In the beginning of my teaching career (not that long ago), the acronym AR was not my favorite thing. It was associated with Accelerated Reader – and probably still is for some. Hearing someone speak about AR used to elicit feelings of annoyance and often resulted in me hopping on a soapbox (which I am trying desparately not to get on now).
Recently, I have been reconditioning my brain to associate AR with Augmented Reality. My reaction is the complete opposite of what is used to be. Augmented Reality makes me excited! Excited for where technology can lead us – especially in the field of education. Excited for the possibilities AR gives our students to learn in different ways.
If someone asked me six months ago about AR, I wouldn’t have been able to explain it. I’m still not so sure I can do so correctly now. Simply put, most of us use some form of AR everyday and we don’t even realize it. If you scan a QR code, check in with FourSquare, or workout using wiiFit – you’re using AR. AR takes our reality and enhances it (augments it) to give us the information we need, shows us more than we are able to see at once, or lets our friends know what we are up to.
How does AR impact education? In any way we want! While attending iSummit last month, I sat in on a session all about Augmented Reality and how teachers are using it with their students. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I was energized and motivated to begin exploring and creating foundations to use these apps and websites in my classroom. From enhancing field trips to creating scavenger hunts for test review to manipulating the Mars Rover – the possibilities are astounding.
Here are some user friendly apps that I have been testing out the past few weeks:
My class began getting to know Chromville at the end of the school year. They enjoyed creating their 3D world and then writing about it. After coloring a world downloaded from the website, students then open the app, select the appropriate world, and their coloring comes to life! It does take a little practice to manipulate the character on screen – for example, it is easier for the students to put their paper on the floor and stand over it to get a good scan. The camera feature is easy to see and for students to use.
Spacecraft 3D brings Nasa to the palm of your hand! After downloading and printing the marker, students can manipulate a 3D version of the Mars Rover, Voyager, or 14 other spacecraft. Using the animation features, you can rotate the craft, move parts, etc. By shifting the angle of your iPad, you also shift the way you see the craft. I took screen shots of my rover, but within the app settings you can select the camera. I love that the marker target image is a sand sample taken by one of the spacecraft.
Shape Quest by PBS Kids offers 3 games (2 non AR). To play the AR game, you need to download the game board marker (black and white or color). Once users open the app and aim the camera at the game board, their game begins! I found this a little more difficult to maneuver, but I’m also sure my students would have any easier time with it. Students are able to use shape knowledge and their bodies to work through levels of the game.
Perhaps the AR app/website combo I am most excited about is Aris. Using the website, the creator can drop pins on the map of a specific location (school, field trip destination, classroom) and add fun facts, videos, or trivia questions. When students/users open the app and begin the project, they are notified when they arrive at a destination that has been pinned. They are then able to scan the QR code (or other marker) and learn more.
Imagine scavenger hunts around campus to review content, book trailers on a library tour, welcome videos from school staff for visitors – – – if you can dream it up and find a map, you can create it! It is advised that you practice the project first to make sure characters/pins are dropped in the exact place.
To learn more – surf on over to arisgames.org for demos, to play projects that are already created, or to create your own.