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The Augmented Reality Library

What it is: Okay, so the augmented reality library doesn’t exactly exist, but I ran across a few items today that had me dreaming about what augmented reality could do for a library.  First a definition for those of you unfamiliar with augmented reality.  Wikipedia has this definition for augmented reality (AR): “a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.”  If that is a little cumbersome for you, let me give you my definition.  Augmented Reality generally uses a camera to let you overlay virtual data on top of the physical world you are seeing through your camera lens.  The virtual data could be a map, information, multimedia, or even look like a holograph that you can manipulate.  For a really simple explanation you can check out this AR Common Craft Video.  Augmented reality apps are available for many devices, the iPhone, Android and now the iPod Touch.  Layar is a cross-platform app that is a reality browser that contains a large catalog of data layers.  The AR apps use geolocation data from the GPS to layer data over the physical view.  Junaio is another app that uses markers to help the device determine it’s location.  When GPS isn’t available, AR markers can be used.  These are square black and white barcodes that store data.  You may have seen the AR markers begin to pop-up on advertising, grocery items, and books.  The markers allow a device to gather data about the product and overlay that data on top of your physical view. How to integrate Augmented Reality into your library: You may be wondering how augmented reality could be used in a library.  I recently read an article in the School Library Journal that got my wheels spinning about the ways augmented reality could transform the library experience.  In the article they suggest putting AR markers on a book cover so that when a device is used, a librarian could walk across the book jacket and deliver a quick review of the title.  Markers inside books could cause 2D diagrams or images to come alive as 3D interactive simulations.  Another idea I loved was to create a literary tour using an AR program, which would describe locations that appear in a book.  When you actually travel to that place, the text that took place there could pop up along with additional information or content.  Each of these ideas is amazing in itself but thinking of transforming a school library, here are the ideas I came up with: Connecting your card catalog with augmented reality so that students could search for a book or topic from their mobile device and instantly get a layer that directs them to books that may be of interest. Connecting a tool like Shelfari, where students keep a virtual bookshelf and rate the books they have read ,with augmented reality.  Students could instantly ask for books that are recommended based on their ratings of other books and recommendations could pop up in a layer directing students to those recommendations. Turning booktrailers (professionally created or student created) into an augmented reality layer.  Students could use an AR marker on the book cover and instantly watch a booktrailer about the book. A this day in history layer where a fact pops up each day describing an event in history, the layer could then direct students to additional information, include a video or challenge of some kind. Connect AR to a search engine so that when students are researching a topic, book recommendations pop up in a layer with directions on where to find them. Our library is often a showcase of student work, what if each diorama, piece of artwork, or project had an AR marker on it?  Students could record themselves (either audio or video) describing their work.  This could be attached to an AR marker so that as students viewed other’s work, they could get an introduction to it by the creator. (This would be awesome for parent teacher conference time as well!) AR Markers next to the computers could remind students of important Internet safety rules, the school acceptable use policy, and what to do if they have been bullied. The school librarian could have a special selection of books each month that contain an AR marker linked to the librarian reading the story. Does your school have author visits or use the Skype an Author network?  If so record the author (audio or video) and connect it to AR markers on their books. Label the areas of the library using AR so that ESL and ELL students can get a vocabulary lesson as they walk through the library. AR could bring libraries to life in new and exciting ways.   What ideas do you have for the use of AR in the library? Tips: Currently this technology isn’t as easy as download and go for the library.  Content needs to be created, and background building has to be done.  For now you can download Layar to get a feel for how augmented reality works.   You can also visit the “Create” section to create your own layers of AR (this is how you could make some of these ideas happen).   Junaio also allows you to create a channel that offers information.  Junaio makes it very easy to add information by tagging directly within the application.  You can tag your library with comments, pictures, audio, or 3D objects.  If you are using AR in your library please let us know more about it! Want to see more AR tools? Here are some that I’ve reviewed. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Augmented Reality in your library.

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512 Paths to the White House Interactive Infographic for the Election #election2012

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 05-11-2012

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What it is: Tomorrow is Election day!  I couldn’t be more excited to see an end to the obnoxious political ads. Living in a swing state means that EVERY commercial I see is a political ad. At this point, all I have been convinced of is that the world may in fact be ending…the choices here are dire. One thing I am now passionate about: campaign reform. I digress.

512 Paths to the White House is a super cool interactive feature on the New York Times website.  Students can test out selecting a winner for the swing states and see the paths to victory available to either candidate.  Students can also mouse over the infographic and see what happens in the breakdown of each option.  According to the infographic, there are 5 paths to a tie.

How to integrate 512 Paths to the White House into the classroom: This really is a cool infographic to explore before the election.  Students can explore this infographic on classroom computers as an Election Day discovery center, as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, or individually on computers.

This site makes a wonderful opening to discussion about the electoral college, the election process for the US, and why the swing states determine the outcome of the election.  At the bottom of the page, there are some specific scenarios for students to explore.  These scenarios also open up great conversations about economies in different states, beliefs of each party, political advertising, liberal vs. conservative states, etc.

In the secondary math class, students can explore probability, statistics and unpack the data offered here.  It is pretty interesting to see the paths each candidate has to winning based on who wins each battleground state.

Tips: Follow up on Wednesday, November 7th with how accurate the 512 Paths to the White House was.  Students can use this tool as they watch the election to predict who the winner will be.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  512 Paths to the White House in your classroom.

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Comments (2)

Dear Mrs. Tenkely,
I think that is a great learning tool. I would have loved to predict the swing states if I would have known about it. Hopefully, I will be teaching in the next election and can use that in my classroom. I bet the ads become so annoying because we are not even a swing state and they drove me crazy!

Hi! My name is Brittany Leavitt, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to your blog through this class to read and comment on. I have never been very interested in politics myself, but I find this blog post extremely informative. I loved the infographic, and the different ways that you thought to use it in the classroom. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully, as a secondary educator in history, I can use this and similar things to get my students involved in elections and politics! Thanks for sharing!

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