A recent survey suggests that over 71% of 16-24 year olds use smart phones in the UK. And with all the recent advancements in technology you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to create engaging resources for these hand-held ‘super computers’. So shouldn’t all learning providers be using the true potential of these devices to engage their students?
Many learning providers focus on adapting existing learning content for these smart devices. Although, we are seeing pockets of really innovative and exemplar augmented reality (AR) based learning solutions that are not only improving students’ experience but are also proving to be a medium through which the learning providers are communicating more interactively with their students. But, I believe we still haven’t utilised these benefits which can be found by developing exciting new interactive materials.
For those of you not familiar with the term, AR is a view of the real world that is enhanced by computer generated sensory data like audio, video, images, 3D models, animation and even Geo tagging. AR can be used to develop interactive books and 3D simulators, help in medical examinations and even to bring Egyptian Pharaoh caskets to our history classes.
A couple of years ago while writing an article on the use of 3D in education I described the benefits from a student’s perspective – imagine instead of being told of the old Roman and Babylonian history, you could actually walk through streets of those times, view the architecture, the atmosphere of the time. How rich would your understanding be if you could do all that! It might have sounded like wishful thinking at the time but today the London Museum through their Street Museum and Londinium AR apps are achieving exactly that by morphing Roman Londinium and historic London onto present day London.
It can be argued that the technical expertise required for creating such AR based learning content, are beyond general practitioner skills sets. This was true in the past but a British based firm, Autonomy (now owned by HP), is changing this through their Aurasma platform by allowing even ordinary muggles like us to create our own DIY AR applications free of cost and without the need of much technical expertise. Sounds brilliant!
I thought you may be wondering how, so here is my step by step guide on creating your own AR app.
1. Become an Aurasma partner
Access to Aurasma is free for not for profit organisations, such as colleges and universities. You can request access to Aurasma. With over 16,000 partners across the globe, Aurasma in my opinion is by far the industry leading AR platform.
2. Develop your own aura
Auras are the augmented content that is used to trigger content like images and geo locations. Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation.
3. Create an aura channel
You need to create an Aurasma channel and add all of your auras to the channel for them to be available through your basic/skinned apps.
4. Request the skinned app code
Once you have created an Aurasma channel your content is visible to everyone through Aurasma’s own app, but if you want a dedicated app with only your channel’s content then you can request the code from Aurasma as well.
5. Submit your app to the iOS & Android app market
Once you have the code you simply submit the code to the relevant Android and iOS app store and hurrah, you have got yourself a DIY AR app.
University Campus Suffolk (USC) is just one of the learning providers that are using Aurasma based skinned apps. The UCS Connect app brings interactivity to their prospectuses and publications.