Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tons of Classroom Examples Using Augmented Reality with @Aurasma - A Complete How-To Guide!

How to Use Augmented Reality in Your Classroom
this post is read best via a desktop due to the embedded video content

Augmented reality allows someone to add another layer to an existing image.  For example, imagine holding your phone over a poster on the wall as if you were going to take a photo of that poster, and then instantly a video starts playing to offer you additional information about that particular poster.  Pretty cool, right?  The first time it happens, it seems like magic.

After watching the video below, I knew I had to figure this augmented reality thing out.  I was hooked, interested, amazed, and couldn't get enough... neither could my students!

Aurasma is the app I use to create augmented reality.  I find it to be reliable, and it's used by many.

Sharing Aurasma with My Husband's Colleagues 

Not only is augmented reality amazing, it's also free and easy to do.  It's so easy that my husband and I were recently at a wedding and showed how using augmented reality can work in a matter of moments.  I loved seeing our friend's faces as they saw the trigger image come to life.  Here is what Jason and I did...

While waiting for our table to be called for dinner, we were discussing the nice decorations displayed around the reception hall.  I noticed that each guest had a little packet of seeds at each place setting.  There was a message on the packet for us to plant the seeds and watch the flowers bloom just as the new bride and groom's relationship will bloom.  Because I'm slightly addicted to augmented reality at the moment, I had the idea to have my husband record a brief congratulatory video.  I then applied that brief video as an overlay to an image I snapped of the seed packet.  Then, I passed my phone around to a few of our friends and asked them to hold it above their seed packet.  As soon as they did, the video Jason recorded started playing.  When they pulled the phone away from the seed packet, the video stopped.  They were like little kids seeing a magic show.  In less than five minutes, everyone at our table had downloaded the Aurasma app and were making creative Auras to show off.  Needless to say, augmented reality was a huge hit!

His colleagues began instantly brainstorming how this could be used for their business.  They started discussing how this could benefit their advertising and sales, connections with customers, and supporting their training development. 

Augmented Reality Vocabulary

The following definitions are not from any specific source.  As a teacher, I find that sometimes the simple definitions are the best.  Therefore, these are just my definitions.  I'm sure there are more technical definitions available that would be more accurate; however, my intention is to offer a basic, user-friendly understanding for each term.

- augmented reality: making something come to life
- aura: the magic thing that pops up when you hold your device over something 
- trigger image: the picture you want to make cooler that is just normal (probably something from your camera roll or in your photos)
- overlay: the thing you will apply on top of the trigger image (usually a video from your camera roll)
- Aurasma: a free app to make augmented reality

Why Use Augmented Reality

 I started using augmented reality to extend my student's learning.  We started with making our word walls come to life.  During one lesson on weight and capacity, I had my students think of a brief way to describe each vocabulary term in the lesson.  I simply passed out index cards and had each child work with a partner.  They choose a word to define/explain.  This entire activity took about six minutes.  They loved it!

After each partnership selected a word, they came up with a brief explanation/example of the term.  One partner took a short video of the other partner explaining the vocabulary word.  They wrote the word on the index card.  This index card became their trigger image.   Next, they opened the Aurasma app, snapped a photo of the index card, and selected the video they took from their camera roll to be applied as the overlay.  When each partnership finished, they put tape on their index card and stuck it to our math word wall (in our room, this is just a sheet of chart paper on the wall).  We keep an iPad near.  Now, when anyone wishes to hear more about any specific vocabulary term, they can hover the iPad (or iPhone) above the word on the word wall.  The student created video overlay will automatically begin playing. 

The students loved this activity.  Because I only have one school issued iPad, I also used my personal iPad and iPhone.  I borrowed my colleague's school iPad and iPhone, too.  This gave us 5 devices to use.  We had to share, but it was manageable and didn't take much time.  The class has asked to make future words augmented.  Since I've already taught the process, I allow them to do this independently.  This has become an extension they can work on when they finish early or have something additional to add to a lesson.  It's empowering!  This one simple task has encouraged all of my learners to dig deeper into the meanings of words and think creatively about their work.  They love the idea that this activity is authentic and that anyone can view their Aura.  It's encouraged them to take ownership of their learning and to produce quality work in a meaningful way.  

Other Ways I Use Aurasma for Education 

Creating augmented word walls was my first attempt using  the Aurasma app in my classroom.  I used it at home with my own two children, but I was not sure how I could incorporate it with a larger group of students.  The success of this simple activity prompted me to think of more creative uses for augmented reality.  


