Augmented Reality (AR) has been used in education for over a decade now. Teachers would ask their pupils to scan a QR code which would overlay different images and videos. But how has AR developed and changed since then? What are the different ways that teachers can use AR in the classroom today?
QR codes and image trackers
Arguably still the most widely used form of AR, QR codes and image trackers allow pupils to reveal a 3D object or 2D information by simply scanning something with their device’s camera. This is a very simple form of AR and is a user-friendly way of introducing it into the classroom. Teachers can set up various stations around the classroom and pupils could rotate in a carousel format to investigate each of the AR markers.
Many popular AR apps for education use QR codes and image trackers. Below are a couple of examples:
With the release of Apple’s ARKit and Android’s ARCore, many augmented reality apps now use surface detection rather than QR codes and image trackers. By simply scanning a flat surface, a device will be able to recognise the floor or a table top and the 3D model will be placed on here. This allows pupils for example to place dinosaurs in the middle of a classroom or drop the Colosseum in the middle of the school hall. With the improved capabilities of devices and the release of Apple’s ARKit and Android’s ARCore, surface detection is becoming the go-to way for users to experience AR.
Below are a couple of examples for apps that user surface detection for their AR experiences:
This type of AR connects an experience to a specific location. Usually, these apps are used outdoors as they benefit from having access to a large space. The device will need access to your location and maps so that it can track your movements. An example of this type of AR which gained huge popularity around the world is Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite. These apps aren’t necessarily very beneficial to education but there are a number of apps which can be used in the classroom to benefit from this type of AR. Teachers can create treasure/scavenger hunts for their pupils and even immersive stories.
A couple of apps to get you started with location-based AR are:
AR portals are a relatively new concept and have only been around a few years. Using a device with ARCore and ARKit, users can place a portal door to another world right in front of them. Once the portal door has been placed, users can physically walk through the portal door and then look all around (360 degrees) inside the new world, using their device. These new worlds can be 360 photos, videos or even CGI based worlds. They are a great way of opening your pupils’ imaginations and inspiring creative writing.
A couple of apps to get you started with AR portals are:
All of the different types of AR described in this article have a place in education and each one can be used to complement a lesson. Download some of the apps we’ve suggested and give them a go for yourself. PrimeVR is currently working on it’s own AR app called StoryBox AR which combines many of the aspects described above. Stay tuned to find out more!