I get asked a lot why should teachers use augmented reality in their classroom. Augmented reality is not a new concept, in fact it has been in use in a wide range of industries for over 10 years. It took a dreamer who developed interactive coloring sheets and flashcards that popped out 3 dimensional objects geared towards kids before teachers even thought this tool was even useful. Some professionals still even think it is just a toy. Crayons, Legos, Tinker Toys, Candyland, and dice are all toys and you can find them in most elementary classrooms. Kids learn best when they play, it is a proven fact. Which is why teachers and parents turn toys into engaging tools. When you are actively engaged you are learning.
Using augmented items in the classroom engages students beyond a worksheet, textbook, or even a video, and opens the door to endless possibilities. Boeing even announced during the AWE 2015 conference that augmented reality improved training for its employees. The employees did the task 30% faster with a 90% accuracy over the employees that only were allowed to read a PDF. Augmented reality is even being used in operating rooms to monitor patients. Workers on oil rigs even use augmented reality to help service the rigs. The military uses augmented goggles to receive important information in the field.
So when I am asked why should augmented reality be used in classrooms the answer is clear. The use of augmented reality in classrooms prepares our children for their future today.
There are many companies that have seen the impact augmented reality has and are developing their own tool to stake claim in the land of AR so to speak. Everyone has different needs so the tool or tools you decide to equip yourself with will depend on your needs. Quiver, Color Alive, and Chromville have some pretty cool interactive augmented coloring. I use the pages as writing prompts with my students. I also use these pages to help teach students how to revise their writing. If you are new to using augmented contented the coloring pages would be the avenue I would take to get started. There is also the tortoise and hare coloring pages from Arloon.
Daqri has also developed a few augmented tools such as their 4D Elements blocks and their 4D anatomy both are great if that is the content you teach. Kids love holding the gold block and watching compounds come together. I even used the 4D anatomy to show how a heart valve works.
For me it is about creating my own augmented content. There are a few companies that allow you to create such as Layar, Blippar, Daqri, Aurasuma, and Aug That. Each ones has their own platform and what they specialize in. When you are picking out a pair of shoes, you are going to with a pair you feel comfortable with. Same idea when picking out a company you want to use to create augmented content. I suggest you try them all out and get a feel for them. Then use the company that best fits your needs. Each one of use has different needs and different comfort levels.
Daqri's platform as well as Layar and Blipper will allow you to copy, paste, and insert digital content. Unless you blog or share your creation in some way no one is going to know what you have created. For me I love to share and create content for others. I find it a challenge and a reward at the same time, so I needed a platform that would allow me to do just that.
Adam Newman the Founder of Aug That also had the same idea. Teachers make the most amazing and engaging activities and they need a place to share with one another, so he developed the Teach Connect. Teachers can send the trigger image to Aug That along with the augmented elements and his staff will do their magic and create the augmented experience. The reason for his staff creating the augmented experiences is one to make sure the content is safe for kids. The other reason is to make sure each and every time your trigger gets scanned your intended content is what is received. They also want to make sure your trigger is a scannable trigger. Nothing is more frustrating than putting all your time into something and it doesn't work.
What I love best about Teach Connect is the sharing. It is a community built for teachers and soon there will also be one for students. If you are needing an engaging activity on DNA to either enhance a lesson or as a introduction you can go to the Teach Connect and download it. It is already for you and your students to use. The community is constantly growing so I am sure there is an augmented lesson or activity just waiting for you.
Aug That not only has the Teach Connect they also have tons of augmented animated lessons already made along with tons of 360 degree environments and 3D models. They are expanding their augmented curriculum and services, I can't wait to see where they go. I love how they have really built their company with the focus of education at all levels. They are not in the field of marketing or making toys, they are solely in it for education.
Why use augmented reality in the classroom, because we are preparing our students for their future today.