Augmented reality is a bit of a “buzz” word right now in education. It’s actually all over, but not always identified as AR. However, this is a technology that has the potential to alter how students learn and teachers teach.

Before going any further, lets make sure that we all know what AR is. According to Google’s definition tool, Augmented Reality is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” Basically, that means that AR layers digital content on top of real-world content. If that definition doesn’t help, you’ll understand more once you experience it.

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These 4 apps are somewhat basic. They don’t exactly let you create your own content to augment. But they do a fantastic job of leveraging augmented reality to create something that is infinitely more valuable than just the original real-life content. I use these four apps when I introduce AR to newcomers because these tools provide fantastic examples of what AR is and how it works, as well as some beginning educational opportunities.

Quiver – Imagine coloring a picture from a book, then the picture that you colored comes alive right before your eyes! Well that’s Quiver in a nutshell. You print out pages to color from the app or accompanying website, color them as you wish, and then use the app to make the object that you have colored come alive.

Elements 4D – This app uses AR to teach about the elements of the periodic table and compounds. You print, cut out, and assemble a set of 6 dice. Each side of the dice has a different element on it. You can then use the app with the dice to learn more about each element, see what it actually looks like, and explore compounds that can be created from the elements.

Google Translate – A fantastic tool for everyone, this app will translate from one language to another for you. But aside from typing “Hello” in English and having the app convert into Russian for you, did you know that you can use the camera in the app to translate things live? Hold the camera that is within app up to a sign that is written in English, and it will convert it to another language for you in front of your eyes. This is a lifesaver for teachers and students who struggle with ESL.

Anatomy 4D – Made by the same company that makes Elements 4D, this AR tool helps you explore the systems of the human body and the heart. Just like with Elements 4D, the user has to print a couple pages out, then holds the app up to the pages to experience and really explore the systems of the body and heart. This is a MUST for any biology teacher today.

Ah, and FYI, all of these apps are free so there’s no reason to not go out and download them right now!




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