Augmented reality snags a coveted spot in classrooms

Theresa McGee, a K-5 art educator in the Community Consolidated School District 181 in Burr Ridge, Ill., uses the Aurasma augmented reality app with her students.

“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.”

McGee’s blog and Aurasma page are full of examples and resources for teaching with augmented reality.

For one activity, McGee wanted her students to understand the difference between thin and thick brush strokes and varying textures. So, she used Google Art Project, in which institutions across the world have contributed high-resolution images of famous works of art, to access detailed images of different paintings for her students. Students used the Aurasma app on iPads to hover over different images, call up different features and details, and learn more about the techniques used to create the paintings.

McGee, who was recently named an Apple Distinguished Educator, also uses the app to create instructional videos for different artistic techniques. When a user holds an iPad over an image, such as how to draw a cube, a video pops up and instructs the user in a certain technique. Her students love the process so much that they began creating their own instructional videos.

“Students can explore, and they really dig deeper into their own learning,” she said.

“Augmented reality adds a layer of depth as far as the instruction is concerned,” said Charles Cooper, an instructional technology teacher and government teacher at Northwest Independent School District in Texas.

Students create their own projects and become immersed and engaged in their learning without even realizing it, he said.

“They have deep discussions at high levels,” Cooper said. “I’ve seen the ‘razzle dazzle’ aspect of augmented reality, but in high school it’s just as applicable to raise the level of conversation. Augmented reality’s features can lead to something deeper.”

(Next page: Examples of augmented reality activities in high school)

Laura Ascione

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