It’s a whole new world out there, people, and it’s a world where reality is augmented. If you haven’t had a chance to play with augmented reality (or “AR” for the edtech nerds out there), you need to try it! Why? Because it’s FUN. And it also steers learning towards the all important creation end of dear ol’ Bloom’s taxonomy.
AR apps work almost like QR code readers, allowing you to scan in any image and make magic happen. I like using Aurasma, which allows you and your students to create “auras” that you attach to images. When you scan the image with your phone, the Aura appears as an overlay. The best way to explain it is to see it in action.
In the first week of school, my students completed a Google form attached to my class website asking them to indicate what kinds of technology they can bring to the classroom. I was thrilled to see almost all of them carry a smartphone with them. Out of 67 AP Psych students, only two do not have access to technology in their pockets. To make this lesson work, I put students into groups and made sure each group had at least one person with the ability to download Aurasma on their phone.
Last week, I introduced my students to Aurasma (follow @Aurasma on Twitter). First we watched the above video to give them an idea of what they can do with Aurasma. Immediately, most of the students reacted positively. Some of them downloaded the app that minute and started playing, attaching Auras to our textbook cover and their IDs. Within a few minutes, one student had already started to create an Aura for her boyfriend professing her undying love. This is what it’s like working with teenagers.
Then I introduced the assignment. In previous years, my AP Psychology students have created trading cards on famous psychologists, including information on birth and death dates, popular works, occupation, and contribution to the field. This year, I gave the same assignment, but they had to work in groups to create Auras for their psychologists.
We spent one full class period in the library to give them room to move and shoot video if necessary. They also needed to print images to link up with the Auras they created. A few of the groups who went above and beyond my expectations needed another 20 minutes or so to wrap things up in class the next day. We discovered it was important for each finished product to include the Aurasma account name of the creator so that the rest of us could follow their account and gain access to their work. Reminders of the importance of digital citizenship ensued (“Yes, students, I will have to follow you on this app. Be sure you ONLY create Auras I can brag to your parents about. Because I MUST FOLLOW YOU to see your work. And I have a weak stomach. I’m speaking to you, Girl with the Boyfriend.”)
I’m including some of their products below, and I’m proud of their creativity and the time some of them devoted to making me laugh. They know I always grade more generously when I’m smiling. To view their Auras, download the app (it’s free!) and search for their account name, then follow them and scan their images.
We did run into a few technical issues here and there, so there may be videos you can see but not hear. And some of the images used are too small to be scanned online, so you may have difficulty seeing all of the Auras created below. We also discovered that different groups that used the same image to scan may have the wrong video pop up! While we have yet to perfect the process, I think our next attempt will be much more successful.
I would love to hear your comments on their work!
Other ideas for augmenting work:
- School newspaper or yearbook — augment sporting or performance events so when you scan the image of the event (football game, music concert, spring musical, pep rally), you can see video footage of an exciting moment from that actual event.
- Resumes or business cards — what if your intended employer could scan your resume and hear you explaining some of your skills or qualifications?
- School pride — students could place Auras around the building explaining the history of the building or important features of the school.
- Textbooks — I plan on having students augment images from the textbook to link to videos of some of the important psychology experiments we discuss in our curriculum.
These teachers have more to say about Aurasma:
What do you think? How might you use AR in the classroom?