In recent years, the incorporation of immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) into education has become increasingly popular. This is hardly surprising as traditional teaching methods are quickly becoming a thing of the past. So, how exactly does augmented reality work? AR creates an interactive experience for viewers by integrating virtual objects into the real-world environment.
The adoption of AR in education is part of the booming education technology (EdTech) industry, which is expected to reach USD 680.1 billion by 2027. So far, educators have seen much success in incorporating augmented reality in classrooms, professional training and e-learning applications. Here are some of the significant benefits of adopting AR in education:
Unlike traditional classroom teaching methods, AR engages students through multiple senses. With the help of rich visuals and audio, students can learn better through hands-on practice rather than just memorising concepts from textbooks. For example, the Froggipedia app allows students to explore and understand the anatomy of a frog.
Augmented reality apps also offer collaborative opportunities for students and encourage students to engage in teamwork.
What sets augmented reality apart from other immersive technologies is this: no expensive and special equipment is required for AR to work. Most people own at least a smartphone or a tablet in this digital age, making AR technology-enabled education immediately available to the majority.
Another way that augmented reality can make education more accessible is through reducing the costs of education. Since AR has the potential to replace physical models, textbooks, posters and manuals, associated costs can be cut and learning can be less expensive.
AR technology simplifies the learning process by allowing students to visualise complex concepts. Everyone has different learning styles, and some people may find it difficult to understand concepts like geometry from textbooks alone. With AR, students can better understand how concepts work and fully immerse themselves in the learning process.
Some AR technologies are specifically designed to aid learning for students with special needs and disabilities. For example, UCLA bioengineers designed an AR-powered, wearable glove-like device that translates sign language in real-time, allowing people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers. Such technologies help to create a more inclusive classroom environment for all.
Augmented reality allows learning to happen beyond the classroom. In these uncertain times where remote learning is becoming the norm, AR can make distance learning more effective. For example, virtual field trips are made possible with some AR learning apps.
Augmented reality technologies have proven to be extremely helpful in workplace training, particularly those that cannot be performed in real life without risking lives or monetary loss. For example, NASA is using AR to train its astronauts. AR can also be incorporated to emulate a combat environment by projecting visuals of enemies, weapons and vehicles with the help of AR glasses. This way, soldiers can receive training without being exposed to unnecessary danger.
To sum it up, incorporating augmented reality in education can bring many benefits, including making the learning process more immersive and interactive, allowing students to better understand complex concepts, making learning more accessible and increasing the effectiveness of remote learning. AR also helps to break learning barriers for students with special needs and disabilities, and provides a safer and more effective environment for workplace training. While AR cannot replace classroom learning, it serves as a helpful tool for educators to reinvent and enhance learning for students.