Augmented reality makes use of a webcam to superimpose animations over the world you usually experience. When the webcam sees special markers printed on paper it replaces them with a 3d model which you can move and manipulate simply my moving the piece of paper around.

Here are three augmented reality tools that would be useful for science teaching:

LearnAR

LearnAR is a paid-for resource produced by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, but there is a free demonstration version of their Human Organs activity on their website. This tool allows you to hold a marker in front of your chest and a see your internal organs.

BETT2010

SciMorph

Scimorph is a cute little website that uses Augmented Reality tech to provide Primary school pupils with opportunities to discuss and solve science-based problems.

Using a webcam and a special marker printed onto a piece of paper – Scimorph will appear on the screen. By moving the paper you can move him and view him from all sides. It’s a little fiddly, but persevere and it becomes quite simple. This should also work with a visualiser if you have one of those connected.

There are several scimorph zones you can investigate – The Bug Zone to look at microbes, Gravity Pulls and The Vibe Zone to investigate sound.

Each zone provides a series of questions or scenarios. Scimorph is not a complicated simulation or anything like that. The main purpose is to promote discussion between children about the science underlying the different situations.

It does provide a useful introduction to Augmented Reality technology and is worth checking out if you want to try something a little different with your class. Visit it here.

Scimorph
is
a
very
simple,
central
character
who
can
journey
through
a
series
of
activities
in
a
virtual
science
environment
based
around
the
curriculum
for
primary
aged
children.
Scimorph
can
be
used
at
school
or
in
the
home
to
build
on
knowledge
and
understanding
of
the
world.
He
has
some
human
characteristics
and
attributes
though
he
has
not
developed
fully
because
of
his
lack
of
understanding
about
the
world.
(He
can
also
be
a
she
if
you
so
wish.)
Scimorph
provides
opportunities
to
discuss
and
solve
scientific-­‐based
problems,
take
part
in
discussions
around
the
activities
and
delve
deeper
into
the
topic
by
means
of
interactive
tools
and
use
of
web-­‐based
materials.
The
main
purpose
of
each
activity
is
to
stimulate
discussions
between
children,
teachers
and
parents/carers
about
the
science
underlying
the
Scimorph
situation.
A
desktop
version
of
Augmented
Reality
(AR)
is
used
to
deliver
a
different
form
of
interaction
with
the
computer
via
3-­‐D
animations,
activated
in
a
variety
of
Scimorph
“zones”
or
environments:
-­‐
The
Bug
Zone

where
Scimorph
prompts
an
investigation
of
microbes
Gravity
Pulls

Scimorph
illustrates
how
gravity
changes
depending
upon
which
planet
you’re
on
The
Vibe
Zone

where
Scimorph
wants
to
investigate
how
sound
works

Rainforest Life / Loris the Lemur

Produced by London Zoo, Rainforest Life gives you the chance to have your very own Augmented reality lemur, Loris, sitting in the palm of your hand.

Loris doesn’t do a lot, and you can’t really interact with her. But she’s very cute.

As before, you’ll need a webcam to get this to work, and you’ll need to print out a special marker on a page for the camera to detect. Find out more here.

I’m hoping to see more examples of Augmented Reality at the BETT show next week. If I do, you’ll read all about it on this blog. Watch this space!