Getting Smart

How Augmented Reality Can Change Teaching

By  Ken Myers

The technology behind Augmented Reality is taking a real-world view and enhancing it with computer-generated imagery. Whether this is done by using a computer monitor and camera or fitted goggles to imprint imagery in the lenses, augmenting in this manner has great possibilities for a variety of tasks.

Educators of all kinds are implementing this technology and the progress has been nothing short of excellent. Children that use this technology have remained focused on the task and have seemed more attentive to the lesson. How can AR technology impact our educational system for primary and tertiary learning?

1. 3D – Objects viewed in the AR environment have a 3D appeal that can be moved and changed through personal interaction. From counting square blocks for rudimentary math to viewing works of art from every angle, students are entranced by the technology.

2. Cause and Effect – Although interactive educational programs are nothing new, there is something to be said about visualizing changes in real-life. Students can manipulate and change the object in front of them through programmed commands.

3. AI – Artificial intelligence has been experimented on with AR objects. Could you imagine the impact it could have on a student to have a recital of the Gettysburg Address read aloud by Abraham Lincoln himself? The AI for some experimental programs have even been able to react to real-life objects being placed next to them.

4. Representation – Through the use of the cards as part of the AR learning technology, students can observe a realistic representation of the object. Other cards can be used to gather information about the object and display it to the student on the monitor or AR goggles. For instance, students are able to see what a water molecule looks like in 3D and can gather information about how H2O is formed.

5. Reading – For young children, interactivity is a strong influence in learning. How enthralled would your child be using a pop-up book that seemed to really pop up? Sights and sounds can be a method of showing a child what animals sound like in real-life, enhance the background ambiance while reading, and more. A book about trains could engage the reader and make them feel like they were standing at the station.

6. Ancient Civilizations – For a professor trying to teach about ancient civilizations without artifacts to exhibit, AR technology can bring the artifacts to them. Whether it is an individual student examining every angle of the artifact or the professor displaying the artifact on a projector for all to see, the enhancement could bring more of a hands-on approach to teaching.

7. Dissections – Augmented Reality gives us the ability to literally remove layers from a body for a more detailed examination. Of course, this could also work in a drafting class by peeling away the layers of a building to demonstrate to the students why certain framework is important to construction.

8. Space – There are smartphone and tablet apps that will allow you to view the sky and spot stars and constellations while providing their names. However, how much greater of an educational value would they have if they could bring the planet or star closer to them with statistical information?

9. Landmarks – Again, apps utilizing your GPS location can provide your information about the historical landmark you are viewing. With AR technology, that landmark or statue could essentially come to life on your screen and tell you its story first hand.

10. Alive Textbooks – What if we take the reading aspect above and take it a step further. Augmented Reality can give a textbook the means to show examples of the content to the reader for greater clarity.

The full scope of AR technology has endless possibilities. Students are able to affect a seemingly real-world change through the use of computer-generated imagery. This imagery can be programmed for virtually any subject matter. The 3D imagery through AR technologies gives us a greater ability to examine any given object from all angles. It will be interesting to see what other technologies implement AR in the future.

Ken Myers is the founder of Ken has a MBL from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. 

Photo Courtesy of BigStock.