Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

Augmented Reality Brings Learning to Life

on September 16, 2013

Augmented reality mixes computer and real world environments. And if you're not on board with it now, you're going to miss out on the future of education technology.

"If you watch Harry Potter, when those kids are walking through Hogwarts in the castle, they're not just pictures on the wall," said Drew Minock, third grade teacher at Eastover Elementary School. "Those pictures are alive, you know. Just imagine, like, the Night at the Museum where the figures at the museum are now alive. Well, we can do that with just about anything we want in our classroom now."

Two Michigan teachers thought up an augmented reality app that brings the solar system to life. And they're telling everyone they know about the potential of augmented reality in the classroom.

"You're only limited by your imagination, so you can literally do whatever you want with it, and that's what's great about using it in the classroom is 'cause our kids' imaginations at third grade when we teach are wild," Minock said.

Augmented reality even helped a student who was a selective mute for nine years. After playing the puzzle game Cargo-Bot, he started speaking to the whole class.

"He finally had something that inspired him enough to 1. have the confidence and have the courage to speak," said Brad Waid, third-grade teacher at Eastover Elementary School.

The future of this technology is bright.

"With augmented reality, you pretty much have a target or a trigger, so some type of image to tie some type of file or, you know, 3-D animation to it," Waid said. "In the future, you're not going to have to have a target or a marker 'cause we've seen some of the new technology that's still in prototype right now that you can get your phone out and you can just scan an area, and all of a sudden it's laying down markers in the real world, and you can drop 3-D animations in there, and it will learn the environment."

"I think augmented reality is the future of not only technology, but technology in education mainly," Minock said. "It changes the way that the kids are engaged in learning, and that's what we're going for. We want to get these kids engaged in something to where they're learning on a level that they don't even realize they're learning 'cause they're so deep into it, and that's something that augmented reality does."


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