As with most technology, I start using it at home with my own two children.  I began using Aurasma to help Jacob with his reading.  Though he is not yet a fluent reader, I did want to build his confidence.  He lights up when he feels more independent with texts.  So, I made brief videos previewing the sight words in his books.  Then, I applied those videos on top of trigger images, the book covers.  Now, when Jacob gets a book, he holds the iPhone above the book, and my video starts playing.  He watches this and gets to see the words while I say them aloud.  I pause during the video for an "I Say - You Say" segment.  He actually says the words right along with the video.  It's so cute. 

 Since I knew I could use augmented reality with books at home, during one social studies lesson, an idea popped in my head.  As I was reading a book to my students, I found that I would stop and discuss certain parts in a more meaningful manner.  I would also elaborate on other concepts that would enhance the lesson.   What if I added my thinking to the book in an augmented way so that the information would always be available - even if I wasn't?  

When the students went to a special, I decided to do just that.  I video taped myself sharing information about certain pages within the book.  I slapped a sticky note on that page with an "A" so that the kids would know that page was augmented.  Then, I put the book with an iPad in our social studies center so they could experiment with this activity independently.  

My kids loved watching my Auras, but couldn't wait to create their own!

Anything I can put into the hands of my students will only benefit their understanding and level of engagement.  That is why I try to think of ways to put the apps and devices into the hands of the kids.  It's my goal to get them to do the creating, collaborating, and sharing.  

The second graders LOVE making things into augmented reality.  There is a level of excitement about learning that Aurasma brought to our classroom this year that has been a pure joy to watch and be a part of.    


One of the first Auras created by a student in our class was when she noticed an onomatopoeia in the book Roller Coaster.  She asked if she could use Aurasma during recess to help her friends during writing workshop.  How could I say no?  She was so motivated to extend her own learning to the level where she could teach a concept.  What a way to develop a young writer's craft!  

She turned to the page in the book, snapped a photo of the page, and put the video she made as the overlay.  When the Aura played, viewers could see and hear her explain how she noticed the literary element and how it added to the enjoyment and understanding of her reading.  She then gave examples of how her peers could use this in their own stories and encouraged them to incorporate onomatopoeias in their writing.     I was impressed to say the least.

Roller Coaster is a fantastic book for teaching small moments.  You can click here to see it on Amazon!

 I love to get the parents involved with the technology we use in class.  So, when I was planning for Open House, I tried to think of a creative way to get the parents using Aurasma.  I decided to put a spin on a traditional activity I've done in the past.

Typically, I have the children draw a picture of themselves on a paper, and then give clues to describe themselves below their picture.   Parents try to guess their child and lift a flap to see if their guess was correct.  It's just an activity I post in the hall to pass time while they may be waiting to speak with me or another family.  This year, I had my kids create a brief video to be an overlay to their picture and clues, instead of having parents lift a flap.  Now, their child's video Aura would begin playing once they hovered their device over the paper on the wall.  It was so cute to watch the parents see their child's video play over their work.  Again, it was like magic.  I wish I would have taken photos of the parent's faces.  

Of course, prior to Open House, I emailed each parent explaining the activity and how to download the app.  You can click here to download the letter to parents, bulletin board example, and student activity page.   

Get your Augmented Reality Bulletin Board set!

-click the image below  -

Please also click here to follow me on TpT!

It's Fun but also Really Helpful for Everyone!

I have shared may uses of Augmented Reality through my social networks, and I've presented at several national conferences and district workshops where I explain how I use Aurasma in my classroom.  Through Twitter, I was contacted by a teacher who actually teaches right down the road from my school.  Brad, a third grade classroom teacher, reached out to me regarding using Augmented Reality.  He shared that he was exploring Aurasma with his class, too.  We set up a date to meet at his school where we could exchange ideas and creative uses for augmented reality.  His colleague, Drew, was also able to meet with us.

Follow Brad (click here) & Drew (click here) to build your PLN!
Their Blog: here  Their Site: here 

I only intended to meet with Brad and Drew for about an hour; however, time flew by!  We ended up hanging out for nearly three hours, and I loved every minute of it.    Brad and Drew are two of the most inspiring teachers I've met.  They have so much passion and enthusiasm for the work they do with kids.  It's infections.  Those are the types of people I enjoy surrounding myself with.  Such an inspiration!  I'm happy to say we are meeting again this Tuesday for dinner.  I just love these guys!

