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How can Augmented Reality Benefit Education and Learning as a whole?

Darshan Patel, @Drsan_Patel
12.23.16
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Educators and teachers worldwide are aware of the fact that learning gets better and more effective with creative output and interactions. Just reading and listening of classroom lectures is not enough to make a deeper impression and boost creative scope. Well, thanks to the emerging world of Augmented Reality technology comprising mobile apps, devices, tools and environments that enhance the real life perception of things and phenomena with digital interference, the education, and learning is now going to experience a new edge.

How augmented reality (AR) positively affects education?

Augmented reality (AR) refers to the digitally enhanced perception of the outside worlds, things, and phenomena. Now, it has evolved as one of the widely adopted technologies across the sectors, most notably education and learning. Students while learning a phenomenon or when knowing about a particular thing just can interact with a 3D image, get involved with forms, objects, and environments in a digital interface much in the same way they interact with the world outside. For example, while reading a text, a 3D video content can be shown in their handheld device depicting the way class teacher explained certain solutions to a problem. Well, there are too many AR apps and tools that changed the learning and training in many ways.

To see how augmented reality (AR) works as a valuable technology in different capacities, let us focus on the AR apps for education, AR games to add value to learning process, latest AR devices and a few AR environments and tools that seem promising to transform the education.

Augmented reality vs. traditional education

Well, how augmented reality helps in allowing our learners learn faster, better and in livelier ways is already clear to us. But does this make traditional classroom-based education already bleak? To be precise, as AR based education will be more accessible to learners and educators across the world, traditional classrooms will incorporate these innovative digital interfaces and educational contents into modern education. It is not very far when the so-called distinction between AR based learning modules and traditional educational environments will be blurred.

AR apps

There is a gamut of AR apps that increasingly blurring the division between digital interfaces and reality and in effect, they are adding immense value to the learning process. Here we have picked up some of the most well known and well appreciated AR apps for learning and education in various environments.

  • Homework Mini-Lessons: This is a simple and valuable AR app that allows students watching a video of the teacher engaged in solving a problem while reading or scanning the homework pages.
  • Quiver: Quiver is a simple, learner friendly, augmented reality app that allows coloring pages as triggers to make three-dimensional figures with their textbook images.
  • SciMorph: This AR learning app by using a webcam and printed target offers interactive lessons to young kids about scientific phenomena like gravity, sound, and microbial structures. The lessons are delivered involving graphic images, questions, quizzes, and talks.
  • Arloon Plants: Arloon is already a common name among augmented reality apps for children and young learners. Arloon Plants allows students interact with 3D plant structures to offer a deeper understanding of how they live and how various parts function.
  • Word Walls: Word Walls is rather a simple app allowing students recording their definitions of various vocabulary words written on a word wall. Following this, other participants by using the Aurasma app can tell the right definition and exemplify it by using the same word in a sentence.

AR games

Among the diverse AR tools and environments that we are presently seeing, games are unquestionably the forerunners. Augmented reality ever since its beginning have been transforming the game playing experience but lately, there have been certain AR mobile games that besides providing entertainment can also play an effective role in learning the process. Here we have introduced two such unique AR games for learning.

  • PhysicsPlayground: Well, if you want to name a really interactive AR game that is equally revealing for young learners, this robust educational game comes to mind first. This simple and effective game illustrates the deeper elements of physics by offering an immersive, three-dimensional experimental environment. It quickly allows students learning how the universe and various objects in the space work.
  • Mentira: Learning a foreign language needs interactive sessions to learn the expressions, grab the correct pronunciation, knowing the grammar and syntax and above all for enriching the vocabulary. If you are learning Spanish, then you are probably lucky to have an interactive AR game that allows learning the language through an engaging mystery game with vivid characters. That's Mentira, world's first AR game for learning the Spanish language.

AR devices

A whole array of wearable gadgets coupled up with the connected ecosystem of gadgets has made augmented reality almost an everyday thing now. Well, some companies have introduced wearable devices that are taking this AR experience further. Here we have introduced Google's Project Glass as a high-end AR device capable of adding immense value to the learning process.

  • Project Glass: This multifaceted augmented reality initiative from Google have a lot of promises to take education beyond the constraints of the classroom. Whether going through extreme outdoor activities or experiences or having some leisure times, the projected vision before your eyes that can be controlled through voice command just allows doing whatever you like. From the real-time translation of words to taking help of Google Map to web browsing to taking notes on docs, it allows more interactive computing for learners as and when they need it.

AR environment for education

AR is continuing to be the focus area for creating enhanced value in everyday interactions including education. Here we have introduced a few of the latest AR tools and entertainments that are in the making.

  • Augmented Reality Development Lab: ARDL is affiliated with big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Logitech. ARDL is dedicated to delivering projects for value added learning and entertainment. ARDL's main objective is to build interactive, three-dimensional objects for educational purposes and training.
  • Geotagging: Geotagging has been a popular tool in classrooms already because learners with their smartphone can easily tag their device images with Google Earth and thus can make the visual education about the surrounding world possible.
  • Second Life: Second Life is a robust AR tool that allows students to explore a virtual land with all the similarities of their surroundings. That allows them exploring life and sciences in a digital environment. Basically, it works as a digital design tool for class work. By moving into another virtual environment students can explore the physical and live phenomena and while doing so can develop their leadership skills, team engagement, creative spirit, problem-solving skills, etc. The tool allows applying design principles in various learning disciplines including engineering, mechanics, physics, geometry, and aesthetics with the help of 3D models. The faculties can also be benefited from the virtual space and resources that they can use for instructional purposes.

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