Friday, July 5, 2013

How to Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom to Engage Students

At ISTE 13, I attended a great session called APPealing Curriculum Toolkit: Developing App-Based Lessons. I loved the time I had exploring augmented reality apps in the classroom. I had heard of Aurasma before but to be honest I couldn't figure out how it worked. I was determined to create something and so I sat down the last couple of nights until around 3 in the morning creating a scavenger hunt on life cycles. You can actually create auras using your iPad but it wasn't working for me. I finally found Aurasma Studio and that is where the magic happened. So what is an aura you may be asking? Well basically you are creating a trigger image with an overlay which means when the app scans the image the overlay appears in the form of an image, video, or 3D model. You can add actions to your overlay that can take students to websites for more information. I like to think of it as a QR code on steroids. It is much cooler! If you do not know anything about augmented reality click {here} to read a post I wrote about some of the cool AR apps.

Now you might think it strange at first like I did and not understand how it works so I thought I would just go ahead and teach you how to make one. Here are the steps in creating auras for your students:

Step 1: Create an account in Aurasma Studio.

Step 2: Read the content tutorial and check out the layout of the navigation tools. It is very simple and easy. Basically, just go down the list of icons to create your aura.

Step 3: Load a Trigger Image. It seems that real images work better than clip art. It will tell you if the Trigger Image is not good enough. I like to use Pixabay for public domain pics. Just click on add. Then name your image - browse your computer for the image - give it a description - press save. You will see "Complete under the Training Column" when it has been accepted.

Step 4: Go through the same steps for adding your Overlay. You will notice you can add a video, image, or 3D model. The image can be animated as well. If you add video the user can just double take the screen to make the video show up without the trigger image. What I do is just add a link to the video to SafeShare. So when the overlay appears, students can just click on the overlay and it will link them to the video.

Step 5: Next create your Channel of where your Auras will be housed. What I am going to do is create a channel for each project that I work on. For this particular project I called my channel Life Cycles. You will also notice that you can set your auras to private or public. Once you have created your channel - click on Link to Subscribe. This will give you the link to your channel. Copy it somewhere because you will need this later.

Step 6: Now it is time to create your aura. Basically, you are going to click on Add - Name your new aura and click on the drop-down menu for the trigger image and channel. Do the same for the overlay. If you want to add special actions such as linking to a website just click the Add Action button. You will see the trigger and overlay together and can size it if needed. Most of the time I have the overlay the same size as the trigger. Click Save.

Step 7: Now all you have to do is create a QR code of the Channel you created and print out the Trigger Images. Students will scan the code on the iPads and it will automatically open up the app and allow the iPad to follow the channel. Students can then scan the triggers and enjoy.

If you'd like to try AR out for yourself click {here} to try one of my free AR examples on the human body. If you are interested in the life cycle AR scavenger hunt I created click {here}.

How would you use Aurasma in your classroom? I would love to hear from you!

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  1. Next year I am going to be 1:1 with ipads and then our 5th graders share a cart of Chromebooks. We visited a local school who has been using ipads for 2 years and found Aurasma everywhere from the moment we walked up to the door. They have pics laminated to every door on campus, most posts, windows, etc. When you scan each one, kids voices come on telling you something... either a welcome to their classroom along with a video or pics of what you will see inside, welcome to the school, who the principal and main staff in the office are,etc. This school has a garden type grounds around each classroom with CA native plants growing there. Those Aurasma posters faded due to constant sun exposure, but the ones in the shade gave us detailed info that the students had written about the plant, where it grows in CA, its usefulness to natives and to us, etc. Each teacher has a picture of themselves in Anime or cartoon format. When you scan it, we saw different styles...some teachers welcomed you in to her room, other times it was students. Students had to rotate giving the info so everyone got more than one opportunity during the year. Also along the wall in their classrooms were pics that you could scan and more oral and visual reports would pop up. Very fun!! I have been working on this during the summer, so your post was definitely on target!!! Thanks for the wonderful resource.

    1. Wow! That sounds like a school that I would love to visit! I have been thinking about the possibilities all weekend! Thanks so much for your comment. You have given me a lot of information.

  2. Thanks for posting about this. I can't wait to try the life cycle scavenger hunt in the spring. I would like to try creating my own. Could you explain step 7 for me? How do I create a QR code that links to a specific Aurasma channel? Thanks!

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