This post has been updated on March 26, 2020.
Two of the most admirable traits of humans are their curiosity and imagination. We are curious by nature and we get excited whenever we find something new. We like to ask questions like Why? and What if? and we use our imagination and resources to find answers to our questions. If our ancestors would not have been so curious and imaginative we would still live in caves. But, fortunately for us, they had questions and found many answers, so they got us where we are today. Now it’s our turn to build the future and answer future challenges using these two great assets.
The only way to build the future on curiosity and imagination is through an education that is rooted in the same principles. Teaching and learning has to be much more than a simple process of knowledge transfer. Education has to point students in the right direction and show them how to use all their knowledge, coupled with their imagination, to accomplish truly extraordinary things.
If teaching methods are built mainly on textbooks and standardized tests, it will be really difficult to teach students to be curious and use their imagination. Reading hundreds of pages and filling out standardized tests won’t jog anyone’s fantasy and creativity. Instead, teachers should try to incorporate new and innovative technologies in their instruction, that demand learners to be inventive and creative while learning and responding to assignments.
One such tool that can help students and teachers to get creative is Augmented Reality, or shortly, AR.
3 Benefits of using Augmented Reality in education
Augmented Reality is not exactly a new technology, but it has only started to make its way into education strategies. With this technology it is possible to overlay reality with a context sensitive virtual world that gives numerous possibilities for educators to enhance the learning experience.
Read more: 3 Ways AR works in real-life classrooms
With AR books, games, and other teaching materials, students can be immersed in a virtually enhanced world which encourages them to use their imagination and discover the possibilities of the new world, all this while learning new things in a fun and interactive way.
Although it’s very important, the fun factor isn’t the only benefit of incorporating AR technology in the learning strategy. If AR is introduced successfully in education it can have incredible results:
More motivated students
I still remember how thrilled I was every time one of my teachers promised to go into new topics for the upcoming classes. It was just like a teaser marketing campaign, it kept me and my colleagues wondering what could it be, and we couldn’t wait to find out. The majority of people like surprises because there is that pleasant sense of anticipation when we are really curious about something new and we are eager to find out what it is.
AR technology can transform each class into a surprising learning environment that will keep students interested and motivated to participate and find out how their reality will be transformed during the lesson. Every class can be a new journey where students have to discover this new AR world and all the learning content hidden within.
More interactive classes
AR can help students become more engaged during classes by offering new ways of content presentation and enhancing collaboration. An interactive content presentation with context-aware information on the learners’ devices can help them to connect with the lesson on a deeper level. It makes it possible to give students information at the point of need.
Imagine an AR-enhanced gallery where students just have to look at an artwork and through their AR device — like Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens — they will see not just the painting or statue but all the information related to it about its history and the artist who created it.
Another way to make the class content more interactive is through AR apps, books, and other learning materials. With the help of a simple smartphone, figures, and sketches in a book can become 3D images that can be rotated and flipped to give as much information as possible.
Read more: 6 Awesome AR apps for the classroom
This higher involvement improves student satisfaction and it can facilitate deep learning because it increases the probability that the information will be anchored in the learner’s long-term memory, so they will be able to retrieve it for a longer period of time.
More engaged and motivated learners will always learn faster because their attention and energy is concentrated on the learning material throughout the learning process. AR technology can help keep students concentrated by making the learning materials more interesting and engaging.
It can improve the learning curve even more by offering students practical knowledge as well. In many cases theoretical knowledge isn’t enough to become a true connoisseur of a field of study. Students often need a hands-on experience to fully acquire mastery of the class, which is hard to gain, especially where skills can’t be practiced in real life situations.
Where realistic situations are hard or expensive to reproduce in the learning process, AR technology could be used to create simulations and situational role plays where students can begin to build their practical knowledge. And, by improving the efficiency of the learning process and offering the possibility of creating realistic simulations at a lower cost, AR technology can help schools and universities to save money in the long run.
Augmented Reality has many benefits, like making students more motivated to learn, transforming classrooms with interactivity, or supporting students to learn faster. In other words, AR technology in education increases student engagement and motivation, enables learners to use their imagination, and encourages them to be curious.
Imagination and curiosity being the building blocks of innovation, they are especially important to keep alive in each and every student, so we all can have a future to look forward to.
Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
Zsolt is a Content Marketing Specialist at CYPHER LEARNING and a University Teaching Assistant. When he’s not in the classroom — nor on a motorcycle — he learns about new ways of teaching, education technology, and everything about e-learning.