Augmented reality education is a hot topic in the EdTech (educational technology) conversation. It’s no secret why. The research shows that AR is increasingly relevant in today’s technological landscape. Both it and virtual reality are quickly entrenching themselves in the modern educator’s toolbox. This happens just as they are becoming a regular part of students’ daily lives at home with the incredible popularity of Pokémon Go and other AR applications.
As the world becomes more sophisticated and complex, the use of emerging technologies becomes more and more critical to education. Giving students a familiarity with the concepts and use of technology is one of the most important things a teacher can do.
Basic computer skills have been a core piece of the curriculum for many years. Just as important is keeping that curriculum updated with new technologies that are making a true impact on the world. Here is how augmented reality is making that kind of impact on education.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to use augmented reality in education is its ability to remove the barriers of language, culture, and geographic distance. Through the power of AR, students and educators can understand each other better than ever before. It opens doors to communication and learning that were, until now, firmly shut.
One of the greatest examples of this is Google Translate (available on Apple and Android). The app is practically magical, bringing to mind the Universal Translator of Star Trek and other sci-fi fame. Using nothing more than a smartphone, words both written and spoken can be quickly and accurately translated into dozens of languages.
For the educator, the possibilities are immense. Although translation services have certainly existed in the past, never before have they been so easy and accessible. Google Translate is free and works on almost any modern mobile device. Using it, students can enjoy lectures and writings from experts and speakers around the world. Even better, a foreign lecturer can step into a classroom and immediately engage with the students naturally and without fumbling for words.
A nationwide survey conducted by Samsung in June of 2016 found that the education industry is more than ready for virtual reality and augmented reality learning. According to the survey, teachers and students alike have an extremely positive perception of the technology. About 68% of teachers surveyed indicated that they would like to use the technology in their classroom.
The reason for this is obvious, and so is the solution. More than 86% of teachers surveyed reported they experience challenges in keeping students engaged and interested in course material. At the same time, 93% of teachers surveyed believe that their students would be excited by the opportunity to use virtual reality in the classroom.
This certainly extends to augmented reality as well, as the two technologies are inextricably linked in the minds of the public. AR is exciting and new, and nearly everyone who uses it immediately feels the sense that it represents a genuine change in the technological landscape. Augmented reality brings its own engagement, its own fun, and students cannot help but be curious and interested when the digital and the physical begin to merge.
Another of the greatest benefits of AR in education is the way it enables and expedites collaboration between groups of students. Collaborative augmented reality, as it is known, is already making an impact in the corporate world. It stands to be just as important in education.
A great strength of augmented reality is its ability to level the perceptions and experiences of disparate groups of people. Through the aid of digital imagery injected into the physical world, groups of students who are separated by geography can collaborate as easily as though they were in the same classroom.
Some of the most promising research in this field involves the uses of augmented reality in higher education. In the academic journal Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), an international group of education professionals describe a number of such applications in a research paper titled “Collaboration in Augmented Reality”. According to the paper, AR has been used to allow geographically dispersed scientists to explore archeological dig sites, and to enable educational presenters to create immersive 3D environments inside their lecture halls.
Practically speaking, not many collaborative AR apps have been released to date. The field is wide open and waiting for an innovator to step in.
4. Enhanced Travel and Field Trips
Since many AR apps require only the use of a smartphone or tablet, with no need for additional specialized equipment, the technology is wonderfully suited for use on field trips and other out-of-school learning. There are already several augmented reality apps for education that are well-suited to this type of learning, and more apps are released on a regular basis.
Star Walk (available for Apple and Android devices) is one of the best examples. Developer Vito Technology has applied the principles of augmented reality to one of humanity’s oldest learning pursuits: astronomy. By aiming his or her phone at the sky, students can instantly identify constellations and call up information about them. It is not difficult to imagine entire classrooms heading out at night, racing to be the first to “discover” Cassiopeia or the North Star.
AR is helpful in travels closer to Earth, as well. In 2014, the historic Union Station launched their Living History app. Walking through the station, visitors can aim their smartphones at various locations and be treated to augmented reality education content as pictures and text pop up around the area. Going beyond a simple “digital plaque”, the app also injects video reenactments of historical figures and events in the station.
Finally, augmented reality is new. The technology is both novel and relevant. It is quickly becoming a vital part of how we live, work, and play. An effective education must include training and experience in the technologies used in the modern workforce, and therefore education should include AR.
The fact that augmented reality education apps are fun, engaging, and effective is almost a side benefit to this. The fundamental truth is, students increasingly need a grounding in VR and AR in order to learn advanced computer science or other disciplines later in life. Just as when personal computers first began to saturate the market, today students need to be given a familiarity with VR and AR, because it will be everywhere when they grow up.
How AppReal-VR Can Help?
As with any new technology, augmented reality app development poses a unique set of challenges and variables. Understanding the full capabilities (and limitations) of AR requires in-depth knowledge and training, and an intimate familiarity with the ins and outs of this burgeoning industry. The opportunities in augmented reality education are enormous, but so are the potential stumbling blocks.
That is why the selection of the right AR development partner is critically important to the success of any such project. A good development house can help define the project’s scope and function. It can identify potential problems before they cause delays, and it can add a wealth of experience, ideas, and innovation to make an app even better than its original idea.
AppReal-VR is that kind of development house. The company and its employees have worked with the bleeding edge of technology for years, in numerous countries and across multiple industries. It is expert not only in AR app creation, but also in mobile app development and general technology consulting.
Under the leadership of CEO Yariv Levski, AppReal-VR is ideally positioned to bring new ideas in augmented reality education to life. The success of any app is predicated on great ideas, and even greater execution. AppReal-VR brings the very best in execution.