Augmented Reality (AR) is cutting-edge technology that allows for a digitally enhanced view of the real world, uncovering hidden images, videos and texts to the user when the ‘trigger’ (or ‘marker’) image or item is scanned by a camera, adding layers of digital information directly on top of objects around us.
In schools, this technology can be used in many ways, the most exciting of which supports the control and programming demands of the new computing curriculum.
This blog article shares a range of easy-to-create examples of Augmented Reality that could be used with your students; all you will need is a device such as an iPad with camera, and a suitable AR app installed on it.
Who’s Who: This works well either to share more information about staff or pupils. A great way of using this is by printing out photographs of the class teacher and each member of the class and displaying this on the classroom door. Visitors to the school can scan the image of the teacher or pupil and AR can make that person ‘come to life’, perhaps sharing a couple of sentences about himself/herself and their interests. This would work similarly well if the school has a display board of all of the staff members’ photographs in the front entrance- visitors or parents can scan a photo to learn more about that person, e.g. What their role is or what subject they coordinate.
Book Reviews: Book reviews are one of the most effective ways that I have found to integrate AR into the classroom. My pupils each chose a book from our class reading corner, and filmed a short hideous on the iPad of them reviewing the book. Using Aurasma, each pupil then easily attached the video (‘aura’) to the book by capturing an image of the front cover. The pupils then each put a little coloured sticker on the spine if the book to show others that that certain book had an AR review attached to it. Afterward, anyone can scan the cover of the book and instantly access the review.
Homework Help or Task Tips: This idea could help either with homework (if pupils have access to a device with Aurasma installed on it at home) or simply within the classroom itself, as long as the teacher provides each group of students with an iPad or tablet with an AR reader installed. The teacher can easily record a couple of helpful tips or talk through the problem that is on the page, and then set this video behind the ‘marker’. When pupils then scan the page of their homework or class worksheet, the page reveals a video of their teacher helping them solve the problem.
Encouraging Reading: Each staff member or group of pupils could display a ‘What I’m Reading’ sign on their classroom door. This can be scanned using a mobile device to pop up a video of the teacher or pupils discussing the title, author and plot of a book they’re currently reading! A good way to encourage reading at your school and get pupils to recommend new titles to their peers.
Project Feedback/Targets: Learning targets or feedback on a pupils work could be embedded within assignments/projects by the teacher; pupils could scan a sticker that the teacher has placed on the assignment or project and a video of the teacher discussing what they thought of the work will appear on the pupil’s device!
Interactive Art Gallery: AR lends itself perfectly to making artwork around your school interactive and ‘alive’. It gives the chance for the artist (pupil) to record a video or audio clip about how they created the art, what inspired them, and what the piece is called. When people scan the art using a camera, they can enjoy listening to the pupil explaining their piece. This works particularly well during Open Days at school, where an iPad pre-installed with Aurasma and all of the different video auras can be attached to the art display ready for visitors to pick up and use.
Modern Foreign Language Flash Cards:If pupils at your school learn Modern Foreign Languages, AR can be very useful to reinforce how to pronounce particular words or phrases. Simply create a display of flash cards with the MFL words, and create a short video aura of each with the teacher speaking the word in the language. Pupils can listen to this again and again to help improve their language skills.
On the Horizon: Finally, a great idea for use of AR is to use it to promote upcoming events such as concerts, plays and sports events at your school. Create posters advertising exciting upcoming events and features and put these up around your school; then, by simply recording the teachers or pupils talking about the event, a simple scan with a mobile device camera will bring the poster to life with further information, details or highlights.
Poppy Gibson is working as a Year 5 teacher and Head of ICT and computing at a school in North London, and currently studying a research degree in technology in education. She is committed to exploring and implementing new and exciting technologies in the primary classroom to enhance teaching and encourage learning.