What it is: Aurasma is an app (also a website) that allows learners to quickly create augmented reality experiences for others. Augmented reality is the mix of technology and the real world. Probably the most popular or, at least the most commonly used, augmented reality is the use of Snapchat filters. Funny faces and masks are overlaid on top of the real world (i.e. whatever you are taking a picture of). Aurasma makes it simple to quickly create these types of experiences for others. Learners start by uploading, or taking, a “Trigger” photo. This photo is what the Aurasma app will look for to trigger the event that has been layered on top of the photo. Next, learners add overlay images. These are the images that will popup when the Trigger Photo is within the camera viewfinder. It might sound cumbersome, but it really isn’t! It is like having QR codes embedded right in any environment…without the QR code!
How to integrate Aurasma into the classroom: Because learners can create augmented reality experiences for any environment, the possibilities are seriously endless. Below are a few ways I can see our teachers and learners using Aurasma:
- A few years ago, our students explored How the World Works through the PBS series, and book, How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson. As a result of their learning, the students decided to build a Domino Museum (you can read about that here). At the time, they put QR codes all around their museum. Some QR codes explained how the museum worked, and others expanded on the information that was presented on each domino. Aurasma could take an experience like this to the next level by allowing students to embed information and instructions all around the museum. As people walked through their Domino Museum with the Aurasma app opened up, additional information would have automatically populated based on where they placed Triggers.
- Anastasis students are SUPER creative in presenting their learning at the end of an inquiry block. During the last block, one of our students explored the history of dance. In one of our learning spaces she created a time machine that students could get into. Then she themed other learning spaces for each time period. With Aurasma, she could have had the students actually see the dancers/costumes/etc. of each time period as if they were really in the room, using the room as a trigger.
- In a foreign language class, students could use objects/items in the room as triggers for vocabulary overlays. As students look through their iPhone/iPad/Android’s camera in the Aurasma app, all of that vocabulary would pop up as others explored the room.
- Our students go on a field trip on average once a week. They explore all kinds of incredible places for learning in context. Often, another class might end up at the same location later in the month or even in another year. As students visit somewhere new, they can overlay their learning on a place. When other classes, or another year’s students visit, they can see the learning that took place when others visited. (How cool would it be to get a network of schools doing this so that we could all learn together!)
- We have a strong social justice component at Anastasis. Last year, our Jr. High kids spent time at Network Coffee House. During their time there, they spent a day in the life of a homeless person. They held cardboard signs on street corners and panhandled, they met other homeless, and got a tour of where these people sleep, get warm, etc. Afterward they had incredible reflections about their experience. It would have been a neat exercise to have them end the day by taking pictures of landmarks at the various stops around their tour as Triggers. When they got back to school, they could have created an augmented reality reflection tour for others.
- In art class, students could take a photo of their creation and then overlay an explanation about how they created their art, their inspiration, etc. During a school art show, those in attendance would get to experience the heart behind each piece.
- In social studies, students could snap a photo of a place on the map, and then overlay their learning on top. As others explored the map with the Aurasma app, all of that information would populate as they explored the map.
- Learners could take a photo of the cover of a book (or book spine) that they just read. They can overlay the trigger image with their review of the book. As students are searching the library through the Aurasma app, they will see the reviews that other students have left behind.
- Teachers can use Aurasma to embed instructions or norms around their classrooms. I’m imagining this being useful for special equipment use in a maker space or science lab. This would also be a great way to embed instructions when you have different learning happening in the classroom in a center like environment. Multiply your reach by layering the instructions or a demonstration of each center at its location in the classroom.
- Teachers could also use Aurasma to amplify the usefulness of posters or bulletin boards around the classroom. Snap a photo of either as your trigger and then layer additional helpful information over top.
- It could be fun to “hide” a writing prompt or brain teaser in your classroom each day. Just snap a photo of something in the classroom so that when students look through their camera with Aurasma, the overlay pops up with instructions.
- This would also be a fun way to lead students through problem solving of a mystery where they are discovering clues and following directions. At the beginning of the year, you could create a tour of the school or scavenger hunt around the school to help students get acclimated to their new surroundings.
- Sooo…the possibilities really are endless with this one!
Tips: Learners can create augmented reality experiences from the Aurasma website, but to actually view the augmented reality, an iPhone/iPad/Android device with the Aurasma app is needed.
What it is: ASCEville is a good place for students to try their hand at civil engineering through online games, offline activities, videos, and contests. In ASCEville, students can explore civil engineering history and where civil engineering is found in our daily lives. Online resources for kindergarten through 12th grade will help you find just the right activity for your classroom!
How to integrate ASCEville into the classroom: ASCEville is easy to use in any classroom. With activity ideas and games for every age level, this is an easy site to use and integrate into the math or science class seamlessly. Students will appreciate the hands-on nature of the site, and the ability to see what all of that math they are learning gets applied to. The activities on ASCEville will give your students a tangible connection point to math and science concepts that they are learning.
