Augmented Reality in Education: The Future of Learning is Here

Augmented Reality in Education
Table of Contents

Imagine a world where learning is no longer just about reading from a textbook or staring at a whiteboard. Instead, it’s an interactive and immersive experience.

Well, that world is here, thanks to the wonders of technology and science. These advancements have opened up a whole new world of possibilities, making our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable.

When it comes to education, one technology that is shaking things up is augmented reality (AR). This conventional education method has become irrelevant in the new century. With augmented reality in education, teachers can develop new, hands-on examples and experiences that students can easily understand.

Get ready to discover the world of AR technology in education

What is Augmented Reality in Simple Words?

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that brings digital content to the real world. The real-life environment is enriched with computer-generated information in real-time using technology such as software, apps, and AR glasses. 

This transforms the user’s immediate surroundings into a dynamic learning platform, especially in manufacturing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. AR empowers industrial users to optimize and boost their technology and IoT networks by combining human ingenuity and observation with the power of technology.

For example, with Microsoft’s HoloLens, you can see digital holograms superimposed on the real world, allowing architects to visualize their designs in 3D and mechanics to see an overlay of the internal parts of a machine.

Or take the popular game Pokemon Go. It uses your smartphone’s camera to overlay digital Pokemon in the real world, making it an engaging and interactive experience.

Now, one might wonder how AR differs from Virtual Reality (VR). While VR takes you on a journey to a completely different world, AR enhances the one you are already in. VR immerses you in a digital environment, whereas AR adds these elements to the real world. It’s like comparing a journey to a new place to a guided tour of your hometown.

Benefits of Augmented Reality in Education

Augmented reality in the education sector offers a plethora of benefits that make learning more interesting, interactive, and practical.

Improving Student Engagement and Motivation

With its ability to make abstract concepts more concrete and understandable, AR can improve student engagement and motivation. In addition, rich visuals and immersive experiences in AR allow students to truly engage with the subject matter, making learning more exciting and fun. 

For instance, just theoretical teaching of human anatomy will not serve the purpose. But on the other hand, if you prepare a real-world video presentation of different body parts with explanations, they will be able to grasp concepts more easily and effortlessly. This can be especially helpful for students who learn best through hands-on activities and visual aids.

Video Source: YouTube/ Overly app

Encouraging Collaboration and Communication

AR also has the potential to encourage collaboration and communication among students.

By using AR to create interactive and engaging learning experiences, students are more likely to work together and share ideas, which can help improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills essential for success in today’s job market.

Furthermore, digital content can be shared easily with other teachers, students, and stakeholders. This way, multiple players can contribute to refining the content, and it will motivate students to participate in the learning process.

Enhancing Retention of Information

Another key benefit of AR in education is that it can enhance the retention of information. By using AR to supplement traditional teaching methods, students can better understand and visualize complex concepts, making them more likely to remember the information long-term.

As an example, with the help of AR, students understand and remember concepts for their exams. The traditional teaching methods need to be revised in this area. However, with AR at their disposal, students need help understanding ideas and remembering essential details.

Cutting Costs

Another great benefit of AR is that it is cost-effective. With students already equipped with smartphones, incorporating AR into the curriculum is convenient and budget-friendly. This eliminates the need for expensive textbooks and other learning materials, significantly reducing overall educational costs. 

Additionally, using AR technology in e-learning removes the need for expensive equipment or physical infrastructure, making it an even more cost-effective option for educational institutions.

Providing Increased Accessibility

Finally, using AR in education also allows for greater flexibility regarding where and when students can access learning materials. With AR-enabled mobile learning, students can access educational content anywhere, anytime.

This can be especially beneficial for distance learners or students needing access to traditional classroom settings. 

Additionally, AR allows safe and efficient workplace training. For example, you can operate a space shuttle in the virtual world and learn critical theories and concepts without putting anyone in danger. This is the power of AR technology in education.

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented reality in the classroom is still a relatively new technology, and educators are still finding new ways to use it effectively. 

However, teachers can effectively integrate technology into their classrooms by creating lessons that use AR to enhance, rather than replace, more traditional instructional approaches. This can be done by utilizing the many apps that make AR a flexible and powerful tool for education.

Video Source: YouTube/Merge

Implementing AR in the Classroom

Implementing augmented reality in the classroom can initially seem daunting. But, with the proper resources and tools, it can be done quickly. 

One of the best approaches to start off is identifying how augmented reality can enhance traditional instructional methods and finding the right apps to support those goals. This may include using AR apps to create interactive and engaging visual aids or virtual field trips that expose students to new places and experiences.

For example, some science teachers are using AR to equip students with a more engaging way of learning about AR-based lab experiments by using triggers around the classroom to bring a safety warning about lab devices to life as students walk through them.

Best Practices for Using AR in Education

When incorporating AR in the classroom, it is important to keep best practices in mind to ensure a smooth and effective integration. These practices include:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives for using AR;
  • Creating a plan for how AR will be used in the classroom;
  • Providing training for educators and students on how to use AR tools;
  • Incorporating AR into existing curriculum and lesson plans;
  • Assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of AR in achieving educational goals.

