Augmenting Our Realities (in Jewish Education)

Feb. 17, 2016

Source: Torah Aura Productions

Imagine, if you will, a poster in your classroom (or one being displayed on your smartboard or monitor) of a particular prayer or blessing in Hebrew text. Now imagine pointing the camera on your iPad, iPhone, or Android phone or tablet at the poster, and a video pops up of you reciting the prayer in Hebrew as the words flash along below.

Imagine a poster/picture of Yitzchak Rabin, and when you or a student (or a parent) holds up their iPhone, iPad, or android phone or tablet and a video about the life and legacy of Rabin starts playing.
Imagine a printed or on screen poster of some piece of Torah text that, when you hold your phone or tablet up to it plays a video of that same text being chanted. Imagine print-outs of scanned copies of students’ drawings illustrating a biblical story or a theological question that play a video of the student explaining their drawing when you hold up your phone or tablet when its camera lens focuses on the pictures?

You don’t have to imagine it. It’s a reality. It’s called “augmented reality”. It’s a technique that is already in widespread commercial use.
Companies are adding augmented reality to their print and online catalogues, using them at display kiosks at conventions.

This same technology is available to use in the classroom. Best of all, you can use it (albeit with some limitations) for free, with the incredible Aurasma app.
The possibilities are almost unlimited. Have students make videos of each other defining and using some words. Print these words out on cards with the embedded video code, and voila! Or instead of video explanations, you can actually embed a video of the thing the word defines. For example, the word for dog could have a video of a cute little dog playing embedded in it. Interactive notebooks are all the rage these days. Imagine an interactive notebook that also includes augmented reality capabilities. Imagine scavenger hunts in the synagogue or school, or even the community.

There are a few developers out there creating AR for the Jewish education market.
One of them is ConverJent, creators of the Jewish Time Jump: NY game. Mapping Ararat, a project dedicated to exploration of a long-abandoned project from 1825 to turn Grand Island, NY in the Niagra River just south of Niagra Falls into a refuge for Jews uses AR to help people imagine and explore the site online.

Read the entire post at Torah Aura.

Updated: Aug. 31, 2016