How I Use It
There are a number of ways to use this app in the classroom. I have used Aurasma to create interactive scavenger hunts and to link videos to images and text to enhance learning of concepts. The scavenger hunts are popular with the students and encourages them to get out of their seats and walk around. I would like to take this app up a notch and have students create their own content and design their own "auras". There are a number of other ideas for use in the classroom. If you are interested I would suggest doing a quick search for Aurasma in the classroom. Great tool for flippers, too!
Here's what I like about this tool. You can take everyday, ordinary text and static images and give them an added dimension - or augment reality as they say. If you are familiar with QR codes then you get the idea of Aurasma. Whether the augmentation is a link to website, another image, or a video the instructor can enhance content by using it as a trigger to be taken to even more content. One of the best applications of this tool that I have seen was a math teacher who gave an ordinary paper worksheet for homework. The homework required students to figure out the area of a triangle. What made the homework different was there was an image of a triangle on the paper. When the student used his mobile device and scanned the triangle using Aurasma, up popped a video of the teacher showing the students how to find the area of a triangle. And that type of application is only the tip of the iceberg. Imagine having your students displaying mastery and creating their own content to develop their own auras.
Creators can also make their auras private and invite only selected students to them.
As for usability it is pretty simple to create an "aura". As the creator you have two options. You can create it using a mobile device (quick version) or you can create your own aurasma studio (more in-depth version) and create more elaborate and layered auras. Both options are free.
Here are the cons. The user has to have a mobile device with a built in camera (like most smart phones and newer tablets) to use the app so it's not usable in classrooms without that technology. You also have to be careful to use distinct types of images as triggers as the app will not recognize a vague trigger (like a simple black square). This causes the app to act "glitchy". However, this con can be totally avoided over time through trial and error. Another con is that if you are creating content it can be somewhat time consuming. However, once the content is created it is available to use over and over.
Overall, I wouldn't call this app a "must have" but it's an engaging tool for anybody wanting to spice up their lesson plans and homework. If you are interested, I highly recommend viewing some video tutorials to see the app in action. This review does not do it justice.