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AR tech enhanced learning at Catholic Central

Spotted in WECDSB
Posted on 04/11/2019
Christine Sobhi with Merge Cube

Students at Catholic Central High School are learning about everything from the inner workings of the human cardiovascular system to the mysteries of the heavens all from a little black foam device no bigger than a Rubik’s Cube.

The Merge Cube is an augmented reality device which, when paired up with a smart phone or a tablet, allows users who have downloaded the necessary education apps to examine three dimensional images and corresponding lesson plans. Just point your device at the cube and you can explore the solar system, build a castle, or examine the inside of a heart.

“The students go crazy when they first see it,” said Christine Sobhi, an instructional support teacher at Catholic Central High School who helps her colleagues integrate technology in to their lessons. “It takes one dimensional learning and makes it three dimensional and allows them to manipulate it right in their hands.”

Sobhi first heard about the Merge Cube at a recent professional development session that was focused on technology. The devices retail for only about $10 each, so she bought four of them and managed to make some others, which she has been testing out with some of the school’s students.

“It really brings education to the next level and makes it so much more compelling and interactive for kids,” she said.

Teachers who use the device can download lesson plans from the Merge web site and structure their classes around the content, Sobhi said. They can also pair their device with a projector so they have the option of leading the lesson or allow the students to work on their own. There’s even a way for students who are using the technology to record video essays to demonstrate what they’ve learned, she added.

At a recent demonstration of the technology, students seemed rather enamored with it.

“It’s more hands on and gives you a better chance to experiment and try different things,” said Breyden Coomber, a Grade 9 student at Catholic Central.

Spotted in WECDSB is a feature that focuses on people in our system who go out of their way to do something innovative to enhance the student experience. If you know someone who should be featured, send an e-mail with some details to stephen_fields@wecdsb.on.ca

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