Apps in Action: Innovative Use of AR from Blippar

Firstly, I’ll start by saying I love the concept of augmented reality (AR). Initially I thought it was just a gimmick, but after exploring it more closely, I’ve decided it’s far from that. It has the potential to be a fantastic tool for engaging students and for exploring concepts in a way that was previously impossible. I’ve blogged about it before and recently published my One Best Thing ADE (Apple Distinghuished Educator) project based on the use of augmented reality in the classroom.

In December 2014, I discovered DAQRI and in particular, Anatomy 4D. It opened my eyes to the potential of AR. However I bemoaned:

“I just really wish they would start creating some of their amazing 4D experiences that I could use in my Geography classroom!”

Well, with this tweet, it seems Blippar have answered my prayers:

I first saw Blippar at Bett 2015 and the content they showed off back then was pretty amazing. I’ve played with Blippbuilder which is a great platform for creating AR content. However the release of their first Education Blipps (you can find them here) is very exciting! The one that really grabbed my attention, naturally, was the volcano Blipp.

What makes Blippar different?
On the face of it, Blippar is like any other AR platform: you scan a trigger image with the app open on your device to activate the content and then explore. However, the volcano Blipp has some cool features built in. Firstly, there are two trigger image, one for students and one for teachers.

First the teacher scans the trigger image which gives a unique code. Once students scan the trigger, they enter their name and the unique code, which connects them to the teachers device. The teacher can then initiate the interactive elements of the Blipp:

Volcanic eruption interactive

Volcano cross section interactive

Features of a volcano labelling activity

Where this Blipp really comes into its own is through the interactive activity: a simple labelling activity where students drag labels to the features of the volcanoes cross section. Once they have placed all the labels onto the cross section, the app grades their responses and feeds this back to the teachers device:

  
Conclusion

I’ve been impressed by the new Blipps released by Blippbuilder. Whilst the activity is very simple, it serves its purpose perfectly! It is certainly different to any other AR experience I’ve seen before and really moves it away from being seen as a gimmick and definitely into the realms of being a true educational tool. It’s not 100% perfect yet, however it is definitely usable and will have an impact. I think with a couple of minor refinements, this could be a really innovative use of AR. It might be early days, but Blippar certainly looks like a very exciting AR platform!

Dare I wish for some more Geographical AR content…

mzl.cyfzvwwuBlippar by blippar.com is available for free on the AppStore.

*all prices and links correct at the time of publication and are subject to change

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