Augmented Reality in the ESL Classroom

Augmented Reality in the ESL Classroom

Curiosity is one of the most essential tools in learning. However, class environments do not always provide opportunities to liven up the lesson. Due to the development of technology, now teachers can overcome this obstacle by implementing Augmented Reality technology into classroom activities. 

Nowadays, students spend enormous time on mobile phones, computers, video games, music players, etc. We as teachers must be on the same wavelength with our students. Thus, teaching increasingly demands technologically-competent and efficient teachers who can capture the attention of digital natives. 

Augmented reality (AR)is a great tool which can fully engage students. AR is the result of using technology to superimpose information-sounds, images and text-on the world we see around us. With the help of tablets and mobile devices we can scan various scenes on our living room floor (kids playing soccer, an animal moving across the room, etc) and they seem to be a part of reality. Benefits of AR used in ESL classroom are a bunch. When the teacher implements any element related to AR, students perceive him/her as someone ahead of them. This also leads to greater attention in class. 

You can see how the Augmented Reality is experimented on Londoners by PepsiCo. They pranked commuting Londoners with an AR-enabled bus stop display. Travellers were shown a prowling tiger, a meteor crashing, and an alien tentacle grabbing people off the street.

Watch this video on YouTube.

There are a number of ways Augmented Reality technology can be implemented in ESL classroom.

  • Vocabulary teaching is very suitable for AR technology. A traditional coursebook unit related to animals can be turned into an Augmented Reality enhanced coursebook. By using the app Augmented Reality Effects, learners can bring animals into life. After downloading the app you can choose the topic of animals, click on the animal you want and it will be turned into life. For instance, when an animated animal is on the phone screen, students can be asked to give a name to it, pet it and tell a story about a day in its life or students might talk as if they were these animals. Movements of animals can be told with references to tenses. 
  • With the app Augmented Reality Effects, students can experience a number of other crazy activities. They can choose the topic Farm, bring to life those animals which they want, or any other farm-related item and create their own farm. Later on, they can compare their farms with the peer group. They can create their daily menu with the topic of food and drinks.
  • With the app LightSpace, the students can experience a drawing lesson. The teacher may choose a photo, hand it to students and ask to duplicate the same photo by using the effects in the app. The results can be quite funny and thrilling.
  •  The app Augment offers another range of interesting effects which can be easily projected into the ESL classroom. By using Public Galleries from the app, the students can choose the topic For your Home, and design a perfect flat, or a room. They can be asked to redesign their classroom by placing the furniture items available in the app. When they finish, they can take a photo of the final result and compare with their peers. 
  • Another great app is Wonderscope. Through this app, the learners can interact with the heroes from different stories. They communicate with the heroes by asking them questions or giving answers. Both questions and answers are written on the screen. This enables the learners to be kept engaged and listen to an interesting story in English. In the classroom it can be organized in the following way. The class is divided into 3-4 small groups. Each group is given a mobile device or a tablet and each is given a different story. They experience the story and at the end share their story with the opposite group. As a follow-up activity, each group can list positive and negative heroes, the best part of the story, how they will finish the story, what they will change in it, etc.  When implementing this into reality, the teacher will have a livened class and very engaged students. 

Watch this video for more ideas on how to implement AR in ESL lesson and which other apps you can use. 

In conclusion, it is incredibly easy to create AR experiences for your students regardless of what their levels are. There are dozens of ready-to-go applications in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store along with hundreds of tutorial videos that show how to implement AR in classes step by step.

Have you ever experienced AR in your classroom? What was the reaction of your students?

Лиза Мардоян

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