October Challenge: Augmented Reality App Program for Tweens, by Anne Hicks

The idea for the October Challenge was tossed around a few months ago among the Little eLit-ers. This gave me sufficient time to plan a few programs I had been thinking about but was a little nervous to try out. At ALA this past June, I attended an awesome poster session done Alyson Krawczyk and Michael Campagna from the Barrington Area Library. Their poster session was titled “Connected Kids: Technology Programs to Inspire Creative Exploration.” It totally inspired me to create a once-a-month “Tween Tech Lab” at my library. I wanted to give kids the opportunity to be creative with technology. I wanted to offer access to technology that some kids in my community may not have access to. And last, but not least, I wanted to offer a really fun program!

My first Tween Tech Lab focused on Augmented Reality. I limited registration to 10 kids (ages 8-12) and had five iPads they could share amongst themselves. I began the program by explaining what augmented reality is, and since a picture (in this case a video) is worth a thousand words, I played a quick YouTube video that offers a really nice description.

Next we got ready to use our first augmented reality app. It’s called colAR Mix and it was developed by Puteko Limited. The app allows you to turn coloring pages into 3D animations. I had printed out the coloring pages from the colAR Mix website and let the kids color away. Once they had their pages colored, we launched the app and watched our creations come to life! Check out this video from the developer to see how it works:

The app was a huge hit, and some of the kids decided to continue coloring and use it for the duration of the program.

The next app we used is called ARBasketball developed by Augmented Pixels Co Ltd. It allows you to play basketball with just your mobile device and your fingers. To use the app, you need to print out the marker, aim the device at the marker, and then use your finger to shoot the basketball. Here’s a video of how the app works (note: in the video the marker is on a mug but I just printed the marker onto a sheet of paper for my program).

Onto the next augmented reality app. It’s called Fetch! Lunch Rush developed by PBS Kids. The app combines math, physical activity, and augmented reality. The challenge is to keep up with all the lunch orders from Ruff’s movie crew. I began by printing out the markers and spreading them out on the floor. Each marker has a number (1-10) on it. In the app, the kids are given a math problem to solve. Once they have completed the math problem, they aim the device at the corresponding marker. If they are correct, the appropriate number of sushi will appear in 3D on the screen. Here’s a video of some kids playing with the app:

Puppy Dog Fingers! by Useless Creations Pty Ltd: the name of the developer says it all–this app is completely useless, but who doesn’t love puppies?! Basically, you aim the device around the room and on the screen puppies appear everywhere! They jump around, fall asleep, even go…ahem…potty! If you put your finger on the screen the puppies come and “sniff it.” Here’s a couple screenshots of the puppies taking over my desk:

Useless Puppies Useless Puppies 2

The last app we tried is called ARSoccer by Laan Labs.With this app you aim the device at your feet and then “kick” the virtual soccer ball. The trick is to try to juggle the ball by just kicking gently. This is another great app if you want to combine physical activity with technology! Here’s a video.

The program went really well. I was definitely nervous because I had never tried anything like this before at my library. I reminded the kids to share the iPads, but I probably didn’t have to; they were really good about it. I also tested all the apps ahead of time to make sure they worked. I had envisioned all the kids using each app at the same time, but this didn’t happen. Some kids chose to use certain apps longer than others, but it all worked out in the end. Everyone had fun, including me, and I’m looking forward to my next Tween Tech Lab: Digital Light Painting (check out Bradley Jones’ awesome blog for more information on how to do this program).

Anne Hicks
Children’s Librarian
Henrietta Public Library

About Amy Koester

I'm a youth services librarian with a penchant for exciting ideas and engaging programs. It's a sure bet that if you talk to me about STEAM, whimsy, and trying new things, we'll be best friends forever.

Posted on October 14, 2013, in Apps and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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