A year later, my huge dreams have come to nothing. I haven’t created an AR scavenger hunt. I haven’t made the virtual St James College Paintball stadium.
But I’m still playing Pokemon Go.
It hasn’t lost its fascination for me. A year on, I’m still walking ten kilometres over a weekend to hatch some eggs (and to stay fit). I go on raids with total strangers to catch legendary monsters that I can’t fight by myself.
The concept is a good one. The merit of game-play that doesn’t rely on controllers or even being inside the house is excellent. Surely it is something we can use in an educational setting.
Imagine (and feel free to make these apps happen with my blessing):
What’s that bird?
You hold your camera up to a bird in the wild, it scans the shape and colour and if it finds a match, adds it to your Bird-watching field book. Gotta see ’em all!
Ghosts of the past
A virtual historical landscape that overlays our actual world. Hold the phone up and see what your block looked like one hundred years ago. There are apps out there like this already – the Vic Heritage app on iPhone shows you pictures of places around Melbourne when you get close enough – but it isn’t augmented reality as much as it is pop up photos using GPS.
With the focus on STEAM and Digital Technologies, there is an excellent opportunity for keen teachers with time on their hands (ha!) to work with their students to create games that don’t just emulate stuff already out there in the world, but to create something completely new, with an educational bent.
How about virtual art galleries? I’ve been working with our Art department on trialling QR codes and AR hotspots to bring up explanations, rough sketches and videos relating to student artworks in the College gallery. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could lift your phone to an artwork and see it in sketch form? Or see a video of the creator explaining their process?
We’re only scratching the surface of the possibilities here. Mostly because any teacher interested enough to make something like this happen already has too much on their plate to take on something new.
But still, have the conversation. Delegate. Get the students to do it as a project. They’ll probably do a better job than you would anyway.
And keep playing Pokemon Go. That Lugia won’t catch itself!
PS. Check out TheSTEAMReport.com.au – I am editing this for Minnis Publications and you can subscribe for a monthly (soon to be bi-monthly) email newsletter containing bitesize articles for your STEAMy pleasure.