Students spend a lot of time at school each day. Plus, they are the most tech-savvy members of the general population. By connecting their education with an augmented world, schools and colleges can improve their students' learning experiences.
This article will discuss five AR trends that will have the greatest impact on K-12 institutions and colleges in the coming years. But first, what is AR?
1. Definition of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is the blending of artificial elements or computer-generated images into our natural surroundings. It overlays digital information on top of the real world. With augmented reality, users can view virtual objects in their environment as if they were really there, using their smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The digital objects appear to be part of the real world rather than a mere overlay. Today, there are thousands of different AR apps available for download on Android and iOS.
2. Augmented Reality Takes Off
The growth of AR has been exponential over the past few years. It started slowly, but now it is taking off. The Industrial Revolution has often been referred to as the "age of automation." The same is true for the current era of augmented reality.
The basic use of augmented reality has been around for a long time. It has only recently become popular. Companies and organizations have taken noticed of the tremendous growth in AR and are finding new ways to make it even more popular. That trend will continue to a large extent because of the benefits it has over other technologies.
3. 5 AR Trends Impacting K-12 Institutions and Colleges
It's safe to say that we are in the early stages of this emerging technology. However, as more-and-more teachers embrace the new and innovative ways that AR can enhance their lessons, AR is poised to become a major disruptor in the education sector. Therefore, we are excited to explore how this technology will enhance the learning experience.
3.1. 3D Touchable Content
The widespread adoption of AR has led to the creation of several AR apps and services. One key development is the introduction of AR content that is "touchable." This means that the content can respond to taps or touches made by the user with their fingers.
For example, a city map can have landmarks that light up when a user touches them, or an anatomy diagram can light up when a user touches different parts of the diagram. This feature opens several applications for AR.
AR content can also serve as a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a subject matter. For example, a computer science teacher can augment the class with a virtual code pad that stores and displays the program a student is working on.
AR allows the teacher to see the program and the student's progress at a glance, enhancing the overall teaching–learning experience for students. This is especially useful for students with learning disabilities that prevent them from receiving visual cues from other students.
3.2. Immersive Virtual Worlds
Virtual environments are quickly becoming the norm in most institutions because they allow students to immerse themselves in new cultures and environments while also providing a safe space to experiment with their learning and development skills.
Students can use AR to create their own virtual worlds, allowing them to create their own stories with characters and settings. Teachers can use AR to help students work in groups, leaving room for everyone to collaborate and create content. Educators can also share created AR content with parents, who can help bring home the learning experience.
3.3. Classroom Organizers and Managers
As students and teachers incorporate more virtual tools into the classroom, it becomes important to keep these resources organized and accessible.
You can use AR to create virtual organizers and management tools. Google Expeditions, for example, is a platform that allows educators to create and share virtual learning environments. Google Expeditions is supported on several popular devices, including the Apple iPad, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa.
Teachers can also use AR to manage the learning space by creating virtual classroom models for presentations and other management purposes.
3.4. Research-Based Apps
One of the most innovative and useful trends in education is the use of AR for research. AR apps make scholarly research easier, faster, and more efficient.
Researchers can also use AR apps to visualize collected data by combining the data with the real-world environment. With AR apps, researchers can also present their research findings interactively and engagingly, which is not possible with traditional research methods.
AR apps can help visualize the results of a survey or a scientific experiment, show the results of an economic study, or display architectural designs in a real-world environment. AR apps are being used in many research fields, including medicine, biology, sociology, and physics.
3.5. 360° Virtual Video Conferencing
Virtual Video Conferencing is a digital technology that allows people to communicate with each other over a video call. This is possible by placing a camera in the real-world environment and then placing the camera on the other side of the table with the other person.
Digital AR creates an immersive environment that allows two people to connect in a 360° environment. The person on the other side of the call can walk around the environment by moving the camera on their side of the table.
Teachers can also use AR to create a virtual environment to interact with students in meaningful ways that are not possible when they are in the same physical location - meaning learners get to enjoy more productive learning experiences.
4. Virtual and Augmented Reality Combined
Combining virtual and augmented reality (mixed reality) can make learning even more immersive. It can increase the amount of time students spend actively studying, make it easier for teachers to track student progress, and ensure students are on track for graduation.
4.1. The Rise of Mixed Reality
As with many new technologies, the appeal of mixed reality is that it can offer benefits from VR and AR.
VR can help immerse students in the information they need to learn, while AR makes it easier for students to interact with the information.
Combined, AR and VR makes it easier for students to learn by doing –streamlining a seamless method for students to interact with their teachers and other class members.
As the future of education becomes more-and-more dependent on technology, the need for accessible and affordable tools becomes more crucial. And after analyzing the trends, we realized K-12 institutions and colleges could have the biggest influence over AR in the coming years.
AR has already proven to be a reliable and affordable tool to enhance the teaching and learning experience. So, whether you're learning about historical sights to exploring chemistry, AR will give you the perspective you need to make the most of your time in class.