I often find myself glancing up at the T.V. each Sunday night during football season as I simultaneously attempt to complete lesson plans, respond to parent emails, and grade papers. Because my husband is a devoted NFL fan, I randomly engage in conversation with him about team uniforms, player antics, and coaching decisions. A few years ago, I decided to inquire about the rules of the game. Chris patiently explained how the quarterback's job was to gain yards by moving the ball down the field. I walked up the television screen and pointed to the ten yard line. I asked how the players paid attention to the numbers painted on the turf while flying down the field at warp speed. He giggled for a moment, and proceeded to explain that these numbers weren't actually painted the grass. This brief exchange about imaginary lines introduced me to augmented reality.
Since my first exposure to this fascinating concept, my interest has grown and evolved. As the EdCamp craze swept across Texas, I became a Tech Ninja Todd groupie, and the first time I heard him present on the topic of augmented reality, I knew I wanted to know more. Last summer I witnessed the awe-inspiring power of the Itunes app known as ColAR, and today I finally got to share it with my students. In an attempt to heal the wounds of disappointment left behind from our cancelled field trip, I let my fourth graders color just for heck of it. There was no learning target, and our sole purpose for using crayons, markers, and colored pencils was for sheer enjoyment.
Once the students finished coloring their masterpieces, I grabbed my Ipad and connected to AirServer. I carefully lined up the device's camera with the one dimensional work of art, and within seconds the room was bubbling with oohs and aahs and wows! The students' eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, and a sense of childlike wonder rippled across the room. As dragons breathed fire, firecrackers exploded, and airplanes whizzed through the clouds, my students remained captivated.