Deerpark Middle School seventh-grade language arts students transported themselves to the time and place of the coming-of-age novel The Outsiders, written by S. E. Hinton, published in 1967.

In preparation to read the book, students used iPads to launch Aurasma virtual experiences. The auras immerse the student in the sights and sounds of cultural America in the 1960s, the decade in which the story takes place.

“There are a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the students,” Lott said. “Students describe their virtual encounters as something similar to Harry Potter, where the pictures are still and then come to life. The Outsiders is a memorable story and when the students see images from the decade come to life it makes for an enriching experience.”

Students launched auras that exhibited the decades’ culture-changing music from the The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson; movies featuring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason and shows from the era’s most cultural changing technology — the television.  Further interactive visual encounters included advertisements, news clippings and images of everyday life.

“Going back to the ‘60s is really cool,” Deerpark seventh-grade student Rodney Jones, Jr. said. “Reading the book will be pretty fun now that I feel like I’ve seen the world going on around the characters.”

Various other decade inspiring activities involve the use of technology including a green screen, tablets, laptops and a touch screen panel.

Deerpark seventh-grade student Eric Garcia said he’s a really big fan of the 1960s and that being able to experience some of it in 3D helps him understand how the decade inspired the book.

“When kids have new or different ideas it can sometimes make you feel like an outsider,” Eric said.