Technology Tools for the Love of Reading – Part 2

QR Codes and Augmented Reality

QR codes - Place them in books to connect to book talks, trailers, other creative content. Use on posters, displays, anyplace you want to have a shortcut to some online content.

  • Easiest way to create QR codes is with, the Google URL shortener.
  • Paste URL into form, click Shorten URL.
  • In the list of shortened URLs, click on the triple dots at the end and select QR Code.
  • Copy QR code to a document for printing.

Quiver Augmented Reality Coloring App
(iOS and Android, Free w in-app purchases)

  • Print out one of their coloring sheets, color it and then view it with the app. The app shows animated 3D image and action.
  • Within the app you can record the actions on the screen and record your voice. The full educational app ($7.99 iOS, $5.99 Android) includes tons of printable pages. (Formerly called colAR)
  • USES: Students can record themselves sharing facts and stories about their creations. Use the creations as story started for writing projects. Example of it used for a reading exercise.

Aurasma (iOS, Android)

  • Aurasma connects physical objects to online content. When the physical object is viewed through the Aurasma app, the content you’ve selected will pop up on the screen.
  • This video shows an example of pictures of musicians on a display board in the classroom. When visitors use the Aurasma app on their smartphone or table to scan a photo,  a video of that musician appears on the phone/tablet.
  • Or do a bulletin board with images of famous people. Create an Aurasma “tag” for each one and add a related video or audio file.  Have students record short video of themselves discussing that person and then link it to the photo. Photos of students on the bulletin board linked to a video the’ve made for parent night.
  • Tutorial on how to create them
    • Trigger is the physical object – a book cover, a photo, a dollar bill. Take a picture of it and upload it as your trigger.
    • Overlay – this is the video, image, audio, etc file that you want to have pop up when someone views the trigger image through the aurasma app. This content has to be uploaded to Aurasma.

Exploring Locations with Maps and & Virtual Reality Apps

Use Google maps street view, 3D images, Google Earth and Virtual Reality apps to connect your students with the landscapes they’re learning about. From landscapes from novels and non-fiction to  explorations of biomes, undersea and outer space landscapes.  Provide background information before starting a book or project.

Google Lit Trips

  • A Lit Trip takes your students on a Google Earth (or Google Maps) tour of the landscape visited by characters in a book. The information is stored in a KML file and includes the locations specified by the creator, as well as photos, videos, text and other information about the locations. You can use lit trips created by others or create your own.
  • The Google Lit Trips site has over 80 pre-designed lit trips that you can view in Google Earth and/or Google Tour Builder. You could also build your own or have students build them. Google Tour Builder is a bit easier than Google Earth if you’re going to do this.
  • Register with the Google Lit Trips site to access the lit trip files.
  • Select the file you want and a link will be sent to your email.
  • For Google Earth: Use the link to download and unzip the archive file. Open the KML file in Google Earth.
  • For Google Tour Builder: Just use the 2nd link in the email.
  • Make Way for Ducklings” (Tour Builder) is a good one to test with.
  • Other sources of lit trips
    • Sail the Boat – Has several maritime related lit trips.
    • Also, try searching the title of a book with “lit trip”

Google Expeditions

  • Take your students on immersive tours of historic sites, remote landscapes, and more. Works best with VR viewers (like Google Cardboard) and smartphones. Can also be used with iPads, but without the VR viewer. The teacher selects the expedition the class will go on and each student’s device connects to the teacher’s device via wifi. The teacher then guides the experience. Don’t have devices for each student, project the expedition for the whole class.
  • To test it out: Find a friend and download the app to your mobile devices. One of you will be the guide and the other the student. The guide opens their app and selects an expedition. The student opens their app and is be prompted to join the teacher’s expedition. (I tested it out by myself with my iPad as the guide and my phone as the student.)
  • This map shows locations with expeditions.

Google Street View (iOS, Android apps, web)

  • Don’t overlook the value of a simple street view to share a taste of a landscape. There are also tons of images and 360 views embedded in Street View. Most of them aren’t downloadable though, so can’t be used in other apps.
  • Map of where street views are available
  • Use the iOS or Android Street View app to view in a VR viewer or show on a computer.

RoundMe app (iOS, Android apps, web)

ThingLink 360 (iOS, Android apps, web)

  • With a pro ($) account, embed content that pops up over the image. Just like with regular ThingLink images.
  • Explore content created by others for free.
  • 360 images must have aspect ratio 2:1 and maximum resolution 5376×2688
  • Google StreetView app images work, but you need to resize them to 5376×2688
  • Google Cardboard Camera pics don’t work, not the right size. Resizing distorts them.
  • If you install the ThingLink app, you can join my student group with this invite code: 4QJLQ4
  • ThingLink webinars with examples of how to use in education.

Creating your own 360 Images

  • $$ Buy a good 360 camera – $200-$300
  • FreeGoogle StreetView app. Make sure you include the top, middle and bottom views. Takes about 30 pics to stitch together an image. You can opt to publish it to Google Street View, but the image should save to your device without publishing. Takes some patience. 🙂

More VR Experiences & Resources