Augmented Reality

July 2nd, 2014 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

According to Wikipedia, Augmented Reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

With the help of advanced AR technology, artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world, making the information about the surrounding real world of the user interactive and easy to digitally manipulate.

Augmented Reality software and Apps allow us to set any image as a “trigger” to launch a video, website, an App or some other type of content. The trigger image can be:


  • a symbol, icon or logo
  • a specific picture or a combination of images on a poster, business card, box or a magazine
  • a geo-coordinate

For example, a Metro newspaper puts a small AR symbol next to the image that can be scanned with the Metro App to launch a video or website with information related to the picture or article it accompanies.


Another example is a Yelp App that uses your GPS location and camera to overlay information about nearby restaurants onto the image we see through a smartphone or tablet screen.

Some organizations even use their business cards as a trigger to promote their projects or services. For example, when the Waiting for Echoes business card is scanned with an App called Layar, it will launch an interactive image and invite you to visit the project’s website and Facebook page.


Want to see how it really works? Download the free Layar App, scan the business card image above and see what happens. Isn’t it cool!

Aurasma is another great tool that can be used to create or view augmented reality “auras.” It is very easy to use and is already used in schools to enhance student learning. Explore this video to learn more:

The website highlights that with the embrace of Augmented Reality there appeared a new concept of learning called “augmented learning.“ It is an on-demand learning technique where the learning environment adapts to the needs and inputs from learners. The “environment” here does not have to be constrained by a physical learning environment such as a classroom, but could refer to a digital learning environment, through which learners can stimulate discovery and gain greater understanding.

Augmented Reality encourages “discovery-based” learning, improves comprehension and increases motivation for learning. It also utilizes multiple learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Are you wondering how you can integrate Augmented Reality into your classroom? Here are some examples:

  • Augmented Reality Apps: Many Apps use Augmented Reality and 3D or 4 D overlays to teach anatomy or biology, for example Anatomy 4D App. Teach students how to use these Apps and enhance their learning experience.
  • Homework Mini-Lessons: When students scan a page of their homework, the page reveals a video of their teacher helping them solve a problem.
  • Photo Wall: Set up a display of student photos near the classroom entrance. New students or teachers can scan the image of any student and see that figure come to life, telling more about him- or herself.
  • Word Walls: Students can record themselves providing the definitions to different vocabulary words on a word wall. Afterward, anyone can use the AR App to make a peer pop up on screen, telling them the definition and using the word in a sentence.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Sign Language Flashcards: With AR, flashcards of vocabulary words can contain a video overlay that shows how to sign a word or phrase.

Explore for even more ideas.

Want to learn more?

Review the presentation slides and watch a recording from our Tech Tuesdays webinar on Augmented Reality delivered on June 24, 2014.

Also check out these links and resources: