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Aurasma: A Game Changer in the Elementary Classroom Part 2

Mustache Maker File for Blog
Aurasma iconAurasma in my classroom perfectly demonstrates what my students are mastering at their own pace, but it’s more than that: it’s a game changer.

Aurasma is a great way to bring to life student performances as well as student-created tutorials. I created Auras at the beginning of the year to introduce my students to famous, gifted musicians and performers; you can read about that project here.  Five months later, I have found a way to use Aurasma to simultaneously challenge my advanced students, help my struggling students, and creatively showcase their progress. I want to tell you how I am presently using  Aurasma in my classroom and how it has changed my teaching.

Flipped: Students work from home

From home, my 4th grade recorder students have been emailing me videos of recorder pieces they are trying to pass off in the Recorder Karate unit of study. The ability to interact with my students is possible because of the technology available in their home and because of  recorderkids.wikispaces.com that I created for my students. This flipping of the music class has opened a door to an entirely new level of learning.

Individual Attention given to each student

When I receive the emails, I listen and respond back that they have either passed the belt or I attach a “Recorder Repair” video to help fix a problem they are having with the piece. This running dialogue between teacher and student has completely changed the learning process AND the dynamics in my classroom. I want to shout it from the mountain top with my loudest voice, “What is happening in my music classroom is SO Flipping Amazing!” My students are totally engaged and for the first time, I have (at the time of this blog post) 27 out of 80 students already on Black belt.  I needed a creative way to connect the videos with the children and a way to match their hard work with a bit of fame: Aurasma!

REcorder Karate Wall of Fame March 2014

Aurasma: A Game Changer

The  images on the Wall of Fame “Trigger” the playing of  a recorder video. What is so game-changing about using Aurasma in such a display as this, is how the iPad or smart phone can pass over each picture and almost instantly one can hear and see the student playing. This “slick” feature happens because the video or “Overlay” is stored in the cloud (my Dropbox) and it just plays. Unlike a QR code link, there is no load time with Aurasma. The recorder video magically appears in the air.  oooh -ahhh!

Take a peek

Every one of these Aurasma auras display the learning that is going on at home. How amazing it is to watch the children working in their own environment. Some children are in their school clothes and film right when they get home, while others are in their pj’s working late into the evening.  Some film from the bathrooms – complete with fogged up iPads, while others film from inside the car (I hope they weren’t sent to the sound proof car to practice!). Some film on the back porch, and others film in the kitchen with siblings all around.  How cool is that? While it is exciting to see the ease with which the gifted students excel, the most deep-in-my-heart touching thing to see is the tenacity of  those who really struggle with reading notes and making fingers move. Through each video, I can peek in and see their determination and pride when the belt is earned. What a privilege! As an end of the year gift, I’m going to create an Aurasma aura that starts with the student’s first belt level and fades into their highest level performance. That will be a nice treasure to share with family and friends, don’t you think?!


The Aurasma Wall of Fame has been such a motivating part of this unit of study. When my students walk into the music room, they can’t wait to make sure that I’ve linked their latest and greatest performances. Yes, they receive belts and beads for each required piece, but the motivation is also intrinsic and refreshing.

Try it yourself

If you want to experience Aurasma, scan the QR code to download and/or join my channel: Hammond School. Once you “follow” my channel, you can scan any image and instantly view the Aura.  Try it on these images:

QR for Aurasma Channel

Aurasma kids with dog

Simple Aurasma Tutorial

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is an art to creating really good trigger images. Here is a free download of the Mustache Maker file  if you are interested in creating a similar board using SMART Notebook software.  To support the mustache/recorder karate theme, I’ve created a simple tutorial for creating Aurasma auras. If you want further details, look here or  here.

 “Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.” – Anatole France

Flipping the music class, having an encouraging dialogue with each of my students via email, and creatively displaying their hard work with Aurasma, has turned a simple recorder unit into a student-led musical odyssey. How about you? Have you found a creative way to use Aurasma in your classroom yet?

Tell us about it!

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Cherie Herring

Music/Technology Integration at Hammond School
I teach elementary music, am passionate about integrating technology into my teaching, am obsessed with my SMARTBoard and iPad, and enjoy creating lessons and sharing ideas. I love technology almost as much as I love cheesecake, and with more energy and ideas than I know what to do with, I can't wait for the sun to come up each morning! I'm wife to Prince Charming and mom to three incredible girls who keep me balanced. . . sort of!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Amy July 22, 2016, 5:53 PM

    Thank you for these posts. I have been using Canva quite a bit lately. Do you think that would work for fixing up the kids pictures?

    • Cherie Herring August 3, 2016, 2:28 PM

      Hi Amy,
      I used SMART notebook software to do mine, but Canva will also work just as well. The thing is, you have to make each picture unique and that means adding borders and such to the child’s picture. You have to play with it a little to find a way tomake each image readable by Aurasma. Some children look similar enough that they pop up on each other’s image. Adding just a few unique things to the picture usually solves that problem. Aurasma has made a few updates and I’ve found it is much easier to use lately. Thanks for the question. I’ve been away for a while so I’m slow in responding. please forgive me! We are back in town now and if I can help you with this project, please let me know.


  • Annabel Hasty August 22, 2016, 9:47 PM

    Thank you so much for the amazing ideas with Aurasma. I just checked it out for the first time this weekend and now I have changed my entire classroom into interactive bulletin boards! I have one for Afro Cuban music with each of the instruments coming to life. And I’m making another for each of the students progress on their violins. Thanks so much!

    • Cherie Herring October 26, 2016, 10:51 PM

      Great news, Annabel! Hey, send me a picture of your room. I’d love to see what you’ve created. Isn’t Aurasma wonderful!!!

  • Carla Jones June 14, 2017, 1:45 PM

    I ran across a lesson you posted in how you use Aurasma with recorders. I wanted to say thank you to inspiring me! I wrote a grant using Aurasma as my technology piece with art and music tied in! The results were astounding! I wish I could send you the picture of the finished product! Keep being amazing!

    • Cherie Herring June 22, 2017, 11:12 PM

      Oh, thank you sweet Carla for the kind words. I’m super happy that you took the plunge with Aurasma. It’s a ton of work, but so worth it. I’m working on several new Aurasma activities for the new year and can wait to see the eyes of my students light up with excitement. Thanks again for sharing the good news. – Cherie

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