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Same Standards, New Instruction

17 Jun

“I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas, I’m frightened by old ones.”

-John Cage, US Composer 1912-1992

AR, or augmented reality, is nothing new to the technology world. You have seen it on Hallmark cards – they all say “for an added bonus, hold this card up to the camera on your computer,” – and if you are into graphic design you have used this technology when creating 3D graphics for analysis. You may have heard of Pranav Mistry, the MIT graduate student who developed augmented reality software which will undoubtedly be used on future cellphones and other devices that work off of cameras. The potential and ramifications of this technology are endless. Now, this technology comes to the iPad and iPhone for free from String. A new augmented reality app for iOS.


My friend Erica holding up her iPad over one of the free images from String.

The images you pull up are highly interactive, you can click on the images, move them around, send them away, or bring them back. Think of the content you can bring in to your class room with just using a camera on your smart phone or iPad: interactive 3D images of historic land marks, interviews with people in history, designing and building circuits, devices, cars, houses or anything else your imaginations desires.  You don’t even need a printer, though you may want to print out the images, you can scan directly from your computer screen.

I can even see this taking the place of learning stations, where kids can either describe, evaluate, research, or analyze the image that is there. In English, characterization is a big standard and evaluating character is tough. I can take a character in augmented reality from a story we are reading, and have the character get up and walk around on the students screen. Now, just from what the kids see, I can have them describe what they know about the character. Next station, the character interacts with another person, now kids can analyze what that character is like through what they do. Lastly, I can have that character speak and the kids can tell me what that character is like through their words. Now, I would have the kids type up an analysis and we can discuss their conclusions as well as my characterization – as the author – based upon my design of the character in the first place. All of these elements would be important in analyzing character within a story.

Even better, have your students create their own AR image and have them share it with the class as another type of project based analysis.  Think diorama on your iPad or iPhone.

If you notice, with augmented reality I’m teaching the same standard while using a new technology. If I can create an interactive and engaging lesson that is presented in a medium that students interact with on a daily basis – I have them hooked. At the same time, I am demonstrating technology to students and modeling it’s use, quite possibly inspiring a few to play with this technology and create a few things they might enjoy as well.