In a nutshell, augmented reality (or AR) is about superimposing a computer-generated image, sound or video on to a live view of the world. This can take a number of forms – with a web cam on the computer or even on your smartphone.
There’s no doubt about it, augmented reality is cool. But when it comes to using in the classroom, which applications go beyond the purely superficial geekery, to techniques that are actually useful in promoting learning?
Display Skills and Techniques
AR can be a great way of illustrating the right techniques to use appropriate objects. Hold the camera over a tennis racket, and a video could show you how to perform a perfect backhand. This doesn’t replace instruction, but it does provide a great way a student to double check how to do something in the middle of a task without disturbing the flow of the lesson. What I like about this as well, is that it shows that AR doesn’t have to be the focus of your lesson just because it’s glitzy and exciting.
Explore Shape and Space
If there are some really exciting videos out there like this one that show what can be done with AR and computer models. Here the smart phone or computer recognises a marker, and superimposes a computer built model or object. This has a number of interesting applications in the classroom. At its most simple, it can be used to teach shapes and tessellation the new and interesting way. As things get more complicated, you can use tools such as Google sketch up to create entire virtual cities.
Develop a Quest
This is a great twist on an old favourite. Treasure hunts or quests outside the classroom have long been a staple of engaging lesson plans. AR allows you to take this one step further. Set your first riddle, then when the students find the object in question they hover their smartphone over it. It could then simply tell them the next clue, or it could start to weave a rich story into their quest-it’s up to you!
Bring Books To Life
The almost as long as there have been books, people have been trying to find ways to make them more attractive, more exciting and more engaging. AR allows you to take this to another level with animations, sounds, and videos available when students hover their camera over a certain point in the book. In the secondary classroom, perhaps in secondary history, it can be a neat way to explore perspective. Perhaps the book explains the viewpoint from the author’s perspective, whereas the AR and superimposes an opposing viewpoint.
Help a Class Get to Know Each Other
I’m not sure if there’s such a thing yet as AR speed dating, but it can certainly be a great tool to help your class get to know each other. Each student to make a short video about himself or herself that is cued when the camera is looking at an image of their face on the wall. What I like about this it’s a useful reminder that even advanced tools like augmented reality don’t have to be solely the preserve of the teacher, the pupils can do creating too!
AR is such new topic and there are so many exciting ideas out there about how it can be used to further learning. If you have some great ideas, or you’ve already been using AR in your classroom for some time, I’d love to know. Please comment below or tweet me @creativeedu.