The arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an undeniable reality, just as it is undeniable that all social and economic sectors will be affected to a greater or lesser degree by this change, regardless of its nature. The question, therefore, is no longer when, but how these sectors are to be redefined and how their agents should begin, if they have not already done so, their digital transformation.
One of the areas that the need to reinvent itself has assumed the earliest has been education. Digital boards, multimedia elements and creative software have long lived in classrooms with books, maps and notebooks. But there is still a long way to go. In fact, the so-called EdTech, the educational technology industry, is expected to reach $ 252 billion in 2020, growing at an annual rate of 17%.
Among the most significant trends in EdTech, augmented reality probably occupies the most prominent position thanks to the countless didactic advantages provided by this immersive tool. Over the next three years, it is expected that more than one billion people worldwide will be active users of AR, which opens up a range of opportunities for teachers and educational institutions, and of course also for companies.
In this article, we will explore this EdTech trend in detail and see some success stories already applied in classrooms around the world.
Use of Augmented Reality in Education: challenges and opportunities
Augmented reality in the classroom can serve several purposes, but the clearest is to help students easily acquire, process, and remember information learned in the classroom. Plus, of course, making learning more engaging and fun.
However, we should not conceive its use as something limited to a single specific age group or with a level of education. Augmented reality, as a training tool, can be used from preschool to university and even at work.
Benefits of augmented reality in education
• Learning materials are accessible anytime, anywhere: augmented reality has the potential to replace paper textbooks, physical models, posters, etc., offering less expensive, portable learning materials.
• Does not require a large outlay on equipment. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not need expensive hardware, especially when we consider that 73% of Spanish adolescents have a smartphone with which to use AR applications.
• Interactive and gamified learning has a significant positive impact on students, which keeps them more focused and interested during the lesson, also making the process more fun and interesting for them.
• The interactive lessons based on augmented reality increase the collaboration capabilities between students, improving teamwork skills.
• A faster and more effective learning process is generated thanks to visualization and total immersion in the subject. Don’t they say that an image is worth a thousand words? So what better than to see the theory in action instead of having to read it.
• In addition to formal education, job training can also greatly benefit from the use of augmented reality. For example, accurately reproducing the conditions of a workspace can help you master the practical skills required for certain professional functions.
Augmented reality in the classroom
Augmented reality apps have become, in record time, a didactic resource highly valued by the teacher when it comes to explaining a subject, providing a visual representation, or encouraging students to test their knowledge in practice .
Along with games and marketing, education is probably the sector with the most content developed to meet your needs. We can find an AR app for almost any subject, including chemistry, geometry, zoology, grammar, and even programming.
Through the use of augmented reality, students can also learn outside the classroom. In fact, online or distance learning is noticeably easier and more efficient with AR-assisted educational materials.
For example, Modly, a language learning application, has recently integrated an AR-based virtual teacher to help users practice their skills as if they were in a real-life environment.
How to implement augmented reality in an educational center?
With giants like Apple, Google or Amazon promoting augmented reality technologies, we are at the right time to start implementing this tool. The possibilities of AR platforms for developers, such as ARCore, ARKit or AR View, together with powerful hardware, such as the iPhoneX or the Samsung Galaxy S9, make it possible for more and more companies to create EdTech solutions.
At Isostopy we develop both ad hoc solutions, according to the specific objectives of the client, as well as our own educational projects. In this sense, in the coming months “Daira” will be released, an AR app that will allow students to immersively learn key subjects from history or art. With it, students will be able to interact with Velázquez to participate in the construction of a medieval cathedral or relive the War of Independence.
As we are seeing, augmented reality in education has enormous potential, which is just beginning to take the first steps on a path whose end is far from being glimpsed. With the current adoption of mobile technologies and recent advances in hardware, the barriers in the implementation of augmented reality are disappearing, making this technology one of the most accessible and used. The current moment is key to give in this direction and position itself as an innovative center in its implementation.