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  • Writer's pictureJaime Donally

ARVRinEDU Advent Calendar 2023


The immersive advent calendar has begun - Christmas Around the World! Enjoy daily augmented reality surprises to see how the holiday is experienced worldwide. Don't forget to print out the calendar here and view it daily to see a new symbol representing a new country. The object and country will be described in emails each day, or you can view the same information in this blog.


A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Some days are linked to the Merge Object Viewer app (iOS, Android, Windows) and other days are linked to CoSpaces (iOS, Android). To view these experiences, download the apps.

  2. The Advent Calendar will eventually be full of 3D objects showing items that represent the holiday celebration for that country.

  3. Share! I would love to see how your students are experiencing Christmas Around the World using augmented reality. Don't forget to tag me @jaimedonally and use the hashtag #ARVRinEDU.

 

DAY 1 - Italy

Get out your Merge Cube (or view it in 3D or world mode)

The Nativity Scene can be traced back to the 13th century in Greccio, Italy. St. Francis of Assisi is often credited with popularizing it as a way to convey the story of the birth of Jesus to the people. The original scene included live animals and people representing the Holy Family, shepherds, angels, and the Magi. Nativity Scenes today serve as a visual reminder of the central event in Christianity and are a popular Christmas decoration all over the world. This Nativity Scene was scanned using the Merge Scanner app!


NOTE: If you had a hard time viewing this experience, update the Merge Object Viewer app and try again. A Merge Cube is not required to view this experience.


Buy a Merge Cube on Amazon and receive a free 3-month subscription with your purchase.

DAY 2 - Brazil

One of Brazil's most notable symbols of Christmas is the decorated palm trees found all over the country. These trees are illuminated with colorful lights, ornaments, and ribbons, creating a beautiful and unforgettable sight. The tradition of decorating palm trees during Christmas in Brazil can be dated back to the early 20th century. The palm trees are not only beautiful to look at, but they also symbolize the country's tropical climate and the joy and warmth of the holiday season.


Speaking of tropical climates, do you know environmental issues are a pressing concern today? Arcadia Earth has created an augmented reality experience that invites students to explore immersive landscapes. Students are given actionable suggestions to motivate them to participate in the solution.

Access the Arcadia Earth app in the free Verizon Innovative Learning portal under AR/VR apps.


DAY 3 - Japan

Eating Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on Christmas Day is a common tradition in Japan that has been going on for over four decades. In the 1970s, KFC made a marketing campaign that promoted their chicken as a Christmas meal, and it quickly caught on. It’s common to see long lines outside KFC stores in Japan on Christmas day. People order their meals in advance, and the demand is so high that reservations are often required.


If you're beginning to get hungry for more learning, join a special webinar tomorrow on AI Snapshots!

DAY 4 - Mexico

In Mexico, the holiday season is a time of joy and celebration that begins on December 12th and lasts until January 6th. One of the most iconic symbols of Christmas in Mexico is the La Flor de Nochebuena, also known as the poinsettia. The La Flor de Nochebuena is a bright red plant that is native to Mexico and was originally used by the Aztecs for its medicinal properties. According to legend, a young girl named Pepita was too poor to buy a gift to bring to the nativity scene at her church. She was inspired by an angel to gather weeds on her way to the church and place them at the altar. As she did so, the weeds miraculously transformed into the beautiful red flowers we know today as poinsettias.


Interested in more augmented reality experiences? Check out the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab: STEM Workshop using augmented reality.

Find the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab in the free Verizon Innovative Learning portal under AR/VR apps.





DAY 5 - United States of America

Elf on the shelf is a recent Christmas tradition originating in the United States. The elves are said to be Santa's scouts, observing children's behavior and reporting back to Santa. Children wake up excited each morning to search for the Elf and to see what mischief or surprises they have brought!

This Elf on the Shelf, named Tiny, was 3D scanned with Merge Scanner (don’t worry - we didn’t touch him).


