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How to Tell a Magical Tale


There is no doubt that augmented reality will play a huge part in education during the next decade.  You can already see it beginning to burgeon as you read blogs and educational articles.  Apps like Aurasma, Zooburst, ColAR, Spacecraft 3d, and AR Flashcards, make something that seemed to be merely science fiction into a classroom reality.

In the video embedded below, Marco Tempest uses augmented reality to give a presentation for TED.  His use of “magic” certainly makes his story engaging, but I actually connected to his message more than the illusions.

Tempest compares magic to successful jokes: “In that respect, magic tricks are like jokes. Jokes lead us down a path to an expected destination. But when the scenario we have imagined suddenly flips into something entirely unexpected, we laugh.”

This is what I would like to share with my students.  Too often, they believe that they are expected to provide the predictable, to write stories that follow the same conventions, to regurgitate what has been modeled for them.  They do this when they create presentations, too.  I want to encourage them to attempt to be unpredictable.  Make your reader or audience believe that they know what is going to happen, and then completely surprise them.

I think this is useful in teaching, as well.  Too often, we fall into our own structured routines.  Though some students need predictability, they also delight in a bit of wonderment.  In this way, we can capture their attention, and make lasting impressions.  Augmented reality can help us with this, but it is just one of many tools (and not all of them are technological) that we can use to create a novel experience that will capture the attention of our students.

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