I’m a huge fan of Halloween, probably due to a somewhat unhealthy obsession with horror movies growing up! I also love bringing the spooky fun of Halloween into the classroom and have implemented a wide range of ghoulish activities over the years. One thing that we all associate with Halloween is masks and this is something that augmented reality can do very well. Indeed it was the Snapchat/Facebook live filter phenomenon that (along with Pokemon Go!) brought AR to the masses last year. So how could this be integrated in a classroom in a meaningful way?
Halloween is a great time of year to encourage and inspire creative writing – especially with boys who are perhaps more reluctant writers. Building a little AR into an English project could well boost creativity, engagement and give a deeper sense of purpose to a writing task. Students could use a spooky augmented reality mask to record a performance of a piece of writing like a ghost story or Halloween poem. Alternatively it could be a character description of a witch or other ghoulish creature or even a spooky news report of the season!
Whilst bringing social networks like Snapchat into the classroom could be like opening a can of worms, there are several standalone AR mask apps which are pretty child-friendly and also free.
Let’s take a look at five of the best choices:
Probably the most well-known app on the list and something I’ve written about in the past over on iPad Educators. MSQRD offers a great selection of really high-quality filters including an entire set of Halloween themed masks including a witch and a pumpkin face. They track really precisely and export images and videos directly to the camera roll automatically. Definitely still my personal favourite. I love the black and white skull mask filter!
Hot off the press this week is the latest AR colouring app from acclaimed developers Quiver. The hook with this new Quiver Masks app is that it incorporates facial tracking so once you have designed your mask and scanned it within the app, you can then wear your own creation in augmented reality. It’s a clever mashup of the traditional live filter app and the AR colouring concept. Well worth a look!
MRR MRR (aka Mirror Mirror) is a similar app to MSQRD with a good range of filters covering the usual assortment of animals, magical creatures as well as a few celebrities (you can even become Slash from Guns n Roses!) Whilst it does not offer the same variety of Halloween themed masks as MSQRD, it does have a suitably Gothic makeup filter which my kids both really liked playing around with.
With more than 30 filters to play around with, this is another free app that is worth a look. A lot of the masks have neat little animations built into them too which makes for some interesting video clips! When using the witch mask, you can tip your head and watch as the hat opens up and broomsticks fly out!
At first glance this app has a limit d choice but click the icon in the bottom right to access the full range of almost 150 filters! The tracking on these is not quite as precise as MSQRD but they do have a great morphing feature wherein one mask will become another when triggered by a certain action (usually opening your mouth.) So for example, the witch mask in YouCam Fun becomes a spooky pumpkin face.
To provide a little demo of these apps, my daughter recited a Halloween poem, using a different app for each line.
Take a look below and have a Happy Halloween!