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Augmented Reality Tools for Learning Spotted at AR in Action 2019

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On Monday, January 14th, I attended AR in Action at the MIT Media Lab. This is a very cool event with great speakers from MIT and Harvard as well as some of the top industry leaders in the augmented reality space. AR in Action was founded and hosted by John Werner. John has an amazing background working with organizations like the MIT Media Lab and Meta. As of November 2018, he is an MIT Fellow in Connection Science.

Augmented Reality Tools for Learning Spotted at AR in Action 2019

This year was my first time attending AR in Action. Here are some of the highlights from my perspective:

I met Magic Leap at our XR in EDU event last October and was pleased to see them speaking from a number of perspectives as part of the program at AR in Action. Magic Leap One is an AR headset that comes with a Lightpack processor which clips to your pocket. It also comes with a hand control. Magic Leap runs on the Lumin OS, which is (according to their website) “fully optimized for environment recognition, persistent digital content and the performance to power high-fidelity visual experiences.” A series of technologists from across the organization shared the latest developments of the platforms they are working on.

Google was at AR in Action too, speaking about how in a time where workers migrate from job to job so quickly, wearables can help organizations capture and preserve best practices and develop contextual training experiences. According to the website, Glass Enterprise Edition is focused on industry—manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. Voice activated navigation helps workers stay on task while bringing resources up to support the project in progress, this includes bringing in colleagues for a live stream video chat. As part of the program, PTC spoke about their work bringing AR to industrial workplaces, driving productivity and efficiency. Their Vuforia Studio allows for fast AR authoring optimized for 3D.

zSpace, a provider for augmented and virtual reality in education, was at AR in Action as well. They spoke about their work bringing experiences to students across the country. The organization has mobile classrooms equipped with their technology—laptops, eyewear and styluses. According to their website, zSpace provides curriculum for K12 education, career and technical education, medical and post secondary education. The objects designed within the curriculum can be brought out of the laptop and into AR, and manipulated with 6 degrees of freedom with the stylus.

Events like AR in Action add new dimensions to our thinking about what technology is doing to transform our lives. Hands-free, voice-based navigation of wearables brings new layers of audio and visual content to our world, supporting our daily work and activities. Contextual 3D visualizations that can be manipulated help us explore topics in new experiential ways as we learn. With each release, there’s an impact.

We look forward to continuing our exploration of these transformative technologies known as XR. To see our latest work in this area, check out the website for XR in Learning, the new network we’re building for those engaged in augmented, virtual and mixed reality for K12, higher education and corporate learning and development. You can also watch the livestream from our XR in EDU event last October, co-hosted with Boston University.

posted Feb 26, 2019 in K12 by Abhishek Maheshwari

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Classroom learning as we know it is undergoing change at an unprecedented rate. Technology has made its way to the classroom, increasing the engaging and interactive elements that many students are benefitting from. Students today are already familiar with various technologies, which is why computerized tools and apps make sense in a classroom setting. One study among marketing students has shown that the introduction of technology makes 87% of students more likely to attend class and 72% of them more likely to participate.

Augmented and virtual reality are seeing more prominent utilization in the classroom and educational settings. The format and even the location of the learning process could be transformed through AR in the years to come. Keeping in mind that 71% of people aged 16 to 24 in the US have a smartphone, AR could be the next big thing in education.

Let’s explore educational uses of the AR technology in detail.

Augmented Reality Classrooms

One of the simplest AR uses in education is its introduction in the traditional classroom.

Supporting textbook materials with AR examples adds another dimension to the learning process – a process that will become a hybrid of the traditional approach and innovative practical illustrations of complicated concepts.

Here’s a simple example of how AR could be utilized in the classroom. By scanning the covers of textbooks, students get a short description of what they’re about. Thus, smarter choices can be made about the selection of learning materials that will be most suited to the task at hand.

4D augmented reality flashcards are also in existence already. Dinosaur 4D+ by Octagon Studio is a set of AR flashcards that give students a better idea about what dinosaurs have looked like that simultaneously provide information about their habitats, biology, and the origin of dinosaurs.

Augmented reality can make the educational experience fun for a young and restless group of people who have gotten used to visual stimulation and interactivity. Apps and AR resources are already being used in the classroom (successfully), and chances are that the scope of application will expand even further as more AR developers take on the task.

AR-Enabled Worksheets and the Educational Process at Home

Augmented reality can also help students handle their homework and assignments better when they’re not interacting with an educator.

In the very near future, teachers could start providing their students with AR-enabled worksheets. The aim of these study aids would be to encourage students to explore educational content at their own time.

Printable AR worksheets are already being tested out in an array of educational institutions. The International Society for Technological Education provides support and guides on the creation of such learning materials.

Kids and teens rarely leave their phones. This fact can be harnessed to promote learning in a way that will appeal to contemporary students.

Augmented reality can make images and information “pop out” of a textbook or a worksheet. It puts emphasis on the most important concepts and it also breaks the boundaries of textbook learning that’s perceived as mundane and tedious by many students.

Once textbook materials and apps are chosen for the purpose, the implementation of AR technology in the learning process will become simple and easy. This is one of the reasons why technology is preferred over virtual reality developments. While VR necessitates the use of a headset, AR needs solely an app and a smartphone to bring educational concepts to life.

A Higher Level of Safety: The AR Lab

Lab experiments and demonstrations are undoubtedly one of the most effective practical options for bringing challenging concepts to reality. Due to budget limitations, available equipment or safety hazards, however, many schools limit the scope of practical demonstrations that students are exposed to.

This is another fact that’s beginning to change through the adoption of AR technology. The number of experiments and demonstrations students can witness is going to grow. In fact, such educational tools are already available.

Anatomy 4D is an excellent example of such AR development. When printed targets are scanned, students see a 3D model of the human body that can be interacted with. Experience Chemistry is another similar development. It enables virtual reactions to take place as students progress through different levels and learn about chemical elements.

Through AR, students can also inquire more knowledge about the safety procedures to follow in a lab and the potential hazards to be aware of. Such demonstrations are much more engaging than a standard safety tutorial, which is why young people could be expected to remember the protocols better.

Students and Teachers Taking Control of the Educational Process

The ultimate goal of technology being introduced in the classroom is personalization. Students can explore the lessons and the concepts that they need to review and they can go through the AR demonstration at their own pace.

The next step would obviously be the creation of personalized learning materials by both students and teachers.

AR apps like HP Reveal simplify the process of creating your own augmented reality. An image that a student or a teacher shoots can be linked to online content that appears in a floating window whenever the respective image is scanned.

Metaverse and Traces are examples of similar AR apps. They allow for the creation of place-based AR information pop-ups. Just imagine how useful and fun these could be during a field trip. Teachers can easily create content for the individual needs of different students by relying on such apps. The ready availability and cost-efficiency of such solutions will obviously increase their propagation in the near future.

Teachers can come up with quests, interactive puzzles, and quizzes for their students, making discovery and learning much more exciting. When in need, they may develop special content for groups of students or individuals in need of a more thorough or specific approach. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the learning process will increase because students will receive the special attention they may need to move forward with a certain subject or concept.

There are many other ways in which AR can be utilized in schools, universities, and e-learning. AR could work with other technologies like VR to create something known as mixed reality. The real world is only a starting point from which exploration begins. The sky is the limit, both when it comes to topics that can be explored in AR settings and the demonstrations or knowledge presentations that can be crafted through the use of the technology.