The New York Times reported yesterday about a new search technology that integrates video with real world objects through smart phones. This trend of augmented reality, which blurs physical reality with the Internet, has become increasingly popular and has many possibilities for teaching and mobile learning. The latest development reported by the NYT stated that a user could capture an image with their smartphone, and that a new commercial "software makes it possible for the phone to recognize a database of about a half-million objects. It then uses the iPhone’s computing power to correctly insert a video image into the scene captured on the screen of the handset or tablet by its camera." I was immediately interested in the ability for a student to capture an object on their phone's camera, and the ability of the software to identify that object then draw from videos offering a sociological analysis of the object. For example, a student might capture a city scene that brings up an analysis of urban inequality, or they may capture a Wal-Mart logo which then brings up a sociological analysis of the company, sweatshops, labor struggles in its stores, or its effects on local communities.
The opportunities for augmented reality in teaching sociology are growing rapidly. For example, in my Social Problems class, I am now teaching a section on problems of consumption. Having introduced my students to the social and ecological effects of consumption, including their ecological footprints, I have encouraged my students to download an iPhone app from the GoodGuide that allows them to scan a barcode and the app reports scores for that product's social, environmental, and health impacts. In light of class readings, students can then think about how the production processes of what they consume relate to social problems we have discussed throughout the course. We then talk about consumption alternatives (e.g. Fair Trade), watch a video on Fair Trade, and discuss the role consumer activism and politics in addressing social and economic problems. In a personal conversation with Kevin Danaher at Global Exchange, he promoted the idea that scanning a barcode could even bring up a video showing the actual producer and process of creating that product. Why not go a step further and allow students to scan a barcode, which automatically brings up a video that offers a sociological analysis of that commodity or industry by using sociological theories and concepts, or a video describing a related social movement to teach social movement concepts? The technologies to make this happen are advancing very rapidly and it seems reasonable to begin working on a system to better integrate teaching sociology within them. In fact, the software producer, Autonomy, "intends to offer a free software module that will allow developers to build their own application." Is this possible? Would you use a technology like this in your courses?
Interested in Augmented Reality? Be sure to drop into the Theorizing the Web Conference tomorrow at UMD!
1/16/2023 12:14:16 am
Overall, new technology like augmented reality and possibilities for affiliates to flourish make the future of affiliate marketing look promising. Affiliates will need to adapt and stay current on industry advances to stay competitive, though it will also present problems. The following are some important lessons for affiliates to remember:
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