augmented reality

5 apps to jump-start augmented reality in the classroom

Augmented reality is becoming more accessible for teachers and students of all ages

It’s fair to say that augmented reality has moved from a cool technology that might be neat for students to try to a credible teaching tool that fits just as easily in K-12 classrooms as it does in higher education.

Advocates have long said augmented reality helps boost student engagement and also helps reach those with varying learning styles.

Many educators see that augmented reality “takes what is real and enhances or overlays information to get more out of exploring our world,” said David Loveland and Jim Wasserman, teachers at The Parish Episcopal School in Dallas.

Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that, while virtual reality creates a virtual or “fake” world, augmented reality overlays additional information and virtual features over the real, existing world.

“Unfortunately, too much of our education system is structured like virtual reality. We create an artificial world where subjects like history, science, and physical education are separated into distinct, and unreal, classes without reference to each other. So too, the student’s day is blocked out into delineated (and often arbitrary) chunks of time. Students are asked to read about things and solve problems that have no connection to their immediate world,” they wrote in an exclusive for eSchool News.

“[Augmented reality], on the other hand, is an approach that has endless possibilities for enhancing the motivation and actual learning for students. Starting with the world as students know or perceive it, such an approach presents the world in a way that engages students. Once engaged, or having “bought into it” as teachers like to say, the students are much more receptive to the follow-up learning that the teacher can then add on top,” Loveland and Wasserman said.

Next page: Five augmented reality tools you can use in the classroom

At the Augmented Reality Development Lab (ARDL), from virtual reality developer Digital Tech Frontier, lets users display relevant information at the appropriate time and location during an AR experience, which results in virtual 3-D objects appearing in the real world.

Students and teachers look through a viewing device or at a monitor to see virtual objects such as planets, volcanoes, the human heart, or dinosaurs embedded within their real-world environment—and they can interact with and manipulate those objects to receive associated information.

Five apps to help educators incorporate augmented reality:

1. GeoGuesser: Using a phone, tablet or computer, a player is placed in a spot anywhere in the world using Google Maps. Exploring and looking for clues such as geographic signs, landmarks, and climate, the player has to guess where they are.

2. Elements 4D: Elements 4D uses augmented reality to help students explore elements and chemical reactions. To use the app, first print special element blocks on standard letter-size paper in your classroom. Cut the shapes out, follow the instructions to fold them into cubes, and glue them together to hold them in place. Once the blocks are ready, you can hold them in front of your device camera so the elements they represent can be viewed in augmented reality.

3. Quiver Apps: Students color on printed pages, then view their drawing through a phone via the app. Drawings will come to life and can be paired with creative writing assignments or other approaches to engage students.

4. Fetch! Lunch Rush: In this Augmented Reality, multi-player game, you need to keep up with lunch orders from Ruff’s movie crew. The challenge is keeping track of how many pieces of sushi everyone wants.

5. ZooBurst: ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone create an augmented reality 3D pop-up book.

[Editor’s note: We have not reviewed the above tools.]

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Laura Ascione
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