Augmented Reality (AR) is the latest thing in tablet fun. While not all AR apps are educational in nature, this technology is already being used to enhance learning thanks to some creative educational app developers. In the future, we look forward to this technology changing the way we learn and see the world.

An Overview

If you aren’t familiar with Augmented Reality, a good overview is the video below from Common Craft Media:

Some AR Apps to Start With

In education, AR can be used with both smart phones and tablets to view real objects and printables to get more information. Here are just a few of our favorites with a short description for how they work:


Word Lens

WordLensLogo5Feb2012Word lens is an app that allows the user to automatically translate foreign language signs. Just point your phone or tablet at the sign and you will see the sign as if it were written in English. You can watch a demo video here. Word Lens is available for iOS devices.


QuiverVision 3D (Formerly ColAR Mix)

colARMix-icon-1024x1024ColAR Mix is an app that brings coloring pages to life. Users download coloring pages from the QuiverVision 3D (Formerly ColAR Mix), then they color the pages. Then they simply point their device at the page, and the image comes to life with the colors that the user used! You can watch a demo video here. ColAR Mix is available for both iOS devices and Android devices.

Star Chart

star chart icon_256Star Chart is a great app for learning about the night sky. Simply point your device at the sky and learn about constellations, individual stars and planets. Star Chart is available for iOS devices and Android devices.


Aurasma ICONIs a multi-purpose AR tool that not only acts as a viewer for AR that others have created, but it allows the user to create their own “Auras.” Creating your own AR experiences obviously takes a bit more learning, but there are tons of great resources for using Aurasma in the classroom that I have listed below. You can view a demo video here. Aurasma is available for both iOS devices and for Android devices.

Some Aurasma in the Classroom Resources

Your Challenge:

Look over the resources above, then in the comments below, please share how you have used or could imagine using one or more of these in your classroom. If you have other AR apps that you like, please feel free to share those as well.


  1. I have Star Walk on my iPad, as do the school’s iPad. When I get a message that I can see the International Space Station at a certain time and place one night, I sometimes locate it first with Sky Walk. My students are doing this too, since I let them know when to look.

    Aurasma looks useful for identification of rocks and minerals. After students think they have figured out what they have, they could use their phones to see if they are correct. As I read in the previous Comment, I think they could check force and motion problems, etc.

  2. After Christmas, sixth grade science studies the solar system. I think it would be great to use Star Chart at home on a clear winter night. Students with access to a smartphone could go outside and use the phone to locate something in the night sky. I would make a post on My Big Campus for students to share their findings/observations. It would be a great way to share and also compare and contrast what was found.

  3. I love the idea of AR. I love being able to use my phone to identify things in real life and connect them to the vast information that is the internet. The resturant thing was pretty nifty!

    Math is a bit hard to connect with this one, but I see it as an awesome way to do stations around the room. Or even as a homework assignment. Students could move around the room and try to complete a math problem given to them using the Aursma. Then, check their answers using the AR app on their phones/ipads. It could also go through and detail how to work the problem in case they got it incorrect.

    Could also be used for hallway advertisements throughout the school! Come to Anime Club or Film Club etc.

    The major downside I see to this is Aursma is that it seems to take a LOT of time and effort to make a few AR lessons. The demos they gave us and the how-to list thats almost a page long of videos looks like it would be very time consuming. Would love to see if there is a way to search for pre-made ones.

  4. I teach a large unit on the Solar System in my Science class. I really like the Star Chart app. I also use Google Sky map. The kids love it. I would consider using Anatomy 4D but it would have to be closely monitored due to some of the content.

  5. I could definitely see using the Anatomy 4D for my Science students. You have to be very careful because there is material in this app that may not be age appropriate, but it is a great tool to get a more realistic view of the human body. I think it would greatly improve their retention of the boy systems.

    Star Chart would help as we study the characteristics of stars and planets. It always helps them hold on to the information if they can see actual examples of things.

    I have also used Sphere 360 Camera app in my Social Studies classes. It allows you to get a virtual 360 degree tour of many places on Earth. As you move the iPad, the images move with you, just like you are actually standing there. My students love it. It has brought Geography to life!

  6. These AR apps are wonderful! We will be getting our first IPADS in a few months and cannot wait to try them out. These apps are for all ages, the Anatomy 4d for science is really cool. I can see using the World Lens on a trip. The DAQRI for smaller children to help bring their world alive. I can also see my granddaughter using the ColAR Mix, the 3D is wonderful

    • As mentioned, a word of caution with the Daqri app “Anatomy 4D” as it is anatomically correct makes it not necessarily appropriate for elementary students.

  7. ColAR – We have brainstormed and stated this was a great way to start a 3D Art class at the HS. Students are transitioning from Advanced 2D to Intro to 3D. Elementary students can also use this to narrate a story they may be presenting to a class! The possibilities I am sure are endless and we plan to continue using this app.

    Word Lens is incredible and I believe we are considering the addition of this App to all of our Foreign Exchange Student packages.

  8. Google has an app like Star Chart, where you point it at the sky and it will give you information about the stars and planets. Since my freshman English basic skills class is entirely skills based, I can pull in information from virtually any source to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, etc. Last year I did a research project using the Google World Wonders project. I’m thinking about offering an alternate version using Star Chart or the Google Sky app. Students with smartphones could research the star(s) or planet(s) that catch their eye and summarize/paraphrase the data they find. Some of my students would love that option.

  9. I first heard of Aurasma this summer at a conference and saw an example of teacher using for a scavenger hunt in their building. Ther teacher had different objects place around the school and when students used the Arasma app to gain clues to take them to the next location.

    All of these apps are really neat, the word lens could have lots of applications, but I need to find out if our students can use them on a Chromebook. My initial guess would be no. I will definitely be sharing these with out iPad classrooms!

  10. I love these AR apps, and so do kids (of all ages)! Another great one I love is “SkyView” here is a link to it in the iOS app store

    There is a free version and a $1.99 version, Totally worth it if you like stargazing! I have used this app in class for several Earth and space science lessons. The app lays an AR image of constellations, planets, stars, and man-made objects that are in orbit around the earth (ISS, Hubble, etc). As you are looking at the app on your tablet, at night you see the stars and the AR overlay, very cool. You can also tap on any AR object and get fun facts about them.

Leave a Reply