Archive for the ‘augmented reality’ Category

Here’s Common Craft’s easy explanation about Augmented Reality:


I’ve had this growing interest lately in QR codes and their application to education.  I’m quickly coming to the realization at how useful QR codes can be in education and how these little graphical icons can make mobile learning a little easier for teachers to incorporate with students.  Here is a list of some websites that I’ve accessed recently on the topic.

1) 7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes: An Educase article that provides a nice overview of what QR codes are and their potential applications within education;

2) QR Code: Wikipedia’s article on QR Codes

3) Handheld Learning Beyond the Classroom: A blog post that offers a number of classroom applications for QR codes;

4) 10 Ways to Use QR Codes in a History Classroom: Pretty self explanatory;

5) 3 Examples of QR Code Supremacy: This short blog post discusses 3 different, and quite interesting, ways that QR codes have been used outside of education;

6) QR Codes in Education: A Burgeoning Narrative: This blog post has a number for actual examples, one of which is an images of QR Codes in student notebooks that works!

7) QR Codes: In the Classroom: More practical ideas in using QR Codes in learning;

8) Why QR Codes are Poised to Hit the Mainstream: A look at the potential for QR codes in collective scanning (or social scanning if you will) and gaming;

9) What Business Card? Just Scan my QR Code: An article on using QR codes for personal advertising – this can work to advertise a school or a school program as well;

10) Qurify: We will end this list with a free QR code generator.

I have recently been investigating the concept of QR codes in teaching and learning.  A QR code is a 2-dimensional image with information encoded in it. Below is an example of a QR code for anyone who may not know what a QR code isThe code can be decoded by QR code readers that are usually found on mobile phones and are read using an image of the code taken by the mobile phone’s camera.  The code above is a link to Wikipedia’s English mobile website found at While QR codes have been in existence for quite some time in business (used initially to track product parts), I have only recently come across the concept.  I recently installed a QR reader on my iPhone and made use of QR codes at #ECOO2010 as each of the conference’s sessions had a QR code. The codes were used to allow conference participants to connect to session information on the ECOO website in order to learn more about the sessions.

I was recently reading an Educase article titled “7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes” to learn more about QR codes and their application in education. Some interesting implications for teaching and learning that are mentioned in the article include:

  • QR codes can link the physical and virtual worlds by allowing students to link to more information about an object or historically significant building or area
  • Bringing learning into the physical world and out of the classroom
  • Allowing students whose native language is one other than the dominant language of their school to connect to information about objects or ideas in their native languages

Essentially, the power of QR codes is in their ability to allow learners to use their mobile devices to link to specific information on the internet quickly and easily.  It’s connection to mobile learning appears to be a natural one as it’s often a mobile device that is used to decode the QR codes and to access the information provided through the QR code on the Internet. Using QR codes in education is still very new and much more learning and experimentation is required.  If anyone has any further information on QR codes in education or can share links to projects/experiments in their use in education, please share in the comment field.

This video from TED demonstrates new technology being developed where a human can interact with devices to control objects simply by thinking about them.  On the one hand, a very exciting development, especially when it comes to supporting children with physical disabilities.  On the other, I can’t help to feel how much this resembles the dystopian societies described in science fiction – in this case, the movie The Matrix.  While watching this, I felt, “…a bit like Alice going down the rabbit hole…”.  Take the red pill if you dare and watch what could be the future of learning.

Mobile learning has always been about using the tools of learning wherever one finds themselves. In this blog, I have discussed a range of techniques for learning on the go from reading texts or listening to audiobooks on a mobile device to using built in cell phone tools such as a camera and access to web 2.0 services to document learning both within and outside of the classroom. Augmented Reality apps take this just-in-time, on-location learning to a new level.

For those new to the concept of Augmented Reality, take a look at my July 25th, 2009 post on Augmented Reality.

While I have experimented with a number of apps that incorporate Augmented Reality, one that I find really interesting right now is a service called Wikitude. The service uses GPS positioning on one’s phone (as of this writing, the Wikitude app is only available on Android phones and the iPhone) to find landmarks and other points of interesting that are located within one’s physical proximity. The service shows where the nearby landmarks are and provides links to both articles and user generated content about that landmark or particular point of interest. Of note for education is the indirect collaboration as the service allows users to build a knowledge base with others about a landmark or point of interest and then allowing anyone to access it directly on one’s mobile device at the moment one requires it.

Having this type of Augmented Reality app on one’s mobile device will begin to change the nature of field trips. Using a mobile device with Augmented Reality apps could mean that instead of reading information posting beside exhibits or beside landmarks, or simply experiencing a point of interest by reading about it in a book in a classroom, students may soon be able to choose to read a Wikipedia article, view others’ comments or download a podcast episode with commentary from experts about points of interest – all this while the student is actually on location. These apps may also allow for more independent self discovery as the apps use a students’ positioning to highlight what is physically around them and how to get to these points of interest.

One likely critique of this blog post is that using AR apps is unrealistic given the current reality of school board policies and certain teacher attitudes concerning the use of cell phones for learning. Granted, if students are not allowed to use their cell phone to help them learn then AR apps are useless. However, I would counter that attitudes toward using mobile devices for learning is beginning to change. With the prevalence of mobile devices in our society and with the fact that more and more teaching staff are entering the profession with experience in using cell phones to do things other than to place a call, the acceptance of the use of such devices is inevitable. Besides, how long can the education system refuse to adapt when traditional methods of teaching and learning are becoming less effective in the presence of richer learning experiences though cheaper and cheaper mobile devices?

This blog is all about how mobile devices can be incorporated in classrooms today to help students learn.  In many ways, this blog is about the present as I’ve always looked to be as practical as possible to offer ideas for readers in incorporating this technology now. Recently I’ve been introduced to the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) and have been intreagued. According to Wikipedia, AR is:

” a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.”

Below is a video demonstrating the possibility of AR:

Initially, I thought AR was a concept for the future and decided to wait before I began commenting on it.  However,  as I dug a bit deeper, I discovered that, to my surprise, AR apps could be coming to the iPhone as soon as September 2009 with the release of version 3.1 of the iPhone OS.  You can read more about that here. As a result, I decided to introduce the concept here for any of you who have yet to come across this concept. As AR unfolds, I’m sure it will become a hot topic of great interest in social circles, blogs and edublogs (especially this one).  In the meantime, take a look at the video below which provides a glimpse into what AR will mean beginning as soon as September, 2009.