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Blog: education

Turning Books Into an Ongoing Interactive Experience

Chris Cameron September 2, 2013

O13

Over the course of World War II, the Dutch Navy lost seven submarines – six of which disappeared in unknown locations. Since then, five have been recovered, and the search for the final submarine, designated O13, is the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Wilco Pleging.

To accompany the documentary, a book has been published containing stories, documents, drawings, photographs and more. But this book, O13: Still On Patrol, is unlike any other. The pages have been made interactive with the Layar Creator and the publisher plans to regularly update the content with new information.

Right now, book readers can scan the book with Layar for access to copies of the original construction plans of the O13, new photos from the search for the ship and more. Each week for the next few months, readers can enjoy more new extra digital content by scanning pages with the Layar App.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen publishers enhancing books with Layar, but the regular updates are unique in this case. This is a great way to bring more interactivity to books. By being promised more content each week, readers will be eager to pick up the book again and again.

See more great examples of how Layar can bring print to life on our new Inspiration page!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/508

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Get Free Creator Pages with Layar Sponsored Pages

Chris Cameron November 16, 2012

Introducing our first Sponsored Project: Inside Confucius

If you’ve followed Layar over the years then you know that we have a long record of promoting artistic and educational content on our platform. Dozens of layers have been published over the years for various purposes, including museum exhibitions and the products of augmented reality design classes.

We’re big supporters of using technology - especially augmented reality - to forge new frontiers for improving education, culture and society, but not everyone has the resources to bring great ideas to life. We want to make sure that ideas conceived around augmented reality and interactive print have a chance to become a reality, so today we’re introducing Layar Sponsored Pages.

Layar Sponsored Pages makes it easy for artists, students, teachers, charities and other groups and individuals to apply for free Layar Creator pages. To get things started, we’re also introducing our first sponsored project: Inside Confucius from Western iMedia at Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism and Broadcasting.

Western iMedia has launched a Kickstarter project to help fund the group’s goal of creating an innovative editorial study of the Confucius Institute, a worldwide cultural program run by the Chinese government. Layar has sponsored the project with not only free Layar Creator pages, but also with $2,000 in rewards for Kickstarter donors.

Kerry Northrup, Director of Western iMedia, has been interested in using augmented reality as a journalistic tool, and had students test and research the best platform.

 

“They researched and tested out a few augmented reality service providers and none seemed to work as they had hoped. Kerry came across some of Layar’s work this past summer and it seemed bullet proof to him,” says Western iMedia’s Mckenzi Loid. “It was easy to use and it seemed to be a perfect fit for our project.”

The group then produced a trial project to see how the use of augmented reality might change their content and workflow. “Through that trial project, we were certain that Layar was a great provider to work with as journalists and we could be confident using it for our Confucius Institute project,” says Loid.

The Western iMedia project is indeed a unique one, touching on both the educational and cultural aspects of what we look for in Layar Sponsored Pages applicants. If you want to apply for free Layar Creator pages, visit the Layar Sponsored Pages information page and fill out the application form!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/437

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Bruce Sterling Drops by Layar HQ, Imparts Wisdom

Chris Cameron April 27, 2011

Today at Layar HQ in Amsterdam we had a special treat as sci-fi writer, futurist and all-around AR guru Bruce Sterling graced us with his presence and wisdom. 

As Bruce says, a healthy part of the growth of any important industry is the proliferation of education on the subject. Bruce will soon be teaching a class in augmented reality, which we think is a great step towards to the popularization of the technology. 

Bruce reminds us that today, it is very common to see courses, majors and professors focused around newer subjects like video games - so why not get the ball rolling on AR education?

We also bestowed upon Mr. Sterling the noble title of Guardian Seer of Augmented Reality, and presented him with a fancy trophy. 

 To hear more about the class and Bruce’s thoughts on the current state of the industry, check out the video below!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/269

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Layar Co-founder Claire Boonstra and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Debate on the Renewal of the Educational System

Claire Boonstra April 13, 2011

You don’t get to stand next to your Prime Minister every day - let alone be able to debate with him in front of 300 fellow entrepreneurs in a majestic theatre.

Last Wednesday, I had the chance to do so during the ‘Meet the Government’ event in the Royal Theatre in The Hague. The event was organized by the leading Dutch business media: FD (the Dutch Financial Times) and BNR (Business News Radio). You can see a photo slideshow of the event here.

Dutch entrepreneurs, ranging from freelancers and directors of small businesses to CEO’s of some of the biggest Dutch companies (such as Stork and Randstad), were able to discuss and debate with our Prime Minister Mark Rutte. After his speech (which can be read here, in Dutch), four entrepreneurs in two teams were asked to debate with the PM on one of the two given themes of the night:

1) The Netherlands needs to attract more foreign talents and businesses 2) The Netherlands needs to ensure it better develops its own talents

I was debating on the last theme. During the introduction by the facilitator, the audience was asked if they knew about Augmented Reality. Mark Rutte immediately showed he knew perfectly well what Layar was by holding up his hands as if he was looking through his mobile, and said he really liked the technology. Now that’s a good start!

Here’s a summary in English of my speech (originally in Dutch):
“In the less than two years of the existence of our company, the context in which we operate has changed tremendously. We are continuously re-inventing ourselves - what we introduced less than a year ago is already completely outdated.

But not only my reality is changing. As we know from recent history, technical innovations which have a large impact on the way we interact, live, consume and produce are coming at us at an ever increasing speed. This change is a given.

But as human beings are not all by nature capable of coping with rapid changes - and the systems and processes we create usually aren’t either, these are big challenges our modern society is facing.

