Enhancing Student Learning with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is education, version 3.0.

Imagine students walking on the surface of Mars inside their classroom, or creating artwork that can dance. Educators can use AR to create strong learning experiences for their students. Through AR, this is all possible.

Augmented Reality: An Overview

Augmented reality places a layer of digital information on top of the real, physical world. It works by merging graphics, sound, and video with our surroundings. AR blends the real and digital worlds. With AR, we can do more with the world around us.

Crafting Meaningful Learning with AR

AR has the ability to enhance meaningful learning in classrooms. With AR, a book is no longer just a bunch of pages with words and pictures. Instead, as students read they can watch videos, listen to speeches or music, and scroll through images to learn more about the topic. A picture of Albert Einstein can “come alive” as students listen to him talk, or watch video of him explaining the theory of relativity.

Additionally, AR lets students engage with new ideas and topics. Students can “visit” different countries or planets, or interact with historical figures and events. Students can even examine tools and technology. Picture students touching a digital model of a steam engine, taking it apart, and putting it together to see how it works!

Educators can use AR to create more meaningful connections between students and classroom objectives. Finding hidden items (such as videos, images, or anything digitally embedded in the content), creates a sense of accomplishment and motivates students to dig deeper into the topic.

For example, the huge success of Pokémon Go shows that augmented reality can encourage students to question, to experiment, and to discover. The key is to engage students so that learning excites and energizes them.

Apps You Can Use Right Now

AR isn’t the future; it’s here now. Current and rising generations of students understand technology, and they expect to use it in the classroom. AR is a powerful tool to enhance connections between students and learning, and so teachers should not ignore its potential.

Luckily, AR apps are easy to find. Below are a few AR apps that educators can start using right away. All are cross-platform compatible and free to download.

1. Field Trip

Similar to a mobile tour guide, this app reveals hidden pop-ups with more information about points of interest. The app encourages students to search facts about historic and public sites.

2. Layar

Made for print materials such as posters and magazines, this app lets you scan images to reveal related items, including voice-overs, videos, and links to websites. This app works well for letting students discover and explore related content.

3. Google Translate

Point your device at words and phrases found in the world around you, and this app will instantly translate them into a selected language. This app is great for learning new languages or testing fluency.

4. Crayola Color Alive

This app animates artwork and drawings made on the Crayola Color Alive books. This app is great for encouraging creativity and innovation in young students. Note: you must use the Crayola Color Alive books for the app to work.

Want to learn more about augmented reality and how it can be used in the classroom? Check out this brief video from AugThat, an augmented reality education company in Marlboro, New Jersey.


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Travelin’ Librarian.

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