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October 15, 2020 08:35 AM

Augmented Reality: The Future of Education

How has the history of education evolved in recent times?
With the invention of paper and the printing press, it became easy to communicate ideas, and the shelf-life of those ideas was extended from a few months to a few years. When the digital medium of transmission came of age, communication and, more importantly, education evolved and made the magic leap from print to digital and from 2D to 3D in the form of animations and online videos. The past few decades saw great strides happening in the field of online education in the form of interactive whiteboards and simulations, educational games, online blackboards, and classrooms permeating the educational sphere. Students transitioned from using traditional pen and paper to using online desktops and laptops with their keyboards, mice, and of late, mobile phones and tablets to get on the technological wave. These technological breakthroughs helped students and teachers to digitally communicate their ideas. However, any interaction that happened was within any Learning Management System and student engagement with the lessons always had scope for improvement.
Is the current state of educational affairs equipped to embrace a digital future?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and educational institutions have been forced to operate virtually. While most organizations have traditionally been a "blackboard and in-person learning" strategy, now they have been forced to adopt a "whiteboard and virtual learning" strategy to continue their operations. However, not all schools and educational institutions are equipped with either engaging content or the medium to equip their students and continue empowering their students in their successful learning journeys.
How can education evolve in post-COVID times and equip future students?
The evolution of education should serve the following current and future needs:
  • Be accessible across distance
  • Be useable with current technology
  • Be scalable as per growing content needs
  • Offer scope for interactivity
  • Enable interactive learning
  • Provide enhanced student engagement levels
  • Be safe to deploy in large scale
  • Be universally acceptable across all education levels
  • Be affordable
Augmented Reality in Education
How can Augmented Reality (AR) connect the dots in education?
Augmented Reality superimposes information on real-world objects and provides a much enhanced and engaging content experience for the users. Tailored to education, AR can enhance static textbook text and images with rich and enriched videos, animations, and interactive media thereby providing enhanced student engagement and learning outcomes.
AR does not require advanced hardware for the end user to experience it. Most smartphones and handheld devices can handle and provide AR experiences. All it takes for a student or end user is to point and shoot their camera at the AR marker (a target image for enhanced AR content). Augmented Reality has a wide range of uses in education ranging from kindergarten to continuing professional learning.
Why is Augmented Reality (AR) the future of education?
Children and students are naturally curious and adopt new technologies easily. One of the most popular games in recent times, the Pokemon Go, was built using Augmented Reality technology. Mobile and handheld devices are found almost everywhere now. AR-aided education can make distance learning and mobile learning engaging, effective, and cost-efficient. AR apps can supplement teacher instructions and provide visual representations of complex topics and subjects.

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