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:
- 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.
- Video games where you can look at a map and see, in real (augmented) 3-D where things are.
- Art galleries where you can observe famous works of art without the hassle of moving the art or the worry of them being stolen.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can make any building in the world look like it was remodeled by Disney for some big celebration.
- 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.