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Classrooms 2.0: How AR is increasing student engagement

Augmented reality (AR) skills have always been attractive to next-gen employers – but teachers are now using the tech in class with game-changing results 

Augmentedl Reality (AR) technology is literally changing the world – it makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a whole new (virtual) space. But it’s also making big changes in other ways – in industries like healthcare, entertainment and education.

Here, researcher and Deakin University PhD candidate Manjeet Singh Usma takes us through the benefits of getting skilled up in AR and clever ways it’s being introduced in classrooms. 

What is AR? 

“Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a layer of digital content in the real-world view using the camera on smartphones, iPADs or Tablets. A variety of content can be overlaid including video (normal, green-screen or even 360-degree panning views), 2D or 3D models, animation, audio and even real-time spatial data can be displayed.

Manjeet’s research intersects the fields of augmented reality, data analytics and student engagement. Image: LinkedIn

“A typical AR experience can beAR triggered by just about anything in the real world; whether an image, object or even a QR code.  Once a trigger is recognised almost any combination of content experiences can be delivered.

“Augmented Reality (AR) applications have the capabilities to also collect a range of sensor data that can be relevant to educators –  such as learning Analytics, interaction analytics, spatial analytics, sensory analytics and emotion analytics. Presenting real-time information as analytics to teachers directly as an information overlay using an augmented reality view within the classroom or customised to each student.”

Case study: The Forest Classroom AR Project

The Forest Classroom AR Project is a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, educators and industry collaborators building innovative AR experiences for fun, play and learning.

“The research will include designing, developing, adapting and extending existing ‘forest’ context and elements to create an interactive experience with AR interactive tools that can be used to rapidly prototype and create an AR Forest Classroom relevant to a range of educational contexts. 

“The research will create a prototype of an AR Forest Classroom environment, to engage prep kids when they become disengaged, anxious or restless, creating an immersive surrounding such as a forest setting, to assist in calming a child through interactive emotional therapy using elements in a forest. 

“The Forest Classroom AR will have immersive elements like small forest animals/birds, insects sound, water stream flowing audio/visuals to assist a child to rest, recover and refocus (RRR). Researchers will observe the engagement and calming moments for the child, as well as the user interactions and behaviours analytics.

“Exploratory studies have shown success in addressing and reducing anxiety in children using AR in hospitals, especially during pre-surgery, when drawing of blood sample and managing pain too!

“As schools are increasing the use of mobile tablets in classrooms, the potential to create AR experiences in learning is emerging rapidly. The research will provide new sources of evidence on the design, development and motivation in the use of AR tools, techniques, interactions and methods in school’s teaching and learning.”

Manjeet Singh Usma, Researcher / PhD Candidate, School of Information Technology, Deakin University


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