What is Augmented Reality?

The term augmented reality (AR) was first coined in 1990 by former Boeing researcher Tom Caudell, who used it to describe ways in which digital information could be overlaid in real time with the visual information we are used to seeing in the real world. (Heads-up displays in aircraft were an early outgrowth of the technology.) While the capability to deliver that sort of augmented reality experience has been around for decades, it has up to recently always required a very expensive customized system, or special equipment. Advances in mobile devices as well as in the different technologies that combine the real world with virtual information have led to augmented reality applications that are as near to hand as any other application on a laptop or a smart phone.

Emerging augmented reality tools to date have begun to overlay marketing, amusement, or location-based information via heads-up displays or real-time video, and new applications continue to appear as the technology becomes more popular. As they have, augmented reality is now poised to enter the mainstream in the consumer sector. Learning applications, such as the ability to overlay information over a video image of an historical site, or an artifact in a museum are not far behind.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Like 3D video, augmented reality is an inherently 3D technology -- but in this case, it encourages interaction in ways that video does not. Via marker tags, augmented reality has the potential to "augment" a wide range of existing technologies, such as computers, mobile devices, video (via animations), and even the book! it is compelling to experience, and feels freash and new -- and is so much simpler that in the past. - Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • This is the key characteristic of AR - it is interactive and responds to user input. This is why it has significant potential for learning and assessment. It is not a passive technology. The user can create new understandings based on the interpretations of the data sets with the virtual object. - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Aug 25, 2010
  • AR is like the 3D printing technologies in that it makes it more possible to bridge the gap between the virtual and educational worlds, and the 'real' worlds we experience and live in normally. Abstract ideas and knowledge can be contextualised in real time and place, increasing the chance that students will derive relevance and meaning for themselves. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 24, 2010
  • What would be very interesting is for real time temporary updates to the data sets or the virtual object in response to user input. Sort of like a simulation that changes temporarily in response to user input and the user can decide to keep or discard the changes depending on the outcome.- geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Aug 25, 2010
  • AR would allow a major change in how we teach engineering. Imagine being able to immediately see property data, dimensions, stresses etc of an object that you are designing or operating conditions, control functions, flows, compositions etc of a process that you are trying to understand. Instead of having 3 or 4 texts open and a modelling/ simulation package and a few different prototypes (to answer different questions), you could be dealing with a single interface. And what a difference it would make if you were travelling through a building or chemical factory! - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • This one is not so much missing, as deserving to be underscored: much of the most exciting development for ART is happening on mobiles -- the potential for just in time learning or exploration is there, and very exciting.- Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • Missing is a discussion of the many forms of marker-based AR, such as those that drive Sixth Sense: http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/ - Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010 As well as the marker based ones that drive the Zooburst storytelling tool http://alpha.zooburst.com/ - alan alan Aug 23, 2010
  • If AR genuinely expands our consciousness by further reducing the need to remember facts it will further challenge our ideas about education and assessment - our tools are making the need for traditional forms of skill development (library card catalogue use, reading long books etc) less evident while also raising the need for new skills (expression via video, information management). What does it mean for the class if everyone is filtering the experience in real time with AR glasses? - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 24, 2010
  • One area that is poised to take more advantage of augmented reality is the real time web. By incorporating real time data into AR technologies from sensors and other collection devices, this can become a valuable visualization and research tool for discovering connections in the world around you. - KeeneH KeeneH Aug 25, 2010
  • How will we synthesise all this information? If the data is available in the one place we must be able to access and process it. - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010
  • The usability of AR is a very important theme that I see as a key area for further work. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • AR opens the door to visual and highly interactive forms of learning, allowing the over of data over the real world as easily as it simulates dynamic processes.- Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • Beyond the increasing array of mobile apps that overlay data on a camera view, there are more applications being done that address real problems, such as ... applying exposure therapy for helping people deal with fears of cockroaches! http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/guest/25411/ - alan alan Aug 23, 2010
  • Further removing the credibility of content delivery as a primary teaching focus.- stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 24, 2010
  • Once the technology becomes more readily available and templates are available for teachers to use, learning activities around exploring the interrelationships between data and virtual objects will become more commonplace. Where I think this will be interesting will be when students can overlay different datasets onto a virtual object to start exploring new relationships or new ways of interpreting our current understandings of data and physical reality. This is still some way off, but I think this will fundamentally challenge our current view of knowledge and how data relates to a physical object. I think AR has huge potential to change assessment, as we could provide students with different virtual objects and data sets and they need to match them. AR has significant potential in laboratrory-based learning and assessment; here students can explore many virtual objects are data sets where the real physical objects may be physically remote, or too dangerous or too expensive to use in teaching. - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Aug 25, 2010
  • We are always looking for ways to give our engineering students 'real' experiences - to let them get their hands on stuff so that they can feel weights, test strengths, watch reactions, visualise processes. In the face of rising numbers and industry safety restrictions, these opportunities have been somewhat limited. AR will allow us to get back in touch with 'reality' - perhaps we are not working in labs but at least we will be working in design studios. - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

