AR/QR Story Touring the Human Skeleton

structure of bone

Touring The Skeletal System an AR Experience (Get out your Layar Reader and enjoy)

To take a tour of the human body we must meet the bones. The bones or what scientists would call the skeletal system are very important to the human body and the story that will be part of this tour. To move through the human body we must first learn our way around the skeleton. The skeleton provides support and protection for the human. Another term that scientists would want you to learn about the human skeleton and other mammals is endoskeleton. Endoskeleton is an internal scaffolding like the frame of a building or the Eiffel Tower. The human skeleton has 206 bones that we will have to maneuver around during our tour. It is divided into the axial skeleton that includes the skull, vertebrae, and ribs, and the appendicular skeleton the pelvis, legs, and arms. The other important functions of the human body that we will encounter include movement. As we move to the bones we will pass the muscles and their attachments to the bones. Because you see the skeletal system moves the body, but it cannot perform this task without the muscles and the nervous system. As we move into the bone we will discover red and yellow bone marrow. Red bone marrow’s job is to produce red blood cells, while yellow bone marrow stores minerals like calcium and phosphorus and lipids to be released into the blood when needed. Oh that sounds like a great way to get a ride to another system. How exciting this journey will be.

The Process: Or should I say trials and tribulations

After much frustration and trials I think I finally got my QR/AR story put together. To begin the story I placed the QR code that will take you to the image that I published on Layar. I almost gave up and I am still experimenting with how this whole thing will work. My story is a tour or adventure I guess through the skeletal system. I actually wanted to make it a tour through the human body, but I have only made it to the skeletal system. I could see this becoming a class project though. I think there are still many obstacles in front of me to make it work in my classroom since wireless access for non-school computers and mobile devices has been blocked of late.

As I sit and write this I have not yet tested my project access through the QR code. What I have done is put the image I used to create the AR part of this story on a Google Site I began for my classroom. The Google Site itself is not in use at this time, but it seemed that I needed to have a URL for my image so that it can be accessed by our cohort. What I hope will happen when I go and check it is that the QR code will take you to the image and the text related to the story. Once you have found the image it should work with the Layar reader app on either Android, iPad, or iPhone. I finally found an image that worked when tested. I believe my problem was that the first image I chose was not a good trigger image. When I found a more suitable image from my biology textbook the links worked.  The image of bone structure is linked to a video the skeleton anatomy dance, a webpage, Get Body Smart, and an image carousel. The only thing I did not do, and  that I think for my lesson or tutorial to be complete is to create a podcast mini lecture to add. So before going any further I will now try my links and come back to finish my blog post. So what I figured out was that to get to the Google Site where I placed the image I had to sign in to my school Google account, that will not work. Then the other thing I realized was if you open the image on the Google Site with your mobile device you will not be able to view it with the Layar reader something I just did not think about as I added the QR code. I did link a pdf with the image and text of the story, but this is still not going to help. Next step delete (or move) QR code and upload image itself on this blog.

Here is the QR code though at this point I don’t think it will be of any use to anyone but me or someone with a Bristol Bay Google account. I am not sure at this point if I even need the QR code anyway since I can put the image in the blog post. I thought from reading other posts that a QR code and pdf were a necessary element.


The QR code is actually unnecessary for my story to work here. If you have a Layar reader you can scan the picture and get the links I added to the image. I also tried the reader with students today using both the image on my laptop and in the book. Using the Layar reader with the book really brought home the meaning of augmented reality. I now understand how a real image in a book can changed to a virtual experience. This will be awesome to use with students. I could see adding images to Moodle from textbooks and having students use their mobile devices to get to materials that I have added to go along with readings. I hope that our school will eventually come around and allow students wireless access with BYOD. I am so glad I did not give up on using AR to create a story for this assignment. Until I actually created the trigger image and played with the Layar reader did I fully understand what augmented reality was. I understood that it was similar to QR code, but that more information could be layered with AR.

AR is so much more than QR code though. I can see using both AR and QR code in my classroom for lessons. I have students working on nutrients cycles in biology I was trying to talk my students into making a QR puzzle similar to what Larry did for our participatory story for their project Cycle On. I almost changed my story to a QR code puzzle for the nitrogen cycle, but I was able to find the right image and make my AR code work.

While I was trying to work out the kinks with Layar I went back to Aurasma and was able to get an account. Somehow I was able to get the account without the 24 hour waiting period. I was able to set up a username and password that I was immediately able to verify. I used my university email account for verification because for some reason verification emails do not get to my school email. I used an image in Aurasma, but I found that I could not link a YouTube video. I tried uploading a video from my laptop, but that did not work for me either. I wanted to use the video I found on YouTube so I decided to go back to Layar.  Since I spent so much time there trying to get my image to work I now know how to link virtual material. Aurasma allowed me to figure out that the first image I used in Layar was an unsuitable trigger.  I tried the image that was working in Aurasma in Layar and it worked. Aurasma seems more difficult to work with at least it has more steps in creating the aura. It will take me more time to learn Aurasma. Layar was more intuitive to create my story with once I had the right image. With the right image it was really quite easy to do the rest.

