How to Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom

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How it Engages Learners

Educators like augmented reality because it moves away from passive learning through reading and listening to active learning with interacting and creating. The student’s learning experience is deepened by their engagement with learning materials and their own reality, even outside the classroom. Using the stars and constellation example again, think about how different the learning experience is between reading about the stars and watching videos to looking at the sky and consuming facts in a digital format.

How to Use in the Classroom

Now that you know how it engages students, you need to determine which form works for your subject area. There are two forms, location-aware and vision-based. Location-aware displays digital media to students as they move through a physical area. So, like the stars and constellation example, students are pointing or moving through a space and a video, 3D model, audio or text appears, providing information about that point of reference. With vision-based augmented reality, students point to a specific object such as a QR code or a 2D target and information appears.

Let’s use 5th grade teacher, Catherine Reeds, as an example. She wanted to create a reading community with a book museum and vision-based augmented reality. Her students selected a book to read, wrote about it, recorded a video review and then created a QR code using the book cover. A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a barcode that contains information about a specific item. When other kids visited the museum, they could scan the QR code with their phone and a student video review appears.

A QR Code
QR code
Vision-based example
wearable technology

Both are examples of smart device apps, but wearable technology is also an option. Once you’ve decided on using location-aware or vision-based augmented reality, I recommend researching case studies and blogs in your subject area over a general search for the right product. This is primarily because the market is rapidly growing and there are a lot of unsuccessful products.

Remember Google Glass? They temporarily took them off the market to design a better product. Also, the novelty of augmented reality can be more challenging than integrating well-known technologies. There are a few teacher blogs and communities that exchange ideas on specific products. For example, there is a really relevant Pinterest board called ‘Augmented Reality in Education.’ It has over 60 examples.

Lesson Summary

Augmented reality blends the real world with the virtual world by using computer-enhanced scenery. Teachers can use it to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences for students. There are two types to consider in your classroom, location-aware and vision-based.


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