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iPad and Augmented Reality (or bringing your walls to life part 2)

By July 27, 2012One Comment

Bring the walls of your classroom (almost literally) to life!

That’s what using AR (augmented reality) can do.

I’m tired of hearing about ICTAC (ICT across the curriculum) being about substitution – taking your students to an IT lab to type up a report, to write up an essay, to look up something on the Internet. Learning whilst using technology can be fun, innovative and exciting – iPads (and other hand held devices if BYOD is your thing) have a plethora of thrilling AR applications that can do just that. Check this video to see some of the things you can do with some apps that are already made for you.

The first and last examples in the video are from a free app called ‘Zappar’ – available on iPad and other devices:

Simply load up the app, choose the right section, eg: Moby Dick – point the iPad at the front cover and enjoy the interactive experience that awaits.

The second example comes from an iPad app called ‘Mona Lisa 3D’ (69p) ( – simply point the iPad at an image of the Mona Lisa and watch her come to life. Imagine teaching Art having that as a resource in your classroom when covering classic Art? Or perhaps Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ (69p)

The third example in the clip is another Zappar AR experience, created by Cambridge University to promote Chemistry in schools, the poster has an odd element out – the idea being where “the poster asks students to identify the odd one out, directing them to the website for the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, where they are encouraged to take part in a monthly online competition featuring five ‘Google-proof’ chemistry questions. Each question has to be solved to move on to the next, with increasing levels of difficulty, and solving all five merits a place on the Honours Board for that month.” Stimulating stuff eh?

These aren’t the only ways in which you can use AR in your classroom too. You can generate your own AR ‘anywheres’ using the tasty free app ‘Aurasma’

In simple terms, you create hotspot areas in pre-existing images, then – within the Aurasma app – point the iPad at the image and watch the content you previously chose to get shown.

How does this work in a classroom? Well, let’s take the subject of Media as an example. Let’s say you’re wanting students to research Pixar films. You make a worksheet with a variety of film covers on it, “Finding Nemo”, “Toy Story”, “The Incredibles” etc. What you can do is set up each of those film covers as ‘anywheres’ which in turn, link to videos with critical film analyses on each of those films. How is that helpful? Well if you’re in a classroom and you want to make good use of mobile technology, without having to dish out lots of links and information – you can make stimulating use of the technology in the hands of your students, whilst giving them access to great learning opportunities too.

Want more information? There’s loads of it. Check these people’s blogs who’ve inspired me with this work:

The brilliant Simon Widdowson (@xannov) who inspired many a teacher to use AR and Aurasma with his work explained here:

The excellent Kelda Richards (@ElKel99) who talked brilliantly at TeachMeet Clevedon on the topic:

…who has also written up brilliant instructions too on her blog here:

Gavin Smart (@gavinsmart) also talks about AR on his blog and in addition to Zappar, recommends these AR activities too:

Anti Smoking: AR Lungs

Biology: Organs

And finally… what blog post of mine would be complete without reference to Tait Coles (@totallywired77) – yes, he’s been at it too and you can find out more about his efforts here:

Feel inspired? Been using AR already? Let me know, I’d love to find out more.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.

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