Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mobile Tool of the Week: Augmented Reality

When I think of augmented reality, what comes to mind are the virtual worlds of individual created avatars; avatars that are very seldom actual representations of the people who created them. I was never personally interested to be a part of those worlds, but can understand the intrigue.

So, researching about augmented reality apps, I was surprised to come across several mobile apps that defied my initial naive assumption. I found an informative blog, describing several of the augmented reality apps for the iPhone. One of the apps that looked really interesting was the Travel Guide with AR: Augmented Geotravel.

It seems long gone are the days of paper atlases and thick Frommer's guides (they have an app too!). I believe my father will have a hard time accepting this reality, and with a family trip in the works for 2013, maybe I will be able to demonstrate the unique advantages of mobile technology.

Within education, this app (along with augmented reality in general) could find many uses. Study abroad students could use the app to plan independent excursions with the ability to learn as they go. Even individual classes/schools could use such apps to explore their own city and produce their own virtual connections. Through educational experiences like the MLC School City Experience project, students could add their own discoveries and reviews to the augmented travel community; providing students an opportunity to learn 21st century skills and connect learning to their real life.

I will have to personally try one of these apps out, but must remember to not get lost within the technology. While walking through a new place, the balance between using technology to gain more/better information about my surroundings and actually stopping to take in and enjoy my surroundings will have to be reached. And just in case my handy new technology fails, I'm sure my dad will have a back up version.

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