Is Augmented Reality really the answer? #edtech #AR

Following on from previous posts on Augmented Reality (Does it have a place/future in education? and Augmented Reality on campus) I’ve spent a little time trying, and enjoying, the experience of using and creating Aurasmas, but have not got anywhere past the stage of just trying it out. So, if you plan it properly for a classroom environment, what can you do? Well, this TED Talk has some great examples, all it takes is an imagination and some planning, and proper implementation into a learning object:

YouTube: Matt Mills: Image recognition that triggers augmented reality

So, what place does augmented reality (AR) have in the classroom? Here are a few ideas – if you have any of your own (or even already done some) then please leave a comment below):

  • Place posters on your walls of historical figures, writers, influential (local, national, international) people and have Aurasma overlays (Auras) of video material either from YouTube of those people or performances, record your own, or have your class record the introduction.
  • Record messages for parents and place the posters in the windows for parents to scan while they wait (hint: change them regularly, keep them guessing and coming back for more!) at the end of the day, or at parents evening.
  • Extra materials for a science project or presentation to augment the materials provided.
  • Learn a language by using an audio aura onto the word(s).
  • AR treasure hunt.
  • Immersive worksheets.
  • Personal messages from each student in their Year Book.
  • School newsletter with personal message(s) from the Head and/or staff.
  • If you present posters at conferences or teaching/learning events then a well placed AR / Aurasma Aura on your poster could be a way to bring moving images, graphical models, or recorded introductions to your work.

There is, however, one downside to AR that I can see right now – that we’re developing resources that encourage us to spend our time looking at the world through the lens on our smart phones.

For me it’s about time developments in technology like this are put to better use – by this I mean for information and learning and not basic mass-produced marketing and advertising: there is nothing particularly clever or innovative about how it’s being used there, it’s just an ad agency using something ‘neat’ for another way to say ‘buy this’ … and here’s a perfect example: O2/Telefonica in the UK has signed up as a commercial partner with Aurasma. This is good news as it mean that more people will be aware of AR (and subjected to it), so could become more widely known, and used. Is this enough to help it gain momentum for classroom use (look what happened to QR Codes)?

Is this using technology for the sake of it … have we just been shown “this is what you ‘can’ do, now work out why” instead of “I want to do xyz, how can I do it?”

Answers on a postcard please to …