NOTE: If you had a hard time viewing the Day 1 Merge experience, update the Merge Object Viewer app and try again. A Merge Cube is not required to view this experience.


DAY 6 - France

In France, the Yule Log is a traditional dessert served during the Christmas season. It is known as "Bûche de Noël" in French. The dessert is shaped like a log, symbolizing the real logs traditionally burned during the holiday season. The Yule Log is typically made of a sponge cake rolled and filled with cream or buttercream. The outside is covered in chocolate or icing to resemble bark and is often decorated with meringue mushrooms, holly leaves, or other festive garnishes. The tradition of the Yule Log dates back to medieval times, when families would gather on Christmas Eve to burn a large log in the fireplace, symbolizing the warmth of the hearth and the hope for a prosperous year ahead.


Speaking of logs, consider bringing a lesson on photosynthesis into your classroom using augmented reality. The McGraw Hill AR app just released new science content and you don't want to miss out on these amazing experiences.

Access the McGraw Hill AR app in the free Verizon Innovative Learning portal under AR/VR apps.


DAY 7 - New Zealand

The pavlova is a staple of Christmas dinner in New Zealand, with its light and fluffy meringue topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. The origin of pavlova is a topic of debate between New Zealand and Australia. Both countries claim to have invented the dessert, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s.

The key to a perfect pavlova is in the meringue. It should be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Adding cornflour and vinegar to the meringue mixture helps achieve this texture. The topping for pavlova can vary depending on personal preference. Fresh fruit is popular, but some people also use jam, chocolate, or caramel sauce. Whipped cream is a must for most pavlova lovers.


Considering we're in New Zealand, have you heard of Kai's Clan? These immersive robots offer incredible innovation for the classroom using augmented and virtual reality.

DAY 8 - Philippines

The parol is a star-shaped lantern made of bamboo sticks and colorful rice paper lit with a candle or electric bulb. This lantern symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men to the newborn Jesus. The parol has become an integral part of Christmas in the Philippines and is displayed in homes, streets, and public places. It is also used in the traditional Simbang Gabi, a nine-day novena mass before Christmas.

Discovery Education and Verizon are partnering on a new project to make the Virtual Field Trip AR/VR app! It's almost time to launch, so sign up now to receive exclusive access through the Verizon Innovative Learning portal.

DAY 9 - Germany

While gingerbread house decorating during the holidays is enjoyed around the world, Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, where the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. Whether gingerbread houses resulted from the popular fairy tale or vice versa is unclear.

Enjoy a “Christmas Traditions Around the World” collection with a Christmas-themed object from 6 different countries. Christmas traditions around the world often include gift exchanges, festive meals, decorating, and celebrating with family and friends. Consider creating your own collection!


Buy a Merge Cube on Amazon and receive a free 3-month subscription with your purchase.

DAY 10 - Spain

The Roscón de Reyes is a traditional dessert enjoyed during Christmas in Spain, dating back to the 18th century. This sweet treat is shaped like a crown and is often filled with cream or chocolate. It’s said to represent the crowns worn by the three wise men who visited Jesus in Bethlehem. Inside the Roscón, there is usually a hidden surprise, such as a small toy or a dried bean. The person who finds the surprise is said to have good luck for the coming year.

New Learning Opportunity! Demystify the use of augmented reality (AR) while exploring how it can make learning more engaging and accessible.



DAY 11 - Canada

The maple leaf is one of the most iconic symbols of Christmas in Canada. This symbol is a representation of the country's national identity, and it is often incorporated into holiday decorations and ornaments. Maple syrup, made from the sap of maple trees, is also a staple of Canadian Christmas celebrations and is often used as a sweetener for holiday dishes and treats.

I made a CoSpaces scene for you to enjoy AR of items representing Christmas in Canada.


View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 11

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Swipe the screen from left to right to view the scene

  5. View the experience in AR by selecting the button in the bottom right corner and tap "View in AR"

  6. Tap on the ground where you want to place the augmented reality


Get access to a CoSpaces trial subscription using the code COSJAIMEDO after creating an account.

