I wrote a while ago about using Virtual Reality in the classroom, and i really do enjoy its effect and impact on students, motivation and excitement wise at least. However, to set it up so its a whole class activity is seriously expensive and, as much as i love it, i don’t think as of yet it brings enough to the table to warrant going in that direction for all students
Augmented Reality however, if you have a half decent phone or tablet, and by that i mean not a Nokia 3300, then this is in fact way more accessible to classrooms. Especially for those of us who teach in more financially challenged educational systems.
So i am going to highlight some uses and resources ( books, websites and apps etc) that use Augmented Reality that may supplement or add to your lessons and bring a little WOW factor to your classroom. If you want to know more about Apps you can use it will be tomorrows post. I will link it at the end.
Teachers are always looking for ways to decorate walls in classrooms, and using AR to do this can be a useful and frankly pretty cool way of doing it. In my classroom, pictured , i have used AR images from two apps ( i teach primary) one is an animal alphabet app that pops up an animal when the tablet or phone is placed over it and the other is ZooKazam which has a large selection of animals and trigger images you can stick to the wall to make live animals come out or put them on tables and desks to have a mini version on their desks as well. one of the triggers is an image of grass which works really well if you print it out in colour. It means you can have what looks like a grassed area and have the animals walking on it. The video below highlights this quite well.
I used this with a group of young learners to help with a writing exercise. I had already printed out the triggers from the app above (AR Alphabet) and asked the students to pick one animal at a time stick it in the ready made book. They had to write about the animal, what it can do , what it ate, was it big or small, how did it make them feel etc. Once they had completed one they could have it checked by the teacher and then go and pick two more and do the same.
I have run this activity without the AR element before and without it the students produce about half as much in their books. The AR element also encourages them to take the book home and show and read to their parents. On the last page is a note to parents explaining how to use the AR in their children’s book.
An app like Zappar or Aurasma can be used to present students work, either hard copy, oral or video. You upload the work to the app and it generates a QR code, which then can be displayed on the wall. Parents can download the app and watch students present the work all around the school. I used this previously as we had a lot of parents waiting after school in the reception. I thought it would be nice to enable them to see what was happening in their students lessons. So i uploaded some worksheets, asked the students to make short videos introducing the school and some activities and let the parents watch as they waited. It is a great way to involve parents without needing teacher time!!
This is where i use it the most, I mentioned above I set my year 1 students the task of writing an AR zoo. This can be extended to other year groups. The apps mentioned so far, like ZooKazam have, in addition to the animal images, information about their diet, size and living environment. Students can be tasked to find this information in the app, read it and then video or write a report on their animal as it moves around them. Although basically substitution of a book for an app it is a great motivating tool for the students to be able to visually see the animal or subject they have to discuss or write about.
I use Carlton books a lot as they cover a lot of the subjects that I do in class, The only drawback as an ESL teacher is that the language in the books is a little much for my students so i have adapted that where needed. The Augmented Reality inside is really, really good though. Here is an example of the Raptor from the Jurassic world book. It is controllable from the free partner app.
These things cost money, not a lot but if your budget is less than ”not a lot” a search with A.R. on Apple or Google will find you free and paid apps covering many subjects. So even with no budget it is possible.
I use space, dinosaurs, animals, science among others. If you are reading or doing project work then some apps or books on these subjects and being able to put a black hole or a T-Rex in the classroom is going to be an experience they wont forget. If you have a projector or whiteboard then screen sharing the phone to the computer would be a great idea!
As i said i use Carlton books. In the collection i have are the following.
There are quite a few more, and truthfully in my role i don’t use the science or the brain ones but i got a deal on them and i like new things as much as the next teacher!
For most holidays or festivals there is an activity planned for primary schools. So for my lessons I try to make it a little cooler. For example at Christmas we make an interactive Christmas card to the parents. This card does something a little different. If you use the app Quiver it will bring those cards to life. It does need a little preparation with you cutting and pasting the Quiver, colouring sheet on to a PowerPoint so its card shaped. There are Fireworks, Christmas trees, ice skating penguins, Valentines hearts and loads more. Most of it is free from their website, with only a few paid options.
What i have done previously is to cut and paste the free ones so four fit on an A4 page then cut them out and store them in my classroom. These spare ones are stored as after the students have completed one of these they will definitely want more. SO they can come back at recess and choose some more to colour and complete.
I also have a note prepared in my students native language to explain to parents what it is their child is handing them! For other sujects they have made a Quiver education app which has Science and General studies Augmented reality inside it. I have used these for year 4 GS lessons. Subjects like the Earth, Moon and volcanoes are some of the topics covered there, and it can all be viewed on their website QuiverVision.
It is so popular i have older brothers and sisters coming to my English room to take them as well.
Popular and free! cant fault that.!
How do you use A.R in your classrooms, are there any other ideas you have? If so please share them in the comments below.