Resource: Bringing the Bayeux Tapestry to life with Blippar

I have previously advocated the use of augmented reality (AR) in the classroom as a method for breathing new life into resources (see here). It makes effective use of technology to provide students with the potential to access experiences that would otherwise not have been possible. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with an AR platform, Blippar. I’ve previously blogged about some of the fantastic resources they have produced and made available for free to the public (see here), but lately I’ve focused on creating my own AR experiences using their free online tool, Blippbuilder.
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The first experience I have created using Blippar is for my Year 7 Humanities class. They have been studying the Battle of Hastings and one element of that is analysing sources: the most famous of which is the Bayeux Tapestry. Students use this resource to find out about the events of the battle and to explore the reliability of it as a source. I have worked in collaboration with a colleague, Sean Hughes (@history_temple), who came up with the initial idea, to create an AR experiences that brings scenes of the Bayeux Tapestry to life in a bid to help students gain a deeper understanding of the events depicted by the Tapestry.

What you will need?
Blippar app – available for Free on the App Store.
Resource pack – contains a worksheet, which doubles up as the trigger for the AR experience, a resource including prepared statements for those who need a bit of extra help and a Keynote presentation to acompany the lesson. The complete resource pack is available to download for free here.

Bayeux Tapestry Worksheet The worksheet (above) doubles up as a trigger: scan with the Blippar app to access the AR content

How to use the resource?

  1. Once you have the Blippar app installed and the trigger image printed, simply open the app and Blipp the trigger. The trigger will work if it is printed either in colour, or greyscale.
  2. After a short loading period, the experience will appear on the devices screen. For this Blipp, a feature known as peel away is active, meaning students can move their device away from the trigger whilst keeping it active. Once the Blipp is displayed, students can tap on each of the scenes: this will activate an animated video of that scene which will play automatically. Students can also view the video in full screen by tapping on the video whilst it is playing.
  3. Once students have watched the video and recorded their findings on the worksheet, they can return to the home screen by tapping the home button located at the bottom of the Blipp. For students who require additional help, provide the sheet containing the prepared statements which they can then match to each of the scenes .
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until they have recorded information about each of the scenes of the Bayeux Tapestry.
  5. If students need to return to the Blipp after the lesson, they can tap the menu button (top left of the screen), tap History and tap the Blipp they wish to review. They will not need the trigger to hand to activate it again.

What are the benefits?
In my opinion, there are a number of benefits to using AR as a platform for this particular task. Firstly, as is the case with many AR experiences, its use makes for an engaging experience for students. Previously, students may have watched the whole video of the Animated Bayeux Tapestry and used the static images alone to explain what is happening in each of the scenes. This often proved difficult as they were unable to see the context surrounding the image. As a result, some students found it difficult to accurately describe what was happening in each image and would have to resort to matching the statements with the correct scene, rather than formulating their own descriptions. Since this method brings the images to life, I have observed that more students are able to independently describe what is happening in each of the scenes, with greater accuracy than they were previously. Finally, using this resource allows students to have greater control of their learning. If a student is struggling with a certain scene, they can view it as many times as they need: they are not confined to only watching it once as was previously the case.

What do students say?
After using this resource with my Year 7 class recently, this was some of the feedback I received from students:

I think it was useful because I could see what the picture was showing

“I liked the moving scenes”

“It’s more fun… It’s more interactive too!”

“It was very interactive”

Acknowledgements
Sean Hughes, History Teacher, for collaborating on this project.

Colum Elliot-Kelly and the team at Blippar Education for their help and advice in creating this experience.

Potion Pictures for producing and sharing their outstanding Animated Bayuex Tapestry.

Get Involved
If you would like to get involved in learning more or creating your own AR content using Blippar, check out their website and Twitter account, @BlipparEDU for more information.

If you download and use the resource, feel free to leave any feedback you have in the comments below. It would be greatly appreciated.

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