By Stephanie McCauley
Although the obsession with Pokémon GO seems to be on the downswing, the popularity of the game among young people brings augmented reality, or AR, to the forefront for educators. What’s in store for AR and how might teachers use this technology in the classroom? Could AR create a more dynamic learning experience for students?
Children’s imaginative play has changed quite a bit over the last half century, from open-ended outside play to screen-centered engagement (see this article from The Atlantic for more). But AR may be able to bridge the distance between screen and reality. AR allows users to superimpose a digital version of the world onto our real one (think of Pikachu in your driveway—not actually there, but represented by the technology in your palm). This kind of immersion could have exciting implications for classroom learning.
As Phil Goerner from School Library Journal explains, AR could allow flat textbooks to become 3-D, multifaceted reservoirs of knowledge. For example, a biology teacher could use AR to bring a physiology lesson to life. With a wave of a tablet, a normally 2-D diagram of an animal could become 3-D, with detailed views of different internal organs. AR could be used in geometry to view and manipulate structures from different angles. It could also be used in English class to create interactive activities to engage students with their books. There are so many possible uses for this technology.
Wherever augmented reality takes us in the next few years, education won't be far behind. It will be exciting to track how learning changes with these new developments.