Mobile Storytelling In
Augmented Reality Environments

Module Description

We live in a culture with an unprecedented capacity to merge the physical and the digital, transforming our relationships to objects and our environment through the addition of computer-generated information to create interactive narratives and spatialized storyworlds in the emerging field of augmented reality. Augmented reality experiences are created by registering virtual images in real-time to the physical world and are typically viewed via head-mounted displays or mobile phones. But what constitutes a successful, compelling and emotionally rich experience in such environments?

This module provides an introduction to mobile AR technology, including wearable displays and computing hardware, registration, user interaction, tools for creators, and collaboration, grounded in a larger discussion of mobile storytelling.

Module Level: Introductory - requires no prior knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • prototype a mobile augmented reality experience, and understand the steps that would be involved in - ----creating a full-fledged experience;
  • develop an understanding of spatial storytelling techniques for the construction of compelling and --emotionally rich mobile narratives;
  • demonstrate critical writing skills and imaginative capacity.
Suggested Learning Activities and Assignments

Through a series of short interviews with experts, combined with hands-on demonstration videos, students are introduced to examples of mobile AR storytelling and techniques. They are asked to imagine their own mobile augmented reality storytelling experience, prototype it on paper, and reflect critically on what it means to augment or mediate the physical world with digital information.

Prototype: Drawing on concepts from the module videos and online resources, students use existing tools for AR creation to craft a mobile storytelling experience on paper or a digital map, using their own or found digital artifacts.

Critical Reflection: Students prepare a written or multi-modal reflection on the strengths and limitations of existing AR stories, tools, viewing situations and techniques.

Futurist Exercise (pass/fail): Students are asked to look beyond current hardware/software configurations to imagine mobile AR storytelling of the future. What if one could throw away the clunky head mounted displays and forget for a moment, the dangers of walking through the urban landscape holding out an iPad. What would we create?


Dr. Caitlin Fisher (York University) directs the Augmented Reality Lab and held a Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture for the past decade. A 2013 Fulbright Chair, Caitlin is the recipient of many international awards for digital storytelling. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Electronic Literature Organization, and the Humanities Arts Science Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). Caitlin’s current research explores new literary forms in mobile augmented reality. Caitlin is also a co-founder of Futurestories Press, publishing works in both augmented and virtual reality.