Brad and Drew shared how they were using augmented reality to support their school's math program, Everyday Math.  We use this program at my school as well.  So, I was especially curious to see how they were doing this.  With Everyday Math, students receive a brief Homelink assignment to compliment the lesson that was taught that day at school.  They are expected to complete this Homelink at home.  However, Brad and Drew took it a bit further and created short Auras to go with each Homelink.  This way, parents and/or students can hold their device over the homework and the video tutorial will automatically begin playing.  Awesome, right?

They also shared that they created a class channel.  This is something I had not done before, yet it made sense to get one set up so that my Auras could be organized and saved.  I'll share a step by step guide for setting up a class and using Aurasma later in this post. 

Your Turn to Give it a Try...

Step 1:
Download Aurasma
Apple: click here
Android: click here  

Step 2:
Open the Aurasma App and click the A at the bottom in the middle.  Then, select the magnified glass towards the bottom right.  To search, type in Mrs. Klein's Class.  Find my class, click it.  Select follow to access my class Auras.  Here is a video showing this  how to do this process..

Step 3:
Finally, click the square to the left of the magnified glass to go back to the normal Aurasma capture screen.  Now, hold your device about 12 inches away from the Homelink image below:

The video overlay, Aura, should start playing. Because you are trying to launch the Aura on the computer screen and not the actual activity page, you may have to slightly work with tilting your device a bit forward/backward and side to side to get the Aura to start to load.  It does work.  I tired it from scratch with my daughter's iPod to ensure that each step would work.  

Imagine being a parent or a student at home, holding your device over your homework page and your teacher instantly pops up to help you... magical!

Here is what it looks like in action... (view my video demonstration below - click play)


I made the video used as the overlay in the above video using Educreations.  I also did the above video Aura on my desktop, not my mobile device.  I'll admit, it's much easier using a mobile device.  However, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could figure out how to do it all on my desktop by using a video I had previously created from a 3rd party application.  I knew Brad and Drew were using Explain Everything (another IWB, interactive whiteboarding app, like Educreations) so I wanted to see if I could do the same.  It did take me some time to figure it out.  If you're just starting out, I recommend just pulling a video from your camera roll and doing it all on your mobile device.  You can do the same homework tutorials using a pen and paper.  You could also have someone simply videotape you doing the tutorial from the board or chart paper.  

How to Make Your Own Aura using Aurasma


Download my FREE 19 page How To booklet!
- click here -  

This 19 page document will guide you step by step towards making your own Aurasma video.

Aurasma is a free app available for Apple and Android devices.

This document can even be placed in a center for students to reference.  

Thank you to my teaching friends in Bay City who inspired me to write this post.  I had a wonderful time working with your staff on the integration of iPads into the classroom.  I appreciate you having me at your school to host an iPad workshop. 

Interested in hosting a Workshop for your school?
I would love to come to your school and work with teachers on ways to integrate technology into the classroom.  I recently was a featured presenter at the MACUL conference in Michigan with over 4K educators in attendance.  I'll also be presenting two session at this year's ISTE conference in San Antonio, Texas along with doing an Ignite session.  Additionally, you can see me this summer for the national SDE Extraordinary Educator's Conference in Chicago.  I was also named as one of Scholastic's 2013-2014 Top Teachers.  I look forward to partnering with Scholastic over the next year.  

Please click here to contact me regarding future workshops and conferences.   

Erin gave us so many practical ideas and information. She is thoughtful, thorough, concise, and so willing to help and share her expertise.  Best professional development I've had in 25 years of teaching.  -- Beth Harrington, teacher 

Download Aurasma for free in the App Store - click image.

Need More Augmented Reality Resources?

This post inspired me to start using Aurasma in my classroom.  There are tons of fabulous resources included.  Please click here to see the full post.  Enjoy!


  1. I think this is a fabulous idea. I forwarded your blog post to a few teachers using mobile devices in their classroom. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions.

  2. hello friend
    nice content and nice web site. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Erin~ This is so great! I want to use Aurasma for my end of the year party on Thursday and have been playing around with it. If I wanted to use self portraits as the trigger and a video of each student saying what each learned in First Grade as the overlay, can parents access the auras if it is a private channel? How do I allow the parents to see? Do I have to let them use my iPad? Is there a way to invite them to view it privately?

  4. The teachers and I were so excited about using Aurasma in our first grade classrooms to showcase our students' scrapbooks.