DAY 12 - Norway

According to Norwegian folklore, Christmas Eve is a time when witches and evil spirits are more likely to be active. To ward off these unwanted visitors, Norwegians traditionally hide all brooms and mops in their homes, as it was believed that the witches would steal them for their midnight rides. This peculiar tradition serves as a playful and symbolic way to ensure a peaceful and undisturbed Christmas celebration.

Buy a Merge Cube on Amazon and receive a free 3-month subscription with your purchase.



DAY 13 - Australia

Christmas in Australia is a unique experience that is different from the traditional Christmas celebrated in most countries around the world. Instead of snow and cold weather, Australians celebrate Christmas during the summer months.


A popular Christmas activity in Australia is surfing. Many Australians celebrate Christmas morning by hitting the beach and catching some waves. It's not uncommon to see surfboards decorated with Christmas lights and Santa hats. A favored Christmas dessert in Australia is the pavlova. This dessert is a meringue-based cake that is topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Barbecues are also a popular way to celebrate Christmas, where families and friends gather together to enjoy the warm weather.

View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 13

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Swipe the screen from left to right to view the scene

  5. View the experience in AR by selecting the button in the bottom right corner and tap "View in AR"

  6. Tap on the ground where you want to place the augmented reality


Get access to a CoSpaces trial subscription using the code COSJAIMEDO after creating an account.

DAY 14 - Hong Kong

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, and the people of Hong Kong truly know how to make it a memorable time for everyone. One iconic object that represents Christmas in Hong Kong is the traditional Chinese lanterns that decorate many streets and shops during the holiday season. These beautifully designed lanterns symbolize good luck and prosperity and add a touch of Chinese culture to the festive atmosphere.

For your enjoyment, I made a CoSpaces scene for the Merge Cube, using AR lanterns to represent Christmas in Hong Kong.


View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 14

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Hold the Merge Cube in view to see the AR experience

Get access to a CoSpaces trial subscription using the code COSJAIMEDO after creating an account.

DAY 15 - Sweden

In Sweden, the Yule Goat, or "Julbocken," is a traditional Christmas symbol. In some stories, Christmas elves would ride the Yule goat door to door to deliver gifts to sleeping children, similar to Santa Claus. The most prominent tradition is the construction of large straw or wooden goat figures, which are displayed in town squares and homes during the holiday season. Small goats made of straw are still one of the most popular Christmas decorations in Sweden. Some communities even incorporate a game where people try to protect the Yule Goat from being burned down by pranksters!

Buy a Merge Cube on Amazon and receive a free 3-month subscription with your purchase.

DAY 16 - South Korea

In South Korea, Christmas Eve is considered a romantic holiday, much like Valentine's Day. Couples often exchange gifts and go out for a fancy dinner. It's common to see couples strolling through the brightly lit streets, hand in hand, enjoying the festive atmosphere. Many restaurants offer special Christmas Eve menus or packages to cater to the demand of couples looking for a romantic evening out. Some even offer private dining rooms decorated with twinkling lights and Christmas trees to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

I've created a CoSpaces scene for the Merge Cube, showing a couple celebrating Christmas in South Korea.


View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 16

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Hold the Merge Cube in view to see the AR experience

Get access to a CoSpaces trial subscription using the code COSJAIMEDO after creating an account.

DAY 17 - United Kingdom

Christmas in the UK is a time of joy and happiness, with traditions that are unique to the country. The Christmas cracker is an iconic object that represents Christmas in the UK. This festive item has been a part of Christmas celebrations for over 150 years. The Christmas cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in colorful paper containing a small gift, paper hat, joke, or riddle.

Two people pull The Christmas cracker apart, with a small explosive pop created by a tiny strip of paper inside the cracker. The origins of the Christmas cracker can be traced back to a British confectioner named Tom Smith, who was inspired by French bonbon. Smith's initial creation was a simple paper wrapper filled with sweets, but he soon added the "bang" element to make it more exciting.

