Can Augmented Reality (AR) help bridge the education and distance divide?
Over the last two centuries, the world has witnessed a huge expansion in education, with global literacy rates rising steadily worldwide. Education is now considered a fundamental right in almost every corner of the world. But despite this growth, a huge disparity in the level of education still exists across different parts of the world and across different sections of society.
Some students have access to the best and latest educational facilities whereas others barely manage the most basic of requirements. Some students have the means to experience new places and cultures while others don’t. This has brought about huge differences in the level of education amongst different sections of society. How does one bridge these divides?
Augmented Reality (AR) may not have all the answers, but it could help bridge certain gaps in learning. To understand how it can do this we must first understand what it is and what it can do.
Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most exciting technology trends of our time. The technology allows you to place digital content, such as text, images, or 3D models, in a real-world environment. The digital content is superimposed over the camera feed of the real world and the images merge to create a single reality. For example, you could place a 3D model of a dinosaur in your living room or the Colosseum, or the Opera House in your backyard.
Augmented Reality apps and AR devices such as headsets and smart glasses allow you to interact and manipulate a digital object like it was actually there. You can examine it up close, twist, and turn it to view it from all angles. AR in education brings content to life right in front of you. Such experiential learning keeps students engaged and also helps them grasp information quicker, even the more complex concepts.
Although specialized AR headsets and glasses are being developed, AR can be viewed on most smartphones, tablets, and computers. The technology is affordable and students from different sections of society can view and experience the same learning, no matter which part of the world they’re in. A student from a small town in Kenya, for example, can have the same learning experience as a student from uptown New York.
Through Augmented Reality, students can also be meet, chat, and interact with each other just as they would if they were all in the same room. In reality, however, they could be in different parts of the world.
Many students do not have the opportunity to travel, through AR they can bring the world to them. Distance is no longer a barrier. Students can check out famous artifacts in museums, visit iconic landmarks and explore the art, culture, flora, and fauna of different lands. Virtual field trips can also be made where students can interact and engage with other cultures and people.
With AR, time and place aren’t barriers either, you can experience what it’s like to stand face to face with the likes of dinosaurs and other creatures that cease to exist. You can look into the jaws of a shark, fly with eagles, stare down a tarantula or explore deep space if you wish.
You can take a peek into the human brain, hold a beating heart in your hand, or examine the structure of a cell up close. AR is also invaluable as a training tool and can provide practical, hands-on experience in tasks such as building or dismantling things or carrying out science experiments. With AR, you don’t need a lab to carry out science experiments and you don’t have to worry about causing any damage if the experiment goes wrong. Schools at every level will be able to give their students a richer learning experience with the help of AR.
Augmented Reality is still in its infancy and there is still much to explore on what it can do to support education. The number of apps with lesson plans covering subjects like maths, science, language, geography, and more is growing in number as more technology firms see the potential in creating AR educational content. There are already plenty of affordable as well as free AR educational apps available online. The low costs combined with AR’s highly effective learning experience have made it a popular medium for learning amongst both teachers and students, and with the acceptance and adoption of AR in education, many of the education and distance divides will begin to disappear.
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.