What is Augmented Reality?


Augmented reality (AR), a capability that has been around for decades, is shifting from what was once seen as a gimmick to a tool with tremendous potential. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning. While the most prevalent uses of augmented reality so far have been in the consumer sector (for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information), new uses seem to emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new applications become even easier to use. A key characteristic of augmented reality is its ability to respond to user input. This interactivity confers significant potential for learning and assessment; with it, students can construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual objects that bring underlying data to life. Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a student’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.


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Nov 1, 2011 10:21 am

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

  • AR is one of the technologies I rank up with [[#|cell phones]] as something that will change the world. This will bring information off a screen and embed it into the world around us. Where Google Maps revolutionized navigation, AR will revolutionize learning because learning will be able to happen anywhere, anytime. It will greatly expand our ability to understand the world around us and will create what is called an "extended mind". I wrote about implications of this here: Teaching To An Extended Mind - andrew.barras andrew.barras Nov 26, 2012
  • Augmented reality could literally change the way we see the world, making information on anything we choose to study instantly available. Art students could look at a piece of art and immediately be presented with all sorts of information about it, musicians could see musical notation appear before them as they hear music, actors could see their lines appear before their eyes as they rehearse plays... potentially we would no longer have to rely on memory or note taking to help us process and retain information - it could be presented as and when needed. This may or may not be a good thing. Discuss. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 27, 2012On the note of relying on AR instead of memory etc.: credibility and usability of all infos underlying AR would depend on who is behind it/who produces it and with what scope of knowledgeability, thoroughness and not least: what intentions and interests...(I´m thinking of AR tools provided by companies, for instance) - helga helga Nov 29, 2012ow would filters work? If product placement were the abiding meme of AR it could spell disaster.- DaveP DaveP Dec 1, 2012
  • Agree with Helga - h
  • AR has, for some time, shaped how we look at the affordances of educational technology and offers us access to new ontologies by which we can experience the physical world. AR enables us to transform physical space from a static experience as seen, unaided through our senses into a dynamic, context-sensitive experience. We are able, through AR, to reshape our view of the world around us.- jasonr jasonr Nov 27, 2012
  • Linking to LMS and other databases can provide instructor overlay information on student learning, flagging difficulties in realtime in response to difficulties identified by online quizzes etc. - j.zagami j.zagami Dec 1, 2012
  • AR can be used in higher education within military settings using discovery, battlefield awareness, insights into strategy that are connected to a battlefield and leaders, role plays and simulations. General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when leading the Army's educational efforts suggested that augmented reality was one of the 10 most important technologies to watch for education. http://www.tradoc.army.mil/tpubs/pams/tp525-8-2.pdf - paulette.robinson paulette.robinson Dec 2, 2012
  • With the Google Glass project about to go live, this (augmented reality) is clearly a technology that has the potential to go finally go viral quickly; it's not too soon for us to be thinking about how we can work with learners to create more engaging learning opportunities that further strengthen the interweavings of learning opportunities in an onsite-online world.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Dec 2, 2012
  • Increasingly used in the UK , British Museaum good example of this - paul.hollins paul.hollins Dec 3, 2012

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

  • An important side effect you get with AR is the AR system will be always watching and recording what is around you. It will be capable of image recognition, voice recognition, and many other computer recognition tasks. This means you can search your whole life. It also raises privacy concerns. Imagine you were a witness to a crime. Would the police have the right to get your AR stream recording? There are many other implications of this technology, not all of them are apparent. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Nov 26, 2012
  • Data overload could be a real problem - when we look at an object, do we always want to know who created it, what it is used for, which materials were used, when it was made, how much it costs and where we can buy one? Perhaps we just want to appreciate it for what it is - an "Off" switch would have to be a prerequisite. I also suspect commerce will overwhelm usefulness very quickly - why appreciate the architecture of a beautiful building, when you could be in the ground floor coffee shop drinking a latte or chomping on a burger? - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 27, 2012Agree- helga helga Nov 29, 2012
  • This falls into the category of one of the 'challenges' with AR--namely ubiquity of access. AR platforms such as ARIS games (http://arisgames.org) offer us easy ways to design mobile AR experiences. However, ARIS is limited to iOS. Google Ingress (http://www.nianticproject.com/) will add Android (and who knows what else), yet these technologies will still be limited by technology access. However, Google Ingress is interesting as it promises to bring a civic engagement dimension to game-based AR experiences. As was mentioned on ProfHacker, "Saving the world is dangerous. If you do not want to assume this risk, now is the chance to close this app and go back to your normal life.” (http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/googles-ingress-and-location-based-learning/44356?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en). - jasonr jasonr Nov 27, 2012
  • It could potentially exacerbate the unfortunate side of the personal web complete loss of privacy- DaveP DaveP Dec 1, 2012
  • AR - especially future AR that we should see within 12-24 months with projects like Google Project Glass- offer lots of promise - but also an even higher potential for distraction.- paul.turner paul.turner Dec 1, 2012
  • In a learner-centric approach, providing easy tools for students to create AR environments as groups that can be added to over time. Templates that offer starting places for students to structure layering of AR into a context and provide a method of extracting the data from the context to lay it next to another context for comparison, remix or adjustment. I think with easy AR tools, we will see the most interesting projects evolve from students. I also think that the intersections with other technologies are the most interesting spaces. For example, this educational project that links Kinect, AR, and 3D printing in an educational setting http://www.arined.org/- paulette.robinson paulette.robinson Dec 2, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research, or creative inquiry?

