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Sunday, February 3, 2013

5 Uses of Augmented Reality in Education

Last week I mentioned augmented reality during a presentation and I could tell from the looks on some people's faces that augmented reality was a new thing to them. That's not uncommon. Sometimes when people hear "augmented reality" their minds drift to some vision of a science fiction world. The truth is augmented reality isn't science fiction, it's technology that is readily available now. To learn more about it, watch the short video below (if you're reading this in RSS click here for the video).




Here are five potential uses of augmented reality in education today.

Create 3D, augmented reality stories with ZooBurst. ZooBurst is an amazing service that allows you to create a short story complete with 3D augmented reality pop-ups. Students could use ZooBurst to create short summaries of books that really jump off the screen. ZooBurst offers an iPad app to complement the web-based version of the service.

The Getty Museum offers a neat way to view art through augmented reality. As employed by The Getty, augmented reality creates 3D displays of art from printed PDF codes displayed in front of a webcam. The example that The Getty provides in the video below is a 3D display of one of the cabinets of curiosities created by Albert Janszoon Vinckenbrinck. If you want to try it for yourself after watching the video, the directions are available here.


Fetch! Lunch Rush! is a neat use of augmented reality to create a mathematics lesson for young students. The free iPhone app (it also worked on my iPad 2) was developed by PBS Kids. The purpose of the app is to get kids moving about a room in search of numbers that are the correct answer to the questions posed to them on the app. Students read the arithmetic problem on the app then search out the correct answer. When they think they have found the correct answer they scan it with their iPhones or iPads to find out if they are correct or not.

Spacecraft 3D is a free iPad app produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Spacecraft 3D uses augmented reality technology to bring NASA spacecraft to life on your iPad. To get started using the app you first need to print out the spacecraft target codes. Then your students can scan those target codes with their iPads. The spacecraft then becomes a 3D model that your students can explore.

Star & Planet Finder enables you to locate the planets and stars in the night sky through your  iPhone or iPad. To use the app, select from a list the planet or constellation you want to locate. Star & Planet Finder will then give you directions to move your iPhone or iPad until you can see through the camera display the planet that you're looking for. The free version of the app only identifies planets. For $.99 each you can add lists of constellations, lists of satellites, and lists of brightest stars to the app.

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