Augmented Reality Wows Educators at Florida, Texas Conferences: Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Elicits Surprise, Excitement

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Education’s first classroom curriculum based on “augmented reality” technology attracted huge crowds at just-completed educational technology conferences in Florida and Texas. Pioneered by Logical Choice Technologies, Letters alive (TM)—a new phonics curriculum for children learning to read—has seemingly-alive animals popping up in the hands of students and even responding to student questions and actions. Teachers and administrators in attendance were taken aback by the mind-blowing interactivity and intelligence of the virtual animals. Educators recognized the profound impact the curriculum could have on learning not only with pre-k and kindergarten students, but also with English Second Language (ESL) and Special Needs students.

The Letters alive (TM) curriculum based on ground-breaking "augmented reality" technology enthralls educators at Florida and Texas conferences.

The Letters alive (TM) curriculum based on ground-breaking "augmented reality" technology enthralls educators at Florida and Texas conferences.

“Students learn best when you can capture their imaginations,” said Cynthia Kaye, CEO of Logical Choice Technologies.

Seeing education’s first curriculum based on “augmented reality” technology in action was turning heads and attracting huge crowds at the just-concluded Florida Educational Technology Conference and the Texas Computer Education Association Conference. Educators flocked to the demonstrations to interact with the reading curriculum’s family of entertaining, educational animals.

Pioneered by Logical Choice Technologies, Letters alive (TM) brings a kingdom of 26 “seemingly-alive” digital 3D animals (one for each letter of the alphabet) and 94 sight word cards into classrooms with the ultimate goal of teaching children to read at the pre-k and kindergarten level. The implications of this ground-breaking new curriculum were quickly evident to teachers and administrators: these are no ordinary teaching animations or videos. The Letters alive (TM) creatures are intelligent. They not only have the capacity to respond to students’ actions, but also the astounding ability to answer their questions. Letters alive (TM) applies research-based best practices of phonics curriculum, but in a way that has never been so engaging for early learners.

“Seeing and interacting with these responsive, lifelike animals would really help my kids to learn each letter and connect it to the sound,” said an enthusiastic Audra Cervi, reading teacher at Audubon Park Elementary School in Orlando, Florida.

When students encounter three-dimensional characters like Gerdy Giraffe, Henry Horse or Frankie Frog, and see them respond to their actions and questions, they more quickly establish strong connections between the letters and the animals the letters represent, how the letters sound, and how they are used. And importantly, they learn the meanings of words and how they are used in sentences. When the Letters alive (TM) cards are arranged to ask “can the frog swim,” Frankie Frog actually begins swimming. When a student puts down the cards to read “the giraffe is red,” Gerdy gets so embarrassed that she turns red. By seeing the words in action, learning and retention becomes faster and stronger.

“Students learn best when you can capture their imaginations,” said Cynthia Kaye, CEO of Logical Choice Technologies. “Then, they’ll not just be excited to learn; students will also be better able to retain and apply that knowledge. Letters alive (TM) directly involves students in what they’re learning on so many emotional levels. They get very involved in the learning process because the students want to see how the animals will react to the different sentences they build. As a result, it’s not just that the experience is effective and fun; it’s more effective because it’s fun.”

“See the word; see the action. That is so important,” said Rebecca Meunier of Dillard Street Elementary School in Winter Garden, Florida. “I’m really looking forward to being able to try out Letters alive (TM) in my school.”

While it’s easy to see how this augmented reality-based curriculum would make learning to read more exciting, it also provides the critical learning tools children need to meet the major milestones for reading and language arts at the pre-k and kindergarten level:

  •          Acquiring an awareness of the letters in the alphabet
  •          Learning the specific sounds that letters make
  •          Understanding that letters are the building blocks for words and words for sentences
  •          Recognizing all pre-k and kindergarten sight words in text

In Letters alive (TM) Logical Choice provides a full school year of lesson plans that are aligned directly to the Common Core State Standards currently being adopted by a vast majority of states. These tools are not only valuable in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms, but can also be useful with Response to Intervention (RTI) for lower learners, teaching English as a second language (ESL) and teaching Special Needs students.

Augmented reality applications for educational purposes, like those being pioneered by Logical Choice Technologies, hold the promise of immersing students in experiential learning environments—even at levels beyond early elementary—that were quite unimaginable until now.

Logical Choice reports that it is making the Letters alive (TM) curriculum available during the first quarter of 2011. The product consists of a set of 124 virtual 3D cards, software, curriculum guide, and recommended student activities. A video of the augmented reality-based curriculum can be viewed at:

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Carrie Beth Brown
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