Many of us know how Augmented Reality (AR) works thanks to mobile games like Pokémon Go and social media applications like Instagram photo filters. However, the magic of AR goes much further. Augmented reality is used successfully in multiple fields, including the educational field.
Using AR in the classroom can make an ordinary class an engaging experience. AR technology provides virtual examples and adds gameplay elements to textbooks. As a result, the classes become more interactive.
What is augmented reality?
AR is the result of using technology to superimpose information (be it sounds, images, or text) in the real world. This technology has been widely used in the Research and Development (R&D) sectors to improve training, but how can we take advantage of it in the field of education?
The advent of WebAR (Augmented Reality through the web), is accelerating this conversation, expanding the possibilities of this technology. WebAR is becoming more important due to its scope. Not everyone would be willing to download a new application on their phones, but anyone would agree to click on a hyperlink on their computers. That ease of access changes the rules of the game.
Background to Augmented Reality
The beginning of the sixties, in addition to the Cuban crisis and the rise of the hippie movement, is notable for the rise of Sensorama. This device allowed viewing 3D images accompanied by stereo sound, odors and wind effects. It was revolutionary for its time, and led the development of what Jaron Zepel Lanier called in 1989 as Virtual Reality.
Similarly, the display screens on many fighter jets since the 1990s showed information about the plane's altitude, direction, and speed, and what objects in the field of view were targets.
In 2009, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fluid Interface Group introduced SixthSense. This device combined the use of a camera, a small projector, a smartphone and a mirror. The device hung from the user's chest with a drawstring from the neck. Four sensor devices could be used on the user's fingers to manipulate the images projected by the SixthSense.
AR is quite different from virtual reality. Virtual reality means computer generated environments for you to interact and immerse yourself. RA adds to reality that you would normally see rather than replace it.
Augmented Reality and Education
Practicing by doing is considered one of the most effective learning methods, since it promotes memory information in the short and long term. Augmented reality can help make classes more interactive and allow students to focus more on practice rather than just theory.
As AR adds virtual objects to the real world, it allows students to train their skills. So instead of just reading books or listening to lectures, students can start practicing with the help of glasses and headphones. This increases engagement and improves the learning experience.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Education
Educational materials can be expensive and not all schools can afford to buy and maintain them. Using AR to learn, students only need their mobile devices. Taking into account their widespread use, AR in education is increasingly accessible.
A wide range of fields
The use of RA is not limited to a particular subject, age group, or educational level. It can be used for both preschool and higher education, and even for business training.
Allows for better learning
Studies by Neuro-Insights and Mindshare show that memory encoding is 70% higher with AR tasks than its non-AR equivalent. This has huge implications for learning designers. In this way, you can get people to remember things and then use this new knowledge.
It is measurable
There are several tools for creating AR content right now, and the vast majority come with pretty robust dashboards. These can be used in conjunction with a learning management system to track which content is most popular. In the same way, you can know how deep user learning is and what areas trigger additional actions.
You can do it yourself
Some think the process is difficult. Creating augmented reality content is much simpler than ever, and now you can create sophisticated experiences with simple drag and drop tools. Now it only takes a few hours to implement an experience from scratch. Simply with Google's Augmented Reality Creator we will find many options. Plus most apps have a free trial so you can dig right away.
Examples of Augmented Reality for classroom education
Dinosaur 4D +
Dinosaur 4D is an AR application and card set. Users can scan cards to see the dinosaurs in 3D. With this application students can see dinosaurs in action, rotate them and zoom in and out. The app also provides information about each dinosaur.
Elements 4D uses AR to make chemistry more fun and engaging. First, users need to make paper cubes from blocks of special elements. Then they just need to place the cubes in front of their device's camera to see representations of chemical elements, their names, and their atomic weights. To explore elements, students can put two cubes together to find out if the elements react and see the chemical reaction.
Google Expeditions offers tours in both virtual reality and AR that can be used in the classroom. With AR technology and mobile devices, users can bring 3D objects into the classroom, then walk around and explore them. These can be tornadoes, volcanoes, or even DNA. It covers various topics and offers more than 100 AR Expeditions through the circulatory system, the history of technology, and the moon landing.
Augmented reality for medical education and training
Medical students can improve their knowledge and skills by taking advantage of virtual and augmented reality. AR technology use cases include:
Create models of the human body that allow medical students to learn anatomy in depth;
Provide more training opportunities for medical students with the help of simulations;
Practical surgery in virtual patients
Human Anatomy Atlas is an application that allows students to explore the human body to understand how it works. The application displays 3D models of the body and allows students to rotate and interact with them. Human Anatomy Atlas provides more than 10,000 anatomical models and some information in seven languages. The application also has a test bench for quizzes to help students verify and improve their knowledge
Touch Surgery is a healthcare app that specializes in surgical simulation. Those responsible for this application partnered with DAQRI, an AR company, to launch an AR platform to allow users to practice surgery on virtual patients.
HoloAnatomy is an app developed by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. It involves the use of Microsoft's HoloLens smart glasses. This app, which helps medical students learn anatomy, has already won several awards.
One more project that uses HoloLens for medical education is Dynamic Anatomy from Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center. This project helps students learn human anatomy using their own bodies while medical holograms reflect their movements.
AR is a great fit for today's educational moment. Delivering immersive experiences has a measurable impact on memory retention, engages people deeply, and has a significant impact on their abilities.
It is an established solution for various problems related to learning and internal communication. In this regard, the application of the following practices is recommended:
- Start with desired goals and results.
- Start with goals and desired results, think about what content we currently have and what we may need to create from scratch.
- Build AR content with the user context in mind.
- Make sure content is clearly signaled with a clear and compelling call to action.
The time has come to say goodbye to the traditional way of teaching and learning. AR application development is one of the latest trends in the education industry. Making augmented reality content is much simpler than ever, and lets you create sophisticated experiences with simple drag and drop tools. We no longer have to think within the limits of PowerPoint. For education, it means better value for money and more creative freedom, since students are more likely to participate and remember their training.
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