Bill Brooks, a U.S. history teacher at Stephenville High School, presented new technology that he has recently implemented in his classroom to the board of trustees Monday.
“I’ve always enjoyed using technology in the classroom even before we had the iChampion roll out and we took full advantage of technology as far as going to the computer labs and getting students to use their smartphones in class. When we got the iPads, we were really able to take off with what students could do in class,” he said.
Brooks began his presentation by talking about two different apps he uses on his iPad called Adobe Spark Video and Adobe Spark Page.
“What Spark Media allows me to do is students can create their own videos; they’re not actually filming with the camera, they’re using the app and they can input different pictures, they can input text, they can use their own voice or put their own videos within it,” he said.
He described Spark Page as a “flowing presentation where students can showcase their work.” He said it’s similar to a google side presentation.
Brooks also implemented virtual reality goggles in the classroom. He bought the goggles from a grant from the Education Foundation and they allow students to be immersed in real-life experiences.
Students were able to download an app called Trench Experience VR. They placed their smartphone into the top part of the goggles and it allowed them to experience different settings in history.
“We talked about World War I. They’re able to actually be inside the trench in World War I, so they can walk through it themselves, they can see what the side of the walls look like, the wooden pallets that they’re walking on. They can look inside the periscope and look up in the no man’s land into the trenches, so it kind of gave them a real-life experience for what the trench is like,” Brooks said.
He said YouTube also has an app called YouTube 360 which is specifically related to virtual reality and that there’s another app called Discovery Education VR.
“We’re really receptive to the virtual reality goggles,” he added.
The last addition to the classroom that Brooks talked about was green screens. It, too, was purchased with a grant from the Education Foundation and it allows students to place themselves in front of any background. His assignments with the green screen vary from creating a news broadcast with breaking information to advertisements and movie trailers.
“There’s different apps that they use within the iPad to film these green screen films,” he said. “They also use the iMovie app. They can go in and they can create transitions between the scenes, they can add music, they can add credits. You don't have to actually have a grant or a lot of money to do this. All you need is an iPad with the app and a $2 green sheet you can buy from Walmart. Anybody can really use this. The kids are pretty good at it.”