Developing Augmented Reality Resources in Education – Top Tips

The cARe project highlighted a number of considerations that will hopefully be of use to anyone embarking on a Augmented Reality Project:

1. Technology

There are a variety of apps and platforms that you can use to develop an Augmented Reality experience. They all differ in terms of functionality, so inevitably you pick the one you need for what you are trying to achieve. With a healthy competition amongst these platform providers, they often compete with other, regularly evolving with new features. The Augmented Planet website provides a list of Augmented Reality Tools, highlighting which platforms they will work on.  One app that is currently missing from there is Aurasma. Aurasma is gaining popularity in education and that’s possibly because they offer an online, web based interface that makes it simple to create an AR experience.  Another point to be mindful of is the costs associated with the product that you are developing your AR experience with. An app/platform that is currently free, might start adding fees to use certain features, once the user base increases. This was seen recently with Aurasma who are planning to start charging for the use of their platform, they do however intend to continue offer their service free to education.

2 Wifi/Data Roaming

If the app you are working with requires an Internet connection (which is common if you use an AR browser such as Wikitude, Layar, Junaio and Aurasma) then the logistics related to the strength of wifi and data connection fees need to be considered. To make sure there was always a wifi connection to hand during demonstrations, I relied on a mifi connection.


3. Positioning of Augmented Reality triggers/markers are of importance and can sometimes be overlooked. Having triggers that are too high or low and bad lighting can also impact the ability to recognise a trigger. A recent trip to the London Science Museum , to see the James May AR exhibition highlighted this. The picture below shows me having to crouch down to get the AR experience to trigger!  NB. the exhibition is not only aimed at kids!


4. Headphone Splitters
To prevent students from turning their phones/tablets into a ‘boombox’ the use of headphone is a must! We found that most students had headphones with them. To let more than one student interact with an experience headphone splitters worked a treat.

5. Equality/Loan Devices, it is inevitable that not everyone will have access to required mobile devices that make AR experiences possible. Furthermore, since mobile devices are so personal, students might not be so keen to share their own device. A solution we’re taking at City is to offer the option to loan devices.

6. Safety Briefings (if your AR project involves walking around streets)
AR in its nature is very immersive and its easy to forget your surroundings and be distracted by the experience. In initial consultations with lecturers a concern of theirs was related to the safety of students. To help prevent this, the solution has been to give safety briefings and send students out in groups (safety in numbers). Furthermore instead of loaning students the latest iPad to walk around with, we have purchased smaller 7″ Samsung devices with the idea that they are more flexible. It was also considered that these ‘not as cool as iPad devices’  ( as ruled by a judge: will be less attractive to thieves.

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