I attended a SSAT training day today about ensuring Maths progress for all. This included a 30 minute section about using IT within Maths. During this Paul Hynes from the SSAT demonstrated an augmented reality program that the Trust are currently working on.
For those new to the term Augmented Reality it involves overlaying virtual images on top of a live video stream. Some of the first examples are on the iPhone and the PS3.
Here is an iPhone example called Nearest Tube, directions to the nearest London Tube stop are overlayed onto the image from the phone’s camera:
Another on the iPhone that I have used is the excellent Yelp app, overlaying the nearest restaurant, bar, shops etc onto an image from the camera:
Recently released on the PS3 is the ‘game’ EyePet, this uses a camera pointed at your living room floor, the PS3 then overlays a virtual pet who plays with you on your floor. Stuart Rideout has written a great little post about this. Please go and read that article, and take particular note of the little pieces of card that that software uses.
The system I saw today was similar to this, the camera picked up the distinct patterns on pieces of card and created a 3D image in their place. The team from the SSAT are creating some applications with these cards, some examples that were mentioned were cards that represented different tectonic plates. These could then be moved together by the teacher, and the project image on the IWB would show the plates meeting. Another was some cards to attach to the joints of your arm, when your arm moved, the image on screen showed the bones and muscles moving overlayed onto the video image.
The team are creating these little programs at the moment, and when done all that would be needed would be the software, a webcam and a projector/monitor. They are really engaging and certainly have the wow factor!
This is where you come in, Paul is looking for ideas to create some Maths software with this technology. The obvious thing is some virtual 3D shapes, but we can do better than that! If you have any ideas, rather than putting his email up here, I will pass on to him details of this post. If you could then leave your ideas in the comments section hopefully Paul’s team will put together some of them over the coming months.
My first thought was using this to teach balancing equations. Cards could represent numbers and letters and operations, these could then be presented as the old fashioned idea of some scales balancing an equation. With a bit of animation, the idea of doing the same operation to each side of the equation could be shown.
So over to you, can you think of anything more original?