Augmented Reality Books Come to UTSA Libraries

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development's (COEHD) Office of Teacher Education Services and UTSA Libraries have teamed up to bring children's books to life through Augmented Reality.

"I think that these books give children another way to see books and information," said Rachel Cannady, COEHD resource librarian. "The books provide another avenue to get involved."

Augmented Reality (AR) is a type of interactive technology that overlays real world views with computer-generated images often through mobile apps. Currently, the UTSA Libraries has 25 books in both English and Spanish, and a periodic table of elements that, when used with the corresponding app, combines the story world with the real world.

"I believe that these books allow for different means of learning and interacting with that the students will see," said Cannady. "The books all read perfectly fine in and of themselves without the technology, but adding this technology literally makes the pages come alive."

The inspiration for these AR books stemmed from research that Ilna Colemere, instructional technology coordinator for COEHD, conducted on affordable virtual reality materials for teachers.

"In a classroom with limited access to technology devices, teachers can download the related AR app and use the SMARTBoard or Elmo to share the interactive story or chart," said Colemere. "They can also use their hand held device to share the AR experience in a small group setting. The AR capability immerses the students in text and images appearing to lift off the page in superimposed virtual interactive animation. The animated supporting elements of texture, movement and sound enhance the content of the story or the chart."

All of the books are available in the juvenile literature section and the periodic table is available in the curriculum materials section of the John Peace Library for current UTSA students and pre-service teachers to check out. The hope, Colemere said, is that these pre-service teachers will check out these books from the library to use in their field experience and clinical teaching classrooms.

"These books introduce clinical teachers to new technologies with the goal of making them aware of the possibilities," said Colemere. "They may or may not experience these new technologies during their field experience or clinical teaching. If that is the case, we are providing them with access to material that can enrich their classroom instruction and provide a springboard for their own creative and innovative instruction."

"We all want our pre-service teachers to be as prepared as they can be and be aware of as many tools as possible," added Cannady.

In the fall, the UTSA Libraries hopes to add more AR books on Ancient Egypt and Rome, with the goal to expand the collection.

"These books represent a strong relationship that the UTSA Libraries already has with the college, one that we are all committed to strengthening," said Cannady. "I see these books as a show of willingness of both the COEHD and the Libraries to adapt to the evolving culture outside our UTSA walls."

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

Jo Ann Jones


Learn more about the available AR books.

Learn more about the UTSA Office of Teacher Education Services' Instructional Technology Workshops.

This story originally appeared on UTSA Today