Augmented Reality in Education – update

About 3 years ago, I wrote two posts describing Augmented Reality and exploring the potential of Augmented Reality in education and the workplace: Augmented Reality – Even Better than the Real Thing? and Bringing Augmented Reality to Life – in the classroom and the workplace.

Take a moment to re-read these posts, or, if time is short, watch this great video  which will quickly bring you up to speed on what Augmented Reality is:

As you can expect, a lot changes in three years – resources such as String, which I explored previously have morphed to embrace new concepts, while tools like Aurasma have continued to develop the quality of their experience, providing more reliability and better results than ever before. What’s more, tools like Google Cardboard are moving beyond augmented reality, and providing a completely virtual reality experience – more on this in a future post!

But back to Augmented Reality (AR) – where technology allows you to create a ‘layer’ of information over a person’s experience of the world. When you think about it, educators are the original ‘augmented reality’, providing an overlay to student’s perspectives!

Tools such as Aurasma  enable learning to be engaging in a completely new way, and this post aims at providing some ideas as to how AR can used by students to raise their expression of learning to a new level.

As I introduced in earlier blog posts, Augmented Reality apps come in two main forms: the first is where a printed trigger image initiates an interaction through the camera of the mobile device, and the second where the app uses the mobile device’s GPS capabilities to ‘layer’ digital data over the location where the user is.

It is the first type where students can really get involved in the creation of AR, as they can either create both the trigger image and the overlay, or just overlay their own creation onto an image (or item, e.g. a book cover), through using an app such as Aurasma. There are a few other apps which allow for this AR creation, one notable one being DAQRI (you can see its potential here).  However, Aurasma appears to be the most stable and currently the best on the market. Access to the Educator’s 4D DAQRI Studio appears to be currently unavailable.

Check out just some of what can be created using Aurasma in this video:

In education, creating an overlay which enriches resources is the most obvious way to use this technology. Imagine being able to embed a book trailer video directly onto the cover of a book, so that students could simply open their phone or other mobile device to the AR app, scan the cover of the book and immediately view the trailer; AR makes this totally possible. Even better if the book trailer is student created – a way to bring student voice directly into the reading experience!

Another option would be to augment a student’s artwork with a video of themselves explaining the work, or a montage of the pieces that inspired their creation – again, not only possible, but easily and quickly done.

A third option is to record a student performance, and then embed this directly onto the criteria sheet, so moderating teachers simply view the sheet through their mobile device to review the student’s singing, dancing, acting etc – what a powerful way to bring assessment to life.

With creativity and imagination, the options are endless. What about using a video to demonstrate the correct pronunciation of foreign language words for a LOTE class, and overlaying these on the flashcards, or researching the plants in the school grounds and overlaying videos with this information onto signs near those trees or plants for others to view. Bring the map of the school’s local area alive with videos of elderly residents sharing their stories of how the area has changed, or link the school choir singing the school song to the logo on your newsletter. Even better, link newsletter photos with video, so parents can experience the moment as it happened.

Younger students could create slideshows of images all beginning with a particular letter or blend and then embed these on alphabet cards, while senior students could list the properties of elements and develop an interactive periodic table..it doesn’t matter what age or stage, AR can allow students to demonstrate their own learning, and then easily share it with others, creating useful resources that other learners can benefit from also.

These are just some examples of how you could use an App such as Aurasma to bring AR into your classroom.  Aurasma is one of the easiest ways to create your own AR overlays. You can do it within the app on your mobile device, or, if you want greater flexibility, download the Aurasma Studio to create on your computer.

Augmented_realityThe steps on this PDF take you through just how you do this (click on the image or click here)

Once you have developed confidence with creating the overlay and combining it with the trigger image to create an AR experience, you can then distribute these either via email to specific users, or more broadly by creating your own ‘channel’ to which users can subscribe. Either choice is easy to set up either within the app itself, or in the online studio environment.

This field is changing all the time, so the best thing to do is just jump in and try it! Now that many students have access to mobile technology (either at home or at school or both), the implementation of AR is likely to become more common (at least more common than it was three years ago when I first wrote about it!).

If you would like to learn more, check out this Pinterest board, which has a growing range of links to different ideas, apps and information about AR – and if you bring AR into your classroom, drop us a line in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Advertisements

Bringing Augmented Reality to Life – in the classroom and the workplace

The team at ResourceLink decided to follow up our recent blog post on Augmented Reality by testing it out in the ‘real world’. We have had two major opportunities over the past weeks to play in the augmented reality sphere, and we would like to share with you our experiences and hopefully inspire others to branch out into this exciting area of edtech.

