USING AURASMA TO BRING VOLUME PROBLEMS TO LIFE

Task: Students used the Aurasma app to watch 4 videos of guest teachers presenting the dimensions of real-world objects.  After calculating the volume of the 4 objects, students checked their answers with the app.  Upon completion of the volume problems, students were able to hunt for mystery Aurasma videos, or create their own.  Aurasma works by matching pre-made videos with objects or pictures.  There were 4 pictures of objects the students “scanned” with their iPads.  When the scan was successful, a video would appear and repeat until the iPad focus was taken off the picture.  For the answers, I worked out the 4 problems, and assigned each picture an object in the classroom.  When the students scanned the appropriate object, the solution would appear for them to check their work.

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Reflection: My students enjoyed using Aurasma.  They thought it was “cool” to see an object or a picture transform into a video or a solution.  They also enjoyed seeing the guest teachers they have from other subjects talk to them about their math problems.  There was definitely a motivating factor involved, as it was a new experience for most of them.  From a teacher’s perspective, I was happy that the students could work at their own pace, which gave me the opportunity to work with individuals and groups to correct misconceptions.  Most students were engaged throughout the class period, and I collected a higher percentage of quality work than I usually receive.

Aurasma was easy to use once I learned the basics.  I first had to create a concept for the lesson.  After I chose 4 objects and wrote their dimensions on pink paper, I walked around the school during my conference period and drafted 4 teachers to be in the videos.  This all took less than an hour.  Aurasma did the rest.  I basically selected the videos, and “scanned” a picture of the items that I printed out.  The app recognized the pictures the entire day.  I had zero technical issues as the students walked around watching the videos.  It was very user friendly for the students, and they even created a few overlays of their own.

My only concern from this lesson is the freedom enjoyed by the students to check their work at their own pace.  I had several students (as I expected) look at the answers before they worked the problem, and others who only wanted to use the app and not do the work.  I had to manage my classroom the same way I do when we are not using technology.  It is easy to think we can set our classrooms on cruise control when the technology is in the students’ hands, but that was definitely not the case with this lesson.

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Conclusion: Aurasma is a great app for the classroom.  The students enjoy the “wow” factor, and it allows teachers to differentiate and have meaningful conversations about content.  I initially thought this lesson fell under the Augmentation strand of the SAMR model.  After further reflection, I believe it is more of a Modification lesson, as there was significant task redesign of a typical volume lesson.  Overall, I am very happy with the result of the lesson, as it played out the way I had envisioned it when I first started to plan the production.  I use the word production here because that is exactly what it became.  If you don’t like taking the time to create videos and put the pieces together, you probably wouldn’t like using Aurasma.  However, I enjoyed the entire process, and the students had a memorable learning experience that allowed them to demonstrate their knowledge of calculating the volume of 3-D objects.

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