Augmented Reality Apps — How Can Educators Use Them?

Last semester, I discovered the world of Augmented Reality Apps.  If you want to see what these are, go to my other posts where I have links to a handful of these apps for iPads/iPhones and pictures & videos of students using them in the classroom.  Basically, they are apps where you can observe a 3-D object by using the camera on the iDevice and looking at a marker (usually a sheet of paper).  You can see the object from various angles by moving your iDevice around and, in some cases, even interact with the objects!

As soon as I saw this, I became too excited to go to sleep that night.  My wife just laughed at my childish excitement, but my mind began moving to all the possibilities this technology holds for people in the future.  Just imagine the possibilities:

  1. Movie theaters where the movies are full-immersion experiences.  You have a device (or better yet, glasses) where you can focus on the action, but can also look side to side and see what else is going on around your other favorite characters.
  2. Video games where you can look at a map and see, in real (augmented) 3-D where things are.
  3. Art galleries where you can observe famous works of art without the hassle of moving the art or the worry of them being stolen.
  4. The Augmented Reality company is advertising their app as a way to view furnature and other home remodeling before making the leap to purchase the product.
  5. With the new wave of (relatively) cheap 3D printers (which I reeeeeeally, reeeeeeeally want), you could examine your object before wasting the precious “ink” producing the 3D object.
  6. You can make any building in the world look like it was remodeled by Disney for some big celebration.
  7. You can make portals to other secret worlds.

There were dozens of other ideas that I thought about, but can’t remember at the moment.  However, you’ll notice that of all the things above, none of them are easily lifted to go into the classroom.  Sure, we can force this technology into the classroom, and use it for things that could have just as easily been accomplished without augmented reality.  But there have got to be things that we can now do in the classroom that couldn’t have been done without it.  Just look at the list above!   There’s GOT to be some way to significantly improve students’ interaction with concepts that couldn’t be done without augmented reality, and I want to explore that.

If you have ideas, please, please comment below.  I think that of the math classes, Geometry stands the best chance of using this immediately (when exploring 3D solids) just because it’s the most obvious connection.  To that end, I had started making your basic 3D shapes for the Augmented Reality app in hopes that some geometry teacher would come along and want to try this out, but I didn’t get very far and ran out of time.  If you’d like for me to keep making them, please let me know and I’d be happy to finish them!

To me, this seems like a whole new frontier when it comes to human interaction with computing.  Perhaps that’s why Google is taking their time with Google Glass–they want it to be big in the way that the iPhone was when it first came out: it changed the face of computing and the way a significant number of people interact with computers for a significant amount of the time.  The possibilities are out there and I really want education to be on the front of this wave rather than 10 years behind the curve as it has been in the past when it comes to technology.



Filed under Teaching

4 responses to “Augmented Reality Apps — How Can Educators Use Them?

  1. Really like this post, and whilst i’m yet to spring forth with incredible ideas for such app. exploration (sorrry!); having worked in education for a few years with really underpriviledged kids, and having been exposed to stats such as “every student in [a london school] school was given an ipad for their GCSE education….and the total pass rate soared from just under 30% to 100%”. So, definitely think things such as this should be taken more note of by the relevant ministers. Therein, I fully back your points, and think this is a brilliant piece! 🙂

  2. I too just stumbled on this, and had my girlfriend laughing at my childish excitement.
    I am starting to try and make ‘posters’, where I hang the markers on the wall, having 5-6 different stations around. Each ‘poster’ would have math problems, or puzzles, or games, or something like that. This could be done with regular paper, but it is different, and in a lot of cases students like different ways of doing the same thing.
    I have started to work on making a cube with different images on each side as a way of giving them something they have to interact with to solve the problem. It will keep them more engaged.
    So it might not be something that has to be completely new and only doable with Augmented Reality, it can be used to take something old, and make it new again. That is the road I plan to try.
    Brian dot Kolins at yahoo dot com if you want to try and collaborate. That is not my primary e-mail, so I might not reply the same day, but I try and check it several times a week.

    • I really like the “cube” idea! It is just different enough that I think students would really be engaged with the process, so it would be just perfect for, say, a review game.

      I know that right now you can only move whole objects around through Augment, but the representative I spoke with said that they are working on making parts of objects moveable. Perhaps you could have some sort of 3-D puzzle where you figure out what fits with what by solving problems. Since you can import more than one object, perhaps you could already do that, it would just all have sit “on the ground” rather than have some pieces above or below others.

      Also, your poster idea is good, but it won’t work unless you have (a) 5-6 different iPads at the stations, or (b) have dedicated QR codes, which you can’t get through their website. However, I contacted a representative and he said he could create these for me, so I’ll e-mail you his contact info so you can get started on that. I might just steal that idea soon, I like it!!

      Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Pingback: [Augment] Probability Review | Hilbert's Hotel

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