Augmented reality–a technology that uses a trigger image to superimpose digital content over a user’s view of the real world–is growing in popularity and accessibility, and it holds a wealth of potential for education.

Often described as “QR codes on steroids,” the technology offers new and exciting ways for students to interact with lessons, said Jeff Peterson, an instructional technologist in the Lamar Consolidated ISD in Texas. Peterson presented a TCEA 2017 session on augmented reality’s application in classrooms.

Augmented reality-based apps infuse more engagement into learning exercises, and students often grasp complex concepts quickly with interactive content, said Peterson, referencing Drew Minock, an advocate for augmented reality in the classroom and outreach manager at augmented reality company Daqri.

“If you can captivate those kids when you introduce the lesson, you know they’re going to pay attention throughout the lesson,” Peterson said. “This is a great way to grab kids and get them involved.”

Relevant educational uses include using augmented reality during a visit to a museum or historical location, seeing science concepts in motion, looking at math from new visual perspectives, watching books come to life, and animating art.

(Next page: 12 augmented reality apps)