Augmented Reality (AR) forms part of mixed reality technology. It is expected to mature into a $95 Billion market by 2025. Google, Facebook, Sony — all bigwigs of media and technology have already invested large amounts of capital into AR development.
The strongest demand for AR is felt in industries like gaming, live events, video entertainment, etc. Applications in other industries like education, healthcare, customer service and so on are also increasing at a rapid scale.
Perhaps, education is one industry where AR can be quite a positive influence. Education is content-heavy and requires maximum attention and engagement from its end users — students. Augmented Reality with its unique combination of technology and creativity can grab students attention and also keep them engaged for a substantial period of time.
The benefits of applying Augmented Reality in education is immeasurable. We know for sure that it will transform the education industry which will mold the intelligence of the future generation.
As mixed reality technology, Augmented Reality creates an immersive experience that bridges the physical and digital worlds. It sets the right environment for students, whose fascination for technology can be tapped the right way to maximize education.
Textbooks are bulky and difficult to carry around. Also, they cannot be updated dynamically. A printed textbook will have to remain so without any edition for an entire academic year. Also, the logistics and distribution of physical books are difficult.
Augmented reality helps eliminate all these problems that are rampant in education. It enables quick access to study materials via the internet and mobile apps. Students can log in to the apps or websites with their authorized school credentials to access the study materials. There is no worry about losing the material as they can always be accessed through a website or a mobile app.
Until AR came around and made a splash in the education industry, Virtual Reality was counted upon as the game-changer. However, VR required students to wear bulky headgear. Also the quality of the visuals varied significantly based on the VR headsets. Instances of students experiencing headaches, dizziness and blurred vision after a VR session was also reported (Source).
Augmented Reality has no such shortcomings. It does not require hardware. A smartphone of a tablet can be used to consume AR content. It works by pointing the device camera at AR stickers or symbols which then project the digital content on the physical surface. In other words, it enables hardware-free content consumption.
In traditional classrooms, students are observers where they read and view content in 2D. Text is the primary mode of consumption. humans, being visual beings cannot consume large amounts of texts in a single go. This drags down the productivity of students who are trying to disseminate bigger concepts within a short amount of time.
AR nudges students to become active participants in the learning process. It creates a virtual environment where they become one with the study material. The interactive study materials also respond dynamically to the real-time actions of students. As a result, the level of engagement sees a staggering rise. Each student gets to learn the concepts at their own pace and comfort through experimentation and exploration.
From an educator’s point of view, educational material must be produced at scale to attain cost benefits. Most often, textbooks have to be created for the entire academic year in advance. This makes the planning process difficult. The logistics of distributing these textbooks is also yet another challenge. If at any point in time, the textbooks needs to be revised — like adding a new section, revising a section or replacing it altogether; a massive recall exercise has to be carried out.
On the other hand, Augmented reality, works with the power of the cloud. Data is synced over the air making it possible to revise educational content dynamically. A single update in the source database will revise content across all endpoints where it is accessed. This not only saves costs for educational institutions but also ensures that students have access to updated educational content at all times.
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From chemistry to palaeontology, AR has several use cases in the education space. Here are some happening use cases from around the world.
Chemistry is looked upon as a complicated subject thanks to the countless elements and their individual characteristics. Even an interested student will find it difficult to memorize all the symbols and an atomic number of each chemical element.
The problem is not in the cast amount of information, but the way it is organized and served to students. Elements 4D is harness the power of AR to bring about a change in learning chemistry. Created by DAQRI, Elements 4D works by creating interactive blocks of chemical compounds. Students can point their smartphone cameras at the blocks to get an animated view of the chemical compounds.
Source: Google Edu
Google has been a first-mover in the AR. The search engine giant is also said to be in the works of an AR-based Google maps that will simplify navigation. Google also has done its bit for education.
Google Expeditions is a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality based mobile app that introduces students to educational topics in an interactive manner. From taking students on virtual field trips to historical monuments to getting an under-the-skin view of the human body, Google Expeditions has several unique AR-inspired features.
The word education conjures up an image of a classroom with huddles of children. But, education is not restricted to classrooms. Even space explorers need education. Especially, space technicians who go to outer space to repair and maintain the space station and its intricate equipment.
Training engineers on real-world equipment is not possible since the actual environs in outer space is extremely unpredictable. To ensure that the training is unaffected in any manner, NASA has teamed up with Microsoft to create Project SideKick. It uses HoloLens that renders visual illustrations to engineers helping them learn maintenance tasks easily.
From doctors to demo sessions at hospitals, AR has an equal amount of applications in the medical education space. It has the capability to render high-quality visuals that give vivid detailing that makes it easier for students to grasp the topic.
For example, by pointing a tablet at the mannequin of a human body, students can see a digital imprint of the body parts, skeletal system and much more on their screens.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Augmented Reality can amplify the power of educating by simplifying the learning process. It breaks down the barriers that stop individuals from progressing in education.
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