Augmented Reality Apps to Engage Your Students

In Interactive Notebooks by Jen

I told you that I attended the ISTE13 conference in San Antonio last week and I would share some of the cool things that I learned. One of the sessions I attended was APPealing Curriculum Toolkit: Developing App-Based Lessons. The presenter showed us a variety of apps that could be used in the classroom to engage students, but the apps that were the most intriguing to me were the augmented reality apps. At first glance, they are amazing! I was mesmerized by the new tool, but then I began to wonder, so what? I sat through the session wondering what benefit these apps could play in the classroom.  So after a week of reflecting on these apps I thought I would share some ideas I had with everyone and tell you about the six augmented reality apps you might find interesting.

1. String – I’m not sure about the educational value of this app, but I thought it would be a great way to introduce augmented reality apps to the students. What I would do is hang the posters around the room and have students explore. They may need a lesson on how to hold the device and keep it steady on the picture. Be sure to hang the posters up because it’s harder to get the app to work when the poster is just laying on the desk. Try it out for yourself. Download the app, open it and hold over the picture to see what happens.

2. Freedom Stories – This augmented reality app teaches students about African Canadian history including Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. You will need to print out the posters just like with String, but I think it might be better to lay these posters flat on the table for them to work properly. This curriculum was created for Ontario primary curriculum so it would probably be appropriate for 4th grade and up. Try one out and see if it works for you.
3. Spacecraft 3D – This augmented reality app allows students to interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system. Students can move, rotate and take a picture of the different spacecrafts. This would be great to use for a unit on the solar system. Print out the poster and have students lay the poster flat on the table in order for it to work. Try it out here to get an idea of what it would look like for students by scanning the picture below. I’ve noticed if you move the iPad around and tap on the device you can see different things and look at different angles of the craft.
4. StarWalk – StarWalk cost $2.99 so I haven’t tried this out yet. I have seen people use the app though and what you do is point your device to the sky and you will see stars, planets, satellites, and constellations. I’ve only seen it done at night but I am sure it could be used during the day as well. 
5. ARBasketball – I have to admit I really like this one but I am not sure how I would use it in the classroom. The presenter said she used it to teach probability. I was too busy trying to make a basket as she was explaining…haha! Print the poster out for students making sure the arrow is pointing toward the student. Try it out. How many baskets can you make? My high score is 240.
6. Aurasma – This is the app you will probably use the most in the classroom. You would use it  like you would a QR code but I like to say auras like QR codes on steroids! Basically what students would do is scan a target picture and either an image, video, or 3D model would pop up. If you would like to know how to use Aurasma then click here and head over to Technology Tailgate where I provided detailed instructions of how to create one. 
UPDATE: I created a life cycle Aurasma product for the past year for everyone to download for free to provide feedback on how it worked. I tried it out myself with students and it was amazing and had lots of positive feedback. However, I added a lot more to the product and am selling it in my store, but I made another FREE scavenger hunt on the human body you might be interested in trying out in your classroom. If you are interested, click here to learn more about how I am using it in the classroom. Click on the picture below to check out my revised life cycle scavenger hunt.