Create a mini engineering fair in your classroom. Invite each student to independently choose an offline activity in the Just for Fun section of the site. Students can choose to build a gumdrop dome, build a globe-shaped clubhouse, stack a tower of cups, test out pressure on paper, design a paper table, build a high-rise tower, or build a paper bridge. Students should approach each activity expecting failure (love that!). Ask your students to record their successes and failures as they build through drawings, pictures, and notes. What tweaks made a difference? Why? On the day of the “fair” students can set up their final projects and include a small collection of observations they made and their pictures/notes along the way. Ask students to share with each other the challenges they faced, what they tried, and if they were able to overcome the challenge.
This site is a great resource for students inquiring into civil engineering, how buildings and cities are designed and built, or how engineering can be used to keep us safe during natural disasters. There is enough information on the site to spark new lines of inquiry and some great ways for students to use design thinking to further explore engineering concepts.
Tips: Don’t forget to check out the Educators section for some great additional resources, lessons, and ideas! Thanks to Anastasis parent Paul for sending us this great site!
What do you think? How will you use ASCEville in your classroom?
What it is: Summer time always seems to be a much-anticipated time for a little rest and relaxation. Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of parents how much they enjoy the summer months with their kids…until they reach July. This is when the “I don’t know what to do” sets in and boredom can take over. Common Sense Media is here to help with those in-between moments when it is too hot to play outside and you prefer that they do something more meaningful than plop in front of the TV for a few hours. Send them to virtual camp! The virtual camp is a library of apps, games and websites that will help your kids retain all of the skills they built up over the school year and even build some new ones in anticipation of the new school year. Recommendations are broken up by age (2-17) and have been further divided by categories including: Outdoor Exploration, Scavenger Hunt, Arts and Crafts, Campfire Friends, Indoor Activities, and Talent Show. Each recommendation is rated with books. You are looking for 3 books for an engaging, exceptional learning activity!
How to integrate Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media into the classroom: Camp Virtual is a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer. Parents will be extra appreciative of the recommendations for worth-while and safe places for their kids to play while they are at home. Each activity includes a learner rating and gives a great description of the activity as well as the learning that is tied to it.
Camp Virtual has a guide that can be downloaded and sent home with students at the end of the school year. Too late for that? Send a “hope you are having a wonderful summer” email with the guide and a link to the site.
When the weather is nice, I am a HUGE fan of kids getting out and enjoying experiential learning. However; I know that like all of us, they hit the point of no return when they are hot, tired, crabby and just need a change of activity in a cooler location. These recommendations of games and activities is a great reprieve for those moments!
Tips: I love that at the bottom of each page there are some recommendations for parents to continue the learning beyond the game or activity. Things like “Encourage kids to come up with as many different solutions as they can with each game. Ask them which solutions are most efficient.”
Are you using Camp Virtual? Share your experience in the comments below!
Today was the first day of school. Ever. It was pretty epic. Since the students didn’t know where things were located in the building yet, I thought we would have some fun locating them with a QR code scavenger hunt. It was SO easy to do, I thought I would share the process here.
1. First I made a new website where each page of the website contained a clue. I made my site with Weebly.com because it is SO easy to use. I made the entire site in under 10 minutes.
2. Next I used goo.gl URL shortener to shorten the URL of each webpage and generate a QR code. Just copy and paste the long Weebly URL into the goo.gl shortener and voila. A short Googlefied (that is a technical term) URL. Click on “Details” next to the shortened URL to view your QR code. I just dragged and dropped these QR codes into a Pages document so that they were all in one place for easy printing/copying.
3. Print out QR code sheet and make enough copies for each classroom. Because we have a 10-1 student-teacher ratio, I made up 10 clues to find. Each student was in charge of one clue. I cut up the QR code sheet so that each student had a little QR code clue card.
4. Set students out on their mission. Each student takes a turn using the Scan app to uncover the clue. They read the clue out loud to their group and brainstorm what the answer could be. When they thought they had the answer, they went to that place and took a picture of it using the camera app. For example, one of our clues was: “The Grub Hub”, students went down to the kitchen and took a picture.
5. When all pictures have been collected, students gather and add up the points they won.
*Below is my example of the QR code and website they were connected to.
This was a really easy activity to prepare for from a teacher perspective. The impact was huge with the students. They had a great time with this!
We used this hunt as a way for students to familiarize themselves with the layout of the new school but it would also be a great activity for a math scavenger hunt “Find an item that represents three times four”, or colors in art “This is the color you get when you mix yellow and blue”, or literature “find an object that represents this character in our novel”. The list could go on and on if you use your imagination! The QR codes are so easy to generate, students could use these for almost anything!