Reflection on Augmented Reality Seminar

Its been a very busy and rewarding week facillitating the augmented reality seminar.  Its funny, I wasn’t entirely sure why I placed augmented reality at the top of my list when we were asked to pick a topic.  I knew a bit about it, but was by no means an expert.  I liked the fact that it was still emerging, and because of this, people are still figuring out how to put it to good use (although I guess that can be said for the majority of our options).  It feels as though there is still a lot of room to grow, and there are new uses to be discovered and refined.  Its neat to be able to check the google news section each couple of days, and see new and innovative stories pop up about people who are paving the way for augmented realitys gradual introduction into our everyday lives.  I like all that.  But it wasn’t until today that I realized the real reason that this technology is so appealing to me:  In the best cases, it encourages you to leave your desk and interact with the world in a new way.

When we used augmented reality apps in seminar we were tethered to our computers due to the geographical distance between our members.  We made things work through the google + community, and were able to demonstrate what augmented reality apps are capable of.  I don’t think we were able to fully demonstrate the wonder of experiencing the world around you, and unlocking content in real time, as if you were unlocking special features in a videogame, and that is what I am most excited about as this technology continues to evolve.

When I was a kid, the big concern was how many hours you spent in front of the tv.  Now it is how many hours you spend in front of a screen.  While I can understand the concern, I think the big difference between “tv time” and “screen time” is the passive nature of the former and the (potentialy) active nature of the latter.  As screen time becomes more prevalent in our lives, we need to be encouraging those technologies that allow us to treat screen times as a tool that requires our active participation, and I think this is one of augmented realitys biggest strengths.

For me, augmented reality adds another dimension to the world.  It is a new form of tagging, invisible as a radio wave until we tune into it.  It has made me rethink how I experience the world in my day to day life, and reflect on how I can incorporate this tool into my classroom.

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One response to “Reflection on Augmented Reality Seminar”

  1. Breanne says :

    Hey Ben. I Like your distinguishing between TV time and screen time. I am not a fan of my little girls watching tv but if I need to keep my two year old entertained (putting her sister down for a nap, going to an appointment) I now allow her to play on my iPhone or iPad – she even has her own folders on each device. The folders contain counting games, alphabet games, eBooks and other learning activities. I have even noticed a huge jump in her vocabulary and counting skills lately!

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