Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My First Experience with Augmented Reality

  I was relatively new to Twitter.  I was trying to build my PLN to see the effectiveness of the tool.  I found two guys, Brad Waid and Drew Minoch.  They have a blog, 2 Guys and Some iPads.  I started looking around there, watching their web show (which is awesome!), and I quickly learned about Augmented Reality, specifically Aurasma.  Seeing this in action on the episode made me think, "How can I use this in my high school geography classroom?" So, I decided to give it a try.

  There was a lesson that I've done a few times dealing with Population Pyramids where the students analyze a pyramid to determine what is going on in a country based on the size and the shape.  In the past, I've had the students analyze the pyramid and then come to me and see if they were correct.  This is a great activity, but it lead to a lot of standing/waiting time while I discussed with the students about their answers.  There would be times that there were 5 or more students standing in line waiting for me, which meant they weren't working. So, I decided to augment the lesson.

  It took a while for me to get used to the whole process, but by the end of the preparation, it was so much easier!  There were 10 pyramids they were to analyze.  I wish I had a picture of my students faces the first time they saw the purple swirl appear on their smart phones and then the video pop up describing what they saw in the pyramid.  I still remember the shocked looks and the cries of "WOW!!!"  and "THAT'S AWESOME!!!!"  This is definitely something I knew I had to use more than once in my classroom.  After they all got to working, the room was full of a great excitement.  I was now free to walk around and talk with each pair independently.  This allowed me more time with the work with students that didn't understand what one of the pyramids was telling them about the country.

  After my first AR experience, I was a total believer.  It made me want to learn more and more about a variety of EdTech out there.  It inspired me to be a better teacher and to integrate more technology into my classroom.  Just trying this has made me a totally different teacher...
for the better.

So, if you haven't tried or even heard of Augmented Reality, give it a try.  You'll become a huge fan just like me!