Bonus Thing 4 2014: Using augmented reality in the classroom

Augmented reality in the classroom? It’s not so far fetched! There are numerous tools that make it easy via an iPad or smartphone. It’s true that AR is still in its infancy, but there are some fun ways to try it out. Since this post’s focus is on trying out tools, we’ll keep it short and sweet with the idea that you actually give some of these things a try.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality combines a user’s actual world view with one that includes additional computer-generated information or functionality. It generally uses one of two methodologies:

  • Marker-based AR uses software to recognize a specific pattern such as a barcode or image.
  • Location-based AR uses location or GPS to provide information that is appropriate to a specific location.

This Ted Global talk by Matt Mills of Aurasma gives a great intro to the potential that AR offers.

Task: Exploring tools

There are huge varieties in the tools available, and the skills and investment needed range quite widely as well. We suggest you pick a few from the tools below to explore and write about in your blog post (be sure to tag your post ‘Bonus Thing 4’).

  • Aurasma: Aurasma offers huge potential in the classroom. It allows anyone to  ‘layer’ information over a real-world view – whether that’s a landscape or a painting, some text or an object.  Access to the basic tools is free and allows anyone to upload a ‘trigger’ image and create ‘overlays’ that you get when you scan the trigger image. Anyone can then use the free Aurasma app to scan the trigger.
  • Layar: Similar in many ways to Aurasma. Also offers a free basic model (though it may have ads).
  • Google Glass: The ultimate AR experience? Unfortunately not available to the general population, but worth a try if you can get your hands on one.
  • ZooAR: Allows you to view a selection of animals and insects in 3D.
  • The tools produced by the SCARLET project: The SCARLET project began by looking at ways to use special collections material and has expanded its remit into a variety of education-focused areas.
  • Google Sky Map (Android only): An Android implementation of Google Sky that allows you to use your smart phone or tablet, pointed at the sky, to get location-based information about what you see above you.
  • Google Ingress (Android only): Perhaps less of an educational tool, but an important step in Google’s foray into AR. Ingress is an augmented reality massive multiplayer online game that uses location-based ‘portals’ at places of public art, landmarks, etc. to shape a story with a strong sci-fi influence.

There are certainly other tools and apps available; these are just a sample of those we’ve seen used well. Let us know if you have used any others!

Further reading:

One thought on “Bonus Thing 4 2014: Using augmented reality in the classroom

  1. Bonus thing 4
    That there’s so much out there for nothing is remarkable. The format married with the right content could be the ultimate way to connect with over tech-savvy data and stimulated overloaded kids.
    I’d love a chance to explore the possibilities.

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