Today was one of those days that I truly love my job!
Today my students learned about the amazing augmented reality app called Aurasma.
Thanks to my friend Sandra Paul the Director of Technology for the Sayreville School District, I learned about this free app a few weeks ago. She told me about how one of her librarians, Danielle DeCarolis, was using it in her grad class at Seton Hall University and was starting to use it in her K-3 library.
After going home and researching the app more I became addicted and saw so many amazing potential uses in schools. As one of my students said today, "Aurasma is like combining YouTube and Instragram and QR codes all together into one really cool thing." I will never do it justice by writing about it. Aurasma is truly one of those things you need to see to understand.
Here is the link to the TED talk by Aurasma's founders which I showed to my students today. I wish you could have seen the look of amazement on their faces when they watched the video. It was one of those moments that all teachers love to see.
After we watched the TED talk I explained to the students that we would be making our own Auras and the kids were so excited! I showed the students some of the Auras that I made using the students' Animoto videos that they made for their author study units and used books by each author as triggers. I also made a few videos about the library and used the different areas of the library as triggers. All of our Auras can be found by searching and following the South Orange Middle School Channel on the Aurasma app. The kids could hardly control their excitment when I showed them the Auras. They all wanted their Animoto video to be an Aura and were even more excited when I told them they would be learning how to do it themselves.
I then showed the students the app by hooking up my iPhone to the Smartboard. I allowed our students who had smart devices to take them out and download the Aurasma app. I love that our school has a BYOD policy in place. It really made the experience so much better for my students to be able to have enough devices to look at all the Auras. We made sure that students who did not have devices were paired with ones that did so no one was left out of the fun.
I also showed the students ways to make Auras using their devices and the app. Within minutes students were making their own Auras and showing them to other students.
Over the next few weeks I will be working with the team 6B students to make Auras for their ET project in Science Class. The students will be designing Aliens that can live on different planets that they have studied previously. In the past students would have given a PowerPoint presentation explaining their ET and why they designed it that way. Now we are going to have the students make a video to explain their ET and then use the ET they designed as the trigger. When a person scans the ET with the Aurasma app they will see the video of the student talking about his or her ET.
We are also planning on using Aurasma for a historical fiction picture unit and a Scavenger Hunt for incoming 6th graders on the first day of school. Stay tuned for more information on those adventures.
The students had so much fun today and can't wait to begin making their Auras. I heard many say, "I can't wait to go home and show my parents." I know it was the talk of the dinner table tonight and will be for days to come. I love days like this when the excitement for learning is so palpable!
Watching the excitement of my students today is why I love my job!
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. Find my full resume above.