The idea for this project came to me during the class discussion of the project and its parameters. I really enjoy the idea of cross-media displays. When we talked about what digital storytelling means that was one of the biggest components, at least to me. I am a writer, though I haven’t had much time for it while attending UAF, and having the opportunity to do some traditional storytelling mixed with digital storytelling was great.
When I started researching AR I focused on its use in comics. One of the first things that popped up was the story of Sutu, a comic creator from Australia, and his new AR tattoo. Sutu’s comic Modern Polaris utilizes AR to add depth to the comic. The paranoid protagonist hides theories and secret information in an AR layer of his journal—i.e., the comic. But what was truly interesting is that Sutu got a tattoo of one of the comic’s trigger images, and the AR still worked (Starr, 2015).
This was interesting to me because it takes a technology that is already borderline sci-fi and adds an almost unbelievable element to it. It makes the possibilities of AR use staggering (and it made me want to write a sci-fi mystery novel with AR tattoos as a major plot point).
But while Sutu’s tattoo is a curiosity, I was really struck by the work of Ram Devineni, an Indian-American filmmaker, and his co-creators Vikas K. Menon, Dan Goldman, and Lina Srivastava. His comic Priya’s Shakti is a protest against rape culture and an empowerment for those who have been victims; it is a “combination of Indian motifs and activism” (Petronzio, 2015, para. 14). Devineni’s protagonist Priya, is “a gang-rape survivor-turned-superhero who partners with a Hindu goddess to fight sexual violence and challenge the patriarchy” (Petronzio, 2015, para. 5). The comic utilizes AR to bring panels to life, add depth to the story, and to allow rape survivors to tell their stories in their own voices (Petronzio, 2015, para. 11).
From the comic has grown movements such as “I Stand With Priya,” which allowed readers to insert themselves into a picture with Priya and share it to show support—there were even interactive murals in Mumbai (Petronzio, 2015, para. 11, 16). Artwork from the comics appeared on signs at protests, and Devineni was named a Gender Equality Champion by UN Women for Priya’s Shakti (Petronzio, 2015, para. 15).
What I love about Priya’s Shakti is that it is pop-culture being used to educate and incite cultural change. The fact that the creators are utilizing AR technology to make the work that much more engaging and meaningful is wonderful.
When I teach I like to draw connections to modern events or practical applications. Priya’s Shakti would be an outstanding example of creative writing used to address social/cultural problems, and could be used in a Citizenship or History class to discuss civil rights campaigns/activism.
Outside the Project:
Augmented reality is one of those things that students love and pick-up easily; in part because they are more comfortable with technology and used to a constant input of data (Roehl, Reddy, & Shannon, 2013, p. 44). So bringing AR into the classroom has a lot of potential.
I love the idea of creating a student wall for parents to interact with during conferences. My idea is to have either student photos, or group photos on the wall (perhaps in the hallway) and overlay clips of the students reciting a poem, or giving a presentation, or acting out part of a play. These are events that parents can’t usually see, so it is a great way to allow them to do so. Of course you would have to have permission from the parents to video their students, and probably the principal, but I think the project would be something students would enjoy. Especially if the videos were the end result of a longer project; and perhaps they could create the videos themselves.
Another idea is one we talked about during class discussion—that is, using a static image on the classroom door or wall and having a rotating overlay that students can check on their way in or between classes. I think this would be awesome for learning goals or weekly vocabulary. It could also be used to give reminders of field trips, large project due dates, etc.—basically answering questions for students that might otherwise take up class time or that kids might be embarrassed to ask.
I also had an idea for using QR as part of a revision activity. You could pass out to groups a flipbook with numbered QR codes in it and a worksheet, different for each group. The QR codes would be to questions, the answers of which would take the students to different pages in their book. Then the page numbers would indicate the next QR code to use. Students would fill in the answers as they went, and the ultimate answer would be formed from selected letters from the previous answers. Students would get to use their knowledge of the topics to figure out the puzzle and revise for a test at the same time. This would be a nice activity to utilize while having one-on-one talks with students about work, or paper topics. This project would require quite some time in preparation, but could be used for years potentially.
My last idea is also one of the first I had, though it is not strictly for teaching. I did some work with Campus Broadsided @ UAF, a project that pairs student poetry with art to create broadsides that are posted around campus and downloadable from the internet for printing. I think it would be awesome to have videos overlaid on the broadsides that either have the poet reading as audio or video of them reading, possibly at a campus event.
The more I play with AR and QR the more ideas I have, which is why I’ve enjoyed this project as much as I have.
Click here or follow the QR code for a making of and commentary.
Petronzio, M. (2015, May 7). New ‘walk-in comic book’ uses augmented reality to show sexual assault survivors as heroes. Mashibles. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/05/07/priyas-shakti/#C16RC5nx7sqF
Roehl, A., Reddy, S. L., & Shannon, G. J. (2013). The Flipped Classroom: An Opportunity To Engage Millennial Students Through Active Learning Strategies. Journal Of Family & Consumer Sciences, 105(2), 44-49.
Starr, M. (2015, April 27). Comic creator gets awesome augmented-reality tattoo. [Weblog] CNET. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/comic-creator-gets-awesome-augmented-reality-tattoo/