It is essential to remember that technology should enhance, not replace, traditional instructional methods.

Educators should also ensure that they are using age-appropriate apps and content and provide students with adequate training on using the technology.

Also, it is necessary to have a plan for technical difficulties and a backup plan if the technology doesn’t work as expected.

AR Classroom Activities and Lesson Plans

Educators should develop lesson plans incorporating technology to make the most of augmented reality in the classroom. This can include using AR apps to create interactive visual aids, virtual field trips, and hands-on learning experiences. 

Video Source: YouTube/Merge

For example, students can use an AR app such as Merge Cube hologram to explore the solar system and learn about different planets. Or they can use AR to create their virtual sandbox and build structures and landscapes. 

The possibilities are endless, and by using AR in the classroom, educators can create exciting and engaging learning experiences that inspire students to take an interest in the subject matter.

Challenges of AR in Education

One of the biggest challenges to implementing augmented reality in education is the need for a consistent and standardized curriculum. With new technology comes new ways of teaching, and many educators are still learning how to use augmented reality in the classroom effectively. 

Teachers’ Technical Skill Gaps

A potential barrier to implementing AR in education is the lack of teacher comfort and familiarity with technology. Some educators may not have experience with modern technologies, making it difficult for them to effectively integrate AR into their lessons and assist students with any technical difficulties they may encounter.

As a result, students may not be able to fully engage with and benefit from using AR in the classroom. To overcome this barrier, teachers may need additional training and support to utilize the technology in their instruction effectively.

Hardware Requirements 

One major challenge is the need for proper hardware. For students and teachers to fully experience the benefits of AR, they will need access to devices such as smartphones or tablets that support AR applications and any additional hardware, such as AR glasses

However, schools may need more money to purchase these devices for every student. Additionally, some older phone models or those that run on older operating systems may need help supporting AR applications, further complicating the issue.

Content Portability Concerns

Another obstacle to consider is the issue of content portability. When creating AR content, it is important to ensure it can work seamlessly across various platforms and devices. Consequently, schools will need to hire skilled AR developers to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

However, despite their best efforts, the user experience may still vary from device to device. This can be frustrating for both educators and students, as it may negatively impact the overall AR experience in the classroom. Therefore, it’s essential to keep this in mind when developing and implementing AR content in education.

Examples of Augmented Reality in Education

Augmented reality in education is growing and expanding, providing new opportunities for students to learn, explore, and interact in more appealing and collaborative ways.

The possibilities are endless, from holographic technology that brings historical figures into the classroom to interactive textbooks that come to life with animations and videos. 

There are several well-known examples of augmented reality in education that illustrate the true potential of this type of learning method.

Simulators for Hands-On Training

The University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry has installed augmented reality simulators in its preclinical labs to better prepare students for their transition into direct patient care.

 The simulators, which are the first of their kind in Canada, combine reality with a high-tech handpiece and dental mirror with virtual reality objects to provide an immersive, hands-on learning experience for students and capture data to assess procedures and track skill development.

3D Field Trips

Another example of AR being used in education is Google Arts & Cultures. Organizing student field trips have become increasingly difficult due to the challenges of quarantine and the pandemic.

 This application from Google allows students to take virtual 3D tours of famous museums, attend ballet performances, and even visit different countries without leaving the classroom or their homes.

Overall, augmented reality in education is not limited to any specific field and can be customized to suit learning needs. As a result, it can transform our learning and create an unparalleled educational experience.

Future of Augmented Reality in Education

The education system is evolving, and technology is at the forefront of this change. Integrating technologies like augmented reality can bring about a wealth of benefits for students, educators, and educational institutions alike.

AR has the power to motivate students to learn, transform the way we teach and learn, and support students in retaining and understanding information faster. With attention spans at an all-time low, AR-assisted learning can help to address this issue.

Combined with other technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality, AR can remodel the traditional learning experience and make it more interactive, fun, and engaging. However, it’s important to note that AR alone cannot solve all the issues with traditional learning methods and redefine the future of education.

Educational institutions and publishers must be agile and adapt to these new technologies to stay ahead of the competition and offer their students a better learning experience.

By partnering with innovative, technology-driven organizations, publishers and institutions can deliver robust learning experiences through AR, VR, and other cutting-edge technologies.

Augmented Reality in Education: Key Takeaways

Using technology in the classroom can be challenging for educators. There are many demands to meet, such as those of students, institutions, industry, and society. However, technology can be a powerful tool for helping educators create a curriculum that engages and inspires a diverse student body. 

The benefits of implementing AR in education:

  • Improving student engagement and motivation,
  • Encouraging collaboration and communication,
  • Cutting costs,
  • Providing increased accessibility. 

Plus, the value of augmented reality in education is not just about the technology itself. It is also how it is designed, implemented, and integrated into both formal and informal learning environments. So, it is no wonder it is set to change the education system for the next century.

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Neil Sahota
Neil Sahota (萨冠军) is an IBM Master Inventor, United Nations (UN) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisor, author of the best-seller Own the AI Revolution and sought-after speaker. With 20+ years of business experience, Neil works to inspire clients and business partners to foster innovation and develop next generation products/solutions powered by AI.