Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Diving Into Augmented Reality

Over the past few months, I have been exploring the benefits and learning opportunities made possible by emerging augmented reality (AR) technologies.  First, I had to get a better grasp regarding what "augmented reality" actually is.  Here is a helpful description:

"...augmented reality blurs the line between what's real and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. On the spectrum between virtual reality.... and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists."  Source 

My main source of information regarding augmented reality in education has been The Two Guys Show podcast on Edreach, hosted by Brad Waid and Drew Minoch.  They have also created an awesome website called Two Guys and Some iPads with incredible AR sources.

In a recent post, I demonstrated how my son has been using the colAR mix app to bring his coloring pages to life, as well as some fun I was having with Aurasma by augmenting my daughter crawling out from behind our couch.  Since then, my 2-year-old son has also loved the AR Flashcards which bring animals and dinosaurs to life as he learns his letters (and dino names of course). See image to the right.

As I began recognizing the awesome potential that AR has for learning, I committed to making a channel on Aurasma for my students. My first trial run at making an "aura" with the Aurasma Studio Account was to augment the FlippedHistoryVideos trailer onto the Flipped History logo image.  After a few initial attempts, it worked!   If you are interested in viewing the aura, follow the steps below:

Step 1

Install Aurasma onto your mobile device: iOS & Android

Step 2
Subscribe to the Flipped History Channel

Option 1

Option 2

Scan the following QR Code to the right

Once you have the Aurasma app and are following the Flipped History Channel, you should be able to view the aura below.  To do this, open Aurasma and point your device at the trigger image below.  You should then see a purple swirl appear.  Soon after (quickly if on wifi, longer if via 3/4G), the Flipped History Videos trailer should augment and play over the image. 

If you have trouble viewing the aura, just let me know and I can help you troubleshoot the issue.  This is a very new process for people, and the technology is still relatively new, so experiencing challenges along the way is part of it. Hang in there!  On the other hand, if it worked, that is awesome!  You are already on your way to making your own unique auras.   

AR in the Classroom

Since the Flipped History Aurasma Channel has been up and running, I have incorporated AR into the following two projects. 

1. AP European History students are creating auras for primary source visuals in our text.

2. World History students are creating auras as part of the world religions project and posting them on our new "Aura Wall."

As we finish up these projects, I look forward to sharing our experiences in future posts.  Until then, if you have any questions about these AR projects or are just interested in exploring the possibilities, as always, please let me know.