Research in AR

Bruce Sterling is a science fiction writer and one of the founders the cyberpunk movement is science fiction. In 2010 he was a guest speaker at the Augmented Reality Event. In his speech he equated the evolution of AR with the time of day. AR has passed its dawn and it is now 0900 in the morning. "Time for Coffee". Time to get a plan, set an agenda and get down to business.

The Augmented Reality Event: Bruce Sterling's keynote from Ori Inbar on Vimeo.

While AR has been around for a while, and has been readily adopted by the Technology and Marketing Sectors, it has been slower to move into the field of Eduation. Research is being done both within the Academich and the Business worlds.

Within the field of Education, AR applications have to be grounded in sound pedagogy to justify their cost and not be viewed as a passing gimmick or latest shiny object that is intriging . The educational literature on AR is still in it infancy and mainly focues academic discussions of AR emerging trends and its implicaitons for Education. Research studying the impact on the use of virtual gaming and more recently AR gamimg has dominated in the literature. Within research on AR, the focus seems to be on the use of AR in the fields of mathematics and science. Until now the software and cost of technology have been somewhat prohibative for Education but the rapidly evolving access to AR via portable devices such as smartphones and downloadable applications is changing this. The following is a sampling of some of the Research being done in AR and Education outside the academic world.

Latitude 42 Study Findings: Where Else Will Kids Think to Put the Web in the World? from latddotcom on Vimeo.

Results from Children's Future Requests for Computers and the Internet by Latitude 42 link to study results pdf.

Research Papers

R. Azuma, //A Survey of Augmented Reality// Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, pp. 355–385, August 1997.
This paper describes the characteristics of Augmented Reality systems, including a detailed discussion of the tradeoffs between optical and video blending approaches. Registration and sensing errors are two of the biggest problems in building effective Augmented Reality systems, so this paper summarizes current efforts to overcome these problems. Future directions and areas requiring further research are discussed. This survey provides a starting point for anyone interested in researching or using Augmented Reality.

Vallino, J. (2002). Introduction to Augmented Reality. Retrieved from
The website provides useful information about AR in education that has been taken from the beginning sections of the author's thesis proposal. The author PhD thesis work was completed in April 1998 with the defense of his thesis, "Interactive Augmented Reality". The author defined AR and distinguished between AR and VR. Also he mentioned some examples of using AR in different fields.

Kaufmann, H. and Schmalstieg, D. (2002).Published in Proceedings from ACM SIGGRAPH Conference Retrieved from
The authorus use Mathematics and Geometry Education with Collaborative Augmented Reality to investigate how an AR system called Studierstube improved spatial abilities and transfer of learning of math and geometric objects. They suggest that the system encouraged experimentation and improved spatial skills
Kaufmann, H. (2003). Collaborative Augmented Reality in Education Published in Proceedings from Imagina Conference
This paper from Kaufmann's talk at the Imagina Conference, looks at the challenges of using a collaborative AR application in the context of immersive learning enviroments in Education. The use of an application called Construct 3D, that was designed for mathematices and geometery education, was studied. The author reported that anecotal evidence supported the claim that Construct 3D was easy to learn and supported student experimentation with geometric constructions and improved spacial skills.
van Krevelen,D.W.F., and Poelman, R. (2010). A Survey of Augmented Reality Technologies, Applications and Limitations. The International Journal of Virtual Reality 9(2): 1-20.
This is a comprehensive survey that describes the field of Augmented Reality including a definition, and development history as well as enabling technologies and recent applications. It also looks at some of the limitations to AR. This paper is a good starting point for a comprehensive understanding of the field of Augmented Reality.
Milgram, P.,Takemura, H., Utsumi A., and Kishino, F. (1994). SPIE Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies Vol 2351: 282-292
Althought is is an older paprer, it is well cited as it provides a useful taxinomic famework to define and classify the concept of Augmented Reality on a virutal - reality continuum
Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., and Mitchell, R., (2009) Journal of Science and Education Technology 18:7-22. Affordances and Limitations of Immersive Participatory Augmented Reality Simulations for Teaching and Learning.
This paper describes findings from multiple qualitative case studies that document how teachers and students in grades 6, 7 and 10 describe and comprehend the way in which participating in AR simulations facilitates or hinders teaching and learning. The Authors report that AR is highly engaging but that problems with technology, mangerial and cognitive challenges for teaching and learning were encountered. This paper provides a diagramatic conceptual framework for AR processes in Education.
Rosenbaum,E., Klopher, E., and Perry, J. (2007) Journal of Science and Education Technology 16(1): 31- 45.
This paper looks at the learning of science through authentic simulated experiences through a networked hand held Augmented Reality environment. A game called Outbreak @ The Institute was played across a university campus where the players took on roles of doctors, medical technicians and public health experts to contain an outbreak. Student's perceptions of the game were investigated. Reported findings were that students perceived the game as authentic and that students felt personally embodied in the game.

