Augmented Reality for Visual ARts

My favorite use of augmented reality is when it enhances student creations.  Sherri Kushner, a Media Arts Teacher at Chute Middle School recently shared a presentation she had made for NAEA 2014 that astounded me with the creative use of the Aurasma augmented reality app for many amazing student projects. I added it to my Augmented Reality in Education Flipboard magazine, and tweeted the link, but I know that many people prefer to get their information in a variety of ways.  I was so blown away by Sherri’s students and their imaginative use of augmented reality that I don’t want anyone to miss out on these fabulous examples.

For anyone not familiar with using Aurasma, Sherri gives links to the basics of viewing augmented reality with the app, as well as how to create your own auras.  If you would like more information, I also have several tutorial links, including to some great videos from Two Guys and Some iPads, on my Augmented Reality Resource Page. (You can also check out a recent episode of the Two Guys Show in which they interview Aurasma’s Head of Operations, David Stone, here.)

To view the example above, you will need the free Aurasma app.  Follow the channel for Chute Middle School, and point the app viewfinder at the picture.  Be sure to visit Sherri’s presentation to see even more amazing ways to create augmented reality art!

Upcycled Art

For today’s Phun Phriday post I want to share a few links with you that I’ve collected in my Phun Phriday Flipboard magazine that show some very unique ways to use unusual materials to create works of art.

First we have the Boeing 777 Jet designed by Luca Iaconi-Stewart out of manila file folders.  I’m thinking, as we move to more and more cloud storage, this young man is really on to something…

image from: Huffington Post

image from: Huffington Post

Next up, we have these amazing collage paintings made out of miscellaneous objects by Jane Elizabeth Perkins:

image from: DesignCloud

image from: DesignCloud

Of course, one could always choose more organic materials, like food, as Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves do in their maps of the world:

image from: Neatorama

image from: Neatorama

Or perhaps you might find the geometric shapes of tangram maps by Ryan Arruda more appealing:

image from: Laughing Squid

image from: Laughing Squid

And, finally, I don’t like the thought of books not being read, but I think I will make an exception in the case of these remarkable book sculptures by Jodi Harvey-Brown!

image from: My Modern Met

image from: My Modern Met







Doodle 4 Google 2014

Every year about this time, Google launches the Doodle 4 Google Contest for students in K-12.  I love to see the new theme each year.  This one certainly invites a lot of creative ideas! The winning entrant can win a $30,000 college scholarship, as well as $50,000 for his or her school.  There are other prizes available as well. Entries are due Thursday, March 20th.

Maybe I completely missed it in years past, but I am really excited to see the addition of “Classroom Activities” to the Doodle 4 Google resources. These include “Activity Packs” for different grade level groups, a video featuring some Google Doodlers, and links to planned Google Hangouts during the month of February that will allow students to connect with some real-life Google Doodlers.

Here are some other resources you might want to view to get some inspiration: Google Doodle Gallery, History of Google Doodles, Some Past Doodle 4 Google Winners.

And, just in case you feel like doodling is a poor way to spend your time, you might want to read this article from NPR: “Bored? Try Doodling to Keep the Brain on Task.

Everyone’s a Critic

Some of the themes suggested in Institute of Play's "Everyone's a Critic" game

Some of the themes suggested in Institute of Play’s “Everyone’s a Critic” game

I’ve pretty much decided that, if I ever stop working at my current school, my next career stop would be The Institute of Play.  How could a place with that name not be a fun place to work?  These are the people who brought us Gamestar Mechanic, Gamekit, and SimCityEdu (which I haven’t tried, yet, but really want to!)

One of the fun resources provided by Institute of Play that I just recently stumbled upon is called, “Everyone’s a Critic.” It’s a game designed to use at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (yet another reason for me to be jealous of New Yorkers!)  The free PDF of the game is available here.  Fortunately, you do not have to use the game at MOMA; any art museum would do.  Instructions are given for a 2-player game and for 3+. For the 2-player game, there is an Artist and a Critic.  The Artist chooses a work in the museum that represents a certain theme (known only to The Artist), and The Critic must try to figure out the theme by clues The Artist gives. For the multi-player game, there is one Critic, and the rest of the students are Artists.  The  Critic chooses a theme, revealing it to The Artists.  They must find a piece of art that reflects that theme, and convince The Critic that their choice is the best representation.

The PDF provides a page with suggested themes.  You could use that page or create your own that might be more suitable for the age group you work with.  Also, who says that you need to be at an art museum?  If you have prints in your classroom, you can set up your own museum where “Everyone’s a Critic!

