Can Augmented Reality address Some of the Digital Learning Concerns?
Digital learning took off with the advent of the computer and the internet in the late 20thCentury. Today it has become an extremely important and necessary resource for both students and teachers. 2020, in particular, has seen a significant increase in demand for digital learning, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and educators across the globe began to adopt digital learning as the “new normal” of education.
Digital learning offers an abundance of new learning opportunities, combined with the flexibility to teach or learn at one’s own pace and the availability of learning tools such as videos, 3D graphics, games, etc. has brought digital learning into the forefront of education today. But like most learning methods, digital learning has its share of negatives too. Advancement in technology, however, is helping to address some of the concerns of digital learning, but none have done it more effectively than Augmented Reality (AR). Here are a few examples of how Augmented Reality can be addressed some serious digital learning concerns.
Too much Screen Time is Harmful
We all spend a fair amount of time looking into digital screens these days, and there have always been concerns over the harmful effects of too much screen time, especially on the eyes. Watching TV or looking at a computer screen for hours at a time could also hinder a child’s intellect.
Learning through Augmented Reality, however, is done for very short periods of time – just a few minutes at the most. With AR, children do not spend hours staring at a screen. Nothing can hold their attention that long, and even if it did they usually look away and take several breaks in between. So the concern over too much screen time is quite unfounded. Many eye specialists and experts have also stated that watching high-quality videos is not harmful, and does not cause any eye strain or fatigue.
Another big concern of digital learning is the lack of human interaction. With face-to-face learning, students can interact with each other and with their teachers, but with digital learning, they usually sit alone in front of their screens. This often leads to despondency and loss of interest, especially if the topic is complex and poorer communicational skills. Augmented Reality changes all that. With AR headsets and smart glasses, students can see and talk to digital versions of their classmates and teachers. They can also point out or pass around digital representations of the topic being discussed. It would feel like they were actually together in the room with the topic they are learning about right in front of them. With AR students aren’t left to fend for themselves, they are immersed in an interactive and collaborative learning environment.
Motivation and Time Management
For online learning to be a success strong self-motivation and time management skills are essential. Since learning happens in isolation, students have to be able to motivate themselves to learn. They also need good time management skills to ensure they do not lag behind in their learning. The wonder of Augmented Reality is that students can interact with other classmates and teachers, and with the subject, they are studying, even though they are in fact on their own. The level of engagement with AR is so high that students will stay motivated and as long as they will have fewer issues with time management too.
Hands-on, Practical Experiences are Lacking
Most digital learning technologies are theory-based, with students listening to podcasts, watching videos, and looking at presentations. There is no hands-on practical experience. Students are observers and not doers. Augmented Reality, however, offers students both theoretical learning and practical experiences. Students can closely examine 3D models or holograms, take them apart, and put them together, and they can perform experiments all from the safety of their home.
Digital Learning Reduces Physical Movement
With digital learning students sit for long hours in one place with very little movement. This often leads to health issues like bad posture, neck, shoulder, and back issues. Too much technology is also one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. Children would rather sit in front of a screen for entertainment than participate in more traditional physical activities. Augmented Reality can address this concern too because it encourages activity. The digital objects projected into their world would appear so realistic they will want to interact with it like it was real and actually there. They will move around it, touch it, pull it apart to examine it – there’s just no sitting still with AR!
Technology is all Just Games
There’s no doubt that technology has revolutionized the gaming and entertainment industry. The gaming industry was, in fact, the biggest moneymaker in entertainment in 2020, outperforming both movies and sports combined, and its success can be attributed to emerging technologies like AR and VR. That said, there’s little wonder why many people associate AR and VR with just fun and games. But these new technologies have had a massive impact on almost every other industry too, including education. People are seeing the value and advantages of digital technologies like VR and AR in education and more and more technology companies are producing high-quality educational content. AR is seen as the future of education and it is set to change the way we learn.
The gaming industry was valued at $162.32 billion in 2020 and is likely to reach a value of almost $300 billion over the next five years. In comparison, the global education technology market size isn’t too far behind. According to business consulting firm Grand View Research, it is projected to reach $285.2 billion by 2027.
Technology is Expensive
Investing in technology can be quite costly for schools. The costs of computers, tablets, the internet, and their maintenance can be quite high. Technology is also changing rapidly and frequent IT infrastructure updates are required to keep up with the times, adding to the costs as well. While AR hardware like headsets and smart glasses are expensive, they are not required to viewing AR. One can also view AR on devices that are already available, such as smartphones and tablets. The other requirements are an internet connection and AR educational apps. Since new hardware is not essential, the costs of introducing AR into a classroom are relatively low as compared to other digital learning technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR), for example.
The benefits of Augmented Reality are many. Students are extremely motivated to learn more, and learn it much faster than other learning methods.
If you are a part of an educational institution and would like to introduce 3D or AR into your curriculum, then we can provide the most cutting-edge technologies for your institution. At Hart RXR, we have developed the Immerse Learning Solution, which helps make science education more fun while helping students achieve their academic and professional goals. Contact us today for more information.