Written by Guest Writer – Elizabeth Moran
I was introduced to the Merge Cube at the 2019 EduTECH Conference and immediately saw its potential for the exploration of AR (Augmented Reality) in the classroom.
The cube is an affordable ‘gadget’ that when used in conjunction with an iOS/Android device offers a variety of apps that provide an array of virtual learning experiences to the user. The website is well designed and easy to navigate. Merge has also created three PDF guides that are divided into specific teaching levels and give educators advice on which apps are most suitable for their students.
Merge Miniverse’ offers a variety of Educational AR and VR experiences including 360° videos and a diverse range of apps that will support the learning in your classroom. These also include VR experiences that can be viewed through Merge Cube VR headsets. Using the Merge Cube, students can view the planet Mars or even the human brain in their hand with convincing graphics that remain steady as you rotate the cube.
My favourite app is ‘Merge Explorer’ which offers over 30 incredible ‘Activity Plans’ designed by educators. At the moment, the subscriptions offered are a little pricey, but hopefully Merge Cube will offer broader purchasing options to schools (that suit the Australian system) and continue to design content adding to the wonderful potential of this app.
CoSpaces have created an amazing add-on feature that enables students to design a virtual world and generate their own holograms. Users will need a Pro account to utilise this option. It’s a powerful creation tool and probably the most impactful way to integrate the Merge Cube in the classroom.
My Code Club students are currently using ‘Tinkercad’ and ‘3D Paint’ to develop their own 3D objects and then upload them to Merge ‘Object Viewer’. This produces a code that allows them to create a virtual version of their 3D model and view it as a hologram in the palm of their hand. Teachers can also set up a class account to record all students’ codes which can then be shared so they can view each other’s creations.
Our school has only just started their journey with Merge Cubes but the staff are committed to exploring how they can impact the learning in our classrooms, help merge digital and physical worlds and equip our students for the future.
Check out the Facebook ‘MERGE Educators’ group to see how teachers around the world are using this technology and view their inspirational ideas and experiences.