Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Have you heard of the Layar? Its website calls it "The World's First Mobile Augmented Reality Browser." Basically, a picture of your surroundings appears on the screen, but in addition you can find out information about the stores/restaurants that you can see and even those that are nearby but not within sight. Perhaps you want to know what houses are for sale and how much they cost? Perhaps you want to look at a menu without going into a restaurant? While this will be available for Google's Android before it is available for other mobile devices, it seems like a very worthwhile tool.

So, what is the lesson implication?

Teachers could ask students to develop layers, probably for Google Earth and not for the Layar, revealing information about important buildings within the students own community, or a community under study. I can quickly think of the following benefits from having students do this kind of an activity?
  1. Students practice their writing (if the class collaborates with another class in a different part of the world there's an authentic audience)
  2. Students practice their research skills (They'd need to learn about a building befor they could add information about it to the Google Earth layer. For some students, simply asking a restauranteer to see a menu so that they could write about it is a worthwhile objective.)
Surely, many communities already have Google Earth layers. But, a student centric layer would provide information from a different perspective.

How long do you think it will be before students can develop these kinds of layers for a "Layar" application?

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