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Aurasma app connects parents to kids in the classroom
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

March 05. 2014 11:36AM
Parents who have tired of receiving the familiar answer of “nothing” when they ask their children what they learned in school today, now have another source to turn to.
A new app – Aurasma – is linking parents to their children’s classroom activities at Fred Assam Elementary, where the app was recently piloted and introduced to parents at parent-teacher conferences last month.

Brandon Valley Technology Integrationist Morgan Bobzien, who introduced the idea locally, said the app was an immediate hit with those who have smartphones and/or iPads.

“It’s great if you have the device already,” she said, noting it’s currently not available on Windows devices yet, but is coming.

Initially, the app was going to be tested on Adam Bobzien’s first grade class at Fred Assam Elementary. But when the fifth grade teaching staff there caught wind of the plan, they asked to be part of the test as well.

“I’m kind of her ‘guinea pig,’ ” said Adam Bobzien, Morgan’s husband. “If she comes up with something new, she asks if it’s something I think would benefit my class.”

Both of the Bobziens say the app was well received by the parents who tried it out.

“They thought it was very neat and were amazed with the technology,” Adam said.

Adds Morgan: “It’s something new and is a new way to connect with the kids.”

The app works with a simple photo of a child, for example, which Bobzien then links to a video taken of the child. Future videos can be accessed from the child’s same photo throughout the school year. After downloading the free Arusma app onto their device, parents simply have to scan their child’s photo (which Bobzien had made available at conferences), which links them to the video.

First grader Chloe Bills, 7, said she thought the app “was cool.”

And her parents, Bills said, felt the same way, as did 7-year-old James Rus and his parents.

“I never knew you could do that; it was pretty cool,” Rus said.

The videos messages made by the first graders were kept simple, Morgan Bobzien said. Most welcomed their parents to conferences and closed out with messages of “I love you’s” to their parents.

The fifth graders created a timeline of what they’ve done so far in the school year, and students talked about their favorite unit studied to date. The class Halloween party, science project and QR reading were among their mentions, according to fifth grade teacher Jon Peters.

Peters and FAE fifth grade teacher Noelle Sunne say they’re continually on the lookout for new endeavors for their students. “They’re best when they’re kept busy working,” Peters said.

“I thought it was interesting and I was eager to be a part of something new,” Sunne said. “When she was explaining it, it was over my head and hard to imagine without seeing it. But once I told the kids about it, we brainstormed on how to use it.”
Sunne said she may use the app in her daily lessons, too.

“I put a lot of articles on the Smartboard, and if they had that, the could have (access to) those without printing them,” she said.

Fifth graders Kennedy Neubel, 10, and Hunter Anderson, 11, coined the Arusma app as “cool.”

“My mom, she’s a teacher, and said it’s really cool, too, and a great way (for students) to tell (their parents) what they liked,” Neubel said.

“I’ve never seen something where you can scan a photo and it shows up as a video,” Anderson said. “I used it here and after that, my mom really liked it” (and put it to work for her own personal use).

Morgan Bobzien said she plans to introduce the Arusma app at the district’s other schools as well.

“We’re hopeful to do more,” she said.
Want to see what Hunter Anderson has to say?
Follow the directions below to use the Aurasma app:

• Download the Aurasma App on your Andriod or Apple device (it’s free!)

• Create a username and password.

• Use the search button to type and type in, BVChallenger

• Click on the picture of the water tower and click ‘Follow’ the channel.

• Tap the Photo Finder button and put Hunter’s picture in the middle.

• Wait for the purple swirls to appear.

•Watch Hunter’s interview!

Morgan Bobzien, technology integrationist for the Brandon Valley School District, scans a student photo into the Aurasma app, which links her smartphone to the student video and future videos of classroom activities in Adam Bobzien's first grade classroom at Fred assam Elementary. Photo by Jill Meier

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