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Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 10: Augmented Reality
10. Educators use ‘augmented reality’ to enhance their lessons.
A student holds a tablet in front of a series of famous paintings. On each painting, something comes to life–sounds, animation, or a pop-up fact linking the painting to historical events.
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The scene is reminiscent of a Harry Potter movie, but this isn’t magic. It’s augmented reality, which uses technology to blend the real world with interactive and enhanced content.
When a student uses an augmented reality application while looking through a mobile device such as a tablet, he or she will experience an overlay of interactive elements that enhance the “normal” scene. For instance, using an augmented reality app while hovering a tablet in front of a historical landmark could call up videos of important historical reenactments, important facts, or more.
Augmented reality finally emerged as a viable instructional tool this past year, thanks largely to the development of augmented reality apps that are easily downloadable onto handheld mobile devices. And while its integration into the classroom is still new, some forward-thinking educators are using augmented reality to bring once-dull lessons to life for their students.
For instance, Theresa McGee, a K-5 art educator in the Community Consolidated School District 181 in Burr Ridge, Ill., uses the augmented reality app Aurasma to teach her students about famous works of art.
“The beauty of augmented reality is that it’s different than just linking to a website,” McGee said. “The cool factor for augmented reality is still there. The kids think it’s amazing that they can just hold something in their hand and see that something is going on in front of their screen.”