Affordances of Augmented Reality in STEM Education

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Augmented reality (AR) is a trending technology that merges the physical and digital world in real time. The user can experience the technology through mobile devices, AR glasses and more recently through holograms. Throughout the last decade hundreds of researches have applied AR in educational settings, proving that this technology could be beneficial for students’ learning outcomes. So can AR help STEM education?

1. Engaging classroom

Educators know that the learning process should be all about motivation and interaction. While teachers do not necessarily need to recruit all of their students into STEM education, their goal is to get them interested in it. That’s where AR could prove itself useful. AR animated content in the classroom could catch students’ attention as well as motivate them to study. By incorporating AR content (e.g. images, videos, visual 3D models) into lessons, teachers are able to involve students into the process as well as give them a wider understanding of a particular topic.

2. Explain abstract and difficult concepts

Teaching STEM subjects can become tricky for teachers since most of the time there are abstract and difficult concepts that need to be explained properly (e.g. a molecular, chemical or a 3D geometrical structure). AR technology has an ability to render objects that are hard to imagine and turn them into 3D models, thus making it easier for students to grasp abstract and difficult content. This is especially good for visual learners and practically anyone to translate theoretical material into a real concept.

ARLOON Geometry. Image taken from: http://www.arloon.com/apps/arloon-geometry/

3. Getting out of the classroom

Getting out of the classroom, observing – while having the ability to access digital information and communicate with others – is essential for extracting conclusions and developing a scientific way of thinking. Location based AR gives students the ability for in situ learning experiences while visiting a specific place of interest (e.g. museum, natural park).

4. AR Laboratories

Conducting science experiments is often costly as it requires a lot of equipment, materials and safety measures for teachers and students. AR can display virtual laboratories simulations in the natural space of a classroom where students are able to interact with virtual materials safely and without cost.

ChemistryAR: Sector4Interactive. Image taken from: https://plus.google.com/111378163843187808765

5. Objects modeling and training

In many cases, theoretical knowledge is not enough to obtain proper skills in professional areas. Students shouldn’t be mere listeners and passive observers. Students of technical faculties (e.g. engineers) need practice and hands-on experience in their areas. Through interaction with augmented tutorials, digital modeling and simulations, they could acquire some valuable experience to this direction.

AR training. Image taken from: http://www.channelfutures.com/technology/augmented-reality-virtual-reality-more-fun-and-games

 

Author: Filippos Tzortzoglou, Scientix Ambassador

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