Tuesday, March 5, 2013

mARch: Augmenting with Aurasma, Part 1.

In yesterday's post, I introduced the topic of augmented reality (AR), which can be used to add visuals such as animation, images, video and text to many contexts. We'll be looking at some stand-alone apps that do their specific AR thing, but I wanted to start with Aurasma, the app that was featured in yesterday's video.  This video showed Aurasma applied in schools to give kids a way to link, say, a bulletin board to related images and video.  Aurasma is actually pretty easy to use!

Note: Aurasma is available for free for iPhone, iPod and iPad 2 and above. This is because a camera is essential to the function of this app and many of the others this month. My apologies to readers with an iPad 1. This app is also available for Android, but I can't attest to how it works.

So, first, a context. Let's say you read a picture book with your kids, which I hope you do occasionally because there are so many skills you can build around picture books. What if you could then (after reading) make the picture book an interactive experience with the students, allowing them to scan the book to view, discuss, and respond to images, text, or video associated with the book? What if they could record videos and make these other visuals pop up themselves? They can.

In this post, we are first going to see the steps of creating just one "aura" with the picture book The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. The steps flow really easily once you see how it works. The Big Orange Splot is a great story about individuality. A man lives on a "neat street" where everything is the same. One day, a seagull drops a can of orange paint on his roof. Instead of just cleaning it off, he allows it to inspire him to make all kinds of interesting changes to his house. His neighbors are at first outraged, then experience the same inspiration.

In this series of steps, you will see how to make an image aura from Aurasma's own library of images "float" above a book page when the page is scanned. Specifically, through these steps a seagull "aura" is accessed when the book's cover is scanned. What could you do with that? It sure is a fun way to prompt retelling and understanding of an initiating event in a narrative. You can think of doing the same type of thing for another visual material, such as a printed or drawn picture, a poster, a flashcard, etc...

When you open Aurasma the camera will be activated:

Give it a try! These 8 steps seem like a lot at first, but you'll see they are a quick, logical series after practicing a few times. 

See my other posts detailing other features of Aurasma:

Oh, and by the way, there's a Common Core Connection:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.


  1. Sean thank you so much for sharing your amazing knowledge and skills. I can't wait to try this out and "pay it forward" with SLP's and educators in South Africa.

    1. Hi Nikki- wow. You made my day by just pointing out that I reach South Africa! Thanks and hope it is helpful!