Augmenting My Reality

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?

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4 replies

  1. Sure, if you look at AR as just another way to present information, then yes, it’s just another tool to do what other tools can already accomplish. But if you look at AR as a platform for students and others to create their own experiences then the possibilities become endless.

    I don’t speak German. I see lots of German signs around Oberursel on walks. I can use a really bad Word Lens app that may/may not translate the sign. With AR if somebody created a translation and then linked it to other inforation that I could click on, I would not only be able to better understand what the signs says, but I would gain even more information in the process. That redefinination on your SAMR model. The world around me, because of a piece of technology, transforms learning for me and others who pass by that sign and want to know what it says and what significance it may have played in the history of a country, region, city, forest or farm land.

    Think beyond the classroom for AR uses. Think how you can turn the world outside of your classroom into learning experiences for your students. Even better, think how your students can transform the world in which they live into meaningful learning experiences for others.

  2. I don’t think I was denying the implications of what the software can do in the hands of a code writer. But what a simpleton like me can do would be just making a QR code a bit fancier. Now you ask me to look outside my classroom. Well, my job is to look inside my classroom, to bring the outside in. That was my hope with DAQRI. At this point, I am not interested in creating apps for people. I am interested in bringing apps into my class that enhance the learning process. I want to bring the Parthenon, the Masters to them. I don’t want to create a cool experience for them for the sake of creating a cool experience. I already engage my students. Now I want something that will help me take my class to new and amazing places. I need more time with DAQRI, with Team Awesome, before I will feel comfortable using/designing these experiences for my students.

    • The idea is cool, but again it must be used if it is something we could never do before. Is it just pimping up an already easy to use tool? Or is it truly transformational for a classroom?

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