.Augmented reality is emerging as a tool that is transforming the classroom. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have closed, year groups sent home to quarantine, and classrooms have moved to the home, albeit temporarily. Never before have we ever needed a technology to transform learning at home and support home-schooling - whether teachers are running digital classrooms or parents teaching their children in a more engaging way.
Although AR is still developing, there is a real opportunity to engage the hundreds of millions of children sitting at home and make learning more fun, relevant and useful with immersive technologies like AR shown to improve long-term memory retention.
Augmented reality combines real-world images such as forests, animals, roads, bridges, buildings, paintings – with other information to create a truly immersive experience. For example, in a walk around the forest, learners can hear the wind, birds, or animals scampering away. In observing an iconic building in the City of London, learners can listen to traffic, see a maintenance hole in the road and then look at the underground sewage system beneath it. They can see images, look at data including indicators of distances, and hear sounds all at the same time.
Students can do all of this during lockdown from their homes. They are using augmented and virtual reality to engage in practical learning, and it is transforming their understanding of critical concepts and skills they are required to learn whilst also connecting their knowledge to the real world. It is authentic learning in real-time. And during a global pandemic, it is much more engaging than sitting in your front room or kitchen with a parent struggling to teach.
The main benefits of AR learning…
AR enables all sorts of knowledge and information to be shared in creative and integrated ways such as fun animation and compelling video. Through greater engagement and interactivity, the learning curve is improved.
It creates a physical engagement between the learner and their environment, which in a period of social distancing and quarantining, ends the sense of isolation many learners now feel.
The combination of interactivity and engagement with emotion could enhance the ability of students to better remember what they’ve learned– and lead to faster retention of information.
AR provides students with opportunities to deepen their knowledge within several areas, including:
- Working with numbers
- Spatial concepts
- Content creation
- Real-life environments & scenarios
AR learning can be broken down into four key areas:
Educators, publishers and parents attach AR experiences to objects from where they can learn about the object via a video. It's already available for many museums or discovery-based subject models like astronomy.
2D/3D objects modelling
AR can be used for both web-based environments where students can create or be engaged by a 3D life-size model of an object, or concept. For example, explaining the concept of rotation and revolution using the example of the solar system can be presented in augmented reality, taking education to a whole new concept retention level in students' minds.
AR books pop up with digital and 3D experiences of the story or concept from the page, making it fun for the students.
Gamification of learning, with mechanisms such as quizzes and treasure hunts with high engagement with the physical world, makes it fun and learning more relevant for learners.
Augmented Reality’s future role
Supplemental teaching tools like this are more relevant than ever right now as parents juggle work with home-schooling their children and as teachers seek additional online resources to aid remote learning. Coupled with the fact that AR engages the student’s senses and heightens learning delivering a learning experience the student is unlikely to forget makes for a compelling proposition.
With the best predictor of learning outcomes linked to student engagement, AR is set to play a fundamental role in the future of education.