Tech Tip Tuesday: Augmenting Reality in the Classroom using Aurasma

Today’s blog post is by Megan Smith, social studies teacher at Downingtown High School East.

On the last day of the ISTE conference this summer, I attended a walking tour of Philadelphia to learn about an app called Aurasma. It is free to download and should be available for both Androids and iPhones.

Aurasma’s goal is to create an augmented reality. Augmented reality is when a person’s view of reality is enhanced by the use of technology.

You can both create and search for “auras.” These are the interactive elements of Aurasma.  For example, our guide created 3 auras in Philadelphia the day before: one in the Independence Hall Visitor Center, one outside the Liberty Bell building, and one by the Betsey Ross House.  Group members had to follow him on the app to have access to the auras he created, but you can also use the app to search for those around you so long as they are public.

The first one at the Visitor Center was an aura on one of the information panels.  We opened the app and it shows you what you need to look for, you sync it up, and the content begins!  Ours was a video of Revolutionary War reenactors.

The second aura intentionally was made to cause the users problems. It was of the outside of the building with the Liberty Bell.  Our guide wanted to show us that when he made the aura, it was a different time of day and had different lighting than when we were viewing the aura.  He wanted to demonstrate that these are important things to keep in mind when making an aura.

You can upload content, typically videos, no longer than 80-90 seconds; otherwise, they do not play well.

You want to make sure whatever you are creating an aura of is stationary and will not change, as you will not be able to sync with it from your mobile device otherwise.

The presenter emphasized this phrase: consume, collaborate, and create. Students now often are just consumers, but technology like Aurasma allows students to be collaborators and creators.

Here are some ways that he and others who already use Aurasma have used the app in their schools:

  • Create a vocab word wall. Put note cards on a wall with your vocab terms, create auras for each of them with definitions.  Students sync their device and load the videos!
  • Used in yearbooks – have something that students can sync to that will load content. Maybe a video of a sporting event or a clip of the school play.
  • School Signs – make an aura of the school sign so that when visitors sync up the aura, they get a message from the principal.
  • Back to school night (especially for elementary schools) – have the students create auras of their goal for the year by posting something on the wall, making a video, and then their parents can sync up the auras.

You can make public and private pages. Everyone who is already using it suggests that you create one private page for your class(es) and share the log-on information with the students so that they can access it.  This makes it so that outsiders cannot access what your students are creating.

To learn more, check out Aurasma’s website, which probably does a better job explaining than I do!

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