Imagine how those boring history lessons at school would be if the children would watch an augmented view of the lesson, like a 3D Solar System Model or Galileu talking directly to them, and they were able to interact with this augmented information. Children learn better the lesson if they see it like a game.
Image 1. An example of learning without AR and with AR.
Although using Augmented Reality can drive to fun learning, its use is not restricted to children, but can also be used in more advances levels, where the presence of an AR System can provide a very useful tool for the student.
For instance, in mathematics and geometry the main advantage of using an AR system is that students actually see three dimensional objects which previously they had to calculate and construct with traditional methods, like pen and paper. Instead of working with such old methods, it is better working working directly in 3D space. As a result, complex spatial problems may be comprehended better and faster, as well as spatial relations. A research on it was carried out by Kaufmann and Schmalstieg who published their results in the study “Mathematics and Geometry Education with Collaborative Augmented Reality”. In this research, Kaufmann and Schmalstieg investigated how an AR system improved spatial abilities and transfer of learning of math and geometric objects to the students.
We can find another example of an AR system developed for educational purpose in “Augmented Reality for teaching spatial relations”, study carried out by P.Maier, M. Tönnis and G. Klinker in 2009. In this paper, the authors describe how the Augmented Reality can explain in an easy way the spatial relations of the molecules and their spatial interactions and chemical reactions. Furthermore, the use of Augmented Reality can help to scientists to speed up the process of designing new molecules.
Figure 2. AR in medicine, where an “error” could drive to a disaster.
As we have seen, Augmented Reality appeals to constructivist notions of education where students take control of their own learning, and interact with the real and virtual environments. In learning situations that are partly virtual like AR, students can manipulate objects that are not real, and learn tasks and develop skills. But doing the learning more intuitive is not the only purpose of using AR in education. There are situations in which there is no chance for “real” errors. For example, if a fireman learns how to fight various types of fires, or a surgeon learns laparoscopic surgery in an augmented reality situation, there are no real consequences if mistakes are made during training. These types of training provide opportunities for more authentic learning and appeal to multiple learning styles. Augmented Reality applications that can enhance textbooks too have the power to engage a reader in ways that have never been possible.
Despite the fact that has been shown how AR systems can improve the learning in several education stages, there are still criticisms of AR. But will AR be widely used in education? Unlike Virtual Reality, which aims at replacing the perception of the world with an artificially created one, Augmented Reality has the goal of improving the user’s perception of the surrounding world, complementing reality, rather than completely replacing it. So, I personally think Augmented reality is going to break into the education in next years, not as replacement but as helpful tool for teachers and students.Tags: AR, ARLab, Augmented Reality, education