Augmented Reality (AR) seems to be all set to transform education as we know it. Its benefits in the classroom are being unearthed every day, students seem to be learning faster and grasping complex concepts quicker. Teachers too, increasingly, are finding that using Augmented Reality in education produces far better results than traditional approaches.
But despite its many advantages, AR is still a modern technology and not everyone is fully aware of the benefits it presents. Concerns over AR-based learning persist and there are several misconceptions about AR that have resulted in the slow adoption of AR in education. Many of the concerns over AR-based learning are quite unfounded, however, so let us address some of the main concerns here.
Harmful For The Eyes
AR is a 3D experience that allows us to view and interact with 3D elements in a real-world environment. When 3D was first introduced to the world many people believed that viewing 3D damaged eyesight and made children ill. The American Optometric Association (AOA), however, published a report in 2011 called “3D in the Classroom”, and it quickly dispelled such notions. The AOA along with many eye specialists have repeatedly stated that “there is no evidence that viewing or attempting to view 3D images will harm a child’s eyes.”
Children can, however, strain their eyes when viewing inferior quality 3D content for long stretches at a time. Caregivers and educators should always make sure to only use high-quality, professionally made 3D content which is not harmful.
Stereoscopic Displays Make Children Unwell
Our eyes receive two slightly different views of a scene because they are positioned slightly apart in our heads. Our visual system overlaps the two views and processes them to produce stereoscopic depth. In the same way, stereoscopic 3D glasses produce the illusion of depth by displaying two slightly different images to the right and left eye. Many people believe that stereoscopic displays can make children sick. People often complain of headaches or dizziness after viewing a 3D object. But research shows that these are indicators of an underlying visual problem and are not caused by stereoscopic 3D viewing.
Stereoscopic 3D can in fact be a good way to screen for any underlying eyesight issues, that we are not aware of yet. Technology has also improved a lot since the first 3D glasses were made, the devices today are far better and unlikely to cause any discomfort.
A Novelty That Will Quickly Wear Off.
AR skeptics believe that the hype around AR is just excitement over new technology, and it will not last long. Some teachers are also concerned that once the novelty factor wears off children will lose interest in the technology. We believe AR, as the technology is likely to become the standard user interface for presenting the information and on top of that one, cannot deny the effectiveness of experiential learning through AR. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then AR speaks ten thousand. AR is more likely going to become an integral part of education than it is going to fade away. It is a powerful teaching aid and will be around for a long time yet.
AR Is Expensive
Schools are naturally concerned about the costs involved in introducing AR into their curriculum. AR headsets and smart glasses are expensive, however with the continuous development in the area and growing competition costs of these are coming down. Fortunately, with the continuous advancements in the area, AR and 3D can be easily experienced on the existing and more accessible devices like tablets, laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. All you need to get AR incorporated into your classroom is:
- Internet connection
- Smartphones, tablets, or compatible laptops
- Educational AR apps or Software
Companies all over the world, small and big like technology giants Microsoft, Apple, and Google are pushing AR technologies forward and providing platforms for developers to build AR apps quickly and easily. With the advent of cloud technologies and app stores, the cost of delivering AR content is not exorbitant anymore and has come within reach of most people. With the ability to store and stream from the cloud there is no need for schools to acquire new infrastructure and their existing setups can be effectively utilized. The number of affordable and even free AR apps available online is steadily growing. Furthermore, with the accessibility and affordability of mobile data increasing every day, it is becoming easy to access AR content anywhere anytime and with further advancements in the area with the 5G technologies, it will only make it easier to access heavy data content on demand.
Limited AR Educational Content
As with any new medium, there is limited content available initially, but as the technology evolves more and more content is developed. AR has already shown how it can improve the learning environment and its potential is so immense that the global AR education market is expected to grow from $8.34 billion in 2020 to $10.23 billion in 2021. With COVID-19, the need for new and innovative ways of imparting education has only become more apparent and urgent. The market is expected to reach $29.89 billion in 2025, and companies big and small all want in on it. There is already a large amount of AR educational content and AR apps available online today and new content is being produced all the time.
New Technology Apprehensions
Many teachers are apprehensive about using new technology, especially something like AR, which looks and sounds complex. Despite such concerns, studies show that most teachers who have tried it are able to incorporate AR into their lesson plans quite quickly and easily. And once teachers got a hang of the technology, they enjoyed teaching in AR because students were better engaged, and the learning environment was much more productive. Many teachers also find AR lesson plans more convenient because it allows them to easily track and monitor their student’s progress.
May believe that AR exposes students to too much information at one go. The concern is that students will not be able to properly manage, understand or process the information received. Digital natives as today’s kids are, however, are used to information being presented like this and prefer it. They also prefer to learn from doing rather than by being told or by reading. AR’s immersive and interactive learning keeps students engaged, it involves and helps them learn better and quicker. In fact, studies have also shown that students with learning disabilities learn much better with technologies like AR. A study in Education Media International goes on to say that AR can help “reduce cognitive overload” and can, in fact, “help students develop higher-order thinking capabilities.”
Traditional methods of education today are slowly being replaced by technology-driven methods and augmented reality is slowly but surely taking the lead in becoming the technology that would bring a transformational change in the way the kids of today and tomorrow will learn. With the latest advances in technology AR is becoming more accessible and more broadly used in education, and right now is as good a time as any to explore its possibilities.
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 and helps students achieve their academic and professional goals. Contact us today for more information.