Augmented Reality In Education

Although AR is not new, it's application in Education is just beginning to be explored. Augmented Reality is particularly relevant for education because it aligns well with Constructivist concepts and situated learning . Augmented Reality is learner based, allowing the learner to direct their course of discovery in a rich environment that allows for experimentation and making mistakes with no major consquences. The learner is engaged in a dynamic process that provides visual and interactive forms of authenic learning. The 2011 horizon report states that “the ability to transfer learning from one context to another is a significant skill, one that AR can facilitate in its overt use of context and layering. Because of the blended reality, AR moves learning from the formal to the informal and has the potential to move mobile technology from use for social and recreation activities to just in time learning and education.2011 Horizon Report

Harry Pence (2011) comments that: " Although virtual worlds, such as Second Life, have become popular for education, it seems probable that augmented reality will affect higher education sooner and more profoundly than virtual worlds." He goes on to say that while virual technology may create more immersive experiences there is some discomfort with the use of the virtual world because of the perceived realism and that people may be more comfortable with augmented reality because it offers the best of both worlds. Pense

AR can be used several ways in Education ( Training, Discovery Based Learning, Augmented Books, Augmented Reality to Model Objects and Game Based Learning)

The use of AR for training purposes is probably the eariest application of AR because of the development of the head mounted displays and is currently used in a diverse set of fields including; Medicine, the Military and various Trades. AR in training can provide a rich, contextual learning environment to develop skills in a "no risk" envirnment, that is the consequences from mistakes made are not the same as in real life.
In Medicine, AR is being used to enhance visualization of the human body, plan operations and train medical staff in various procedures. Both virtual reality and augmented reality have been used in digestive surgery. A combination of 3D modeling of patients from their CT-scan or MRI combinded with simulation technology used to train the surgical gestures that will be used before carrying it out can be combined to provide the surgeons with a transparent view of their patient and can guide the surgeon with the virtual movement of their real surgical tools that are tracked real time during a surgical procedure. AR in Digestive Surgery
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The Military have long been using AR for their training. In 2009 the Sarnoff Corporation developed a head-mounted visualization training system combining real world views, computer generated images and avatars. Soldiers interact in a realistic training environment with their own weapon, while interacting with computer-generated avatars. The avatar responds realistically to the soldier’s actions by talking, avoiding contact or returning fire. The soldier is able to record and replay training sessions.Sarnoff

Inquiry based learning or discovery learning
Jerome Bruner is credited for futhering the concept of discovery based learning in the 1960's. He wrote that,"Practice in discovering for oneself teaches one to acquire information in a way that makes that information more readily viable in problem solving." In discovery based learning, the learning is enhanced by the ARs ability to agument the lived experience. An example would be using mobile AR to visit to a museum or historic site where an AR application is used to provide additional information in the form of video, audio or maps.
In Universities and Colleges such as Yale, Stanford, MIT and Harvard, AR (uTourX) is being used to provide campus tours and information about places around campus. The Youtube video provides a look at the the software.

Augmented Books
Augmented books are relatively new on the scene. These augmented reality books appear to be like any other book; however, when they are placed in front of your computer's webcam, 3D elements, movies, sight and sounds appear. Some books include interactive elements and they may require the user to download software so that the code embedded in the book can be read.
The following video is an example from Dragonlogy.

Augmented Reality to Model Objects
Augmented Reality can also be used to model objects, allowing learners to envision how a given item would look in different settings. Models can be generated rapidly, manipulated, and rotated. Students receive immediate visual feedback about their designs and ideas in a way that allows them to spot inconsistencies or problems that need to be addressed.2010 Horizon Report

Game based Learning
Using games as a learning tool is not new. Games like Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail have have paved the way for the use of gaming in Education. Game based learning has grown in recent years and research demonstrates that is an effective learning tool. "Research and experience have already shown that games can be applied very effectively in many learning contexts, and that games can engage learners in ways other tools and approaches cannot. As this area continues to expand, and as game designers continue to explore new ways to integrate serious topics and content area in engaging formats, gaming will become more useful and prevalent in higher education." 2011 Horizon Report
AR brings signficant potential to to the gaming world as technology evolves. AR is much simper to create and is an intuitive extention of the existing world.

In 2006 Karen Schrier developed an historical game for students to learn about the American Revolution. The game takes place a the Battle of Lexington in Massechuttes. The game uses GPS data that triggers events in players hand held devices. The players are assigned various roles and sides in the battle and are able to interact with historic characters and in the process of playing the game the players use the experience to understand the battle. Schrier developed this game to evaluate AR games in education.Game post mortem Schrier notes that, AR games can potentially teach 21st Century skills such as interpretation, multimodal thinking, problem solving, information managment, teamwork,flexibility, civic engagment and acceptance of diverse perspectives. schrier

Most of the current research and disucssion about AR in education focuses on what are the emerging trends, how can they be used in leaning settings and what affordance can they offer as well as their limitations. There is little research at this moment related to program design and how AR can be integrated into or change our current approaches to learning and education. Dunleavy, Dede and Mitchell (2008) provide a diagramatic conceptual framework for the process of AR in the learning enviroment. One of the findings from their research was the challenge teachers had managing the overhead that accompanies AR simulation implementation. The high managment requirement suggests that providing teachers with adequate support for implementation is crucial. This article begins to address only some of the issues that are important to facilitate the integration of AR into curriculum design. Dunleavy et al.
From: Dunleavy, Dede and Mitchell. J. Sci Educ Technol 2009 18:7-22
From: Dunleavy, Dede and Mitchell. J. Sci Educ Technol 2009 18:7-22

Implications for Teaching and Learning

In the field of education, Augmented Reality applications have to be grounded in sound pedagogy. Research will be be needed to highlight its relevance and what enhancements AR will bring to the the teacher and student learning experience. Certainly AR is simpler to use than the virtual technolgy which may make it easier to bring into the classroom. The fact that AR layers information onto the real world may make this type of digital technology more acceptable for those concerned about the use of virtual technology. AR allows for the seamless integration between the real world and the virtual world. The use of AR can expand the learning experience from the use of 2D materials by using 3D spacial learning when applied to things like graphs, maps and the globe. It can facilitate spacial learning particualry for those who are challenged in translating concepts from 2D to 3D. Another affordance of AR that is reported in the literature, is the concept of "sense of presence" or "embodiment" when using AR in a learning context. That is, participants have an actual experience and remember it as an actual event thus making connections to previous knowledge stronger. There is still debate over whether or not AR creates collaborative experiences. Differences in collaborative results might be related to the type of AR used. Research will be needed to further explore the affordances and differences each of the AR technologies bring to the learning exprience. Finally, as mentioned above, teachers will need to receive support in how to integrate AR into curriculum design and lesson plans. There is a steep, but exciting learning curve with regard to the use of AR in Education which creates a fertile ground for Research in this area.