From the Magazine

Explore and Create With Augmented and Virtual Reality

Take your students on field trips to the moon and back via augmented reality (AR) — when technology augments your view of the real world — and virtual reality (VR). When we offer these options to our students, we provide them more interactive learning experiences and give them a chance to create and explore more with the content. 

Here are six options to get started:

1. CoSpaces EDU

A virtual reality platform that has become a favorite in my STEAM course each year. Teachers can explore the library to see sample projects and download lesson plans to get started quickly. Students can collaborate on teams to write a story,  build a fun space to explore, or create a game, to name a few possibilities. Students will enjoy creating in VR and develop coding skills, too. 


2. Devar

A fun app for bringing animated characters into the real world. I recommend this one for a quick way to get started with Augmented Reality. Students can choose a character and then record a story to go along with it. Devar has other products available, as well, including AR books, cards, and games.


3. Figment AR

One of the first AR/VR apps that I added to my phone a few years ago; it has been my favorite and a favorite for my students, too. It’s a free tool that offers AR and VR in one. Create with Figment AR and add animated characters, objects, special effects, and even portals. When you enter the portals, you move from AR to VR. Screen record and narrate a story as it happens in the real world. (Available for iOS and Android.)


4. Google AR/VR

If you’re looking for many resources to learn about augmented and virtual reality, I recommend exploring this site available from Google. There are different experiences which offer immersive ways to learn about the human body, math, and science in augmented reality.


5. Merge EDU

Imagine holding a frog, a volcano,​ the earth, ​statues, and more for close exploration right in your hands. Merge EDU is an AR/VR platform that provides more interactive learning for students to explore science-related topics in AR through Merge Explorer. Start with the free lesson on Terraforming Earth. ​Object Viewer can also be used for creating your own 3D content to upload onto the Merge Cube to bring into the real world. Print your own cube at home and try it out!


6. Thyng App

A personal favorite for creating AR experiences that include animated characters, text, and more. Thyng can also be used to scan a target image and record up to a 10-second video to go with it. (Available on iOS and Android)

Rachelle Dene Poth is a Spanish and STEAM teacher at Riverview Junior/Senior High in Oakmont, Pa. Dene Poth serves as the past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and is an ISTE Certified Educator. She is also an attorney, edtech consultant, and the author of five books.