How Augmented Reality is transforming education?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a variation of Virtual Environments (VE), or Virtual Reality as it is more commonly called. In these so called Virtual Environments the user is completely surrounded by a synthetic environment. In that state, the user can not perceive the real world and the real environment that surrounds him/her.

On the contrary, Augmented Reality (AR) allows the user to perceive the real world while the virtual elements are superimposed upon or composited with the real world. In this manner, the augmented reality is enriching the user's perception of the reality rather than totally replacing it like in the case of the virtual environments. The ultimate goal of the AR is to convince the user that the two environments, real and virtual, coexist.

An application designed on the basis of the AR technology can provide the teacher with the ability to visually present to the students a three-dimensional shape created out of its two orthogonal projections presented in the textbook.

What does a teacher need to use AR in classes?

There are various off-the-shelf software tools available for creating the AR application. They differ in the needed computer skills of the creator, as well as in the platform on which they can operate (Windows, Android or iOS). The boundary of the devices used to create and utilize the application is no more present, meaning one can use a desktop computer, or a hand-held device like a smartphone or tablet.

The augmentation of the reality happens when firstly the markers are prepared, then they are introduced into the field of view of the camera and after that the algorithm detects and follows the marker with superimposing the appropriate virtual element on it.

Once an AR application is installed, the teachers can create the markers, create the AR scene, can edit it and can preview it.

How AR is impacting students in education?

A study was conducted to understand how AR is impacting education. The class was divided into two groups. One group was taught using the traditional way (whiteboard lecturing) and the other group was taught using AR. These are the findings of the study

  • The understanding rate of students increased when AR was used
  • They had higher success rate in skill test compared to the students who followed traditional classes
  • As for teachers, AR is contributing towards saving time in lecturing
  • Students showed increased interested in learning through AR

The weaknesses, or possible threats that teachers stated regarding implementation and realization of the course using AR are referring to the deficiency of licensed software for augmented reality and not enough equipment of the university classrooms with personal computers with cameras which will slow down the process of learning.