Tammy Dunbar is a 5th-grade teacher from Lincoln Elementary in Manteca, California. Her enthusiasm is contagious: it’s impossible to find her without a wide smile, and her passion for learning is unquestionable. She is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Certified Educator & Master Trainer.
She calls her students “The Room Nine Kids,” and this year it includes 28 students, 12 girls and 16 boys. They also have six Special Day students who mainstream into their classroom in the afternoon for Science and History and P.E.
“This year, they are definitely a lively and talkative bunch!” Tammy says of her class. “At this point in the year, we get along pretty well, especially since we do Genius Hour and Liberating Genius lessons throughout the year! These are the best character development lessons I’ve ever done!”
Tammy has used Lifeliqe on all the platforms we are operating with so far: our mobile app and its augmented reality feature, our educational virtual reality content for HTC Vive, and the mixed reality of Lifeliqe on HoloLens, so she’s a true Lifeliqe expert.
“I try to make our learning experiences hands-on. Lifeliqe allows my students to virtually reach out and interact with life in a more engaging and immersive way!” she says
Tammy is often using Microsoft Office Mix as a tool to help students elaborate on the outcomes of their learning projects, and what her students share is simply impressive. You can check for example the presentation for Wai Water project. It’s an international collaborative project involving nine classrooms in eight countries (Dunbar’s is one of them) that taught other students worldwide about water-related issues. We have previously introduced the project on our blog. Read more here.
As part of WaiWater, Tammy and her students were exploring the topic of the lack of water in California and used Lifeliqe to illustrate what’s living in their water.
“We discovered we got half of our water from a local reservoir,” says Dunbar. “My students immediately started talking about the creatures they had seen at that reservoir (many of them had gone there for a day at the water) and wondered if the presence of creatures there affected the water. We decided that the best way to explore these critters was through Lifeliqe – not only would my students have the opportunity to explore each creature in depth within the program, but they could also generate an engaging illustration to go along with their report! My students loved working in Lifeliqe, and we got a lot of positive feedback from others about our use of Lifeliqe! And our students were more enthusiastic to do the research when they found they would be using Lifeliqe at the end of the project.”
As a Valentine gift for her students, Tammy brought virtual reality to her Room Nine Kids, who got to experience the Lifeliqe VR Museum. There’s a story covering the VR class at Lincoln Elementary written for EdSource, you can read it here.
See what the students think of the experience here or in the Sway presentation below:
What is Tammy’s opinion on virtual reality?
“Educational virtual reality is mind-blowing. It’s one thing to teach anatomy from a book; it’s quite another to walk into a shark and move among its internal organs to note the placement, size and function. Though I will always love books, I know that to capture a student’s attention in this digital world, we must use whatever tools we can. Fortunately, Lifeliqe is an educational tool that blends reading and research in an immersive and engaging environment.”
On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, she gave herself a gift, too. As one of the first teacher testers, she tried Lifeliqe on HoloLens:
“Lifeliqe paired with a HoloLens is truly amazing! I was able to lay the entire circulatory system on top of one of my educator friends! With simple hand gestures and no tethering, HoloLens and Lifeliqe allowed me to manipulate molecules and dive down deep into the human anatomy. I would absolutely recommend my fellow educators to join the Lifeliqe HoloLens pilot (I wish we were high school so we could)! One of the biggest benefits of Lifeliqe, and especially with HoloLens, is instilling that sense of curiosity and awe in our students. We must provide every opportunity we can to inspire our students to learn, and we must craft experiences that will allow students to construct their own knowledge about things. We must weave as many educational tools as needed to engage every learner in our schools and help them to succeed. We must inspire every student with the joy and desire to keep on learning.”
We can’t more than agree with Tammy’s statements, and it’s amazing to see what a great job she’s doing.