The first opportunity we had was at the annual Kids Connect, which is a conference run by kids, for kids, organised by Paul Shaw and the Year 7 students at St Thomas Camp Hill.

The organising committee for Kids Connect, from St Thomas School Camp Hill.

Last year was the first time ResourceLink team members had participated, and we blogged about our experience of developing interactive historical timelines here.

This year, with the theme of ‘Escape 2 the Future’, we decided to use Augmented Reality as a way of providing windows into the past and the future. As the Kids Connect conference was once again at the amazing Brisbane Powerhouse, we knew that we could use AR technology to give the students a way of exploring the way time can be viewed as a continuum from a particular point in time.

Click on the image to access information about how to download these apps to try them out for yourself.

We introduced the students first to the concept of Augmented Reality by giving them a number of experiences using some of the apps we blogged about previously. The students were immediately engaged and excited by the possibilities before them, as they viewed the different animations and movies made possible using apps such as String, HeartCam, SpidermanAR and Floodlines.

The marker was a printed A4 page, with a black and white icon on it. You can see the marker to the left of the black and white photo, which is the ‘aura’ – an historical photo of the Powerhouse prior to its redevelopment. The marker was placed on the glass entry to the Powerhouse, and the exterior of the Powerhouse as it appears today can be seen through the glass in the background of the photo.

Once the students had an idea of what Augmented Reality was, we sent them off on a discovery journey around the Powerhouse. We had placed markers around the building, and the students had to find the markers and using their iPad or iPod touch, view the marker through the Aurasma app. Each marker had been placed in a part of the Powerhouse where we had sourced an historical photo of the same spot. As the students viewed the markers through Aurasma, an historical photo of the place where they were standing emerged, so the students essentially had a ‘window’ into the past history of that part of the building.

Once all of the markers had been discovered, the students used the app PicPlayPost to create a frame that featured their favourite ‘window’ into the past, and a video explanation of why they chose that one. To get an idea of the way places change over time, the students viewed a few short clips from Back to the Future, and made observations about the way the locations changed, and yet in some ways stayed the same as Marty McFly travelled through time. With this idea in mind, the students then explored and discussed images of the future, suggesting how they thought life might be improved through technology in the future.

We then introduced the students to the Aurasma app. Aurasma is also an AR technology, and it allows you to create your own ‘auras’ which are embedded into a marker that you create. The students used a number of apps on the iPads and iPod touches including iMovie, Toontastic and Screenchomp to put together a short video depicting their vision of the future, which would act as their ‘window’ into the future.

Finally, the students created their ‘markers’, which were simply A4 posters. We had pre-created ‘location’ channels for each of the mobile devices, so when the students went through the process of embedding their auras onto the posters they had created, they could upload them to the channels and share amongst each other. We did experience a few ‘glitches’ with this process, as the wireless internet was quite weak, and the student’s videos were in some cases over a minute long, however we also experienced successes with this process.

The final result was that the students were able to share with others a glimpse into the future that they imagined, via an augmented poster that they had created – take a look at how they worked…

Our second AR project involved an art installation in our office, which we enhanced using the Aurasma technology.

“The Earth in the Balance” on display in ResourceLink

A staff member using an iPod touch to view Rick’s video from the marker.

When the artist, Mr Rick Dalmau offered us the opportunity to display his work at ResourceLink, we jumped at the chance. However it quickly became apparent that Rick’s sculpture had many meanings, and that the story behind it’s construction was fascinating. So, with his permission, we created a short video of him explaining how the piece came together, and we used the Aurasma Studio app to embed this movie into a marker we created using one of his photos of the piece. Entitled ‘Earth in the Balance’, the piece is created from a variety of found objects. If you wish to hear Rick speak about his creation, simply download this PDF Leviathan over granite . Download the Aurasma app, and search for the ‘ResourceLink Auras’ channel, and subscribe.

Once you have subscribed, simply hold your device, with the app open over the printed pdf, and the video should begin playing. Double click on the video to make it full screen. Make sure your volume is on full!

Augmented Reality has really added to ways we can share information, and enhance our resources and displays – if you have any exciting ways you have used AR, please share in the comments below!

Augmented Reality – Even Better than the Real Thing?

