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Education: Augmented Reality (AR) used in the classroom
Augmented Reality (AR) is what happens when you overlay digital information on top of the real world, or an object that’s right in front of you. In the picture below, you can see an open book with an augmented reality enabled device pointing at it; the AR app enhances the relevant information and, in this case, produces a picture of a 3D model from the content.
AR heralds a step-change in education whereby, instead of just ‘learning’ a subject or topic, AR will include ‘seeing’ the content in 3D that will allow a student to experience another dimension, making it easier for them to understand more complex concepts. AR is a complementary technology that will also give the classroom teacher a new way to address the variety of ‘learning styles’ in the class by creating ‘engagement’ that is fundamental in helping all students to learn, to retain, and to recall what they have learned with more accuracy.
AR is inexorably moving into mainstream education, and when it is used with the 'flipped classroom' model - where students watch AR lessons at home, in their own time, at their own pace (and as many times as they need to) - the classroom time is then used to discuss what they have learned. This allows ‘peer group’ engagement, where all the students can participate and gain a much deeper understanding of the topic.
This might even signal the end or, at least, a reduction of 'streaming' in education, because AR lesson plans are instrumental in helping students with different learning styles and abilities to grasp what’s being taught to them. This allows them to explore and focus on subjects in a way that’s more appealing, stimulating and memorable.
I will soon be engaged in an exciting AR educational project here in Ireland, focusing on literacy development, that will be sponsored by the EU and will write more about this topic later in the year.
Rita Treacy is a Consulting Speech & Language Therapist, specialising in dyslexia and other reading and spelling difficulties.