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A couple of months ago, I read about Aurasma, and to be honest, every time I went to their website, I did not quite understand what it was. I was curious to see how it could be used in education and had heard that it could replace QR codes, however, I could not figure it out at that place and time. I decided to place it in my memory as something to research again in the future. A couple of days ago, the Spanish teacher in my school, an amazing educator and techie, brought up Aurasma. I jumped at the chance for her to explain it further to me because if anyone can explain it to me in terms that I could understand, it is her. And she did just that. She told me in basic terms, Aurasma can make your pictures come to life. Basically, she told me to look at my bulletin board. Now, if I looked at it with the aurasma app, I could attach videos to the pictures on my bulletin board. I was surprised to hear this. Was she telling me that I could make my pictures come to life? She then told me to watch this Aurasma iPad tutorial video and to check out the Robert Burns Aura (his picture comes to life). Once I did, I understood how to use it and immediately thought of way to currently try it out with my second grade general music class.
The next day, the second graders came to class and we sang a song about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Martin Luther King by Teresa Fulbright). We discussed his life as they had just experienced Martin Luther’s life journey through an amazing assembly earlier that week. The students recalled a lot of facts about him. We then thought of words to describe him (peaceful, loving, kind, brave and honest were some of the words they wrote down). I then told them that we would become song writers for the day, they were going to add their adjectives to the song and they would also add a line about what he wanted for everyone (freedom, peace, love and for everyone to be friends were what the students wrote down). I grouped the students into groups of two and they wrote their songs. Once completed, I took a picture of them holding their songs. I usually end this lesson there and post the pictures of the songs on my bulletin board and/or school music page. However, this time, I decided to go further. I then gave the iPad to a student who would video us singing the students’ versions of the song (one video per song-so there were a lot of videographers). This ended the lesson and the students went back to class. I emailed the photos to myself and printed them out. I then opened the Aurasma app on the iPad and through the app, found the videos by doing the following steps:
- Launch Aurasma App
- Create an account and login
- Press the gray “A” on the bottom of the screen
- Press the “+” button
- Press the “Device” tab
- Press the “+” button
- Press “Photo Album”
- Press “Camera Roll”
- Choose the video
- Press “Use”
- Name the video (this is optional)
- Press “Finish >”
- Choose the video you just selected from this “Create window”
- You will see the video play at the bottom of the screen and press “Select >”
- Now a large square appears on the screen as it has triggered your camera. I then placed the square over the picture I took of the students who wrote that version of the song. (You can resize the screen)
- Press the purple camera button and it will capture the image
- You will now see the image with the video playing over the image
- Click the purple “>” button
- Name the Aura.
- Choose if you want to make it Public for all to see or Private (in which you create a Channel and only those who you share the link to the channel can see this “aura”)
- Click “Finish >”
Once finished, I can click on the person at the bottom right-hand side of the page to open my private channel. When I am in my private channel, I can click “Share” and email this private link to those I want to view these auras. For example, let’s say it is parents’ night or parent conference day at school. I share this private link with them before that day, via email or my school’s music webpage (which is password protected). I ask them in the email/on the website to download the Aurasma app for free onto their mobile devices. When they stop by on parents’ night or parent conference day, they can click on the link in the email, open the Aurasma app and can now read the students’ lyrics and view the students’ videos of the song, all from pointing their mobile device at my bulletin board.
What if I want to post the aura on the website? Can they use their app on their mobile phones to view the aura on a website? Yes, they can. You will begin to see more “A” logos in advertisements in which you will be able to see the auras of many items.
When you launch the Aurasma app on your mobile device and point it at the music, a video will pop up of me performing this melody on the recorder. If you move the mobile device away, the video stops. If you want to see the video as you move away, double-click on the video and the video will appear full screen and will stay on screen as you move away from the picture.
To see a 1:1 music classroom in action with Aurasma, I highly recommend Cherie’s blog post: http://www.cphmusic.net/2013/10/aurasma-in-the-music-classroom.html
If you have the opportunity, how would you use Aurasma in the classroom?
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com