Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Since beginning the iPad journey in our school, I have been dying to use some of the Augmented Reality apps available on the iPad. I didn’t want to dive in and use it with no substance I wanted to make sure there was real potential to enhance the learning in the classroom.

For those people who are not familiar with the term “Augmented Reality,” here is a web definition:

“Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.”

If that is a little too technical, Augmented Reality is a way of using a picture, known as a trigger image, to generate a video, slideshow or computer generated graphic. It seems that technology moving forward will be using a lot of AR and here is google’s next project proving the incredible potential with AR:

How can Augmented Reality be used in the classroom?

I am always looking for ways to inspire, motivate and engage children. Augmented Reality definitely provides the WOW factor in the classroom. The reaction of showing the a class some examples of AR was that of utter shock, amazement and complete awe. Children are fascinated to see how a picture they have drawn or made can transform into a video. They are perplexed by how it works and definitely enthralled by the sense of magic that AR provides.

Recently I have been doing a lot of literacy work with a group of Year 5 based on the app “Epic Citadel,” this is a wonderful free app that allows the children to navigate around a dynamic fantasy setting which is the backdrop to the game Infinity Blade. Without characters and storyline, the app lends itself to the classroom as it provides the setting but allows children to use their imagination to add characters and a story line.

To begin with I wanted to let the children roam the app and generate descriptive language and make a word cloud that can be then referred to later for more writing. – See the word clouds made by the class.

The next lesson I used slow writing to help the children write an introduction to the setting of Epic Citadel. But I didn’t just want it to be written in their books I wanted to bring their writing alive. I decided to use Aurasma to make this happen.

FIRSTLY THE CHILDREN NEEDED TO MAKE AN OVERLAY – THE ANIMATION/VIDEO THAT WILL PLAY ONCE A TRIGGER IMAGE HAS BEEN SCANNED. SO ONCE THE CHILDREN HAD COMPLETED THEIR WRITING, THEY NARRATED IT OVER SOME SCREENSHOTS OF THE APP TO CREATE A SHORT VIDEO USING IMOVIE. CHILDREN OPENED THE EPIC CITADEL APP AND USED THE HOME AND LOCK BUTTON TO TAKE SCREENSHOTS OF DIFFERENT SCENERY AND THEN RECORDED THEMSELVES READING THEIR WRITING. ONCE THEY HAD EXPORTED THIS IS WAS TIME TO BRING THEIR VIDEO TO LIFE USING AUGMENTED REALITY!
USING AURASMA, CHILDREN CAN UPLOAD THEIR OVERLAY – (THEIR IMOVIE NARRATIONS) AND THEN CHOOSE A TRIGGER IMAGE – WE USED THE CHILDREN’S WORD CLOUDS FROM THE LAST LESSON. THE CHILDREN WERE ENTHRALLED TO SEE THEIR WRITING COME TO LIFE WHEN THEY SCANNED THEIR PICTURE WITH THE APP. THE AURASMA APP ALLOWS YOU TO CREATE AURAS AND SCAN OTHERS, BUT YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP FOR AURASMA STUDIO SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE AURAS ON YOUR LAPTOP OR PC. TO SEE THE CHILDREN’S EXAMPLES PLEASE FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING STEPS:

  1. Download the app “Aurasma” onto your Smartphone.
  2. Open the app and press the A at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click on the search option.
  4. Type in Davyhulme and click the option.
  5. Press like to subscribe to our Auras.
  6. Open the app and scan one of our pictures, if it doesn’t work from your screen you may need to print the word clouds.
  7. Watch in awe the amazing descriptions of the fantastic world of Epic Citadel.

Using Augmented Reality in the Classroom from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.

I was asked that when I work with Year 6 on a Thursday could I use the iPads to help the children prepare for the controversial SPAG test. I found a few apps to use which the children really enjoyed but the biggest reaction was when I used Augmented Reality for the children to demonstrate their understanding of using different punctuation marks – you can see the lesson and examples here. I am planning something very similar next week with the other Year 6 class but focusing on different word types – Nouns, Verbs etc.