    Each teacher created a channel and recorded their students (16 in each classroom) reading their best piece of writing. These videos were then made into overlays and added to trigger images all using Aurasma.

    To our great frustration, when we tested Aurasma out on different iPads and clicked to follow the teachers' channels, only one or two Aurasmas would appear.

    We tried and retried recording and re-creating auras, we deleted the app and re-installed it starting the process over multiple times, but to no avail! We even reserved a set of iPads and had the teacher log in to Aurasma with their account, but yet again only two auras appeared. The odd thing is that the auras work perfectly on the teacher's iPad, but only her iPad.

    Have you experienced anything similar?
    Do you have any tips or suggestions on what we might be doing wrong?
    Is there a limit to auras? (We created 16 auras.)

    You class looks amazing! Keep up the fantastic work!
    Joyce Lourenco Pereira

  5. Hi Joyce,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I'm happy to hear you and your team were excited to try Aurasma.

    It sounds like you did exactly what you should have.

    I'm wondering if your teacher channels were set to public or private. Did you check that in your channel settings?

    I have not experienced anything similar; however, like many of you, I'm just exploring this new app myself.

    I do not believe there is a limit, but I think there is a storage limit on how large the files can be.

    Thank you so much for the kind words regarding my class. I really appreciate it.

    I forwarded your comment on to my friend, Drew. He and Brad have the site:

    They use augmented reality a lot and may be able to help here. I will do some exploring and see what I can find out. I also meet with Brad and Drew tomorrow afternoon. So, we will brainstorm and see if we can't determine what may be going on...

    As far as contacting Aurasma, I have not had any direct communication with the company... even as much a I tweet about them... odd. Sorry.

    I will let you know what I find out.

    Have a wonderful weekend,


  6. Hey Joyce Lourenco Pereira,
    Its Drew and Brad from We havea couple suggestions to help fix the issue.

    First, when you follow the teachers channel, look to see what auras are available. This will tell you what auras are connected to the channel. If any auras are missing check the device it was created on. Double check to make sure all the auras are connected to the channel.

    Check this out and let us know. Hopefully this solves your issue.
    Feel free to email me

    Drew and Brad

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Hi Erin, Drew, Brad, & Joyce,
    I am so excited about Aurasma, but having the same problem Joyce was having. I created an Aura, made it public, and was able to view it on my iPad. However, it won't view on any other device. I know there has to be something simple that I am missing. Help!

  9. Hi Melissa,

    Did you save it as public?



  10. Thank you so much for your post! I am a school improvement coach and I have been running PD for ipad integration. We recently studied Aurasma and were able to make our own Auras. I am unable to make a channel. Can you share how to do this? Would a channel be recommended for an entire school or would separate teachers be better? I am concerned about the safety of the kids. Thanks!!

  11. Thanks Kelly! That is great that you were able to make your own Auras. I did my channel on the desktop... not from my iPad. I think each teacher should have their channel. You can set your channel to private for kid's privacy if you're concerned. :)

    Have a great weekend,


  12. Hi Erin!
    Great post! Question - for your Open House project - how did you work around making the pictures "public" I would love to do the same type of project but can't have student's pictures public for anyone to view. Did you send a link to parents beforehand?

  13. Hi Caren,

    Thanks so much!!

    2 choices:

    a. parents can subscribe to your Studio Aurasma account to view all Auras (better option)

    b. let your parents borrow the device you created the Auras on... this is actually what I did (this was my first attempt with AR and I freaked when the first parent couldn't see the Aura with their device, so I allowed them to use mine and it all worked out).



  14. What awesome ideas! I am a technology coordinator at my school and am always looking for new ways to integrate technology into lesson planning. I first heard of augmented reality a few months ago, but it seemed really complicated and not very practical. This article really inspired me and helped me feel confident in using it. I can't wait to try out this app;) thanks for sharing!

  15. I'm so glad you like it. I think you'll find that Aurasma is super simple. It's fun and inspiring. :)



  16. Hi Erin! Love. Love! Love!! I cannot wait to explore this app and begin using this with teachers and students. Thank you so much for sharing. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Have you had success with posting auras online for families to view at home? I'm thinking about some of those home-school connections where teachers post student work online ~or even an online vocab review. I would love to see it all come to life! I know you have the online sample above, but I'm curious to know if triggers play smoothly on a larger scale too.

    2. I watched a video of other teachers using the app. When they would single tap or double tap on the image, there were other options available to the viewer (email teacher, create a google form, link to a site, etc). Have you had any experience with that?