View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 17

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Hold the Merge Cube in view to see the AR experience

DAY 18 - Hungary

One tradition in Hungary is the Beigli, a sweet pastry roll filled with poppy seeds. This dessert is popular all year round but has a special significance during the holiday season. The pastry is made of a rich dough made with flour, butter, and sour cream. The poppy seed filling is made with ground poppy seeds, sugar, and vanilla, and it is spread over the rolled-out dough before it is wrapped and baked to perfection.

View this experience in the CoSpaces app!

  1. Download the CoSpaces app (iOS, Android)

  2. Open the link in the Advent Calendar by tapping the image on day 18

  3. Select "Open in the App" and then "Play"

  4. Swipe the screen from left to right to view the scene

  5. View the experience in AR by selecting the button in the bottom right corner and tap "View in AR"

  6. Tap on the ground where you want to place the augmented reality

DAY 19 - Ireland

The Candle in the Window Christmas tradition in Ireland involves placing a lit candle in the window on Christmas Eve. This act symbolizes a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph and serves as a gesture of hospitality and warmth for any travelers or visitors during the holiday season. It is a heartfelt tradition that represents the spirit of generosity and community in Irish Christmas celebrations.

Enjoy a “Christmas Traditions Around the World” collection with a Christmas-themed object from 6 different countries. Christmas traditions around the world often include gift exchanges, festive meals, decorating, and celebrating with family and friends. Consider creating your own collection!


Buy a Merge Cube on Amazon and receive a free 3-month subscription with your purchase.


DAY 20 - Denmark

The Nisse is a cherished holiday figure that has been a part of Danish Christmas traditions for centuries. The Nisse, who is also known as the elf or gnome, is a playful creature recognized by its red hat, white beard, and happy disposition. Treating it kindly is said to bring good luck and happiness.


Bring students on a journey through the immersive world of XR as they embark on a virtual tour of the Verizon Innovation Lab in Boston, Massachusetts. Here, students will discover how XR is bringing people together and transforming the way we interact.Enter the futuristic realm of XR and uncover how this groundbreaking technology is reshaping the limits of various industries, from entertainment to healthcare and education.




DAY 21 - India

Diya, also known as earthen lamps, are an integral part of Indian culture and are often used in festivals and celebrations. Christmas, although not a traditional Indian festival, is celebrated with equal enthusiasm in the country. The Diyas are often decorated with colorful paints and embellishments and placed around the Christmas tree or in the windows to create a warm and welcoming ambiance.

DAY 22 - Finland

One of the most beloved figures of Finnish Christmas folklore is the Tonttu. The Tonttu is a small elf-like creature that is said to live in the forests and fields of Finland. According to legend, these mischievous little creatures are responsible for helping Santa Claus prepare for his journey on Christmas Eve.

In Finnish homes, leaving out a bowl of porridge for the Tonttu on Christmas Eve is traditional. If the Tonttu is pleased with the porridge, he will bring good luck and fortune to the household. On the other hand, if the Tonttu is displeased, he may cause mischief and mayhem throughout the home.

DAY 23 - Netherlands

One significant symbol of Dutch Christmas is the Kerstbal (or Christmas bauble). The tradition of hanging Christmas baubles on trees dates back to the 16th century in Germany, but it wasn't until the 19th century that it became popular in the Netherlands. Kerstballen comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, from delicate glass baubles to fun and quirky designs. Many Dutch families have collections of Kerstballen that have been passed down through generations, each with its own special story.

DAY 24 - Portugal

In Portugal, the Presépio (Portuguese version of a Nativity scene) is often displayed in homes, churches, and public places. The scene usually includes figurines of the Holy Family, shepherds, animals, and the Magi. Some Presépios also include a miniature village with houses, shops, and other buildings. The tradition of the Presépio in Portugal dates back to the 16th century when Franciscan monks introduced it to the country. Over time, the Presépio has become an integral part of Portuguese culture and is a cherished tradition passed down from generation to generation.


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