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Celebrating Inquiry: Fall 2015 v.2 no.1

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Augmented Reality using Aurasma...Emily Welch

How can augmented reality (AR) be used in the classroom? What can AR do to enhance student experience?


During my internship I have taken on the role of the production manager for the school’s musical. One of my tasks was to create the call board for the lobby of the show. Normally, head shots (and sometimes brief bios) are typed up for all of the actors. I have chosen to use augmented reality, specifically through the app Aurasma, to create the call board for this year’s musical. Augmented reality is technology that super imposes a computer generated image on a user’s view of the real world. Essentially family and friends can use their smart devices to activate a brief video from each of the cast members. In these videos I had students share a memory from the musical.

During this process I have also brainstormed a variety of other ways to use augmented reality in many different classrooms and learning environments. Augmented reality appeals to both visual and auditory learners, as it activates both streams of learning. It amplifies student engagement with regular learning tools, such as text books or bulletin boards, by bringing them to life through technology. I now have a clearer picture of how augmented reality can be used in many levels of education.


Currently I work in the educational technology department at the University of Alberta (U of A), which is where I was introduced to augmented reality. I approached my colleagues at U of A and shared some ideas on how I could use this technology in my work with the school’s musical. From there the U of A kindly lent me the equipment I needed for the project. I then recorded videos and took head shots of each student in the musical. I had students come up with a way to express themselves, and their experience in the musical. Some students shared favorite memories, while other students performed strange body tricks. Each aura truly showcases the variety of student actors, technicians, and musicians involved in the show! I chose to use the app Aurasma to create my augmented realities. Aurasma is a free app available on Google Play, and on the App Store. The final goal of this project was to have all of the student "auras" on display in the lobby of the musical for family and friends to interact with before the show.


This project was exciting for myself and the students. They were very curious as to how this would work, and so was I! I think that this form of call board really allows students to express themselves in a different way. Normally a call board would just be a simple head shot, perhaps with a few questions. With this augmented reality call board each student has a head shot, that transforms into a short video showcasing each student. Through this project students also gained on-camera experience, which is important within a dramatic classroom.

I also think that my use of this technology will show other teachers how it could be used in their classrooms. I have come up with a few different ideas outside of my own project. For example, augmented reality could be incorporated into regular textbooks and or flash cards. I also think that augmented reality could replace typical classroom manipulatives such as blocks or cards etc., and could be used to create scavenger hunts, bulletin boards, and word walls.

During this process I was fortunate to have a student assistant who aided me in the organization and creation of the auras. This student’s help was invaluable as there were over 60 students involved in the production. In conclusion, this project truly challenged me to incorporate technology in the drama classroom. I also believe that this use of technology was particularly meaningful as it enhanced student expression and reflection.

Emily is a Drama major from Edmonton Alberta. She has just finished her internship at Paul Kane High School in St. Albert. During her internship she taught a Drama 10 class and an Advanced Acting class, while helping with the schools’ production of the Addams Family musical. During her Internship, she also worked at the University of Alberta in the Ed Tech department, where she constantly learned about new educational technologies.