Augmented reality is defined as “the use of technology which allows the perception of the physical world to be enhanced or modified by computer-generated stimuli perceived with the aid of special equipment; reality as perceived in this way” (Zagami, 2011).  Graham (2010) discusses the use of AR on a college campus for orientation tours. Graham’s interests include using AR for experiencing history and landscapes. The point that struck me in this paper was that quizzes could be embedded into the links created from images on the campus. That would be another great way to engage students in assessment and the material. The potential for AR in education is tremendous. There are advancements being made by Google, Apple, and Microsoft in AR with glasses integrating the technology (Karlin, 2013). As this technology is growing and being perfected the possibilities of its use are endless. It can be used by artists, city developers, and educators. I am officially excited by what I have learned and was able to accomplish for this assignment. I have much more work to do, but I am game.

Graham, S. (2010, Nov 12). 7Scenes: Augmented reality authoring for digital storytelling [Web log message]. Retrieved March 27, 2013 from

Karlin, S. (2013, March). Augmented Reality for Public Spaces [Web log message]. Retrieved Mar 28, 2013, from

Postlethwait, John H., and Janet L. Hopson. Modern biology. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2006. Print.

Sadava, David E.. Life, the science of biology. 8th ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates ;, 2008. Print.

Zagami, J. (2011, Mar 19). Augmented reality and digital storytelling [Slideshare slides]. Retrieved March 28, 2013 from


About jdoster17

I am a teacher in bush Alaska. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Limnology and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida (UCF). My Master’s Thesis was Analysis of Reproductive and Spatial Nesting Patterns of a Wading Bird Colony at Gatorland, Orange County, Florida. This research was an integrated approach including reproductive ecology, ornithology, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, and statistics. I also attended the University of Memphis and earned 12 credits towards a Ph.D. in Biology. I will graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May, 2012 with a Masters in Education. I received my three year teaching certificate for the state of Alaska in October 2005 and my five year Professional certificate for the school year 2008/2009. I am highly qualified in accordance with NCLB to teach biology, chemistry and art through college credits and degrees. I have completed and passed PRAXIS II for Earth Science and Physical Science. At present I am highly qualified to teach art, biology, chemistry, earth science, life science, and physical science.
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7 Responses to AR/QR Story Touring the Human Skeleton

  1. Karina Selby says:

    You are right, the QR code takes me to a login screen for Bristol Bay. So, no dice there. However, I scanned your image with the Layar app and was able to see a video, an image and a link to a website. I did not use Layar for my project, but I like how it worked and the fact that I didn’t need a link to access your media, like you do in Aurasma. I LOVE the idea that you have for the human body. It has serious, awesome potential, providing all the pieces you mention all fall into place. You should not give up on it.

  2. jdoster17 says:

    Thanks Katrina I loved your version of AR too excellent idea. I will definitely keep working on this one. My students in anatomy and physiology have a final project that is a tour through the human body that is where I got the idea. Now they have seen my tour through the skeleton maybe I can get a group to go with it and complete the tour.

  3. Skip Via says:

    Ditto Karina’s comments about the QR code, but this is a great example of how you can use QR to get folks to a site from a print source. I’m glad you included it. Your project narrative is very informative, especially because you were able to work your way through just about aspect of both technologies as they are mentioned in this assignment.

    The Layar implementation is very effective, and your conversation here with Karina underscores the essential difference between Aurasma and Layar. Aurasma works very well for rich AR content from a static trigger image, but you have to be subscribed to the channel that contains the AR content in order to be able to access it. (That’s not entirely true. If you pay Aurasma $800 or more per year, you can create Super Auras that are available without subscription. But that’s beyond most non-commercial entities’ abilities to sustain.) Layar, on the other hand, does not require a subscription, but the AR content is more one-dimensional–that is, one element of AR content can’t trigger another one interactively. One cool thing about Layar is that is a very location-aware. If you run the app, it will tell you if there are any Layar hotspots near you. If you live in Fairbanks, there are some downtown on the painted steam pipes, for example. I think each app–Aurasma and Layar–has powerful potential for K12, so I really appreciate your contribution to the conversations about this topic.

    I also appreciate your suggestions about using AR in education. It strikes me that embedded quizzes would be exceptionally effective ways to engage students in that process.

  4. kristine rosevear says:

    I love your idea about the human body. I would like to see how it would all work together as a finished product. That is a huge undertaking and I’m impressed. I also agree that the QR is not necessary in this instance. You could just put your picture onto your blog and save the reader a step.

    One suggestion I have is to take your concluding paragraph and make it into an introduction. If I was not aware of what our assignment was I would be confused by the beginning of the paper. However, if the only people who will read this are people in our class then it is not a problem at all.

  5. Lynn says:

    Nice job on the layer pict! The video was fun and the links looked useful. Your QR code works, but your right, not useful for someone outside bristol bay. I can see using this in a college class easily. But, for high school or middle school, I think you would have to have dedicated iphone/ipod touch’s as a classroom set. But, I definitely like the idea of using this in the classroom.

  6. Kelly Gebauer says:

    Very interesting post and informative about the process you went through. I had no problem accessing your image with Layer. Nicely done. I found Layer to be easier to use right from the get go too and it was more at my skill level for this assignment I think. I like your ideas for incorporating it into the classroom. One day it would be nice if every classroom had tablets to create and access AR and QR content. Your conclusion was nicely done and shows your research and where AR is heading. Thanks for sharing.

    Technical APA stuff. References before your end of work citations. A mini introduction before diving into the information about bones would guide the reader into the post a bit more.

  7. Wow, that’s what I was searching for, whɑt a infߋrmation!
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