What Could You Do with a 3Doodler?

Triplane created with 3Doodler featured on the 3Doodler blog

Triplane created with 3Doodler featured on the 3Doodler blog

Really, what can you not do with a 3Doodler?!!!  It’s Phun Phriday, and I am here to tell you that the 3Doodler is PHUN, PHUN, PHUN!!!!!!

I did a search of my blog posts to find out when I first wrote about this invention.  It was February of last year.  That was when I decided to back the Kickstarter for 3Doodler.  I have been waiting since February for this gadget to land in my mailbox.  (In all fairness, the Kickstarter site nailed the expected arrival date of December perfectly.)  Considering my husband and daughter told me that my one-word resolution for this year should be “patience,” I think waiting nearly 10 months to get a product this fun totally proves that I have no problem being patient.  Add on to that the time that I had to wait to use it once my daughter got a hold of it, and, well, I’m practically the patron saint of patience;)

The 3Doodler is basically a fat pen that allows you to make 3D creations limited only by your imagination – and patience.  You feed plastic in one end, push the buttons on the pen, and the heated plastic comes out the tip.  You can choose to make the plastic come out fast or slow.  There are tons of different colors of plastic, including neon and glow-in-the-dark.  The plastic cools and hardens very quickly once it comes out of the pen.

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3D printing is a big trend right now.  (See our Donors Choose project going on right now for a Makerbot printer.)  3Doodler has advantages over other 3D printers in the following categories:

  • Cost: At $99 for the pen plus 50 strands of plastic, the 3Doodler is way more affordable than regular 3D printers, which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
  • Time: Most current 3D printers take a long time, often hours, to print out even small creations.
  • Simplicity: Most 3D printers require some software knowledge so the user can program the design; 3Doodler requires absolutely no programming or computer knowledge.
  • Freedom:  Without hardware and software restrictions, new ideas can quickly be imagined and created.

Of course, there are some cons to the 3Doodler as well:

  • Heat: 3Doodler is recommend for ages 12+.  I am guessing this is due to the amount of heat generated to melt the plastic.  However, the only part that you need to be wary of is the very tip of the pen.  My daughter just turned 11, and I had no qualms about letting her use the pen with my supervision.
  • Precision: It takes some practice to make things look exactly the way you envision.  Even then, you will not have the machine-precise product that you would get from a standard 3D printer.
  • Planning: If you plan to use more than one color, think ahead.  Once you feed a plastic strand into the 3Doodler, you can back it out if some is still sticking out.  However, no matter what, some of that color will be left in the pen.  If you don’t want to waste a lot of plastic, you might want to get a sense of how much is still waiting inside so you can use it all.
  • Patience:  Yep, there’s that word again.  Since 3Doodler was a Kickstarter project, they are only shipping to backers right now.  According to the website, if you want one (and were not one of the original backers), you will need to wait until March of 2014 for delivery.

Personally, I think the pros far outweigh the cons.  I can’t make anything like the tri-plane at the top of this post, yet, but I’m just getting started!

If you decide to buy a 3Doodler, there are plenty of stencils and ideas to inspire you on the Community portion of the site.  And, here is a link to the FAQ section.

Let me know if you get one!

Everyartist Live!

Everyartist Live! is a project that is being hosted by the people at  I originally read about Everyartist Live! when Vicki Davis did an excellent post about it on her Cool Cat teacher blog.  Her post is quite thorough, so I would recommend that you read it to find out more about this upcoming event, scheduled for November 21st.

Those of you who participated in Dot Day or the Global Cardboard Challenge will probably find Everyartist Live! to be of particular interest.  According to the newsletter (which is a great read, by the way!), the purpose of the November 21st venture is the following: “Everyartist, at its core, seeks to unleash the creativity innate in every child. We are carrying out this mission by creating Everyartist Live! – a national, collaborative art event to engage a million elementary school children and create the largest art event in history. This event is a nationwide celebration of art and creativity. Overall, we are addressing the creativity crisis in our culture by building a tribe of parents, teachers and elementary school children, which fosters and celebrates creative thinking and art making. We want to help build the new generation of architects, creative thinkers, designers, engineers, innovators and scientists.”

I’m not sure what I’m getting into, but I signed myself up.  These people speak my language, and their cause is one that I am happy to promote.  I’m even adding it to my Engaging Events Calendar (on the right margin of this blog), so you know it must be important to me!