Teacher’s Guide to Augmented Reality

Teacher’s Guide to Augmented Reality

It may sound like something from a sci-fi movie but augmented reality is, well, an actual reality. It’s not a surprise then that educators are finding ways to incorporate it into their teaching; here’s our guide to help you get started.

The basic idea of augmented reality (AR) is that an extra layer of information is added to the real environment (not to be confused with virtual reality, which immerses you in a completely virtual environment and doesn’t incorporate anything from your actual surroundings).

You’ve probably come across plenty of augmented reality without realising it; weather broadcasts on television that add graphics to a satellite map, or moving lines overlaid on a running track or swimming pool showing how close competitors are to breaking a world record. But these are fairly basic uses of the technology; there are many more impressive possibilities, with more being developed all the time.
Smartphones and tablets are the most used tools to access augmented reality, using the camera to identify triggers for extra content – with the increase in BYOD this means AR could be a real possibility for your classroom.

The most common application of augmented reality uses a similar idea to QR codes (those black and white symbols that are photographed by a special app and connect your device to a specific website), but instead of recognising specific symbols, the specially developed apps can recognise objects, images or landscapes. Once the camera focuses on the right trigger, interactive content relating to it can be accessed.

Augmented reality has the potential to transform classrooms and the way teaching is delivered. Here are a few tools and applications to give you an idea of how AR can be used in education.

  • For science classes, AR provides the opportunity to explore less classroom-friendly concepts in safety – check out this blog that lists 4 interesting AR apps for science.
  • The British Museum’s A Gift for Athena app allows visitors to explore the Parthenon from a new perspective, adding a narrative to a trip around the exhibit.
  • Get pupils engaged with story telling by creating digital pop-up storybooks with an app like ZooBurst.
  • Or have a go yourself – tools such as Aurasma allow teachers to create their own augmented reality experience around any subject, and get the kids involved too. We know that different learning styles work for different students – AR means that by scanning a page in a textbook, students could access audio or visual elements to help them understand a concept; you choose what works for your students.
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If you fancy seeing AR in action, you can try it out now with Aurasma. Download the free Aurasma app from Google Play (for Android) or the App Store (for iOS), and then visit the Aurasma site and follow the instructions.

Augmented reality could be a valuable tool to boost engagement in the classroom, and really get students hooked on a subject. And we would be surprised if teachers didn’t think it was pretty awesome too…!

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