In a previous post, I’ve talked about the benefits of using VR in the classroom. I gave five clear examples of how VR can be used to improve the learning experience for pupils. You can read about these here.
In this post, I’m going to focus on the benefits of using AR in the classroom. I have touched on AR before in an article comparing Google Expedition’s AR and VR tours. You can read more about this here. AR has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years and the number of apps available for the classroom leaves teachers spoilt for choice. For me, there are three key benefits to using AR in the classroom.
This has to be one of the main benefits for me of using AR in the classroom. Unlike VR headsets, most schools have access to IPads or tablets. These devices have become so mainstream in education over the past decade that most schools now have access to a classroom set. They can be used for research, maths, spelling, coding, games and even just taking pictures. Fortunately, most IPads and tablets can also be used with AR apps. From dinosaurs roaming your classroom to Viking ships being planted in your school hall, the possibilities for bringing 3D objects to life are endless.
Augmented Reality obviously has the potential to create huge excitement in the classroom and bring a topic to life. I mean, which primary school child is not going to be excited about a 20 foot T-Rex roaming around the school hall? Teachers are fully aware that if they can create excitement in the classroom about a topic, engagement and motivation to learn follows. I do think however, that’s it important that people don’t view AR as simply a one-off gimmicky tool for the classroom. Augmented reality can be incorporated for just about every subject and if used correctly, it can be used to help pupils gain a better understanding of a concept rather than just a one-off wow starter.
Teachers could also use AR to simply improve an existing way of learning and provide students with a different experience to maintain engagement. For example, Math Alive is an app which students can use to practise counting and basic numeracy skills. By placing one of their special cards under an AR enabled device, various objects and written information appear to make the process of counting fun and different.
I think this final point is going to become more and more popular as time goes on. There are many companies such as Metaverse and Onirix, which provide a web based studio connected to an AR app, where students and teachers can create their own AR experiences. Teachers and students can create their own quizzes, games and even scavenger/treasure hunts. This improves students’ digital literacy skills and is a great alternative for an end of term project or topic. Rather than delivering a presentation, students can put what they’ve learnt into something a bit more practical, which their peers will be able to interact with.
There are a number of other benefits which you could argue come through using AR for education, such as learning spatial awareness and improved memory retention. It’s widely agreed upon that AR will be at the forefront of society in the future and will change how we interact with the world. New developments such as Hololens and Google Glass are going to change the way people interact with AR in the future and IPads and tablets might be a thing of the past when it comes to AR. For now however, AR is a new and exciting way for teachers to engage students in the classroom and with most schools having access to IPads or tablets, AR has never been so accessible.
We are currently developing a new AR app called StoryBox AR which will provide immersive stories for the classroom. We are currently looking for schools to trial the app and so if this is something of interest, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.