Getting Real with Augmented Reality with Guest Blogger Becky Nation

By Becky Nation, Avalon Middle School in Santa Rosa County

Through the generous funding of PLAN, I was offered the incredible opportunity to travel to Denver, Colorado for ALA Midwinter 2018. The opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded professionals, participate in sessions introducing new ideas and technologies, and experience the announcing of award-winning authors and books was exhilarating. I came home with so many ideas swirling through my mind competing for attention, but the concept of virtual and augmented realities kept pushing itself back to the forefront.

I attended several sessions discussing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, and although I had heard of these prior to attending the conference, I was incredibly intimidated by these concepts. Big libraries with large budgets presented their mobile virtual reality labs that cost more than I could ever afford. The thought of the financial and technological aspects of taking on such a project crippled me for months. After researching and mulling over options, I finally decided the only way to find out how these technologies work was to use them. Augmented reality would be the jumping off point in my library.

Thinking that I needed to be comfortable with the lesson since the technology aspect would be new for me, I sought a project I currently use that I could enhance to include AR. My students write book reviews each year and deliver them orally. This existing project seemed to readily lend itself to a technology enhancement. I downloaded the free HP Reveal app and watched the tutorial that opened as soon as I downloaded. It guided me through the setup of my first aura. I used my iPad to video my students delivering their book reviews. Then I took a picture of the book cover to use as the trigger that would cue up the video. The HP Reveal app was then used to link the cover trigger to the student’s video. When students download the app and follow my channel, they scan the book and have other students’ book reviews superimpose themselves on the cover of the book where I placed it in the app. Yes, it’s just that easy!

Now that I have figured out how this works, I’m sad I waited so long to interact with this technology. My next steps include a grant proposal asking for tablets to use for recording and linking the books inside HP Reveal. This would allow me to pair students who would video and link their own book reviews for whole classes.

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