    Thank you so much for your help and for always being such an inspiration!

    Have a great week,

  17. Hi Kaiti,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, I have had success with posting and having families view from home. They must be subscribed to your class channel.

    I have not had experience with double tapping, etc. However, I do know what you're talking about. I've seen it and have some trigger images (but not from Aurasma). Check with @techminock on Twitter - he may know.

    You're welcome! Thanks so very much for your comment. :)

    Have a super week,


  18. Hi Erin,

    What amazing ideas you have given me! I love it!

    I currently work in a 1:1 iPad classroom with Year 1 students. When I make my auras I create them using the online studio which means as long as those wishing to view the aura are following my channel, they have no problem.

    However when I want the students to create their own using their own iPads, it can only be viewed using their iPad (the one the aura was created on). Do you have a faster way than me needing to upload them all onto my Aurasma online studio account and creating them all indvidually?

    How do you do it in your class?

    Thank you once again for sharing your fab ideas!


  19. Hi Sarah,

    They are device specific... however, I heard that Aurasma just changed this.



  20. Has anyone found a solution for the "device specific" issue? There are lots of educational applications however it is not worth the time if you need to get on the Design Studio on the Aurasma website.

  21. Has anyone found a solution for the "device specific" issue? There are lots of educational applications however it is not worth the time if you need to get on the Design Studio on the Aurasma website.

  22. I am having the same issue with the videos only playing on my device, even though some of them were created on student iPads. I wonder if it could be related to the fact that my device was the first one registered to my name? That is the only thing I can think of. Has anyone else solved this problem yet?

  23. Hi! In the Everyday Math example, how did you use the video you created in educreations as an overlay? I was not aware that you could download Educreation videos?

  24. Hi Rand,

    I may have done a screencast of my Educreations video. It was a while ago and I can't remember exactly what I did. Now, I just use my iPad to make all of my videos. :)



  25. Such an awesome post! Thanks for all the info! Did you have to set up an aurasma account for each student or iPad? Thanks!

  26. Hi rhythmandglues,

    Thanks so much! I only have my teacher Aurasma account set up. It's all on my iPad.



  27. Quick question - if you use a worksheet image as a trigger, will it work if it is partially filled in? I'm thinking a student may need help half way through the assignment.

  28. Hello This is fucking web site here. Are u a good sucker then click this virus site ..... happy fucking day .......... 

  29. Thank you so much, this is fantastic!


  30. Hello This is fucking web site here. Are u a good sucker then click this virus site ..... happy fucking day .......... 

  31. You will furthermore purchase pens That have other people associated with polish. pertaining to example, You can video-production acquire gel pens which can be very durable. It requires weeks because of its polish to be able to chip. AND ALSO needless to say there is a great plethora of other colors for you to Choose coming from in nail polish IN ADDITION TO gel polish such as glitter.

  32. Rather than prescribing that folks to go someplace, I'm set to make a go at being deigning and say to a portion of the negative commentators that they may as well, "be a bit contemplative and inspect your own aptitude of parenting skills.
    Phoenix kindergarten

  33. Some teachers think the ESL teacher is someone who is there to support failing students. Others think that the ESL teacher speaks all the languages spoken by the English Language Learners. That's how I end up speaking more than 20 languages

    How to prepare IELTS

  34. Thanks For Your valuable posting, it was very informative. Am working in Erp Software Company In India

  35. This is really an awesome how to guide and you have explained them well. Very informative, lengthier blog post. If you need writing related help visit custom essay writing service you can get better help from here.

  36. The best video production company with the potential of giving you the absolute best of results is one that's created of an entire team, for more information click here Florida Videographer.

  37. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog post. You have given a great details, I have bookmarked this blog for reading.

  38. I think everyone wants to ensure that they present their best work at all times. This is so whether someone is writing in English or another language.

    ESOL education

  39. School Time is in the process of integrating several eLearning systems within its management software

  40. Thus, the meant conception of the corporate ought to wealthy precisely to the viewers the means you wish. And therefore company corporations square measure immensely enjoying the video production services as they do not got to stress out on their ancient promoting conception, for more information click here St. Augustine Video Production.

  41. Some amazing work with students demonstrated here!
    I have been trying to use Aurasma with my students, however when we record videos of them on the iPhone or iPad, they are too big to overlay and even putting them through a convertor to reduce their size just cuts off some of their content. Very frustrating and would love any tips/help.