Aurasma Badge

AurasmaTitleAurasma Badge

Description: Create an Aurasma activity for your students to use in a way that will enhance instruction and communication.  Aurasma is an augmented reality application that allows you to overlay any video or image on top of anything that your tablet, cell phone, or any other mobile device can scan with its camera. Using Aurasma is very much like using a QR code reader. In order to activate the overlayed image or video, the object will be scanned using the Aurasma app.

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What is this?

Aurasma is an augmented reality application that allows you to overlay any video or image on top of anything that your tablet, cell phone, or any other mobile device can scan with its camera. Using Aurasma is very much like using a QR code reader. In order to activate the overlayed image or video, the object will be scanned using the Aurasma app. Some basic terms to know:

  • 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 or chart you want to make cooler that is just normal (probably something in your classroom)
  • 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

Basic Ways to Use This For Teaching and Learning:

  1. Interactive Word Walls As your students are learning new vocabulary, you may try a number of different techniques for teaching these new words from comparing synonyms, analogies, etc. If you wanted to use visuals or have students “act out” the definition of words you can display the words and create an “aura” which will make Aurasma react and play the photo or video that you created.
  2. Labeling of diagrams Do you have that key poster or picture that you have on the wall, but when you give your students a test, they always check it for the answers to certain questions? Using Aurasma, you can have students use the app to identify key information when they study the picture but keep the answers away when it comes to testing.
  3. An interactive journal or newspaper article Have you ever seen the “Daily Prophet” from the Harry Potter movies or photos in an article of written text that play a video as you read it? Students can record anything using their mobile device’s camera, take a screenshot to place in a writing piece and then Aurasma can make that section come alive.
  4. Classroom Rules From younger to older grades, every classroom has established rules. Aurasma can allow you to have students create skits or display ways in which the rules are followed in the classroom. Other ideas are to show proper lab procedure, the way your classroom should be left at the end of the day, or how to properly care for classroom pets.

Basic Video Tutorial:

Thank you to Steve Morgan on YouTube for this great video file.

Tutorial Basic PDF Instruction Sheets:


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Classroom Examples:

Here is a clip from The Kleinspiration Blog and how Erin Klein uses it in her primary grade classrooms:


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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Other Resources:

How a Music Teacher Used Aurasma

How to Earn Your Aurasma Badge:

Create an Aurasma Activity for your students to use in a way that will enhance instruction and communication.  Integrate Aurasma into a lesson. You may choose to create the Auras that students will use to research a topic, or have the students create the Auras to communicate their understanding.   Submit a “Reflections After PD” Blog.