What is augmented reality (AR) education? It is any sort of informative lesson or experience that incorporates AR. Though still in its early stages, AR education shows promise as a method crucial to the advancement of digitized education, which is radically altering the landscape of learning.
The reality of education going digital (or smart) is a relatively new concept. We’ve seen advancements like e-textbooks and virtual exhibits enter learning spaces in the past decade. These innovations aim to create tech-savvy learners and expand lessons beyond what standard instruction provides.
The success of this initial progress fueled an ongoing trend. There is now a greater desire to adapt and bring technology to classrooms and museums – or to nontraditional teaching spaces. Augmented reality is primed to be a key component of the smart and digital norms that will influence how we learn.
3 Reasons Why AR Will Influence Education
There are three specific factors to AR that make its use attractive for individual educators, educational institutions, or education companies.
AR technology works for a variety of learning styles.
Each student learns in unique ways, but each one is equally capable of learning. The categories of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning require differentiated instruction. This responsibility falls onto the educator or teacher guiding the student. The customizability of AR enables diverse approaches that benefit learners of all sorts by encouraging exploration.
AR captures audience attention.
Whether inside or outside of a classroom setting, it is hard to earn an individual’s attention. One of AR’s strong qualities is its ability to capture and keep audience attention. Because AR is interactive, it requires user participation to initiate. This active learning approach better communicates the message within a lesson or learning moment.
AR is more cost-effective than ever.
Thanks to the advancing efficiency of hardware and the growing positive outlook toward open source software, the cost to entry on AR is much lower than years past. As this progress continues, companies and enterprises will look more readily to AR as the solution for problems facing the education sector.
Current Examples of AR Education
The marketplace is already seeing small and large ventures to explore the initial opportunities for AR Education. What we see today will push the boundaries of tomorrow’s learning experiences. We’ve included some of the most interesting examples below.
Teaching in Augmented Reality Classrooms
Technologies like smart-boards and e-textbooks marked a beginning in the digital evolution of classrooms. Because of their ease of use and the value, they add to lesson planning, teachers rely on these strategies frequently. In turn, students are now more accustomed to learning through or supplementing instruction with a device.
While the smart classroom was taking shape in the past decade, software and hardware advance improved the usability of AR. These developments, which had run separate from each other, are now running toward a meeting point. With the appropriate technology, teachers and students will soon have access to AR lessons within classroom settings.
We already have a glimpse of students interacting with an AR-enabled lesson. The Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand created a trial of publication with AR features.
Beyond one-off examples, we are also seeing the emergence of permanent AR solutions to enhance education. Options like Google Expeditions or zSpace both hardware or software into the classroom to transform learning experiences. The interactive learning elements inspire curiosity and the urge to learn more.
Transporting Lessons with Augmented Reality Materials
It isn’t much of a leap to imagine lessons from the digital classroom extending beyond the school. Learners of tomorrow will create ‘classrooms’ just about anywhere, thanks to the ever-increasing portability of hardware plus internet or app-based AR materials.
In the video below from Paradox Design & Development, a user demonstrates the potential of AR-enabled flashcards to help understand the foundation aspects of chemistry.
And students will not only experience AR, but they might build AR programs of their own. This may mean building within a standalone AR platform like Metaverse or independently learning to code to create their own unique AR applications. Wherever student-made AR originates from, the ‘teaching-by-building’ approach offers another outlet to grow creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
Instructing through Augmented Reality Exhibits
Museums are another educational outlet already on the fast track to digitizing. The physical limits of a museum sometimes restrict the scope and quantity of exhibits that a museum can house. Therefore, archivists and curators alike embrace the option of digitizing future exhibits.
Computer-powered displays will offer nearly limitless potential. Museum professionals, in the coming decades, will be less constrained by a museum’s square footage. A device’s processing power soon will be the only limit on the possibilities in digital exhibit design. Though only one of the many approaches to digital exhibits, AR exhibits can provide layers upon layers of information that vitalize exhibitions and bring them to life. Theoretically, an AR exhibit could provide wholly new displays with a tap of a button.
We are already seeing the possibilities of AR exhibit design today. In a work titled “Mirages & Miracles,” artists Adrien M. & Claire B. demonstrate the experiential nature of augmented reality. Fragments of the artwork literally extend out from the frames displayed on walls and floors.
While the art exhibit isn’t strictly instructional, it does offer an interesting new perspective on what it means to be a museum attendee. The interaction of the individual and the display will not be restricted to just viewing but will enter the whole physical space of the exhibit. Static images or artifacts will come to life in the AR-enabled museum of the future.
The same principle holds true for historic sites and national parks. These locations are brimming with history at every corner. Most of it is confined to markers or plaques. While this interpretive approach is something that brings the past to the present, AR-enabled waypoints would bring it into the future.
Though still in development, InnovatAR’s product TravelAR aims to bring custom AR experiences to our nation’s parks, resorts, and museums. A key difference between TravelAR and other current offerings is its difference as a web-based AR solution, rather than a conventional app-based approach
Amusing with Augmented Reality Edu-tainment
People turn to the internet to learn in fun and exciting ways. YouTube is one of the most popular mediums for this sort of entertaining education or “edu-tainment.” The platform’s video content thrives because of its usefulness and interactivity. It absorbs audiences in ways that printed manuals or written articles cannot. Channels like TED-Ed, ASAP Science, and VSauce offer distinctive styles on many thought-provoking topics. Each upload from these channels logs views into the millions within weeks, if not days.
This mass engagement with edu-tainment is ripe for augmented reality to transform even further. The incorporation of AR is already part of YouTube’s services, as seen in its use of Snapchat-like AR filters within their stories. Even though this is a small portion of the overall platform, it shows that YouTube (and its owner Google) understands the value of AR and putting it into the hands of its creators.
And even thinking beyond YouTube, as Matt Miesnieks does in this excellent article, we have to imagine the possibility of up-and-coming video platforms. A medium that specializes in native AR video experiences would be as radical as the Walkman or iPod was. These technologies gave a new context to how we enjoyed music. They allowed people to take their music with them wherever. With a video platform using AR, people could bring edu-tainment (or any sort of video-based content) to brand new spaces.
Yes, the previously linked article from TechCrunch is approaching two years of age at this point. And still, we haven’t seen the launch of that open source movement that enables AR video experiences. But we are closer to that reality than ever before.
Some Closing Thoughts on Augmented Reality Education
Digital education formats are here to stay. The examples above only scratch at the surface of what’s possible. Augmented reality is set to carve out a niche in this sector. AR applies broadly across a wide audience and is customizable based on a learner’s aptitude and interests.
The examples provided are only the beginning of AR in education. AR’s impact on how we learn will only continue to grow as technology advances.
And the pace of technological development is quickly untethering AR from app-based formats. App-based AR controls nearly all of the current market. However, web-based AR’s practicality and ease-of-use make it a contender to wrestle a share of the market away.
InnovatAR is ready to help you plan the best ways to build browser-based AR experiences for your next convention and beyond. Get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities.