AR courtroom

Using Augmented Reality to Learn About Government

Have you ever taken a class on a field trip and had difficulty getting them to a) focus and b) learn? Why not consider having them document the experience by constructing an Augmented Reality (AR) display? For example, if your U.S. Government class is going to take a field trip to a courthouse, an AR display could provide useful annotations of the location and of the court’s procedures — information that they may even be able to make available to the world as a public service.

This post provides a quick overview of some of the things to consider when planning an AR project.

First, consider your data generation tools. It is likely that you and your students all have smartphones capable of recording the data, but make sure at least one person has one, and the permission to use it. It is a good idea to contact the court (or other venue) ahead of time, because there may be restrictions on what you can do for security reasons.

Second, investigate court procedures with the class. WorldView Software’s “U.S. Government” has an entire chapter on the judiciary which your students can mine for information about the purpose of the judicial system in the United States, who’s who in the courtroom, and the process of a trial. Figure out what data you will want to generate, such as locations (with GPS mapping), directions for observers or participants, and images of locations and objects.

To put all your content together and into an accessible form, you will need the right developer tools. There are many different ways to create AR content, but if you’re not familiar with computer programming, you might want to start with something like, which doesn’t require any programming knowledge at all. Enter your information and images into the program, and voila! you have augmented reality (it will be visible using an app like Layar). Furthermore, by making the project publicly available, you and your students can assist in the democratization both of public space and of computer-mediated reality.

BulbgraphOnOffClicking on an image in the overview brings up a larger image plus caption and credit information.

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Dr. Annelies Kamran is V.P. for Content and Product Development at WorldView Software, Inc.

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