The new augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO has been a huge success with more than 30 million people who have downloaded the smartphone app. The app takes players to real-world locations and simulates Pokémon for them to catch and battle. Using augmented reality technology to great effect, an engaging gameplay has been created that marries reality with fantasy. It has proven the potential of augmented reality to captivate an audience and  running on smartphones has eliminated the need for expensive and bulky hardware as we have the computing power right in our pockets.

Augmented reality has the ability to take tasks that are normally static and turn them into interactive and dynamic activities. An advantage that this has over virtual reality is that the experience can also be shared with others simultaneously as the technology doesn’t require the user to detach entirely from reality.

Leeds City College are keen to explore the possibilities that this emerging technology can bring to the learning environment. Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Developer at the college, Hicham Alaoui, explains: “Augmented reality manipulates real-life content so that it creates the effect of another dimension and adds contextual layers to existing information. It overlays virtual 3D graphics onto our view of the real world, whilst virtual reality immerses us in a completely virtual world without the input of our surroundings.”

Augmented reality is an exciting concept within education as there is the possibility of being able to captivate or motivate students the way that Pokemon GO has, in the classroom. Current research into pedagogic development show that augmented reality can boost academic achievement through increased engagement. Leeds City College’s Hicham Alaoui responds to this, concluding: “We now live in a digital age where contemporary learning methods are being developed, and student interactivity/engagement is key for absorbing and retaining information.”

A photo by David Grandmougin. unsplash.com/photos/Am1io6KusFM

Benefits of augmented reality are only limited by your imagination, and there are a few ways that it can particularly excel: Visual learners could benefit from projections of graphics and animated explanations and simulations. By expanding complicated processes into the third dimension many pupils will be able to see correlations that transcend the more traditional 2D model. Active learners could also benefit from this technology as it encourages users to go out into the world and seek the answers for themselves. A school excursion to the museum could be greatly enhanced if additional information could be superimposed onto the exhibits or e a language app where students could learn vocabulary by scanning the world around them and having objects labelled with their corresponding article and noun.

While this new technology is still in the early stages of development, it has caught the attention of technology heavyweights Microsoft and Google. Both industry giants are investing in this technology, with Microsoft showcasing its Hololens project by broadcasting a live three-dimensional Minecraft build at last year’s E3. With all this interest and investment in augmented reality, it just might be one to watch out for.

Source: Education Technology