Exploring Augmented Reality in Class

Last fall, I traded in for the new iPhone. Although new software updates had rendered my old iPhone a brick, the real impetus for upgrading was Apple's ARKit, which enabled augmented reality apps on iPhone. Most of these apps were still in the proof-of-concept stages, but the one I was really excited about was GIPHY World.

GIPHY World takes the GIF and elevates it into an art form. You can place animated GIFs into the real world, creating compositions that merge the tactile and the virtual in ways that still amaze and delight, even after countless hours of experimenting.

To dip my toes into the AR waters in the classroom, I decided to take some existing student work and recast in GIPHY World. Students were learning about Pathos, Logos, and Ethos, and how to analyze advertisements looking for their mode of persuasion. Students looked at Indian English language newspapers and had to find an advertisement, identify which persuasion technique(s) it was using, and then create a poster illustrating the concept.

Instead of just hanging the posters around the room, I wanted to use AR to show off student work for an end of workshop media gala. Since AR on the iPhone is still in its infancy, this was tricky. I had to photograph each advertisement poster, convert it into a .GIF file (since they were static images), email GIPHY to gain access to a Developer Account (otherwise your .GIFs don't appear in their search database) and individually upload each .GIF before filming students with their posters. I suspect that this process will get easier, and indeed, new apps like Mirage already make it simpler to add photos to AR, but for the early adopter these are the quirky challenges that arise when trying to make your vision a reality.

The finished result showcased the student work in a way that is quick, fun, and inventive. The actual filming takes no time at all, so with apps like Mirage, this whole process can be done almost as quickly as shooting a regular video on your phone, and the results are seriously impressive.

If you have classroom iPads that support ARKit, I'd recommend playing around with AR. There are a lot of really cool apps being developed, and this definitely feels like a tool students will be using more and more in the future.