Snapchat Lens Studio: AR and the Classroom


Augmented Reality (AR) is the result of using tech to superimpose images, text and sounds on the world that we see. A great example of AR, that many of us will recognise because of its incredible impact back in 2016, is Pokémon GO.

Capture Pokémon in the real world with the apps AR camera

Capture Pokémon in the real world with the apps AR camera

AR is not to be confused with Virtual Reality (VR), which creates computer-generated environments for you to immerse yourself in. AR instead adds to the reality you are already in (i.e. the real world).

AR’s popularity today

While AR has been criticised for not having the same thrill-factor as VR, it’s prevalence in today’s tech society is large. In fact, most readers of this article are far more likely to have used AR at some point, perhaps without even realising it!

Snapchat, a highly popular ephemeral messaging app, highlights this perfectly. The use of face filters allows users to overlay responsive layers to their likeness. This has proven an incredibly popular feature for the app, and big tech giants like Facebook have taken notice and replicated for their platforms.

Snapchat’s popularity with teens today is impressive. In fact, 75% of teens use Snapchat; many citing filters as a key attraction. It is here that we see millions of videos showing teens adorned with flower crowns, or sporting giant bug eyes or fluffy dog ears.

More than one-in-three British 15-year-olds are “extreme internet users”, who spend at least six hours a day online. This can certainly be attributed to apps like Snapchat and Instagram, where our youth spend most of their day, scrolling through timelines and contributing to and watching stories.

AR In the classroom

How incredible would it be to take something this generation is so familiar with and incorporating it into a learning experience? No teenager today will have known a world where the internet or social media did not exist, and was not so easily accessible.

Imagine the face of one of your pupils if you were to say there is no available WiFi or signal! There would be pandemonium. 😉

Children and young people actively engage with social media and we need to support them to understand the risks of how they behave online.
— Denis Campbell, Health policy editor for The Guardian

Put simply, it is our responsibility as educators and adults to keep up with trends and learn how best to adapt to an exciting, innovative way of teaching, while also keeping the younger generation safe online. Tech, social media and challenges to traditional education models are all here to stay, so how can we change deep-seated mindsets in the classroom?

Snapchat Lens Studio

Lens Studio invites artists, students, developers, animators, and more to unleash their creativity. You could task pupils with creating their own filters and sharing it with their peers. Or how about creating a filter for an important school event such as a sports day? You can then encourage pupils and parents to share Snaps using your own branded filter, and personalise their experience with the school in mind.

Lens Studio is simple to operate and already includes a plethora of pre made templates to help you get started. Take a look at these amazing examples already contributed by the Snapchat community.

Ready to start planning your own Snapchat Lens? Here are a few features to consider:

  • you can add your school logo and adjust colours to match school brand

  • you can add text (depending on the filter or lens template) - great way to promote school motto, strapline or even a hashtag related to an event (e.g. #intSchoolsOpenDay)

  • you can paint the user’s face with your school’s branded colors and selected pattern

  • you can add a banner and even some audio

The end goal of the Lens Studio, and similar apps, is to create a memorable experience that translates to the real world. With a little trial and error you can innovate some fantastic on-brand content to share, or ask pupils to work creatively to tackle new, tech-led projects.

From social media filters, GPS routes, architecture, construction, and even surgical procedures, the possibilities of AR are endless. The AR industry is rapidly growing in popularity because it brings elements of a virtual world and a sense of magic into our real world; enhancing the things we see, hear and feel.

So why not try AR in the classroom and challenge your pupils to work creatively on something they are likely already natural digital experts on?!!