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24 Sep 2020

Augmenting Education

Paul Hamilton, Technology Trainer App and Creativity Wizard, Using Technology Better
Augmenting Education

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that flexible and creative thinking has a crucial part to play in education. Not just developing these skills in the students we teach, but also in the way we, as educators, teach. The simple fact is that we don’t know what the future holds. Our ability to adapt and pivot is important! Whilst we still need to hold strong to our vision and beliefs on how students learn. This should remain at the centre of our decision making processes regarding training, infrastructure and the tools we use in education.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and specific LMS systems have allowed teachers and students to remain connected during this pandemic. These systems have flourished in Convid times. That fact is indisputable. However, the modes of content delivery have remained relatively unchanged. Video, audio, images, text.

So let me add another element to this discussion by asking a couple of questions related to our students and how they consume and present information going into the future.

  • How will our teachers present content in the future?
  • How will that look in schools, homes and organisations around the world?
  • How will our students demonstrate what they have acquired regarding knowledge and understanding?
  • How will students then share that information with their teacher?
  • What role does 3D content play in the context of education?
  • If we think 3D will be utilised more, then how will it be presented?

These questions are strongly connected to the changes we have experienced regarding the environment our students have been placed in during 2020. So what will a learning ‘environment’ look like in the future? I was close to using the word ‘school’, but that term has quickly become redundant in the context of education vocabulary this year.

Enter mixed reality

Whilst Virtual Reality has received most of the attention in education, its little brother Augmented Reality may just become the bridge between the digital and the physical that is so needed moving forward. Whilst emerging software in the AR space has predominantly focussed on AR as a content delivery system, the potential for students to create AR experiences as a demonstration of knowledge and understanding is clear and emerging in educational settings across the globe.

The devices and software exist and are accessible. The power of the smartphone to scan in 3D and view digital layers in the physical world exists right now. This is not a futuristic look at technology, but a revelation of what exists right now.

Benefits of students creating AR experiences for others.

Student AR created scenes build skills and allow students to understand emerging tech from a creators point of view. Let’s take a look at some use cases in education. Where students can tap into their creativity and use Augmented Reality to present information that builds bridges, and connects the digital and physical worlds.

I created all the following simulations and AR examples to show that anyone can create such experiences with software that is currently available.

Breathing life into 2D art

Students apply digital technology skills such as motion graphic skills in ADOBE After effects into traditional art. Bridge the gap between digital and physical and create connected, interactive and authentic experiences for others to enjoy and reflect on.

ARart example 1

Digital Storytelling: Bringing stories to life

Were you one of those children who spent endless hours playing with figurines, lego or everyday objects? Where your imagination brought to life adventures, villains and quests to far away worlds? Scanning capabilities present opportunities for all ages to make characters with traditional craft materials, such as play-doh, and bring them to life using platforms such as Mixamo.

Play-doh example

Animation example

Living in a 3D world

Students present projects such as Minecraft creations in Augmented Reality. This allows the viewer to move around the 3D model or even walk through it! Add other AR assets to enhance and create greater depth and engagement.

Minecraft AR

Design for the senses

Elements of design provide endless opportunities for AR to be integrated into a meaningful and authentic manner. Design allows 3D to be included as digital layers upon traditional 2D design. T-shirt, print media, shoes all all Augmented Reality to flourish and provide information not able to be shown through traditional means. Audio and proximity triggers allow this user interaction to go one step further.

T-shirt AR

Gaming design and development

Whilst Pokemon showed what’s possible with location based AR. Simple game design enhanced by the environment in which it is placed can connect the physical and the digital. With Apps like Reality Composer for iPad and iPhone and ADOBE AERO, students are able to build these engaging games through simple triggers and behaviours.

AR Pinball

Simulations: Bringing life to remote learning

Imagine studying anatomy or medical science with real life simulations wherever the students desire to place them. Remote learning just got engaging. Life size simulations in the living room, or miniature physics simulations brought to like on a student desk. Possibilities are endless. It also allows students to move, to get up and stand and investigate within a physical space. To remove the restrictions of the remote learning desk and webcam. Let’s not forget students creating their own simulations as a mode of demonstrating knowledge and understanding on a given topic. That water cycle poster just got an upgrade.

Treating patients through AR simulations

While VR relies heavily on headsets and consuming content (there are some amazing creation tools such as Tilt Brush), Augmented Reality has less obstacles. There is no doubt we are still building strong use cases for AR in education, but as we become more confident with the tools available, educators will start making connections with the curriculum in which they teach.

And that is when the magic begins!

paulPaul is an experienced classroom teacher, speaker and trainer who always has the student front and centre when public speaking or training educators with the effective use of technology. Paul’s strengths lie in strategic planning, 1:1 environment, creativity, design thinking, immersive and emerging technologies, and all things Apple.

You can find out more about Paul here.

Paul is presenting at Bett MEA next Wednesday! Register for the show here or tune in on our virtual platform here.

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