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Updating Textbooks with Augmented Reality

NOTE: This post is an expansion on an iBook I published a while back. I’ve used the AR app Aurasma to build and access the augmented reality layers in the Labrary for the last few years. To learn more about how to use Aurasma, check out their overview tutorial


The publishing world is struggling to develop a textbook distribution model that works well for schools. A quick survey of the digital textbook catalog shows that many titles are still not available. And when they are available, it’s often difficult to access and manage student access with logins and purchase codes.  As a result, some schools are hesitant to make a full transition to digital textbooks. This creates an enormous gap, as the primary mode of instruction remains years behind the student in whose hands the textbook resides!

The development of augmented reality (AR) apps has presented an incredible opportunity to elevate the state of the textbook without completely pushing them aside. In short, augmented reality allows you to easily create digital content that makes traditional textbooks more timely, informative, and engaging for your students.

With augmented textbooks, you can now have the best of analog and digital resources!

There’s No “I” in Labrary!

We built the Labrary to be a community space for students and faculty to pursue interests, explore ideas, and experiment with new tools and materials.
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Every day, the Labrary is filled with the frenetic (some would say chaotic!) energy of self-directed learning and discovery as students throw themselves feet-first into discovering something new. This is not a place of passivity. And while it’s amazing to watch how fearlessly they tackle the unknown, my favorite part of the whole thing is how it’s organically become a center of spontaneous collaboration. Whether it’s recess, Labrary class, or study hall, students are naturally and seamlessly supporting each others’ learning. Questions are directed not at me, but at each other. And, boy, do they have questions! Free from the expectations of what they “should” know, students are empowered to voice their questions without feeling judged.