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Putting augmented reality into practice

A classroom is transformed, and student engagement receives a boost, with new augmented reality technology

augmented-realityThis year, when I introduced creative writing to my students, I wanted to do it a little differently than I had in years past. This year I wanted to use the awesome power of augmented reality to engage my students and inspire them to be creative and have fun. Augmented reality takes something in the static world and brings it to life. It gives the end user an additional and engaging experience.

I started by giving my students a choice of three different coloring pages from the colAR Mix app. They had a choice of a dragon, a girl in her room, and a hot air balloon. Their directions were to take their time coloring the picture and have fun.

After students had plenty of time to color their pictures, I told them to come have a seat on the carpet and to bring their pictures with them. I asked them: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring these pictures to life?” At that point, I took one of each of the three coloring pages and, using an iPad, I brought them to life using colAR.

Educators can connect and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eSNBestPractices.

(Next page: How did students react to the augmented reality?)

First, I brought the dragon to life. It jumped out of the page, started flying around, and the students were amazed. I pushed a button on the screen and it started breathing fire as it flew over the village below. You could see the amazement on my students’ faces….I had them hooked. Then, we put the iPad over the picture of the girl, and she started dancing around her room while music played in the background. Lastly, we brought the hot air balloon to life and watched as it sailed over many different locations along the earth.

Now that I had my students deeply engaged, I told them to write a story that went along with the picture they created and brought to life. The students couldn’t get back to their seats fast enough–they were like a swarm of bees heading back to the hive to get to their honey.

When they got back to their seats, the only thing you could hear was the sound of their pencils etching their stories into their paper, like a sculptor chiseling away at marble, working on his masterpiece. When I did tell them it was time to stop, I was met with a unison of “auuughhhh.” They didn’t want to stop writing. When that happens, you know you have them hooked!

They did an amazing job writing stories that went along with the pictures that they had just brought to life. Now they not only had an exciting story to share, but they had a 3D animated character living in that space, which captured the reader even more. They were so proud of their stories. Each student wanted to share theirs with the class.

Using augmented reality in the classroom creates engagement unlike anything I’ve ever seen in all my years teaching. It reaches out and grabs the students and brings them in for a unique experience. Using augmented reality to inspire creative writing is just one way to bring this amazing technology into your classroom. Please stay tuned for more articles on using augmented reality in the classroom and tying it into the curriculum.

I would love to hear from you. Please reach out to me on Twitter. I am @techbradwaid or contact me through eMail at

Brad Waid is an energetic and passionate educator who inspires educational change through technology and Augmented reality. He is one of the co-founders of AR Detroit, one of the co-host of the “2 Guys Show”, a co-founder of Two Guys and Some iPads blog (, featured on and sits on the Advisory boards of two Educational Technology companies.

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