Thursday, December 19, 2013

My First Experience with Augmented Reality

I have heard lots of buzz lately about augmented reality and how it can be used in the classroom. After reading several blogs and articles about AR, I decided to give it a try.  Well, not only did I give it a try, but I tried it with first graders.  To say the least, it was a hit and I can't wait to try more AR activities after the break.

In my first activity, I used the ColAR App.  This is a great app that is very easy to use.  You simply print the pages from their website (some are free while others you can purchase).  Students then color the picture and use the app to bring their creation to life.  It really is that easy!

In preparation for our activity, I printed off the airplane and hot air balloon.  Before coloring the pages, we talked about the similarities and differences between the two.  The students really surprised me with some of their answers.  Most were the obvious such as they both fly and the airplane goes faster then a hot air balloon.  But others were more creative such as they both have seats and an airplane lands differently than a hot air balloon.

After our discussion, I allowed students to choose which picture they wanted to color.  As they colored, I asked if any of them thought I could make their airplanes really fly and their hot air balloons really float.  They all stopped and looked at me like I had lost my mind.  I asked again and then told them we were going to use technology to make their pictures seem very real.  We discussed augmented reality and what it meant.  I think it's important to use correct vocabulary with students even when they are younger.

As students completed their worksheets, we used our tablets to open the ColAR App and bring our pictures to "life".  The students were fascinated.  They couldn't believe what they were seeing and were buzzing with excitement over the new technology that they had just experienced.  Many students asked for the app so they could try this at home and that's when I knew it was a success.

Finally, we wrote about the experience.  I asked students to write a story about the picture that we had just created.  They were excited to write and share their thoughts.  The first grade students wrote great sentences about hot air balloons, airplanes, and augmented reality.  They were engaged and connected with the assignment.  However, this would not have been the case if we would have simply colored the worksheet and written.  The fact that we were able to take the picture and make it do things beyond what they had imagined was a gamechanger.

Needless to say, I'm very excited about augmented reality and its possible role in the classroom.  If used correctly, this technology can change the way we teach as well as they way that our students learn.  If you haven't heard of augmented reality or would like learn more about the way that this technology can me used in the classroom, please check out Two Guys and Some iPads and  Kleinspiration. The possibilities are endless!


  1. I recently found your blog and started following you. I am enjoying exploring your past posts and have picked up lots of great ideas over the past week or so. I love ColAR App and couldn't wait to download it and try it out. I thought your idea for a creative writing activity was awesome, but when I shared it with our Art teacher at the elementary school, she got really excited. So now we will be developing a lesson that shows the students the difference between 2D and 3D images. Thanks for sharing.