AR for Student Presentations—And Why You’d Want To
I’ll admit that, even as a teacher, I wasn’t a fan of student presentation days. I wanted to help my students develop their public speaking skills, but sometimes it almost seemed like they were trying to work against me. For every student who gave an engaging presentation, there was another that seemed like they couldn’t care less.
And I get it—a lot of students are nervous to speak, and it’s easier to just play it safe and read from an index card. But what if there were an easy to way automatically increase student engagement for presentations and help your shy speakers build their confidence?
If you use it correctly, augmented reality helps you accomplish just that.
There are a couple of different ways to utilize augmented reality for public speaking, but the most common is to use AR overlay apps.
Using an app like HP Reveal (previously Aurasma), your kids can create a recording of their presentations and then “attach” them to a “trigger” of their choice. The trigger or anchor object can be anything: a printed piece of paper, a tangible visual aid, even an image on a PowerPoint. When the trigger is scanned with the HP Reveal app, their video overlay will appear on your phone’s screen.
Check out this HP Reveal tutorial to learn how to use the app. The learning curve is small, and most students become experts in the app in no time. To get started, you and your students will just need smartphones or tablets compatible with the app. (If your students don’t have cell phones, we have a few ideas to help you stock a classroom set of phones or tablets for free!)
AR is great for nervous speakers
My college roommate took a course called “Public Speaking for High Anxiety Speakers” to fulfill her communications credit. It was the perfect fit for students who get unduly nervous when they have to give a speech. They started with smaller assignments, made sure to create a comfortable atmosphere, and gradually worked up to full speeches and presentations.
Whether you teach third-graders or college students, you probably have a few high-anxiety speakers in your own classroom. And you probably wish you could do a bit more to help them. Unfortunately, an entire class for nervous speakers isn’t feasible for most schools, but there are things that you can do the help.
Enter augmented reality.
Students are less likely to be nervous when they don’t actually have to stand in front of their peers. With an app like HP Reveal, they’ll still get a chance to practice their speaking and speech-writing skills, but the actual “performance” will happen in a low-stakes environment.
Augmented reality presentations let you mimic the gradual buildup from the high-anxiety speakers class without hindering more confident speakers in the process.
- You can start with full AR presentations to get your students used to the platform and comfortable “presenting.”
- Then, for your next presentation, take a hybrid approach. Have students give their introductions in front of the classroom and save the rest for their AR overlays.
- To make it even more fun, have students approach this introduction like a pitch! Their goal is to have as many of their classmates as possible choose to listen to their presentation. (If you have a lot of less confident speakers, though, this kind of competition may be counterproductive.)
- From there, gradually increase the time students spend in front of the class until they are making full presentations face-to-face.
Even students who aren’t nervous speakers benefit from this process. Before they ever have to present face-to-face, you’ll be able to offer feedback on their presentations skills to help them improve.
Presentations get way more exciting
Both as a teacher and as a student, I sat through a lot of boring student presentations. And you probably have too. It’s not that students lack the ability to be engaging, dynamic speakers. It’s that they’re too worried about what their peers think to take risks…or they’re simply bored by the subject matter.
AR-enhanced presentations help mitigate both issues. Again, students are more likely to take risks in video overlays than they are in front of twenty-plus classmates. This means that they’re more likely to drop the security blankets of reading from a script or keeping their eyes to the floor. And with praise and constructive feedback, you can help them continue to break those habits as they transition to traditional presentations.
And no matter the subject matter, there’s no denying that student engagement increases when kids get to be creative and explore new tools like AR. They might not develop a sudden passion for history or geometry, but most will enjoy creating cool trigger objects and interactive overlays.
Students will also be way more engaged in others’ presentations. Few things feel worse than speaking to a crowd that looks like they’d rather be anywhere else. And after ten traditional PowerPoint presentations in a row, even the kindest students tend to zone out. With augmented reality presentations, however, kids will be moving around the classroom and interacting with presentations rather than sitting in their desks as a passive listener.
Augmented reality presentation can save valuable class time
We all want to help our kids become better public speakers. No matter what we taught, most of my colleagues and I tried to work in one or two presentations per semester. But presentations can take up so much class time—especially for major projects. With class sizes these days, you can easily a full week or more of instruction time.
Augmented reality presentations can prevent that. If you’re crunched for time, you can give your students the option to listen to a few presentations instead of all of them.
Set up your students’ visual aids/trigger objects around the room like a museum-style display. Then, let them choose which ones sound the most interesting to them or assign them a few to make sure everyone’s presentation gets watched a few times. If you’re doing hybrid presentations, you can let students present introductions and main points in front of the class and save the details for their AR overlays that you’ll watch outside of class.
And with AR, you won’t have to use your computer’s memory to save huge video files. As long as you have the trigger object (which can be as simple as a piece of paper), you’ll always be able to access the video.
I might have dreaded presentation days a little less if I’d known about AR-enhanced presentations. From my nervous kids to my bored kids and everything in between, I know that augmented reality would have helped them have more fun with presentations and take ownership of their projects.
Give it a try for your next project and see how it transforms your students’ presentations! We’d love to hear how it goes in the comments below!
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Thanks so much for the article. I’m currently creating a life skills workshop aimed at troubled teenagers and young men (ages 14 to 22) specifically for the prison system and youth authority. I don’t have issues w my public speaking, but getting and keeping the attentions of the group is a big concern of mine. I just wanted to say thanks and let you know that your ideas are helping push other boundaries as well. Up until today, AR wasnt on the list of possible solutions. I’m an old dog, thanks for the new trick.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions that you think may be relevant to my efforts, I’d be grateful for any tips or advice. My email. Is vanzzant@ gmail.com. and thanks again.