One challenge many educators have faced in recent years is commanding the attention of a classroom against the powerful, distracting draw of modern and prolific technology. I imagine out of most classrooms, the vast majority of students either own or use a smartphone or some other smart device. Some teachers have tried to level the playing field by adapting technology in the classroom itself, though this is often thought to have mixed results and may not work properly as a method for teaching all the different students inside of your classroom.
However, just because your students use technology every day, doesn’t mean they’ve seen everything yet. There is a multitude of technologies you can integrate into the classroom in order to captivate students and get their attention on you! One of these great technologies is augmented reality or AR.
Augmented reality is simply the process of superimposing computer-generated imagery (CGI) onto the real world, in real-time. For obvious reasons, this can be an exciting technology for students to use, allows them to use their smartphones in constructive, educational ways, and helps generate buzz and excitement in the classroom! Here are a few ways you can implement AR into your learning plan and capture the imagination and minds of your students.
3DBear is an AR software that allows users to build and share scenes using 3D models with the use of the applications object library. You can also import content through a third-party app, Thingiverse. 3DBear is great for a classroom setting, as you can create and assign lessons through their web-based dashboard and have your students use the app to create scenes and presentations for their classes. This can be a great replacement for Bristol board science projects or long-winded, uninteresting book reports!
For younger students, this free word game is a great way to help you students burn off energy while they get to learn and use their smart devices as well. Students use their cell phone with the Catchy Words app and while walking around the classroom or school grounds can ‘catch’ letters with their device to solve word puzzles, improve spelling, and expand their student’s vocabulary.
CoSpaces Edu is a powerful AR app designed for older students, typically in the high school range. It is designed for students who are experienced in coding and allows them to create virtual 3D worlds, infographics, and the ability to tell stories through the use of virtual exhibits, images, tours, and other elements. It also comes with an online dashboard system, in order to allow you to easily create a class setting and post assignments to the app.
For many Western students, the dissection of a frog is a rite of passage many of us have completed, and have been grossed out by. If you’re looking to provide the educational experience of dissection without the real-life blood and guts, as well as all the mess; Froggipedia may be for your class. It uses life-like visuals which allows your biology students to perform and explore the anatomy of a frog through a guided, virtual dissection. The app also covers the life cycle and anatomy of the frog and provides useful study resources for your students.
JigSpace is an educational app that aims to be a library of knowledge. It uses what is known as ‘jigs,’ small 3D presentations which explain in each, simple steps the functions and processes of highly complex things in the everyday world, from topics such as human anatomy, the solar system, physics, sciences, inventions, and other variety of topics. JigSpace supports both AR and Virtual Reality (VR) and is a great way to immerse your students in an atmosphere of fun, interactive learning.
The MERGE Cube is an exciting product that allows you to bring holographic designs and presentations to life. While it isn’t free like most of the apps on this list, it does retail for only $15 making it affordable for most students. The MERGE Cube can be used with the MERGE smartphone app in order to transform the cube into a number of exciting digital 3D objects, scenes, and other animations which can be viewed by rotating the cube at different angles. This can be used in lessons on things such as mathematics, physics, and graphing exercises. Moreover, there are plenty of extra apps for the MERGE Cube which allows you to experience different things. For the HoloGlobe app, students are able to hold NASA and NOAA designs of the Earth and other planets within the palm of their hands. Google SkyMap offers a similar program, with planets, nebulae, galaxies, and more available for viewing!