Augmented and Virtual Reality in K12

The learning power of reality in K12 education

Posted in Blog on 29 September 2016

Using tablets, apps and YouTube videos, students at Greenwood Elementary School in the Wayzata Public Schools in Minnesota have added new virtual elements to paintings and other artwork, so their masterpieces include videos that not only get them engaged, but also help them better understand ideas behind the art itself.

It’s a technology called augmented reality, which overlays views of the real world with informative graphics, video, sound or even GPS data.

A few teachers at the K5 school are experimenting with augmented reality in lessons, says Greenwood Principal Brad Gustafson. He gave kudos to Greenwood art teacher Beth Joselyn for combining best practice in art instruction with innovation in augmented reality to deepen students’ learning.

Students will paint a picture on paper, for example, while also learning about elements of design such as shape, contrast and colors, as well as how they play a role in the finished product.

The teacher uses an iPad and Aurasma, (HP Autonomy’s augmented reality platform) to record students standing next to their art explaining the “design process” or metacognition behind it, such as why they chose various colors. This has them thinking like an artist, Gustafson says.

The recording is usually a minute or two long and is then uploaded to YouTube and becomes a “digital artifact,” Gustafson says.

The teacher will then hang the student’s physical artwork in the school’s main hallway. The original artwork functions almost like a QR code, which triggers the additional digital content. Once a visitor uses an iPad to hover over the picture, the video springs to life.

“When you scan something, you can’t tell when reality stops and digital reality begins,” Gustafson says. “It’s communicating in this relevant, literate, mind-blowing way.”

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