As this is a very broad theme and I have only 3 minutes, I will focus on one aspect: Knowledge.

There is a lot to do about knowledge, and the ‘Knowledge Economy’ [Kenniseconomie]. But in a world where knowledge is being transported to and shared with the other side of the globe in less than seconds, and is outdated the moment it has been invented, I dare to say that the term “Knowledge Economy” should be replaced.

Having or consuming knowledge is not of much value. Value and a leading position can be achieved in an environment where new and unique knowledge can be created, shared, built upon and applied. So it’s all about Thought Leadership and Innovation.

How can we optimize the creation, sharing, evolution and application of unique knowledge?

Unique knowledge is being created by unique people with unique talents. However, in our Dutch culture where ‘please act normal - that’s already crazy enough’ [Doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg] is deep in our genes, this is easier said than done. We tend to spend a lot of energy on behaving to ‘the norm’. Look around you - also here today, everybody is wearing dark grey suits. Even I put on my black dress. The only things that distinguishes me from you are perhaps my high heels and my big pregnant tummy.

And regarding knowledge sharing. Our current educational systems are set up in a very traditional way: the teacher teaches and the pupil or student listens. Knowledge is being transferred and being tested in exams. When you are able to reproduce the knowledge, you get high marks and eventually your diploma.

But where does this system leave us when knowledge is outdated almost the moment it is being transferred? Why don’t we put students in the place of the teachers at school - and let everybody discuss and build upon the lecture material? Great new insights can be created!

Now I’d like to come to my two pieces of advice to our Prime Minister, as stated on the screen.

1) Learn how to speak in public. It is still possible to graduate from University, without having been trained in any public speaking. Super-smart students who get a 9 at their final exam but who are not even capable of bringing their message across verbally, in a human-to-human interaction, are pretty useless to society. Usually at international conferences, the Dutch are pretty much blown away by Americans with their speaking skills. Everybody, from primary school until university and beyond, should be stimulated to sharing thoughts, and develop both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

2) Embrace unique talents We should emphasize much more on what is unique and different and embrace these - instead of (and now I am looking especially at you, media and journalists!) criticizing, just for the sake of being critical. When our company had raised 10 million EUR in funding and we already had 40 employees, a not-to-be-named leading Dutch newspaper was referring to us as ‘The little Amsterdam software company’ [softwarebedrijfje] and ‘Boonstra’s little company…’.

I am rushing to say that this complaint is not about us, but in general about the ‘Calimero-thinking’ in Dutch media. ‘If it is from Holland it can’t be big’.

Show that it pays off to be unique! Put unique people in the spotlights and serve them as great examples for others to be inspired by.

Thank you very much!”
Here’s the radio version of the speech (in Dutch). You can also listen to the entire event on April 9 via livestreaming on BNR, starting at 8h35 (my speech starts at 10h04).

The speech was well received. Mr Rutte came to stand next to me and complimented me on the story. He acknowledges the need for better speaking skills: “… also our government would benefit from better speaking skills ….” :-)

Passionate Prime Minister Mark Rutte is remarkably passionate and energetic. He fully stands on the side of entrepreneurs. He even gave his cell phone number to some - emphasizing his personal commitment to entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, saying “Just call me if there is a problem I can personally help you with.”

Events like this always help me with the de-mystification of world leaders. They are tied with all hands to their context - coalition partners, social and cultural context, established systems and customs, etc. It is always so easy to complain from the sidelines and to know better. The best thing we can do, in my opinion, is to set a good example ourselves and show the world how things should be done.
Only scratching the surface of the subject Given the length of my speech and the audience, I couldn’t go very deep into the subject of education renewal. It is a subject which really resonates with me and my fellow Layar founders. We are very much inspired by this presentation on Social Learning by Tribal Cafe:
Social Learning
View more presentations from TribalCafe
All in all, it was a great experience. The big changes in society keep us busy every day. They influence us, and we want to pay a positive contribution to it - as a company, with our products and personally. In all these aspects, we’re only getting started…

Claire Boonstra Layar co-founder

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/262

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Students Explore Their City with Expedition Deventer

Chris Cameron December 16, 2010

Yesterday we told you about an interactive scavenger hunt going on in Dublin, Ireland that is using Layar to help players find treasures and win prizes. These types of hunts fit nicely into the realm of Augmented Reality whether the players are searching for digital tokens or for actual educational information.



“Expeditie Deventer” (Expedition Deventer) is an interesting new project that uses Layar to focus on the latter of these two examples - helping people, namely high school students, learn more about the city of Deventer. The game was commissioned by the Public Library Deventer to teach students about the past, present and future of the city and to establish the library as the city’s information center.



The game is played by a group of students split into two teams - one which stays inside at the library and another which roams the streets of Deventer hunting down clues. The students use Layar on their smartphones to complete tasks, earn points, communicate and - most importantly - discover the city in a new way.



3D objects, images and videos can be found in various places throughout the city to help the students solve the questions and assignments. The inside team takes the clues discovered outside and researches them at the library using the Internet or other library resources.



The Expeditie Deventer project was recently awarded the prize for best online education application at the 2010 Dutch Digitaal Erfgoed (Digital Heritage) conference - a testament to the educational value that can be produced through Augmented Reality. Layar is a powerful platform for creating unique educational experiences, and its accessibility on smartphones adds an extra level of appeal to the youth in this case.



To learn more about Expeditie Deventer, check out the project’s homepage, the case study by developers Fabrique and watch the video below!





Layer: Expeditie Deventer
Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
Required: iPhone or Android device
More info: Expeditie Deventer Homepage
Developer: Fabrique

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/215

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