Ever wondered how education could be changed from a boring classroom scene into a more lively experience that will engage and empower the human brain? Technology is the key that opens doors beyond your wildest imagination. Literally. Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that can truly transform learning methods. What started out as something that was “cool” has become a way to engage studious people and to address learning disabilities. Because it can overlay digital content and information onto the real world, it opens up a new range of learning opportunities. As the brain responds much more engaging to visuals, AR will enable a more intuitive way to learn. Therefore it should get a more prominent role in educational programmes.
How augmented reality contributes to education
Augmented reality brings learning to life. Augmented reality enriches a live view of a real-life environment – the so called reality – with computer-generated input, that can consist out of sound, graphics, text, video, and GPS information. In other words, AR provides us with an enhanced view of the real world.
When you are depending on traditional education, and you have difficulties processing a lot of information through reading books and listening to lectures, learning becomes quite an ordeal. This could all change when we would approach the human nature of learning: watch and interact with our environment and learn from it. Using this approach through technology could help people to absorb more knowledge and enable them to get a degree. Let me illustrate this. Imagine looking at the walls in your living room and the paintings on your walls and the pictures on your casing come to live and suddenly become interactive. Through this technology the pictures will tell your story to others in a very appealing way. Your audience would hang upon your lips, so to say, and probably remember your story in time.
As Gaia Dempsey, Managing Director of DAQRI International, explains, “80% of the information that the brain takes is visual. So by providing information in a visual medium that also has the spatial nature of augmented reality, you’re giving the brain a very intuitive way of accessing knowledge.” Augmented reality is therefore very suitable to enhance learning facilities and help students with learning disabilities. So why hasn’t this been integrated in most schools?
Myth: augmented reality is unreachable for schools
Augmented Reality (AR) allows educators to unlock or create layers of digital information on top of the physical world. Do you think that would be unattainable for schools? Not at all! A lot of people think augmented reality is only accessible via expensive smart devices, like Google Glass or Head-mounted displays (HMDs) as Microsoft HoloLens, but AR is easier than you think. As Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, was saying at the Web Summit: “Augmented reality and virtual reality are going to converge in the same sorts of hardware that you wear and carry around with you all the time, so there’s no reason to think it can’t supplant everything we already do with smartphones, and lead to other applications.”
AR can be used as a learning technique whereby the environment adapts to the learner. By providing clarification on-demand, learners can gain greater understanding of a topic while discovering and learning. AR could even reduce cost for learning institutes. Take anatomy classes for instance. Technologies like AR (and VR) could be appealing to medical schools, because it’s cheaper and more accessible than having a cadaver lab. This technology can bring students closer to scientific discovery than real-world solutions. Or how about social studies? Augmenting a town hall and having students be in the shoes of a voter, a civil servant or a mayor for a while; that could be a great way to experience practice.
The beauty of augmented reality is that the learning experiences can be as easy or as complex as you want. This article shows AR in action and it describes some nice examples of apps. There are numerous already-made apps connected to various content, but creating a custom application would not be farfetched. Curious on how augmented reality could be integrated in the classroom? Here’s 20 examples on how augmented reality could be used in education. But before learning institutes dive into the tooling, they should first think about the right educational strategy when it comes to using technology in classrooms or at online learning platforms. A tool is just a tool, it won’t replace knowledge, but it helps to obtain it. After all, knowledge is something we gather, what we do with that knowledge falls under wisdom. In other words, let’s be wise and choose this technology for the right reason and with the most effective approach. Than we can make it a consistent and valuable resource for the way we educate.