Augmented Reality (AR) has the potential to influence traditional methods of teaching to create an engaging and interactive experience to motivate students in their studies. Though AR technology has been around for several years, it was not until the release of the mobile game Pokémon Go that the popularity and worldwide attention of augmented reality rose dramatically. Augmented reality has been implemented to take audio, video, text, graphics, and GPS data and apply them in professional and personal settings, entertainment, and education.
Researchers Fatih Saltan and Omer Arslan explored AR in K-12 education their article, “The Use of Augmented Reality in Formal Education: A Scoping Review.” Their review of over 20 educational studies AR in education between 2012 and 2016 found that students generally leaned toward AR-based activities while showing positive effects on their achievement and motivation. Too, AR can address multiple learning styles—including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—simultaneously, which many traditional teaching materials cannot as effectively do.
In an interview for eLearning Industry, David Fayerman—an expert in applying technologies in education—noted additional benefits: For kids with ADD or ADHD, AR helps them focus and engage with the content. He notes that he doesn’t see kids spending all day in special glasses or headsets, but that these can be used for certain subjects, concepts, or content. This idea is further supported by the Saltan and Arslan review as well: “Although increasing students’ motivation, satisfaction, and engagement are critical dimensions as learning outcomes, it is also important to improve students’ higher order thinking skills such as problem solving, critical or creative thinking, which AR applications may support as well.”
Although AR applications in education are just starting to emerge, various technologies are becoming available that could be applied in new ways. For example, Intel® RealSense™ Technology is a collection of hardware and software used to develop highly-interactive applications. Although many current RealSense applications, like the DAQRI Smart Helmet®, focus on more industrial solutions, the ideas of using AR to learn, do, and explore are key to K-12 education as well. Fayerman notes that “content is still king,” however, “If you do not have good content…learning will not be possible.”
Suppliers like Intel are leading the way in helping bring effective education solutions to K-12 classrooms. Exactly how and in what ways AR will ultimately be used to meet students’ learning needs is yet to be determined, and technologies are still being developed that can be widely applied and accessed in the education industry. But we’re on the way.
José Chavez is a senior pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington, with particular interests in cybersecurity and augmented reality, among others.
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