Bringing the world to life through augmented reality



My school, located in London, is a rich and diverse community with over 40 languages spoken at the school. Affectionately known as a ‘village school in the United Nations of Brent,’ we can see the arch of the iconic Wembley Stadium from the end of our street. However, like some of our American counterparts, we serve students who have never been able to visit–let alone step inside–the iconic landmarks like Wembley, Buckingham Palace, or the Tower of London, in their own backyard. 

This fact was brought home to me several years ago when a 10-year-old student from Brazil, whom we will call Lucas, made a sobering observation on a school trip to center city London. Looking up at the glass, the skyscrapers, the abundance of wealth, Lucas casually remarked, “I didn’t know London could look like this.” 

In that moment we knew we were failing our children. If our neighborhood of Cricklewood in North London was all they knew, how could they have aspirations beyond it? It was augmented reality that began to bring the world to life for our learners.

Here are a few ways we have created moments of awe and wonder for our learners:  

Connecting the world around you  

Augmented reality gives educators the opportunity to bring the world to life. But first we need to see the world. We enrich our learning by taking field trips to the heart of our capital city. Pupils draw landmarks, interview tourists, use iPad voice recorders, and make films using the camera on iPad, editing them in iMovie to bring those landmarks to life.  

Then, using augmented reality apps, we link the children’s artwork to their videos and embed it all in a Google Map. This means that anyone can point their camera at the trigger image and find out more about the landmark they are visiting that day–all narrated by our pupils. 

Bringing school alive 

Simple point and tap triggers mean any image can be brought to life. Displays suddenly become interactive, with videos, websites, sound files, and animations popping off the walls. Imagine a display board full of children’s written work coming to life with pupils reading their own work.

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