Klopher, E., Perry, J., Squire, K., and Jan, M. (2005) Collaborative Learning through Augmented Reality Role Playing. In the Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning pp: 311-315
The research described by the authors looks at the use of hand held computers to create an emotionally rich context for collaborative learning to engage high school and university students. The games were designed to immerse the players in real world environments that simmulated practices of environmental engineers to give the students a "virtual practicum". While their first AR generation games provided collaboration within groups it was non existent between groups. Additonal game elements were added to subsequent generations of games and the new features were found to foster further collaboration.
Klopfer, E., and Sheldon, J., (2010) Augmenting your own reality: Student authoring of science-based augmented reality games. New Directions for Youth Development. No. 128: Winter pp 85-94.
This article looks at having students author their own games. The purpose of the AR game play is to connect students to their own community an environment to support contextual learning. They use an AR called TimeLab 2100 where the students role play citizens of the 22nd Century when global climate change is out of control. Early feedback showed that game authoring is favoured by both students and teachers and is a motivating factor in getting students to engage in community issues.
Martin-Gutierrez, J., Saorin, J., Contero, M., Alcaniz, M., Perez-Lopez, D., and Ortega, M. (2010) Education: Design and Validation of an Augmented Book for Spatial Abilities in Engineering Students. Computers & Graphics Vol 34 (1): 77-91
Research in this paper focused on an augmented book called AR-Dehaes that helped students visualize and perform spatial engineering tasks. The study looked at the effect of the experience on 24 university students. The experience required only the book a computer and a webcam. The main findings were that students found the experience easy to use and useful and that the training had a measurable and positive impact on student's spatial ability.
Pence, H.E., (2011) Smartphones, Smart Objects, and Augmented Reality The Reference Librarian 52:1-2 136-145
This article is an interesting commentary on the use of smartphone technology in education. The author contends that two major types of AR that will most likley be seen in academic use are that of markerless an marked AR. The author contends that marked AR is especially powerful because it makes physical objects clickable such as a web page.
Zarraonandia, T., Francese, R., Passero, I., Diaz, P., and Tortora, G., (2011) Augmented lectures around the corner? British Journal of Education Technology Vol 42(4): 76-78.
This short paper is an informal discussion of how AR might enhance communication in the lecture setting through the use of cellphones, PCs or laptops. However the authors note that this is not likely to occur until the AR technology matures.
Staley, D. J., (2004) Adopting Digital Technologies in the Classroom: 10 Assessment Questions. Educause Quarterly 3:20-26.
In this article the author posses 10 questions related to adopting digital technology in the classroom such as, "Does the technology add some demonstratable pedagogical value?". Although this article is 7 years old, the questions are still relevent for 2011.
Pricer, W.F., (2011) At issue: Immersive Education:An Annotated Webliography Community College Enterprise Spring 2011 Vol 17 Issue 1 pp 41-50.
This webliography that provides a variety of online resources discussing various types of computer simulations including: augmented reality, virtual reality programs, gaming resources for teaching, virtual reality lab resources and virtual world resources.

Research Questions

While AR has been around its penetration into the field of Education is relatively new and hence there are many areas that need to be explored. The following are some questions that might be considered for research.
  • How are digital technology trends such as AR influencing Educational Pedagogy? - Is the use of AR evloving faster that our understanding of its benefits and limitations?
  • What are appropriate educational applications of AR technology? When, where and how should it be used in different learning environments?
  • What are the potential long -term psychological and social impacts of using AR in classrooms ?
  • What is the effect of AR on learners cognitive load and how does this impact their learning?
  • What is the difference between the use of 2D and 3D models for learning?
  • How does AR engage learners?
  • What are the social impacts of AR in the classroom? Does the use of AR in educational settings impact the use in social settings and vice versa?
  • What are effective design elements to facilitate the use of AR in teaching settings?
  • What support do teacher need to facilitate the use of AR in education?
  • How can AR be used to improve the online learning experience?
  • How can AR be used to facilitate students with disabilities?
  • Are AR mobile applications an option for education in the 3rd World?