Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Augmented Reality with Aurasma lite app

A few days ago I learned about one of the coolest apps I've seen in the last 2 years.  Aurasma Lite.  I'm sure I sound like a fanboy already, but let me quickly describe what it does and then I'll share some ideas I have to use this effectively in the classroom.

The Basics:
Take a picture of an object then assign a picture or a video from your device to the original object.  Or assign objects or animations from Aurasma's gallery to the orignal object.  The app walks you through this process flawlessly.

Then save your Aura.

After uploading to the Aurasma server and waiting 1-3 minutes, your aura is ready to be viewed.  Here is where it gets cool...

While in the Aurasma app (the camera will launch) hold your device up to the object you took a picture of earlier.  The app will sense the presence of an aura and will display the image or video that you assigned to that object.  It's a little like QR codes without the ugly black and white codes all over.

Lesson ideas:
It took me a day or two to wrap my brain around the app and what it can do.  Fortunately @LachHull shared with me her idea for an Aura wall.  The best part is that her 5-6 yr. old students helped to create it.

Then @TeacherTechnol sent me a tweet with her idea for a Shakespeare lesson.

So with help from other teachers my mind has taken off...

Foreign Language: Vocabulary spaces.  Start in any room and have your students augment the reality of that room.  Have them create virtual placards or quick 2-3 second videos that show the spelling of that object and someone pronouncing the word.  Now they are seeing & hearing vocabulary for all the objects in that particular space.  See below nice it works.



"Auracaching": As a big fan of geocaching lessons, I have loved the results of getting students up and moving around as they learn various subject matter.  For kinesthetic learners there is nothing better.  Auracaching brings elements of geocaching in from the outdoors.  Teachers or Students create auras about a particular unit or topic.  Each Aura (or station) should prompt an action from the participants. Then place the objects in various places around the room or building.  The teacher then gives the students hints about where each aura can be found.  Once each aura is found the student completes the activity prompted by the Aura.

Augmented Story: Students write a story.  They create videos, pictures, and perhaps QR codes linking to activities and websites that add value to the story.  Then aura markers and QR codes are added to the body of the story.  Now when the reader reads the story with a smartphone or tablet the auras and links are scanned to create a very unique reading experience.

School performance program: Band, Theatre, Choir, or Orchestra...While parents are waiting to get seated or during intermission, they could be viewing the night's program.  The program could have pictures of each student and when scanned it could bring up a video of each student introducing themselves.

One of the biggest advantages I see to this app, is that it is a creation tool.  Teachers don't need to do all the work, but should rather allow students the freedom to help create a great Aurasma experience.

Caveats:  

  1. Aurasma is still in Beta, so just know that you are using a product that isn't quite finished.  But you may be helping to polish it, so take pride in that and help provide useful feedback.
  2. For now, you must have one Aurasma account per device.  Meaning that you must save all auras to each device being used.  (Aurasma, if you're listening, please help educators make it easy to allow each student to have their own experience.)
  3. Some districts may have firewalls and filters that block the content coming back from the Aurasma servers.  If this is the case see your district's IT team.

Do you have ideas/lessons for this app?  Please share by leaving a comment or a link.