The term Augmented Reality was first used in 1990 with the first commercial uses being in television and the military. Since then, AR technology has evolved considerably as we see it being used in Augmented Reality applications across every industry. The Augmented Reality market showed record growth in 2018 and according to Markets and Markets, the industry will be worth $61.39 billion by 2023.
There have been numerous reported benefits from AR users in education, defence, construction, oil and gas. It’s only a matter of time before Augmented Reality will ‘take over’ all the industries in some shape or form especially in education and training. What does the future of education look like? Where will these smart, emerging technologies take us?
What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Unlike Virtual Reality, AR is an interactive experience of a real-life environment. This technology essentially adds layers of digital information, like graphics, sounds and video to the real-world. Augmented Reality is seen as a combination of virtual and real worlds with accurate 3D representations of computer-generated objects and those in the real environment.
People usually experience AR through wearable tech such as goggles, headsets or even full-body suits. Educational institutions using the latest technology in the classroom and on field trips can create an immersive and completely different learning experience. This presents a massive opportunity for Generation Alpha children who will essentially be better prepared as the leaders of our future.
Who Is Generation Alpha?
Generation Alpha is the youngest generation of children born between 2010 and 2025. They are also known as the iGeneration and “children of millennials”. Alpha children don’t know what life is like without smartphones, tablets, computers and the internet as they use technology more naturally than other generations.
Generation Alpha is the first generation born in the 21s century and will be the most tech-savvy demographic. Estimates suggest that they will make up two billion of the global population by 2025. Looking at the current market place, Generation Alpha students, in particular, will benefit from emerging technologies and innovations.
Preparing For The Future Of Education
Educators and educational institutions will find it somewhat challenging to cope with the demands of Alpha children if they don’t keep up-to-date. This involves teaching themselves about technology trends, their methodology and curriculum to adopt the new way of approaching education.
Generation Alpha is accustomed to learning with touchscreens and experiencing all the latest tech trends from a young age. For Augmented Reality to truly work, schools must provide an adequate environment that will help enhance this type of learning.
Educational institutions at all levels must adapt to this new approach in order to reap the rewards. Schools and colleges should prepare for the future by creating study programmes that require deep learning. They must be able to seamlessly adapt or modify these programmes to meet the demands of Generation Alpha.
Teaching Our Future Leaders
Alpha children are the most connected, educated and tech-savvy generation which means they need a different approach to learn. The right way to teach our future leaders is to further develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills with digital integrators.
Due to their sophisticated nature, Generation Alpha children must be able to see problems from a different perspective to make more informed decisions. This will undoubtedly constitute one of the pillars in their likely future with AI robots and Quantum computing.
Augmented Reality teaching will also take teamwork to a whole new level. This informative and immersive digital environment will help them analyse alternative solutions from different viewpoints. They will then be able to make decisions based on their own personal critical thinking.
Embracing Augmented Reality In Education
Providing students with more engaging learning experiences is essential for the success of educational institutions and the educator. Emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR) will enable classrooms to incorporate the sort of content to make learning faster, more efficient and more enjoyable.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can be used in almost any subject including mathematics, chemistry and biology. Using tools and apps that are specifically designed for AR content and activities means even people with little or no programming skills can create an immersive world within the classroom.
A good example of Augmented Reality applications comes from Indestry, an award-winning entertainment, marketing, and education company. They are responsible for creating the dinosaur experience in Jurassic Park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Their technology can certainly help bring similar learning experiences to the classroom.
Advantages Of Augmented Reality In Education
Augmented Reality applications in education will offer new teaching and learning methods which will brilliantly bridge the gap between our real world and a virtual environment. Reports on the positive impact of Augmented Reality experiences in an educational setting show some interesting benefits compared to non-AR.
- A better understanding of learning content
- Improved learning of spatial structure and function
- Learning language associations
- Learners show a long-term memory retention
- Improved performance of physical tasks and collaboration
- Students show a high increase in motivation
While this is certainly promising, there are a few drawbacks which can, fortunately, be avoided without too much effort. These include attention tunnelling, usability difficulties, learner differences and poor classroom integration.
Augmented Reality Apps For Education
Thanks to the dedicated work of countless experts, there are various Augmented Reality apps and tools for all sectors. Looking at education, there are several AR apps that can boost the imagination and help plan incredible lessons to make learning fun.
This Augmented Reality app is essentially a content creation tool for students. CoSpaces Edu enables students to create their own 3D objects and animate them with simple code. They can project their virtual environments onto any surface in the real world and even hold creations in your hand thanks to the MERGE Cube.
Anyone looking for a storytelling app should check out Wonderscope. It uses AR technology to transform ordinary places into stories in real-time. What makes it so incredible is that students can also learn to read with the app. They can even ask the characters in the story questions and listen to their responses.
Another impressive Augmented Reality tool is AR Makr, a creative toolbox. With AR Makr, students can sketch, scan and snap their surrounding environment. It allows them to transform 2D creations into 3D virtual objects which they can place anywhere in their environment. This app also has the ability for students to record, save and share their augmented world with their teacher.
Google Expeditions is an immersive tool that can enhance the learning and teaching experience by enabling teachers to guide students through 360° scenes and 3D objects. Students can explore historical landmarks, go underwater, visit outer space or even go down to an atomic level.
Using augmented reality in the classroom is no longer science fiction as the technology has already been implemented in several ways. Students will find this an interesting and exciting experience with added motivation from AR to learn more.
Augmented Reality lessons can significantly improve almost any learning experience. From doing book reviews, an interactive wall, reading comprehension, breakout games to spatial awareness and translations. The future of education is bright and we should all feel excited and privileged to be a part of it.
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