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Augmented Reality 3D Rug: An Affordable, Engaging Classroom Addition

Did you catch me sitting on a classroom rug, snapping pictures and pretending to pet a grizzly bear? Well, it happened, and I’m pretty excited to share why I had no problem tossing my conference bag to the side and finding a spot on a colorful, classroom rug in a busy conference hall just a few weeks ago.

You may have seen my Facebook Live with the Alive Studios folks at ISTE last year. Well this year at both FETC and TCEA I had a chance to see their new augmented reality rugs in action! These affordable classroom rugs provide a space for students to engage with animals from around the world right in the middle of their classroom.

How does an augmented reality rug work?

The augmented reality rugs from Alive Studios come to life with a “scan” of a card. The rug and corresponding animal habitat cards act as an augmented reality trigger. Just like scanning a QR code brings you to a website, scanning an augmented reality trigger “triggers” an AR experience. After you set up your rug and print out the cards, download the Rugs Alive app.

Animal Habitat AR Cards

The animal habitat cards are set up so that you match them to the correct animal on the rug. Open the Rugs Alive app on your device then point it to capture the habitat card and corresponding animal. A correct match will capture the animal and prepare it for placement onto the center of the rug.

The app uses your camera as a viewfinder to locate the AR trigger, which is the Zoo Crew Alphabet logo in the middle. Each animal snaps onto the rug when viewed through your mobile device,, and you can even have students sit next to them or snap pictures. The cards help students learn about the animals and habitats they live in — and it comes with a cheat sheet for teachers too.

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

There are lots of ways that this augmented reality rug goes beyond the gimmick or gotcha. It gives students an opportunity to build their vocabulary and content knowledge. Students can talk about letters, think about where animals live, and so much more with this augmented reality classroom experience.

The Alive Rugs from Alive Studios are a great example of joint media engagement. This type of technology use promotes conversations among peers as well as students and teachers. With thoughtful prompting, students can participate in discussions about animals, habitats, and observations about their space.

Student Engagement & Augmented Reality

In my book, Deeper Learning with QR Codes and Augmented Reality, I introduced the ACES Framework. I use the framework to discuss technology integration in my book Tasks Before Apps too, but in this post, I want to focus on the E in the framework — specifically as it relates to augmented reality in the classroom:

“When students are immersed and engaged in the learning process they are connected with content in an authentic manner. Scannable technology can grab the attention of your students and keep them interested in the subject matter you are teaching. Creating learning experiences that require students to interact with content in real world settings, grabs their attention with a wow factor, and connects to curriculum goals are all achievable with a simple scan!”

Ordering Augmented Reality Rugs

There are a few pieces of information that are useful to know before placing your order. First, the augmented reality rugs come in a few different sizes. There is the rectangle option, the oval option, and the circle option. You’ll also want to have a clear idea of the space you’re using the rug with students. Whether it is a classroom, STEM lab, media center, or another special place in your school or learning center.

You can place your order for a rug directly through the folks at Alive Studios. They also have other powerful augmented reality products like Letters alive Journals (for early readers) and more. If you are already working with Kaplan Learning, you can purchase the rugs through them. The prices might look different at first glance. But it’s just because Kaplan includes the shipping charge and Alive Studios charges it separately — it ends of costing essentially the same.

Learn more about snagging an augmented reality rug for your classroom or school this year by heading over to Alive Studios’ website!

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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