Are you an AR innovator?

A librarian and PBL specialist shares her best practices for turning an exciting technology into a powerful teaching tool

My library is not quiet. As much as I can, I strive to have my students engaged and excited about learning and exploring new things. One of those new things is augmented reality (AR).

Recently, an AR company gave interactive lessons for my class of 25 sixth-graders. The company was here for three hours and my students were engaged and excited the entire time. It was amazing to watch, and I thought, “This is a medium that we definitely have to explore.”

The challenge with this technology is that it looks fun, but many of us don’t have a concrete plan to incorporate it into learning or an idea of how (or if) it will impact student learning. Here are four tips that will help.

1. Connect AR to project-based learning
As the school library specialist, I’m also the head of project-based learning at Oregon Middle School in Medford, N.Y. One of our English teachers was also intrigued by AR so we put our heads together. She was starting The Diary of Anne Frank with her 8th-grade honors classes, so we had her students conduct background research into what the rooms in Anne Frank’s attic looked like. They found everything from the dimensions of the rooms, to the pieces of furniture, to how many people had to hide in the attic.

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