Today, augmented reality is widely known for its implementation in the e-commerce and gaming industry. As this technology is being adopted by many others in recent years, we started to see AR in various different industries as well. In our previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how AR benefits e-commerce retailers, and how brands can boost their businesses with the help of augmented reality. However, since we are almost in September and the “Back to School” time is approaching fast, it is beneficial to take a look at how AR can be promising for educational purposes as well.
In higher education, augmented reality is used for a wide range of applications. Generally, higher education college courses require more hands-on work in studios and labs than those at the K-12 level. Studies get more complex with each year, and comprehending them without physically attending the classes is a real challenge. That is why AR comes in handy especially during the times of Covid-19 and online education. Faculties use AR platforms to incorporate gamification into their curricula and create informative educational material. Through AR technology, professors can create a fully customizable and collaborative learning environment, create lab experiences with live demos, manage course content and downloadable resources, ensure interactivity with Q&A and live sessions. In this blog post, we will be looking at how the education sector uses augmented reality in different ways.
Let’s start with medical students. Apart from other majors and disciplines, med students are the ones who suffer the most from a lack of practical training. That is because when they first start, their training can not consist of hands-on treatment with a living human being, whose life might be at stake. When this is the case, it’s not always wise or even possible to let a trainee med student interfere with an operation in an actual surgery room. As a solution to this problem, AR and VR simulators are developed for training purposes. VR simulators provide explanations of the tasks to be practiced and objective assessment of the student performance; however, they lack realistic haptic feedback. AR simulators do retain realistic haptic feedback and provide an objective assessment of the performance of the trainee. These methods are valuable in the sense that trainees are able to use the same equipment as in surgery rooms during the simulation as well, which can not be achieved in virtual reality. Besides, AR and VR simulators do not require an expert to be present during the training which actually eliminates the physical borders and makes medical education available everywhere with an internet connection. This is considered to be the most revolutionary technology implemented in higher education.
Apart from surgery simulations, AR becomes handy in freshman anatomy classes too. As all medical students can tell, human anatomy is one of the most fundamental classes of med school and learning it mostly through 2D diagrams on traditional textbooks, videos, or human torso models. An immersive way of seeing muscles, veins, organs, and more body parts in detail through a life-like experience is an unprecedented opportunity. Complete Anatomy is one of the apps in this field that provides more than 17,000 human body structures available as 3D models. Students can interact with each of them both conventionally and by projecting the body parts on a flat surface. Besides, the app can host multi-user sessions, so students and doctors can work together on the same project.
With theaters embracing technologies such as the ARShow platform, which allows producers to add AR elements into live performances and stage decorations, university drama departments are incorporating augmented reality into their curricula. For example, one college developed an AR app to visualize stage design named AR Stage Craft and allow virtual walk-throughs and rehearsals before set construction. Students learn how to design theater sets by using CAD (computer-aided drafting) during classes and import them to the Stage Craft app to better visualize the full setting.
AR in higher education is gaining traction in science, technology, engineering, and math departments too. A hands-on, collaborative lab enables students to use AR technology to operate a chemical plant and experiment with different chemical reactions. Experimenting tools used in labs are known to be sophisticated thus expensive, so AR apps that are specifically curated for the course material can be a saving from the expenses as well.
“Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize learning in primary and secondary schools more than any other technology has done in the recent past.”A reporter from NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
K-12 and Preschool
AR is not only helping undergrad or higher-level students, it has so much to offer for K-12 and preschool students too. As AR is a powerful visualization tool from age 3 to 18, students can experience the advantages of immersive visual learning according to their own levels. It’s more likely that students will remember their material for the long term because they will be able to directly interact with their materials in fun and innovative ways. By this way, students will be encouraged to improve their social learning, explore their surroundings, extend visual literacy, improve their language and problem-solving skills, and metacognition with the offerings of AR.
Some benefits of using augmented reality in the classroom:
- AR maximizes student’s ability to spend their time learning curricular subjects while minimizing the time spent learning how to use the new tech.
- It changes the way that students interact with their world and learn their subject content.
