I couldn’t wait until Phun Phriday to share this post. So, I’m officially declaring today Thrilling Thursday!
On Tuesday, I saw a tweet from @techminock (2 Guys and Some iPads) about an app from FuelFX. After responding to Drew’s tweet, I got a tweet with the link to the app from FuelFX, and an invitation to try it out, too.
The free app is called TracLabs Atlas, and uses augmented reality. Here is the iOS link, and here is the Android version. After you download the free app, you will also need to go the provided web link to print the marker that you will scan with your tablet.
When you scan the marker, a 3-D robot appears. You can “program” the robot by positioning its arms and legs in a series of steps, then playing the steps in quick succession.
Yesterday was my day with my 4th grade GT students, and I decided to let them test it out. They loved it! And the movements that they programmed for their robots were much more creative than my boring, stilted example. One group figured out how to make their robot turn into a Transformer. Another one decided to maker their robot perform a couple of ballet movements. (I embedded the latter video below.) Two other groups spent their time trying to figure out how to get their robots to interact with each other.
When I asked the students what they would do to improve the app, most agreed that they would love more options – different robot choices, colors, music, clothing, and other ways to personalize the robot. My recommendation would be to offer a sharing feature for videos of the robot performing the programs.
As a proponent of teaching programming to kids, I see a lot of potential with this app. I look forward to any updates or other augmented reality apps for the classroom that FuelFX offers in the future!