My Left-Field Lesson - Bring life to objects

13th December 2013 at 00:00
With the help of a smartphone or tablet, your display walls can become truly interactive

At the EdTech conference at Harvard University this year, I was introduced to QR codes on steroids. For those who aren't aware of QR codes, they are essentially printed barcodes that a smartphone can scan to access internet-based content such as a video or virtual business cards. They are an amazing tool, one that I had been using for some time to provide students with links from worksheets, and for other basic interactive functions.

Yet the innovation at Harvard far exceeded this and has had a much bigger impact on my classroom; it is called Augmented Reality (AR).

AR takes QR codes a step forward by bringing printed material or other static mediums to life. With an AR app, you can point a smartphone or tablet computer at an object and that object can turn into a video, a game or an animation - anything you want.

It seemed like the perfect tool for our school, which is in its second year of being a 1:1 iPad school. The opportunity to enrich our students' experience so creatively was too good to miss, so we set about getting to grips with the technology. First, we decided to use the Aurasma app to facilitate the use of AR. This enables students not just to access AR but also to create their own AR experiences.

Then we set about using the app. As a music teacher at an elementary school, I used it to do the following:

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