What is Augmented and Virtual Reality?

Augmented reality (AR), the layering of data over 3D spaces to produce a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” amplifies access to information, bringing new opportunities for learning. Virtual reality (VR) describes computer-generated environments that simulate the physical presence of people and objects to generate realistic sensory experiences. While the most prevalent uses of AR and VR thus far have been in the consumer sector, tools for creating fresh applications are becoming even easier to use and more viable in the education sector. VR constructs provide contextual learning experiences that foster exploration of real world data in virtual surrounding, while AR’s responsive interactivity enables students to construct broader understandings based on interactions with virtual objects. These two flexible, immersive technologies spark similar educational outcomes, bringing learners to deeper levels of cognition as they attain new perspectives on underlying data.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • The last few years have seen more an more usage of AR in different academic sbjects. Students’ understanding and engagement increase via the manipulation of and the interaction with 3D virtual objects appearing in the real world. (see for instance these examples already in use in different classrooms)
    For Language education, AR is also a wonderful way to immerse students, and have them interact in meaningful and authentic situations in the target language and culture while, staying in their physical environment. (see for instance the Mentira project for Spanish; or the Explorez Project for French). Supporting and promoting active learning, based on problem solving and discovery/inquiry learning, I believe that AR has and will have in the short term a great impact in Higher Education. - agermain agermain Oct 2, 2015
  • AR has potential application within a broad range of disciplines, from life sciences and particle physics to architecture and engineering. As a factor for teaching visual media it offers the learner an opportunity to better learn and practice key skills within a blended environment in order to better understand appropriate techniques and application of design theory, as well as gain a deeper perspective of the context of a subject and perspective of the artist. Methods as basic as providing a framing reference with a grid to understand rules or thirds in digital photography or videography, or superimposing storyboard frames to aid in composing a shot might be used. Also matching photos to their original location to provide comparison and give context with their original environments to better understand the intent and perspective of the photographer. With game development, AR could be effective in visualizing characters and elements considered for gameplay within real-world environments and architecture as part of research into level design, or to aid in creating mixed reality gameplay environments. In helping to foster communication and better awareness of interpersonal interaction, AR could be a fantastic tool for providing real-time engagement feedback when coupled with other input devices. Overall, as a strategic component for instructional design, there are a number of ways in which AR can provide a means for the learner to engage subject matter on a deeper level and apply knowledge in a more interactive and direct manner. These experiences reinforce learning and build additional scaffoldings for further understanding. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 20, 2015
  • In Educational Technology class, I am using QR codes. We are playing treasure hunt with the pre-service teachers in the building.- ateskan ateskan Oct 22, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Gaming or Gamification, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are concepts that are often linked together. Developing learning activities and environments using gaming dynamics and design technics is also a growing trend in Higher Education, not only to engage and enhance students' learning, but also to better understand the learning processes of students while they solve problems and search for specific information. See DiCerbo's article published in Educause, 2015: Taking Serious Games Seriously in Education > - agermain agermain Oct 2, 2015 - helga helga Oct 6, 2015
  • Synchronous learning will be enhanced thanks to AR because it will facilitate the integration of avatars representing remote students in learning spaces ( classrooms , group meetings , etc. ) - jreinoso jreinoso Oct 3, 2015
  • I definitely agree with the points made on gaming. I think the aspects of game-based learning is being missed as a Learning Technique, but I’ll save that for Q2. AR does offer some incredible opportunities within the sphere of serious gaming as well as simulation. Simulations are an effective meaning of training and learning. To b able to leverage AR as a means to present simulated elements for training purposes within real life context would be an incredible next step beyond VR-based simulations. While the virtualize environments have shown to be excellent in providing skills for situations and events not possible in reality, and while the level of realism continues to outpace that of entertainment-based games, there would be value in utilizing AR to incorporate essentials variables into real-world training exercises, like bodies, hazards, etc. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 20, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • AR facilitates problem solving, inquiry/discovery learning, “augmented” interaction with the real world, active and hands-on learning, etc, hence impacts greatly the learning experience of students, as well as changes teaching and learning cultures in Higher Education, with the roles of teacher, learner, facilitator, designer, developer evolving and becoming interchangeable. - agermain agermain Oct 2, 2015
  • It also will improve remote interaction between students and professors because avatars will (do?) allow easier interaction. - jreinoso jreinoso Oct 3, 2015
  • AR has a tremendous ability to seriously enrich the student's experience in highly authentic ways at much less cost than seeking to re-create 'actual reality'. In similar ways, it can work with, but must be understood as being different from, virtual reality. - kevin.ashford-rowe kevin.ashford-rowe Oct 4, 2015
  • As mentioned, AR can provide students with a unique connection and context to a subject, be it a photo, painting, site, building, battle field, or whatever. This degree of immersion can generate a better understanding and even motivation for engagement. This lays the foundation for better retention of information and development of applicable knowledge. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 20, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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