  • "The potential for AR to impact all elements of our lives is massive: from education to gaming to manufacturing, the world seems poised on the brink of substantial AR adoption – with all associated benefits." With the convergence of AR, mobile technology, virtual reality, a new narrative in education must emerge. http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/08/25/how-augmented-reality-will-change-way-live/ - michael.lambert michael.lambert Nov 24, 2012
  • I think a lot of educators [[#|agree]] that experiential learning can be a very effective method of learning things. Augmented Reality is perfect of embedding learning experiences into our day to day lives. This also changes the nature of school where a lot of effort goes into memorization. When you have any fact literaly floating right in mid air, what good is memorization? Schools will have to finally adapt to information abundance. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Nov 26, 2012 Completely agree!- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Dec 2, 2012
  • The implications of this technology are huge - in the future nobody will need to "know" anything, and education will need to change to reflect that, producing people capable of sifting and selecting vast tranches of information in order to find their own particular truth. Passive consumption without understanding can be a dangerous road to travel. Then again, these are some of the exact same arguments used to warn against the dangers of the internet - all we are doing with AR is making the data more readily available in a contextual setting. Talking of settings, perhaps AR could be set to "Work" "Learn" or "Relax", giving different information depending on what "Mode" we are in? - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 27, 2012I like the "Mode" idea. What about "AR 2.0" where you could add your own/personalised info- helga helga Nov 29, 2012
  • AR offers us, as educators an opportunity to help shape--and re-shape the world around us, in ways that can help promote immersive, experiential learning for students. By augmented our physical reality with added ontologies, we have the opportunity to help shape how students come to think about and "see" their world. The ramifications here to support greater sociocultural understanding of our world are profound. Through AR, we can provide students with alternative views of the world, as seen through the lenses of disenfrancished and disempowered groups; of complex environmental and economic forces that shape the way that we consume and create. We can use these abilities to help students reconsider how they position themselves in the world, and perhaps in the process help them to critically evaluate their world view.- jasonr jasonr Nov 27, 2012Great ideas, but also great expectations regarding the creators/providers of such complex AR information- helga helga Nov 29, 2012 Would like to add that this works only if educators have the opportunity to create and author their own AR solutions ... - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 30, 2012
  • Ease of AR learning opportunities will prove invaluable in class and out in the field - it could potentially mean that the classroom could be anywhere. Embedded within clothing and kit - It could change School and University architecture.- DaveP DaveP Dec 1, 2012
  • It is incredible what could be done building enhanced learning environments to the point of instruction. I am reminded of one of the earliest Educational Technology educators, Celestin Freinet. who taught in France after WWI He taught courses applying them to a number of subject areas tying them to a theme that was relevant to the town he taught it and then published the results and shared them neighboring towns. This approach has spurred the development of thousands of contextual teaching materials http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/archive/publications/ThinkersPdf/freinete.pdf It offers students in all settings to create learning environments that cna be shared and enhanced by other students over time - paulette.robinson paulette.robinson Dec 2, 2012
  • The potential for AR to help convey and disseminate information, or provide engaging interaction takes an interesting direction into the creative possibilities when you are able to untether the it from the dependency of markers. Being able to work with a system that reliably employs markerless 3D object recognition opens up several potential uses for teaching, research, etc. This could be exploration of historic landmarks and architecture; allowing for a variety of in-depth information to be applied, or social interaction. When combined with other components, new forms of interaction and engagement are possible, such as the Sharky the Beaver game from Sphero (http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/16/spheros-new-augmented-reality-app-allows-you-to-walk-a-beaver-around-your-home/). By uses markerless recognition keyed on a spherical robot, the user has free control through an app to navigate through the environment and interactive at will. While a great gaming idea, the bigger potential comes when applied in other areas.- Dougdar Dougdar Dec 3, 2012

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