I stumbled upon MergeEdu about three years ago when I saw it shared on Instagram. I am a teacher who firmly believes that seeing is believing, so if you have never seen this augmented reality before firsthand watch this video below! So now that you have seen the incredible augmented reality IRL, the question is how do you create this magic for your students? All you need is a Merge cube and the Merge Explorer app on your device. You can purchase a foam Merge cube or make your own FREE paper version by visiting http://www.mergecube.com/paper. Next, go to the App Store on your phone or tablet and download the free Merge Explorer app. Open the app and launch a lesson/topic card and it will ask you to allow the app to access your camera. Point your camera at the Merge cube within the app, and BOOM! Now you have augmented reality for you and your students from the click of a button.
The best thing about MergeEdu is they offer FREE trials where you will have access to their content, lesson plans, teacher created lessons. Each different augmented reality showcases science content that is directly from our state standards. Each lesson comes with “topic cards” and students can interact with the augmented reality to learn more. During distance learning, I used the food webs topic card to show my students producers, consumers, and decomposers. This was a great way to enhance engagement during distance learning and get them excited about an important topic in my life science classroom. In addition to the free trials, MergeEdu always has 3 topic cards that are FREE (Mr. Body, Galactic Explorer, and Terraforming Earth). These are ALWAYS available even without an account and part of the amazing resources they offer to ALL educators. Even better, if you are looking for a FREE way to provide your students each with a Merge cube they offer a FREE printable version. Simply head to http://www.mergecube.com/paperand you can print and build your very own Merge cube or have your students assemble them. This is perfect to limit sharing of objects and providing each student with a FREE Merge cube they can use in class or at home. If they don’t have a printer at home, simply print these at school and send one home with them.
Another great way you can use Merge as a teacher, is screen recording a lesson where you explain the content you are showing your students and use it as a tool to enhance how engaging your lesson is. The great thing about this is you do not need your students to have a phone or merge cube. You will use your phone and FREE paper Merge cube to create your lesson and simply share it out on whatever platform you use. You can screen record yourself using the Merge Explorer app and now both you and the augmented reality are in one video together. When you are finished, you can upload this to YouTube, Google Classroom, Canva or wherever. The options are ENDLESS! See my video tutorial below to see how I did this! Merge is great to increase engagement and a great tool whether you find yourself in-person, in a hybrid model, or in full distance learning. Each topic card comes in 15 languages, which makes this especially great for our English Language Learner students and our visual learners as well! Follow Merge on Instagram and Facebook where they provide tutorials, getting started guides, and tons of fun tips on how to use Merge in your classroom. Start your free trial today by visiting http://www.trymerge.com.