Augmented Reality has become a buzz word recently in ed-tech circles.The K-12 Horizon Report describes Augmented Reality as  blending — or augmenting — what
we see in the real world with related information,data, media, and even live action.

Although it was once envisaged that the future would be completely virtual, it is now becoming apparent that rather than stepping into entirely computer created worlds, it is better to harness technology to add to our current reality – hence ‘augmented reality’ has become more popular, and ‘virtual reality’ has become less so.

An easy way to understand exactly what the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is by viewing examples of each:

This is an explanation of Virtual Reality (also known as Virtual Worlds):

Below is an example of Augmented Reality:

The girl is able to see a 3d model of the lego before she purchases it.

Virtual reality has existed for quite some time, however the increasing use of mobile devices equipped with cameras has enabled the development of apps that put this technology into the hands of students and teachers; and the potential for learning is very exciting.

Augmented reality has two major forms; the first is where a printed trigger image initiates an interaction through the camera of the mobile device; there are many examples of this (and they will be elaborated on below), but the one pictured here is ‘Sneaker ID’, where the printed image of a sneaker transforms into a realistic 3d depiction of a sneaker when viewed through the app.

The second form is where the app uses the devices GPS capabilities to ‘layer’ digital data over the location where the user is. A well known example of this is Layar, which provides a huge number of layers which can provide information about the user’s local environment. The photo below shows a Layar view of Museums and Galleries in a 5 kilometre radius from the Brisbane Catholic Education head office in Brisbane.

Although augmented reality as a learning tool is still in its infancy, there are a number of apps that provide an engaging way to stimulate students imaginations, and one app in particular, Aurasma Lite, which moves beyond simple viewing an augmented reality, and provides tools that students and teachers can use to quickly and easily create their own digital layers onto images and items.

The Horizon Report suggests that Augmented reality is very likely to become a powerful teaching tool within the near future for the following reasons:

  • It can be used for visual and highly interactive forms of learning.
  • Students find connections between their lives and their education through the addition of a contextual layer.
  • It is an active, not a passive technology; students can use it to construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual  objects that bring underlying data to life.
  • Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a student’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.

Before looking at using Aurasma though, let’s just explore some of the ‘fun’ ways that augmented reality can be used in the classroom.

1. As a stimulus for creative writing:

Download the String AR app, and using the printouts available from the String website, bring ‘Proto’ to life on a student’s desk, or inspire a story based around a dragon who bursts out of the computer screen and into the classroom.

2. As part of a science unit on Earth and Space Science:

Examine the Mars Rover in a way that was never possible previously; Using the marker downloaded from the NASA 3D spacecraft app, bring the Rover right into the classroom for an interactive experience:

3. Make mental calculations of money fun:

Capture photos of students with money falling from the sky using MoneyVision; add the totals and graph to seewhich student received the most ‘virtual’ cash!

4. Students studying weather patterns can use the Floodlines app and printable markers created by the State Library of Queensland to examine the extent of the flooding in Brisbane during the 2011 floods.

More ideas for these apps can be found in the attached booklet.

Aurasma takes the tools for augmenting reality and gives it to users.

It allows users to connect short movies, animations or still images to items; best explained by the creator of Aurasma himself, Matt Mills

Creating an ‘aura’ is simple – instructions are in this booklet.

Ideas for using Aurasma in a school setting are numerous; here are just a few:

1. Attach a video of a student presenting their project/artwork/writing to the piece, so that those who weren’t in attendance at the presentation can view it later.

2. Attach a student created book trailer to the cover of the actual book, so that others can view the trailer prior to reading.

3. Embed footage of a school event into the printed school newsletter – still photos in the newsletter become video captured on the day.

4. Record a student reading to a photo of the student holding that book; a collation of these images with embedded video taken over time can provide a timeline of student reading development.

5. Embed a video of the teacher reading out an exam/assignment question onto the task sheet for those students who struggle with reading print text.

6. Create a short video orientation of the school and attach to the school emblem/crest – this will provide a multimedia introduction to the school to anyone who scans the emblem using the Aurasma app.

7. Place Location Auras around the school grounds, with video explaining the history/useful information about that part of the school.

8. Attach labels with embedded video to realia in the school library to add additional explanations about use or care of the item.

The list is endless! Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Augmented Reality might still seem futuristic, but it is hardly science fiction. Students will be engaged and challenged by the multimedia and transmedia possibilities augmented reality brings to learning; what an exciting time to be an educator!

Check out more augmented reality information and resources on my PearlTree.