- Today, there are many books that are published with AR technology, all you need is a smartphone or iPad to scan the pages and let the fun learning experience begin.
- Printing AR-enabled worksheets gives the students a chance to engage with AR at home.
- AR can make class trips more informative.
With the emerging technologies following applications in the classroom are now possible :
- Homework Mini-Lessons: When students scan a page of their homework, the page reveals a video of their teacher helping them solve a problem.
- Book Reviews: Students record themselves giving a brief review of a novel that they just finished, and then attach that to the book. Afterward, anyone can see the cover of the book and instantly access the review.
- Yearbooks: From tributes to video profiles and sporting highlights and concert footage, the ways AR can enhance a school yearbook is limitless.
- Lab Safety: Put triggers (images that activate media when scanned by an AR-enabled device) all around a science laboratory so when students scan them, they can quickly learn the different safety procedures and protocols for the lab equipment.
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Sign Language Flashcards: With AR, flashcards with vocabulary words on them can contain a video overlay that shows how to sign a word or a phrase.
AR Education Apps
Quiver is a coloring app in which kids can see the animals, plants, and shapes they colored in AR on special (tangible) trigger pages through an iPad or a smartphone. It’s very realistic; this way kids can find themselves in a highly engaged environment that they actually created.
Augment Education is an AR app targeted at higher education students. Students can use this tool to create presentations in augmented reality and create three-dimensional designs. The ability to make models in augmented reality can bring many lectures to life in a classroom environment that range from health to architecture. For example, a professor at Harran University adopted Augment Education AR technology in his mechanical engineering technical drawing course. This resulted in students having an easier time translating between the 3D models they created in Solidworks to and from 2D representations of that model. In addition, with the help of this app, students were able to do this in the classroom with the guidance of the teacher or at home for homework and additional projects.
SkyMap is another great app for astronomy enthusiasts of all ages. When an iPad or smartphone is directed towards the sky, with the help of augmented reality, users can identify the constellations, planets, and thousands of stars in the camera’s field of vision. Not every night is a starry night with billions of stars shining above us, we need to go a distance to rural areas to see the stars clearly, without any skyscrapers or dense city lights blocking the view. With SkyMap, users can see celestial bodies through their smartphones easily and learn about them in detail by just clicking on the pop-ups.
Merge EDU offers a whole new concept for educators who want to use AR in their courses. Merge Cube and Merge Headset can help the students understand complex science and STEM concepts effectively. The Merge Cube Lets you hold digital 3D objects, enabling an entirely new way to learn and interact with the digital world. Now students can explore a galaxy in the palm of their hand, hold fossils and ancient artifacts, explore a DNA molecule, investigate the Earth’s core, dissect a virtual frog, hold and share their own 3D creations, and so much more.
Star Shopper differs from other AR apps in content: the purpose is to educate children on wise money handling within a setting designed with AR. Raising awareness for kids on basic personal financial responsibility is the main goal of this app. It uses interactive storytelling with the Star Shopper comic book. The AR feature takes you on a shopping trip to outer space where you can practice your money skills by buying alien gadgets, books, chocolates, and other fun stuff.
Brain Space magazine features scanning pages of the magazine and AR reveals 3D models of the content (for example layers of earth’s crust or dinosaurs) immediately in readers’ environment. This is a fascinating learning opportunity for primary and secondary school kids which can also encourage them to read for more educational content.
Wonderscope is an app for kids that uses Augmented Reality to transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary stories. It can be said that it’s revolutionizing kids’ education; kids grow their imagination with engaging stories and augmented environments specially designed for them to be a part of and play joyfully.
Creating The Future With AR
As you can see, augmented reality is already well-adapted in the education system. As more and more people are interacting with AR, it’s becoming a part of our daily lives. Today’s children will be frequent AR users in the next 5-10 years. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025, there will be 4.3B frequent AR users according to the 2021 Snap Consumer AR Global Report. The change is here and the possibilities are endless. If you want to learn more about digitizing your products and create 3D and AR experiences for your visitors, you can schedule a demo today.