‘Augmented Reality’ – What is it? Why should we use it?

Augmented reality is a new technology combining physical and virtual worlds. Can you imagine being able to make paintings come alive and be interactive? Using augmented reality (AR) means you can create an atmosphere like that for your students. AR is a digital technology enriching the real world with digital information and media. AR creates 3D models and videos, overlaying in real-time the camera view on your smartphone, tablet, PC or connected glasses.

The first time I experienced AR I was blown away, but it wasn’t until I started using it more that I could see the educational implications. AR can be used by teachers to create interactive, three-dimensional objects for studying purposes. Teachers using AR can add digital content with lot of information as well as geographic locations about a place or object. Digital information appears on the screen when you scan any object or place using your tablet, phone or smart devices with AR technology. Using AR systems students interact with 3D information, objects and events in a natural way.

The first AR app that I used with students was called Quiver. Is a virtual app, where objects and images on the page come to life and the parts which the student physically coloured in, appear in colour on the screen. Although colAr is fun and engaging, teachers need to consider what the educational benefit is. I have personally incorporated AR, specifically colAr, in the arts curriculum area, as a large focus of visual arts is on art appreciation. ColAr could also be used as an introduction into 3D clay modelling to highlight the various dimensions students need to consider before they design, make and create their clay model. AR allows teachers to enhance students learning of art through virtual information. Many AR apps are available for students to use when discussing an artist’s work or going to an art gallery. I believe this in turn would foster creativity and curiosity.

Video: Quiver Augmented Reality (2013, May 29) Quiver Augmented Reality – Trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmfXgvT9h3s

This augmentation of the real world by engaging an ordinary place, space, thing or event allows teachers to offer learners’ seamless interaction between the real and virtual worlds. Of course it is up to teachers to combine AR interfaces with educational content. However, those teachers who embrace and use AR can enhance the attractiveness of teaching and learning for their 21st century students. It can engage students in written content, 3D models and videos thus appealing to different types of learners. There are also hundreds of AR apps already available that you may be able to use in the curriculum without creating your own.

If there are teachers or collegues interested in incorporating AR into their classroom Aurasma is a free app you can use. I think the beauty of this app is not only is it free but there are a lot of online (YouTube) tutorials you can use, to assist you to create AR in the classroom. The app has many applications not only for the classroom but also for the school. Some schools are using it to welcome visitors to the school or show students how to use sports equipment properly. The possibilities seem to be endless.

Magid, L. (2011, April 8). Aurasma Demo [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBKy-hSedg8

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One thought on “‘Augmented Reality’ – What is it? Why should we use it?

  1. Larissa, this is such an exciting post for me. I love the idea of AR in classrooms as a learning tool. What a fascinating why to bring engagement and a breathe of life into areas of the curriculum that might be a struggle for some learners. I can envisage teachers turning their classrooms into galleries of information, regardless of the subject, placing objects and posters around the room for the students to go on ‘treasure hunts’ to find out facts. It is awesome to see how it fosters creativity and curiosity within a seamless interaction with reality and the digital world. The only hiccup here is that not all teachers will be brave enough to have a go. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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