Benefits and requirements of augmented reality applied to education

Despite its daily use as part of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), augmented reality (AR) is still relatively unknown to at least a part of the public. Broadly speaking, AR consists of the overimpression of one or more virtual elements in real time, thanks to the camera of an ICT device whose screen thus becomes what has come to be called mixed reality . As we have commented in previous posts, there are different functions of AR, but the ease of use, and the attractiveness of its effects, have made this tool a form of entertainment that has not been slow to be reappropriated from the educational world for use it for strictly educational purposes, many times from the beginningcontent gamification .

An extreme that has been accentuated with the health pandemic of covid-19 has promoted AR and other forms of mixed reality to become some of the most cutting-edge educational trends of those expected for this year 2021 .


Augmented reality for contention times

Over the past few months new there have been numerous digitization processes in many areas of our lives with the aim, on many occasions, of guaranteeing both the recommended distance to avoid the spread of covid-19 and the proper development of activities that Until just a year ago, we carried out mostly in person. Within this context, already in progress since before the pandemic but which has been dramatically accelerated with its emergence, AR offers numerous advantages in environments that are now so obligatorily contained in some of its most common activities, such as schools and centers. educational , and that we list below:

  • As usually happens with everything related to technologies more or less related to the virtual, AR is a very motivating tool for students, since its ability to provide supplementary information (either in written or audiovisual format ) to real contexts it can encourage meaningful learning and curiosity in students.
  • As has been shown in its different implementations in subjects related to biology or history, AR allows a greater and better understanding of perhaps complex issues on paper, but which are easier to understand thanks to virtual simulations that clearly exemplify what it is intended to teach.
  • Related to the foregoing, and within the limits offered by virtual environments in this sense, AR offers learning based on simulated experience lacking, due to its virtual nature and for good and bad, of the consequences and responsibilities inherent to the real.
  • In a context such as the current one, in which many (if not all) of the educational outings outside the centers that used to be done regularly or initiatives related to situated learning have been extremely limited for health reasons, AR offers the possibility of expanding some of the information available in the classrooms without the need to travel outside of them . Its use as a complement to visits to natural spaces or others such as museums, which already occurred before the pandemic, now represents a fundamental added value of the use of this technology

How to apply AR in your classes

There are numerous AR programs for commonly used devices such as mobile phones, tablets or computers, which already incorporate mixed reality systems for very specific educational purposes and others that will allow you to create and generate your own simulations. But, whatever option you decide to use, we think it is necessary to indicate some factors to take into new account when implementing it in your classes:

  • As motivating as it may be, AR is a tool and not an end. Reversing its use until making it the purpose of the educational process that it is intended to stimulate can turn it into simple fireworks of little or no pedagogical value.
  • Its ability to make complex theoretical issues and processes understandable more or less quickly implies that its use must, in general, be equally short in time .
  • Due to its link to reality , AR is ahead of Virtual Reality in some of its pedagogical aspects . Their relative degree of immersion in the virtual generates a greater interaction of the students with their environment , interesting them without isolating them, as it can happen in totally virtual environments. Take advantage of this link to make your students’ learning more meaningful.
  • Although it may seem like a truism, it is worth underlining the condition of this technology as a virtual and partial simulation of an irreplaceable reality in its complexity. The lack of consequences typical of what happens in a virtual environment such as the one described here, and the degree of richness that every real situation has, and which is comparatively much lower in one generated by AR, are just two of these differences that Not because they are known, they are less fundamental in order to raise them in class.

Have you ever used AR in your classes? How did you new implement it and what were the results? Share your experiences with us and this post with your contacts.