Augmented Reality and eLearning

Aug 18, 2016 | 1 Votes by shilpa 8 rate Your vote
Is augmented reality the future of eLearning? What actually is augmented reality and how can it be used in the educational setting? Let's find out! Games Educate Kids - Augmented Reality and eLearning

It is said that technology always finds its way. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), that were poorly received concepts in the early 90’s are all the rage now. When virtual reality was introduced in the 90’s, people took to it poorly, and it got enough backlash for companies not to continue it.

However, it is common for a concept to fail if the technologies that make the concept happen are not up to scratch. 20 years later we have everything that reeks of augmented and virtual reality, and that has been made possible because of the uplifting technologies behind virtual and augmented reality. But what exactly are these two concepts? If they are similar why don’t they have the same name? If they are different why do we mention them in the same breath? Turns out, they are both similar and different.

Augmented Reality (AR)

This concept states the blending of a real world with virtual reality. In the field of augmented reality, developers can create virtual objects inside a real world which consumers can interact with, primarily with a gadget or their smartphone. Augmented reality of recent, has taken the world by storm in the form of Pokemon Go.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality depends on not taking the concepts of real world. That is, a VR world is completely redesigned such that consumers don’t know the difference between what is real and what is not. Virtual Reality still has some time to come into the mainstream market, and VR is predicted to outshine AR in sales in a couple of years. VR generally is visualized through a VR headset like Oculus Rift.

Similarities and Differences between AR and VR

AR and VR are similar in some aspects, but the most important similarity of them is the ability to keep consumers immersed in a world. The differences however, are many, as VR depends upon constructing a world from ground up and is most commonly used in gaming. AR on the other hand depict virtual things in a real world, which means the consumer is in touch with the real world through AR and not VR.

Augmented Reality in Education

For kids, AR is the best suited for learning as it keeps them grounded in a real world with virtual objects to interact with. A VR world might not help entirely as it may enable kids to stray off path. As for AR, learning has found new ways with it. So how is AR helping kids in learning?

Imagine your office hallway lined up with beautiful interactive items, and a story behind the creation of every such item, and selecting these items open a new quest for you that takes you on a tour on the history and significance of the said item. In only a few days your office space would become an AR playground with you investing a lot of time and energy for the sole purpose of learning.

The same is with kids, some apps like Aurasma Studio liven up the interiors of a school building where you can craft experiences for students. AR takes advantage of the piling up of digital data over physical data, and what kids really do, is data mining to get educated in the best of ways. Since smartphones are strictly prohibited during school hours, a school can give its own AR device that enables students to use the AR application. They are given the device when they enter the school and the device is taken away when they go home. This ensures that kids do not indulge too much in the world of AR.

In schools, AR has a number of applications:

#1 Homework Lessons

Students can point their smartphone cameras towards a page of their homework lessons and can find a recapitulating video of their teacher on the homework topic that would enable them to finish the homework in case they are stuck.

#2 E-corridors

Craft your school’s corridors with different virtual items that reveal more about themselves when pointed the device at. For example, you can set up faculty photographs for parents to point their phones at. The photograph would come alive and the faculty member in the AR world would give a small description about himself.

The same can be done with any object in a said corridor. For example, during recess, the lunch meal can give nutritional information and if students are loitering in the corridor, the teacher can craft interesting challenges for them using AR in the corridor, making them interested and at the same time make them learn.

#3 Book Review

This system can be done in a library, where a student after reading a book constructs a book review and pins the AR digital information on the book for viewing if someone points their AR gadget to the book cover.

#4 Parent Encouragement

If a child is not feeling encouraged, parents can pin their digital information to the kid’s desk so that he can feel encouraged instantly as he points his AR device towards the desk.

#5 Safety in Labs

AR can be used to make labs safer, as every student entering a lab has to point their devices to scan the lab, and digitally pinned items in the lab show a description about themselves and show the different standards of lab safety.

AR has a great future when it comes to E-learning, and would only become better at every step with increasing applications and usage in schools.

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