Tech Trends: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality Animal Alphabet Video

“Help me Obi Wan Kanobi. You’re my only hope,” pleads Princess Lei from Star Wars (1977). OR, who can forget those cool life like books and newspapers from the famous Harry Potter series? Yes! These are both famous examples of an amazing technology called Augmented Reality (AR).

When I started this project, I was having a hard time getting going, but once I did, it was off to the races! I went back and forth on what technology to research, then narrowed it down to AR.  As I started researching, I was amazed at how much AR is already out there and even more, how powerful this technology already is!

Augmented Reality Research ScreenCast video

After researching and finding A LOT of websites and blogs with ideas on how to use and implement AR, I decided to make a screencast video to help others. The purpose of this project is  to introduce AR Flashcards and provide a lesson plan but to also introduce everyone to the exciting and growing world of Augmented Reality. Keep in mind that I’ve really only scratched surface of what’s available. Along with my screencast video, I have created a lesson plan and sample  AR animal alphabet video that I made (it was so much fun!) with my 5-year-old son Moses, to bring some of this to you.

Augmented Reality Animal Alphabet Cards (photos courtesy of Moses M.)

What is Augmented Reality (AR)? In 1990, Boeing researcher Tom Caudell first coined the term “augmented reality” to describe a digital display used by aircraft electricians that blended virtual graphics onto a physical reality. As for the computer science world’s definition of augmented reality (AR) though, it’s more detailed, but essentially the same: Augmented reality is the interaction of superimposed graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over a real-world environment that’s displayed in real-time.  (DigitalTrends.comDena Cassella, Nov. 3, 2009)

Augmented reality has evolved in recent years and its application in classrooms is limitless. Educators don’t need to feel overwhelmed when trying to introduce AR in their classroom because there are many great apps that don’t require a lot of knowledge in the field. There are useful apps for every subject and there are also apps that when a teacher is ready they can create their own AR targets.

Augmented reality works well in schools because it brings close to real life experiences to the classrooms. It’s fascinating to see the faces of students when they have the opportunity to explore space, the human body, cells or chemistry elements. You appreciate how eager and engaged they become with some simple AR apps (, Suzette Mirabal, Nov 5, 2015).

SAMR model (image courtesy of

As we review the different stages of the SAMR model I think it’s apparent that this project as a whole is being redefined through the use of AR. A teacher standing in front of a class with a chalkboard (original) or even a white marker board (substitution) are not nearly as effective as engaging students through the use of AR Flashcards. AR Technology has redefined the way we are able to NOW teach many subjects; in this case, the Alphabet.


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