In Thursday's post, I talked about how a community trip to Dunkin' Donuts was enhanced by following the kids' interest in a simple and free calendar offered at the store. In today's Saturday Screencast, I'll show how Google Sketchup was used as a visual tool to preview the trip with the kids and construct the model above. We traditionally always take some time to preview a community trip- it's essential to talk about the agenda and the expected and unexpected behaviors (see Michelle Garcia Winner's work) of the place and role play where possible. Sarah Ward's excellent presentation on executive function strategies at ASHA 2010 introduced a terrific strategy- teaching situational awareness through the acronym STOP: Space, Time, Objects, People. By modeling the "Space" aspect of the DD we were visiting, we were able to use a more visual (not just a verbal discussion) map of the place to preview where we would stand until we were ready to order (a key point as the kids, left to their own devices, often just go up to the counter and say "ummmmmmmmm..."), how we would wait in line, where we would sit, etc. In that way, we also were previewing the Time aspect of the trip, because we talked about the sequence of events. The kids really enjoyed making suggestions and watching the scene be built in front of them, and the 2D picture you can save (in Sketchup, that's File-Export-2D Image) was great to share with parents. I also found that kids' managed the trip better after this visual preview than I had seen in the past (and kids who were absent for the preview, not as much).
If you're interested, check out Google's great tutorials that will get you more comfy with Sketchup. To blow your mind a little, there have been quite a few developments in what is called Augmented Reality (AR)- basically laying computerized data or imagery over what we see with our eyes. There is an AR plugin for Sketchup that allows you to use your webcam and a marker (a piece of paper with a graphic trigger) to actually appear to be holding and manipulating the Sketchup model. I can't say the steps to installing the plugin are easy, but if you want a challenge, here's where to start. And here I am holding a whole Dunkin' Donuts, so to speak, in my hands!