Augmented reality connects students to myriad learning opportunities and experiences they may otherwise never encounter

Bringing the world to life through augmented reality

Augmented reality connects students to myriad learning opportunities and experiences they may otherwise never encounter

Plus, it is not just for the children in the school. By posting an image on a school website, you give the children an audience in the community, or even globally. Anything can be a trigger. The school logo provides information to parents and newsletters leap off the page. A book in the library becomes an interactive recommended read.  

But as technology developed, so did the capabilities.  

Immersing yourself 

Let us revisit Lucas. Without a doubt, he got to see London and learn about the rich history of the city, but the best part of the whole experience was being inside St. Paul’s Cathedral or standing outside Buckingham Palace. These are the moments of awe and wonder that inspire future architects, historians, readers, and writers.  

Today, augmented reality is all about those moments of immersion. In the middle of a global pandemic, it is an opportunity to get children to explore the world around them and immerse themselves in history in the most creative of ways. When field trips stopped, the field just came to us.  

At Anson, the students walked out of their classroom and into the playground. With a quick scan of the play area using their iPads and Sandbox AR from Discovery Education, the ruins of a Roman Villa appeared before them. They moved around the ruin, exploring the walkways, ducking through doorways, and finding artefacts that were not from that period of history. