The Immediate Impact of AR in Education: No Goggles Required

The EdTech Evolution

The education industry is in the midst of a major transition and it goes beyond just adopting digital technology to better educate students. The very way we teach is always evolving. Educators have done so much in the last few decades to push away from factory or banking style education practices. Personalized learning has now become an integral part of many educator’s toolkits. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), has adapted and created standards for best practices in education technology.  They have chronicled the progression of how technology has impacted education. What better way to think about transformative learning with technology than how augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will drive those learning outcomes?

ISTE: EdTech Throughout the years
ISTE: EdTech Throughout the years

How AR and VR fit into this landscape

The terms augmented and virtual reality has become more widespread than ever before. While many people use them interchangeably, they are in fact incredibly different from one another. Virtual reality uses headsets, often times hand-held controllers, and occasionally other external hardware to produce fully-immersive sensory experiences. Essentially, virtual reality produces an artificial environment that users can engage in a multi-sensory experience. Augmented reality, on the other hand, overlays digital information, like text, graphics, audio, etc. over the real world to enhance the existing experience. It’s the matrix vs. PokemonGo or a Snapchat filter.

We know students learn best when they can tap into multiple senses to engage with their classroom material. There is no doubt that virtual reality will be a very powerful tool to enhance learning. For now, it comes with some major challenges and concerns about implementing it into the classroom. virtual reality requires using a headset. Only one student can engage at a time. This can be isolating to the learner and the class. This is a major roadblock to even the most interesting and useful VR content. It takes a long time for teachers to make effective lesson plans around new technology. Teachers need to spend time learning how to use it themselves before using it in the classroom. While it is clear that VR has tremendous potential to elevate education, it is not ready yet to make an immediate impact, but AR is a completely different story.

How do you see AR or VR working in classrooms? What are your biggest concerns about implementing new technology? Let us know in the comments below!