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Blended Bites Blog

The ISTE Drive

Jessica Anderson

Those who have attended ISTE know what I'm talking about when I refer to "The ISTE Drive." It's that invigorating feeling you get the moment you step out of an amazing session with a new virtual tool in your pocket. You feel like you are on an EduCloud and you want to do something with it right away.

So you ask, what tool made me feel like I was floating? Aurasma! Can I say, W-O-W!  The minute the presenter started showing this application for iOS and Android devices, I had a million ideas running through my mind. Yes, all I need is a new tech tool to get me excited for the new school year...and it is only July!

What exactly is Aurasma? An app that allows for augmented reality--an enhancement of reality. The real-world becomes modified using sound, video, map directions, websites, etc. Here's an example of a very simple Aura that I made for my three year old.

We have a new form of entertainment. Just sticky notes, stickers, and the Aurasma app.

Click on this link, download the app on your device, and try it out.

Here are some of my initial thoughts on using this tool in education. I will add more after I brainstorm with my wonderful colleagues who will be attending my PD workshop this summer:

-A lab safety activity: Students will go around the lab looking for items whose pictures are on their papers or devices. Each trigger object will have a short video explanation attached on the specific item and safety precautions.  You might also have the students try to identify what safety requirement is being violated in the video (I like this idea better). This would require them to know or reference the safety rules and apply it to a visual.

-Interactive reading: I plan to take pictures of text or images from assigned articles and attach short videos. Maybe providing local examples, pointing out key concepts, or referencing websites that provide further instruction.
      @EricHalfmann talked about using this in ELA as a way to "highlight tone words/persuasive
      technique in text."

-Discrepant events: Put the objects out on the table. Show students the discrepant event via a video triggered by one of the objects and then let them try the event out on their own.

-Introducing yourself: Put a picture on your door of you with the Aurasma symbol. The picture will trigger a video of you introducing yourself and talking about your classroom.
       @EricHalfmann thought it might be neat to have a picture of all the teachers at the front of the
        school and to have them introduce themselves to visitors as they entered the building or attended
        parent night.
        @TechninjaTodd can't wait to have students make self videos and have their parents see their
        faces pop-up on the screen.

-Scavenger hunt:  We do a school scavenger hunt to help students get acquainted with their environment. Aurasma could be used to enhance this activity. Maybe instead of just asking where an image is located, have the students find the image, watch the aura, and then answer a question.

-Making drab posters come alive: All those posters hanging on your wall need a little pizzaz. Why not create videos talking about the posters or events that have occurred (a poster of the eruption of Mount St. Helens).

-Student book reviews:  Get the librarian and students involved by having students take pictures of book covers and do a review.

-New age walk-abouts: Have students design an image related to their topic of study and create videos explaining the content. The image could have different parts that are separate trigger images so more short videos or links can be added. Maybe a google form to answer questions?!?

-Making science fairs more virtual: I plan to do a virtual science fair this school year, however, for those with more traditional fairs using auras could enhance posters.

-Daily announcements: The daily announcements could be recorded and attached to an paper?

-Hidden Auras for extra credit: You could hide auras around the school or attach them to a web activity you want your students to do for homework to make sure they are doing it. You could also hide these in optional assignments for flipped-mastery courses or use them to explain a new badge they earned in gamified courses.

-Tours of Schools: Have a map at the main office with trigger images with attached videos to show individuals how to get to various places throughout the school.

-Geocaching: Make the prize at the geocache an aura.