These are some links and references from our www.transformingassessment .com website where we are collecting examples of Web 2.0 type learning and assessment items.

Augmented Reality in Education (comprehensive resource and references) http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Augmented_Reality_in_Education

Augmented reality in school environments
http://www.arise-project.org/index.php?id=27 (References) http://www.arise-project.org/index.php?id=28 (Project deliverables/publications)

Augmented Reality: does it have a place/future in education http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/technology/augmented-reality-does-it-have-a-placefuture-in-education-edtech/ (blog page with discussion)


PhD Thesis - Iordache, D.: Pedagogical evaluation of augmented reality technology, PhD Thesis, Faculty of Psychology and Science of Education, University of Bucharest, Romania, ongoing.

State Examination - Domes, N.: Entwicklung eines Augmented Reality Systems für die Schulchemie (Development of an Augmented Reality System for Chemistry Lessons), State Examination, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany, Oct. 2007.

Theodoros N. Arvanitis, Argeroula Petrou, James F. Knight, Stavros Savas, Sofoklis Sotiriou, Michael Gargalakos and Elpida Gialouri (2009) Human factors and qualitative pedagogical evaluation of a mobile augmented reality system for science education used by learners with physical disabilities, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 13(3) 243-250 http://www.springerlink.com/index/rw3g56685x643m17.pdf http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1502576

Alexandru Balog, Costin Pribeanu, Dragos Iordache (2007) Augmented Reality in Schools: Preliminary Evaluation Results from a Summer School, Proceedings of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, (Volume 30), June, Nice, France, ISSN: 2070-3724 http://www.waset.org/journals/waset/v30/v30-21.pdf

Margarita Vilkonien?, Vincentas Lamanauskas, Rytis Vilkonis (2008) Pedagogical evaluation of the platform based on augmented reality technology: a position of the experts providing assistance with teaching/learning, Problems of Education in the 21st Century 3(3):56-78 http://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?icid=810002

Lyn Pemberton, Marcus Winter (2009) Collaborative Augmented Reality in Schools, Proceedings of International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, June 8-13, 2009, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece http://ltee.org/uploads/cscl2009/paper236.pdf

Bryan Alexander, (2004) M-learning: Emergent pedagogical and campus issues in the mobile learning environment, EDUCAUSE Centre for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, 16, 3 August. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0416.pdf

Jayfus T. Doswell, "Pedagogy Play: Virtual Instructors for Wearable Augmented Reality during Hands-On Learning and Play," digitel, pp.215-216, 2008 Second IEEE International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning, 17 – 19 November

Krauß, M. and M. Bogen, Conveying Cultural Heritage and Legacy with Innovative AR-based Solutions. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2010: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2010. Consulted August 11, 2010. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2010/papers/krauss/krauss.html - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Aug 25, 2010
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