Augmented Reality – Don’t be bamboozled!

Hey are you looking to buy bridge? I mean who doesn’t need a bridge? I’ll sell it to you and you can charge a toll for all the cars, bikes and people that will cross it and before you know it, you’ll be swimming in money! So what do you say?

Apple is holding an event next week (September 15, 2020) where they will announce some new iPads and a new Apple Watch and augmented reality (AR) will be a big part of the event. If you’re not familiar augmented reality watch the video below (it’s a little annoying but short).

The Pitch (I mean) Promise

Apple (amongst others) has been trying to push AR onto us as the next big thing for a while. It was first brought up during the release of the iPhone 8 and 10 and while it is pretty neat to see a life size tiger in your living room and to have the ability to view furniture in your home before you purchase it, AR does not solve any problems.

Microsoft, makers of the HoloLens, have changed the focus of their device from an everyday, every person device; to a more industrial vision of a workers consulting with experts back in a home office who can see exactly what the employee sees and can interact through their display by overlaying instructions, schematics and directions onto their real world through AR. They focused the use of their product and found a place where it can be used.

So why bring this up?

These companies keep trying to sell AR as an idea and to show what it can do as opposed to showing what problems it can solve. They do this by having very flashy, professional examples of what it can do and the promise that developers can take it to the next level. They want you to buy and then find a place for it in your school or classroom.

The problem is this doesn’t solve anything. Computers in the classroom solves a problem. It gives students and teachers access to the Internet and tools with which to collaborate, create and organize their classwork, their curriculum and multiple ways to present said curriculum and work.

Projectors and displays in classrooms solve a problem. They allow teachers to present videos, documents and electronic examples of projects to an entire class so everyone can easily view that information. This is technology that solves a problem and has a purpose.

Now ask yourself, what problem does AR solve? What is its purpose?

Don’t worry if you can’t come up with big educational issues that AR addresses. You’re not alone. Check out this article from CNET: Apples AR Plans are becoming more of a reality by Ian Sherr.

Here is a professional tech journalist having difficulties to even guess what “reality” actually means with AR. What is its purpose and how can it fit into the everyday world. It still sounds like a hobby for some developers and not really a serious option for businesses, education or the everyday person.

This sounds familiar?

We heard the same thing with virtual reality. It was going to be the next big tech! It was going to transform how we:

  • Work
  • Shop
  • Collaborate
  • Game
  • Live
  • Etc

It didn’t really shake up the world like people had predicated. Outside of video games (most have not been very impressive) I don’t see people reaching for their VR goggles when something needs to be done.

Now you only see it for video games and simulations. It is a far cry from William Gibson’s Neuromancer novels. The first one is a really good read by the way.

Not useless though

I am not saying that this isn’t cool tech because it is pretty neat and I have seen it in use. Some of the more common examples are in the medical field where doctors can simulate operations or view scans and cross-sections of the body without actually having to physically lay their hands on a cadaver. I have also seen examples in industry. Where a technician could be teleconferencing with an expert back at an office going and working in tandem to solve a problem, install a product or troubleshoot issues.

Why the hate?

It’s not hate, its cautionary. Companies are going to try and sell this to you. When Apple takes the stage next week they want you to buy their products. I guarantee a “revolutionary” feature they are going to talk about is augmented reality. In reality, no one needs this.

If you are a bleeding edge educator and want to dive into the deep end with AR go right ahead. Just make sure that when you are promoted, leave for another job at another school, retire or change departments; that you have left enough documentation, projects, support and ideas for the next person to step in and take it over. If you don’t, it will wither on the vine and that investment right along with it.

Remember that it is just a sales pitched. I encourage you to spend your money elsewhere and continue to watch the space. It may develop into something more. Right now, in its current state, it’s not going to leave a dent in education.

Don’t be suckered.

Episode 125 – Virtual Reality Anyone?


This episode is all about virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality headsets and the impact we think it will have on education in general. Only one topic but a lot to talk about! Check out the talking points below.

As always subscribe to us on iTunes, follow us on Podomatic or subscribe to us with your favorite podcasting app.

All in one VR Headset PicoVR June2016:
a. Link:
c. Pico is owned by Chinese Company Goer Tek Inc – Manufacture for Oculus, PSVR, Samsung Gear VR.
d. What’s different? Controller holds the: cpu, ram, storage, battery. This means a light HMD
e. How does it compare? Lower resolution than Vive/Rift, 90hz refresh rate (same as Rift and Vive), Cardboard is 60hz.
f. Battery – 3 hours continuous
g. What else? Controllers – normal game pad and some that look very similar to PlayStation Move motion controller,
h. Running on Android – What about games? English/Chinese support. Only 3 to begin with from Audio Arena, EvilRobot Traffic Jam, WaddleHome – all editor picks on Oculus store.
i. Price? 3399RMB = 525USD or HMD only 300USD

The Untold Story of Magic Leap by Peter Yang of Wired
a. Link:
b. Watch the demo video –
d. Education is definitely a focus for them

You can download the MP3 file HERE!


iPhone App of the Week – Spacecraft 3D


There’s been a lot of excitement about Curiosity the Mars Rover and why not. I sometimes have trouble parking my car. The good people at NASA were able to park this Rover on Mars from over 160,000,000 miles! That’s impressive and the images so far are pretty cool too. I can’t wait to see what it finds. In the meantime this app will let you get up close and personal with the Curiosity using augmented reality. You need to download and print off a tag that your iOS device will interpret the tag as a rover. From here you can make it turn, have it’s arm move around. It’s kind of neat. Since it is augmented reality, the angle you hold your iDevice to the target will change your perspective. There is also information about the rover too. If you want your kids to have a front row seat in examining this awesome robot then this app is for you. You can download it here for free.

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iPhone App of the week – SkyView Free


SkyView Free is a great app for science teachers, science students and astronomy buffs alike! It uses augmented reality to give you an accurate placement of our celestial bodies, but it does so much more than that. It will also help you identify constellations, planets, the sun and moon’s path and you can even find the International Space Station. I’ve taken a few screen shots for your enjoyment. It is simply awesome and while there are others out there for a price, this is free and works incredibly well. Start making your star gazing plans today. You can find it here.

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