Hello, friends! I’m extremely interested in leveraging the power of Augmented Reality in the classroom, after learning about it at RCET earlier this year. I hope you enjoy this guest post about great Augmented Reality apps for your classroom by Steven Wesley!
Technology is predominant in every aspect of our lives. Can you imagine living without the TV, computer, tablet, smartphone, eReader, and all other devices you own? Can you imagine our children’s future without technology?
Some teachers think that technology is harmful to the development of their students. They believe it leads to an unhealthy addiction. That might be true if you don’t control the way your students use it. However, technology can also become a blessing under proper guidance. When it’s in the hands of a good teacher, it will make the lessons way more appealing, and it will contribute towards the development of tech-savvy generations.
You might be wondering: how does a teacher implement technology in the classroom? You need the right tools and apps, so they will encourage your students to learn more. One of the most amusing types of technology to introduce in the educational process is augmented reality. In the simplest explanation, this technology integrates digital information with the real environment, in real time.
Augmented Reality – the Right Type of Technology for the Classroom
There is a difference between virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality creates a completely new, artificial environment. Augmented technology, on the other hand, places overlays of new information on top of the existing environment. Just think of the extreme hit Pokemon Go and everything will be clear.
This technology is great for the classroom because it’s fun, but also because it doesn’t cost a lot of money. There’s no need for investing in expensive glasses and special projectors. All you need is a tablet or smartphone, which you’re already using for educational purposes.
It’s even better if each student in your class has a tablet or smartphone. If not, you can introduce augmented reality through your device. Of course, you need an app to make that possible.
Let’s take a look at how 5 following augmented reality apps perform in the classroom:
Chemistry becomes more fun than ever thanks to these beautifully designed wooden blocks that show the elements, and an app that adds a layer of new information on them. Each face of each block introduces a different chemical symbol. When you install the app and point the device at the block, you’ll see more information about the element.
That’s fun, but it’s not all. The app lets you combine two elements, so you can turn this into a game. The students can throw the blocks, and you’ll point the device at them to see what happens. If nothing happens, the students will realize that those two elements don’t combine in nature. When they do combine, however, the app will bring the elements to life and show a reaction that’s magical, but too dangerous to do in the school lab.
Every educator understands why geometry is hard to teach: you’re usually drawing 3D shapes on a two-dimensional surface, such as the whiteboard or a piece of paper. Thus, it’s difficult for the students to form a realistic image of all those shapes. You do have plastic models for some forms, but they are too limited.
Arloon Geometry solves that issue. Alicia Glover, a tutor at BestDissertation.com, explains how this technology helped her students understand geometrical figures: “The app shows the shape from all sides. It’s just comes to life and the student forms an adequate spatial vision. The best part? Calculations! Arloon makes it really easy to show how the students should calculate volumes and areas of different shapes.”
This app does exactly what you need: it’s a bridge between the physical and virtual worlds. It’s great for presenting complex concepts in a visually intriguing way. You can create interactive handouts that your students can scan with the app. They will immediately see a supplementary learning model that looks realistic through the screen.
Professor Mauro Figueiredo from the Universidade do Algarve (Portugal) introduced the app in the educational process, so that the students can turn their 2D drawings into 3D models. This experience proves that augmented reality is attractive not only for children, but for university students as well. This technology can improve the overall educational system.
If your students have troubles imagining geometrical shapes, then think: how hard is it for them to imagine the Universe? They look at the stars and don’t understand what they see. With this augmented reality app, you can share the sky with the students. You can organize an entire field trip around that activity.
All you need is an Android device with this app. Point it at the sky and you’ll identify planets, stars, nebulae, and other awesome things.
Aurasma is a classic augmented reality app. You point the device at a usual object, image, or a physical location, and the app brings it to life with 3D scenes, videos, and animations. For example, you can tag a specific page of the textbook and give hints to your students, so they will find it. Then, they will use the layer of information you added.
Ann Eliot, a teacher who tried different augmented reality apps in her classroom, says Aurasma delivered the best experience. She found an interesting way to introduce this technology in the classroom: “For instance, I had each student pick a character from Shakespeare’s plays and bring in a poster describing that character. They also created an aura featuring video of a friend interviewing them as their chosen character. The posters then triggered these auras for the class to watch. My students went above and beyond with their character research to create a video their classmates would enjoy.”
Do you see how inspiring technology can be? Augmented reality, in particular, has tons of potential in education. Teachers can use it to bring complex concepts to life and trigger the interest of visual learners. Hopefully, you’ll try some of the suggested apps to see how that works.
About Steven Wesley …
Steven Wesley is an ESL teacher, ed tech enthusiast, and education blogger. He is interested in educational, technological and political issues and believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Follow him on Twitter.
I’d love to hear how you use Augmented Reality in your classroom!