AR in the Classroom and Library

At the beginning of the school year, my daughter’s first grade teacher asked her to bring in her favorite book.  She chose Mo Willems’ Are You Ready to Play Outside?  (It’s a fantastic book if you ever get the chance.  In fact, I highly recommend anything by Mo Willems.)  Later that fall, I attended an open house at her school.  At one point, my daughter’s teacher handed me her iPad and had me hold it up in front of my daughter’s copy of Are You Ready to Play Outside? that was in the classroom.  At first what I saw was the cover of the book as if I was going to take a picture with the iPad.  In the next moment, the image of the book through the iPad turned into a video of my daughter giving a review of the book.  This is an example of Augmented Reality.  Her teacher used the Augmented Reality (AR) app Aurasma to create the book review videos. 

Augmented Reality apps allow you to supplement physical objects by linking other forms of media such as videos, QR Codes or graphics providing a richer experience.   There are numerous applications of Augmented Reality.  As AR is beginning to catch on more and more, it is becoming particularly attractive for marketing purposes but also within education.  At last year’s AALL annual conference, Kris Turner from the University of Wisconsin Law School presented on Augmenting Your Library: Layar, Aurasma and Google Goggles during the Cool Tools Café.  In case you missed it, he highlighted three apps but provides links to many more in the handout.

This technology can be integrated into the library and classroom to encourage interaction, make collections more accessible, and provide guidance for resources.  Some libraries have used AR for a more fun and interactive orientation.  Other libraries have used AR as method to tell stories about the buildings of a city or campus and bring old photographs out of the archives and into the hands of the patron electronically.  Miami University has even used AR to develop an app used to shelf read and identify books out of place on the shelf. 

AR could also be used in an Advanced Legal Research course to provide additional information about the physical print materials.  Students can take an active role in their own learning by creating short videos about how to use specific print materials that could be embedded in an AR app and used as a teaching tool for the entire class. 

Many libraries utilize a bulletin board to highlight library services, locations, or events.  To get more attention, you could make that bulletin board interactive by embedding instructional videos, graphics or images that are read by the AR app.  You can even have the AR lead to a Google document where people can sign up for the event.    

The apps are very easy to use, many are free, and they are available for all types of mobile and tablet devices.  If you think of other creative ways to incorporate AR in the library or classroom or are already doing something, I'd love to hear about it.  Please feel free to comment below.