Augmented has the potential to change the way we access information in our everyday lives and has huge potential within education, with the use of mobile devices to display information and deliver activities.
Augmented reality apps have been on the market for some time such as Word Lens, which translates text through the phones camera. By simply holding the camera up to a piece of text such as a menu and the app will translate all the text overlaying it onto of the original. Word Lens is still one of the most effective apps for modern foreign language translation.
A similar app is Pocket Tutor Math, which recognizes simple arithmetic and will calculate the answer and can even mark your calculations for you.
I created some 3D images using Google Sketch Up, initially simple shapes and then molecular models, which I uploaded onto the Augment website to use a teaching tool with their free app. The aim was to enable my A-level chemistry students to visualize and explore the six shapes of molecules, which is a difficult task without being able to see and manipulate the molecules. The application of augmented reality in this context allows the students to revise and study the shapes anywhere they choose without the eliminating the issue of accessibility to physical molecules.
By scanning a tracker with the app, which is an image that is assigned to the molecule, that can be a picture or QR code, the object will appear in front of you. It can then be manipulated such as rotated, enlarged and flipped by touching the screen of the smart phone or tablet. This allows students to investigate the number of lone pairs, bonding pairs and bond angles of each molecular shape, and with one marker card and a smart phone to have all six molecule shapes in their pocket. The video below shows how the 3D images are viewed.
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I first heard about augmented reality after a SSAT conferences some years ago, where I was shown a demo of the internal organs by AR Learn. By placing a marker card on your chest and holding it up to a webcam through the AR Learning website the organs appear. This is a really powerful application of augmented reality and allows the internal organs to be viewed close up and in the correct position within the body.
AR Learn. http://www.arlearning.co.uk/#home
Sponholtz Productions - molecular modelling
The Brain AR App by Harmony Internet Limited
This app explores the human brain in layers. This app is more of a mimic than having a strong educational value, but does generate questions and enquiry of the anatomy of the brain.