Aurasma is definitely an app with lots of potential. I am truly excited by the prospect of using this app right through the curriculum and in different Key Stages.
Some other ideas I have had are:

  • Making a truly interactive display, rather than putting up work with explanations from teachers, examples of work could be used to trigger video explanations from the children.
  • Cross curricular opportunities can be used to link writing with art or drama by using a picture of a story to reveal artwork linking to that story.
  • When looking at an example of a particular text type children can scan it to reveal the features used or more of an in depth analysis.
  • In Numeracy, teachers can make an aura showing a particular method for solving a calculation that children can scan to remind them.
  • Science/History/Geography topics can be truly brought to life. Rather than just using a book children can scan an image to reveal videos and images packed with much more interesting facts and information. A chemistry teacher could make a fully interactive periodic table where all the elements can be scanned to reveal more in depth information.
  • Lower down the school, to help children with initial words for reading, auras can be created to associate a word with a particular picture. They could scan numbers to reveal pictures of the number – for example – the number 3, scanned reveals 3 apples. Making learning much more visual and engaging.
  • Assessment – AR could reduce so much paperwork if an aura was made for a child to show a recording of them reading, or working on a particular maths objective. You would be able to demonstrate that children can meet certain objectives. Imagine scanning a picture of a child with a leveling sheet to then reveal examples that back up your judgement as a teacher.
  • I have also seen Christmas cards used to make Auras to attach a personal message from the children. See here

Here is an interesting video about how a school have been using Augemented Reality through Aurasma:
http://youtu.be/5qRcIek4NY0

Other Augmented Reality Apps

Aurasma is definitely a great app for generating, sharing and scanning examples of AR, however there are other Augmented Reality apps that can really spark some creativity in the classroom.

String – This app provides a teacher with some awesome Augmented Reality that would be perfect as a stimulus in Literacy.
The app has four different trigger images that generate some superb examples of Augmented Reality such as:

  • An Alien
  • A Dragon
  • A trainer that can be customised
  • Free writing.

The Year 3 class at my current school are using Space as their topic this term. Last lesson I used a fotobooth to turn themselves into Aliens – See the lesson here. The Alien from the String app would be perfect to inspire some writing to describe an alien that landed in our class. The almost magical aspect to Augmented Reality really fascinates the children. The same idea could be used for the Dragon image or even use it to inspire some art work. The trainer that can be designed by the children could be a fantastic stimulus for persuasive writing. See the examples in this video:

First News + – First News, the popular children’s newspaper, now boasts that it is the world’s first fully interactive newspaper. Using AR children can scan certain articles to reveal more content through videos and pictures. Having used this already, the children love being able to learn more about a particular news story.
Zooburst – This app allows you to make a fully interactive 3D pop up book. Children can import characters, setting, pictures and add sound effects or record their own voices. Once a book has been made a special code is generated which uses Augmented Reality to generate your story by scanning the code.
There is a cost to sign up for full access of the Zooburst but their is plenty of potential for some fantastic writing opportunities.

Cross-posted from Mr P’s ICT blog

7 thoughts on “Augmented Reality in the Classroom

  1. Stuart Disbury

    A really good article and I am extremely interested in this for my secondary ASN English classes.

    I’ve just recently set up the new department iPad, but the problem is that we do not have a wifi network available.

    How many of these apps, once installed, depend on wifi/3g to work?

    Thanks

  2. James Kapptie

    I have been using Aurasma for over 2 years in our High School Economics class. We have have used it to build the most interactive word wall ever created. I also use it for book review and interactive poster presentation on the stock market. The possibilities are endless.

    I have worked with schools, and had foreign language classes use it as well.

  3. Matt Dunleavy

    My colleagues and I have been working on an AR development platform called FreshAiR that enables anyone to create mobile and interactive AR learning experiences: http://www.playfreshair.com/. Currently, FreshAiR is being used by educational technology research groups including the EcoMOBILE project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. EcoMOBILE has a website with a video, which will provide some additional insight into how they are leveraging the affordances for scientific inquiry activities: http://ecomobile.gse.harvard.e…. There is a lot to research in this emergent field and I am interested what other projects or teams (e.g., UW-M, MIT) are currently working in this area. Any ideas?

  4. Pingback: Augmented Reality in the Classroom | Tablet Tec...

  5. Hana Price

    Thanks enormously for this. I watched this a few months back and was inspired to use this with my Year 5 class. We have since used it in a number of ways. We used the word cloud idea as an anchor image in history, to then embed a talking avatar clip using Tellagami app, to describe more about the wife. We’ve used it similarly in Science, to embed video presentations to explain the process of pollination that they wrote and performed as groups and finally as interactive book reports for display. Not only have the kids loved it but it has mean EVIDENCE. Countless times I have used drama, or speaking and listening to move the learning on but there is that age old OFSTED battle of having ‘evidence of learning’ in the books. I would normally take countless photos but the beauty of this is we are covering so much of the computing curriculum, the children take responsibility for collating the evidence and….it’s really fun! My children had a blast showing our Computing lead their work AND teaching her how to do it herself! Thanks enormously for your creativity in using technology to empower and inspire their learning. It has done the same to me.

    1. Hana Price

      In response to my previous comment….the only difficulty we have found (although found a way around it) was ensuring we had a AR account to make videos public and then making sure anyone who wants to view it using AR either has an account already or can log in via ours, otherwise the media content cannot be seen.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.