Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2019
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HP Reveal

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Basic AR tool has potential for learning, clunky interface

Subjects & skills
  • Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Teachers say (15 Reviews)

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Pros: Broad applications across content areas; can liven up classrooms and schools.

Cons: The pre-created content is a mixed bag, with a focus on brand advertising, and the nonintuitive interface can make the app frustrating to use.

Bottom Line: Despite the bugs, HP Reveal has the potential to make classwork more interesting through AR experiences, but only with a lot of prep work done by teachers.

HP Reveal has a great deal of potential, but it will be up to teachers to design lessons from scratch, round up or create Auras, and do considerable preparation and setup. Bring textbooks to life by creating Auras to connect to specific photographs, charts, or text boxes. For example, in a social studies text, you could add a video overlay of a historian talking about Washington crossing the Delaware to a photograph of the famous painting. In an art text, try adding a video tour of the Louvre on top of a picture of the Mona Lisa. You could also use HP Reveal to create a scavenger hunt: Have students find trigger images, and use the Auras to answer questions. On a field trip, students can point devices at displays and get additional information on the exhibit, provided the teacher set it up earlier. Auras could also be used to guide work in classroom stations, by placing a trigger image at each station and overlaying a video with instructions or a description of how to perform a task.

Students can also get in on the action, spicing up posters, writing assignments, and artwork. For example, when creating informational posters, students can create Auras to show videos of themselves talking more about the topic. With a writing assignment, students can add triggers to connect readers to illustrations. And on artwork, students can use Auras to connect viewers to explanations of the piece or stories related to the work.

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HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) allows teachers or students to create or view augmented reality (AR) experiences that blend the physical and digital using a mobile device's camera. Simply point a device's viewfinder at an object or photo (called the "trigger") in physical space, and wait for the Aura, which is an interactive experience that transforms the trigger image into a video, an animation, or another image on the device's screen. Users can start by browsing a collection of pre-created Auras, created by the app's creators or by others who chose to make their Auras public, including a large number of corporate users. The pre-created Auras include triggers such as fast-food logos, images of superheroes, pictures of celebrities, and even pictures of dollar bills. 

To create their own Auras, students or teachers choose an overlay and a trigger. An overlay is a video, an image, or an animation that will appear when someone finds the trigger object -- either over the trigger image or near it, depending on how the creator set it up. HP Reveal offers a library of overlays to choose from, of varying quality, but users are also free to create their own. Users can save their Auras as either public or private, choose whether to add them to a specific channel in HP Reveal's library, and share their Auras with others. Auras can also be created and shared using HP Reveal Studio. HP Reveal Studio makes it much easier to create content and share it with others; users create HP Reveal libraries that can be shared privately or publicly.

Although much of the pre-created content available on HP Reveal doesn't connect with learning, student- or teacher-created Auras can be valuable learning tools. HP Reveal gives teachers the opportunity to enhance content by incorporating videos, photographs, and animations into their curricula to help engage students and more easily reach struggling readers or those with special needs. It also helps students learn to make connections between the object or photograph used as a trigger and the Aura itself. By creating their own Auras, students can stretch their creative muscles, make deeper learning connections, and begin to think critically as they develop associations between triggers and Auras. However, teachers will need to do a lot of preparation ahead of time to create lessons in this context, and students, especially younger ones, may struggle with properly creating their own Auras.

Teachers will need to guide students with making educational connections and using HP Reveal effectively, and they'll need to be prepared to deal with the occasional bug and an interface that's difficult to navigate. It's also often difficult to return to certain screens. Adding a home button of sorts to most screens would make it easier for users to find their way.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

For students new to augmented reality, seeing objects and images come to life adds a definite wow factor. But the nonintuitive interface and lack of built-in educational content may lose some students quickly.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Adding video or animations to static content can help students make deeper, real-world connections to abstract ideas. The best uses of HP Reveal, however, require inventive implementation and a fair amount of preparation.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The basic user guide helps get students started, but creativity will be required to best use this app as an educational tool. The user-created content is uneven in quality, but it can help kids and teachers get ideas for their own creations.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Gina M. L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Montour High School
McKees Rocks, United States
Aurasma- Augmented Reality
I think the use of Augmented Reality is a great tool. It allows independent learners to flourish- as well as those that need more guidance. I am going to incorporate Aurasma into my poetry unit and would ultimately like to see it used with the writing pieces in place of traditional presentations. It offers a wider variety for student reflection.
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