the Summer song in the background. One student led the bingo activity. It was a great way to review the vocabulary and to practice their listening and speaking skills.

That is, a Fun Friday!