For weeks a colleague of mine had been bugging me to sign up for this augmented reality workshop. DAQRI was coming to my school to share with us the tools they have available for the 21st Century classroom.
I had an idea of what it was all about. But then again I really had no idea. How was I to know that I could hold a human heart in my own hands and feel it beating? How was I to know that I could manipulate the universe with finger tips? How was I to know that I could pick up and play with the element of Mercury? How was I to know?
The first hour in our Augmented Reality workshop really made my head explode. The possibilities were endless. I could bring my students to places, into situations, that were never conceivable before.
Immediately following the class I shared my excitement with another colleague. He was a bit blasé about the whole experience. “Yes, it is the wave of the future, and yes it is really amazing, but don’t you remember how you felt the first time you used a smart board? You felt the same, didn’t you? And don’t you remember the hours you spent creating an ‘experience’ for your students that ended up only lasting 5 minutes? Is it really worth all that time and energy?”
My colleague was right. I remembered the breathless anticipation I had while thinking about how I would use my new Smart Board with students. I remember the hours I spent creating revision games that only lasted 5 minutes. But were creating those 5 minute activities a waste of my time? Of course not. Some of those ‘experiences’ I still use today with my students.
In the second workshop, Augmented Realty became slightly frustrating. I wasn’t sure I saw a place in my classroom for this kind of technology, yet. DAQRI’s Augmented Reality software is amazing, but right now it just feels like bells and whistles. On the SAMR model of integration the tool seemed to be just an enhancement. I felt like I was just using a new tool to do similar tasks.
I can already create a series of links on a Haiku page for students to gain information on a topic. I can create a Prezi that has embedded links to the tasks and resources for a lesson that will contain amazing animation and movement. Or I can now create a Poster with the help of DAQRI software that will allow my students to use a picture as a portal to the resources. The only catch is that instead of using their laptops to access the portal, they need the aid of an app on an iPad or Smart Phone.
At this point linking to websites and activities on Haiku would be easier for me. Creating this augmented reality portal poster would be cool, but then I would need students to also bring phones or iPads to class.
I’m not ruling this new technology out. I see the amazing possibilities for students to create and tinker. I can see them creating an ‘experience’ to present information, rather than just standing in front of the group talking. They could build resources for their classmates to learn from, it wouldn’t have to always be the teacher (me) doing all the curating.
What is truly mind bending are the experiences already being created by DAQRI. Their applications for story telling, exploring the solar system, dissecting the human body, and their periodic table of elements are stunning and worthwhile tools. These applications fall much higher on the SAMR model. They are redefining the learning by allowing students to experience something that was previously inconceivable.
So just between the Blogoverse and me, I’m not sure if I’m ready to jump into the Augmented Reality pool. I think I need some more training. And I want to see teacher created ‘experiences’; I want to see the real life classroom applications of Augmented Reality.
Have you used Augmented Reality in your work place? Have you used Augmented Reality in your classrooms? What did you think?