Saturday, 12 September 2015


Have to admit, when I saw the title of the next module, I wondered what it was going to be about as I didn't realise that these applications were called augmented reality!

I've seen these applications used quite a lot and have even used them myself. They're popular in exhibitions, you see QR codes on adverts all over the place, and the Summer Reading Challenge used them to great effect in public libraries. They add an element of immediacy and inter-activeness, involving the user and creating a sense of fun. And I can see how they could be used in many situations.

But ... my school has just introduced a no mobile phones policy which means that students cannot use their phones during the day. I can understand this to a certain extent; if you get your phone out to use it as a calculator, to take a photo of the whiteboard, to note down information ... then the temptation is to check your messages and social media sites. I'm probably as guilty as anyone in doing this and I can understand the lure for teenagers whose lives are so entwined online. Cyber bullying is also a big problem so perhaps part of the thinking behind this strategy is that it will help to stop that happening.

I'm not sure I really agree with this as technology is not going to disappear and the best way to deal with any problems is to teach students how to use it appropriately but I will go along with it as those are the current rules.

However, this means that it really isn't much point in me trying to incorporate augmented reality into my library.

I also feel that many school libraries don't have the means to use these new technologies, we tend to be bottom of the list when it comes to new IT equipment and software, and the school's senior management team don't seem to recognise how much we could apply them within a library setting, which means we are struggling to keep up with advances.

Have to admit though that sometimes using augmented reality can be taken to extremes. I am put in mind of a visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was a beautiful day and the place was amazing. As I was walking around, I noticed a man holding an iPad in front of him and looking at it rather than the scene around him. Being curious (ie: a bit nosy) I crept quietly nearer so I could see the screen and realised that he was watching a sort of interactive tour of the Alhambra online and was viewing it through the images on the screen rather than enjoying the actual place in front of him!


  1. Yes, a very tricky issue the smart phones at school / in the classroom. I recently taught early third-level academic writing classes, and it could be terribly difficult to get peoples' noses out of the phones. I'd always get back to my office trying to come up with ways of actually using the phones in the classroom, but that wouldn't work day after day, obviously! Lots to think about, thanks for this post!

  2. Must be even harder with older students ... at least I can tell them to put their phone in their bag. And have the ultimate sanction of confiscating it!