3 Easy Ways to Bring Augmented Reality (AR) to Your Classroom

With AR, VR and 3D printing, our digital world is becoming more 3-dimensional. There’s no doubt that educational institutions need to be on top of this change among others: technology skills are going to be even more relevant in the future.

However, technology shouldn’t be brought to classroom just for the sake of doing something new. Teachers need to have pedagogically relevant ways to use new technologies, and the same goes with 3D technologies.

Augmented reality and 3D printing compliment each other in many ways. They can be used to teach 21st century skills, introduce new ways for creative problem solving and help students understand the transition of products, from digital to physical and back. 

From the student perspective, 3D technologies enable learning by doing in a digital environment. This offers meaningful learning experiences for various sorts of learners, not just the ones who are successful in a traditional learning environment.

3DBear and Makerbot collected ideas on Twitter about how to use AR in your classroom in a pedagogically sound way. Here are the three ideas we found the most exciting.

3. AR is lava!

Put your students collaboration skills to test by letting them create a route of obstacles in AR. After this they can guide each other around the obstacles without touching them and try out, who’s route is the hardest one to pass. 

Later on you can have a discussion with the class: what sort of rules should apply? What sort of obstacles do we face in our school environment daily? Finally, students can design and 3D print objects that make moving through obstacles easier. 

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2. Create an escape room

Gamify learning by creating a series of interactive puzzles. You can place the tasks around the room to be visible only via AR. The final task can be 3D-printing a key to a lock! This idea combines collaboration skills and new technologies and it can be applied to various subjects and to different age groups based on the tasks you give to students. 

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1. Recreate a scene from a book

What would be a better way to travel into a story than to recreate a scene from it in augmented reality? 

This idea is quite universal and works with various age groups. It also gives students with limited verbal skills the possibility to express what they have read and exchange their ideas with others.

After the class students can 3D print scenes from different stories and place them in the classroom. 

This wonderful idea came from Oregon Middle School, and as a thank you, they are getting a Makerbot Mini+ 3D printer. 

These ideas were shared on Twitter with the hashtag #3DBearAR – make sure to check them out! We got almost 50 different suggestions of how AR and 3D printing could be combined.

All the ideas mentioned above can be applied with 3DBear AR app that you can download for free for Android and iOS. All the models in the application can be 3D printed – so if your 3D printer is collecting dust, try combining it with 3DBear!

Makerbot is world's largest 3D printer manufacturer and Thingiverse Education is the leading content provider for 3D printing. 3DBear is Finnish edtech startup that provides software to combine AR and 3D printing in the classroom.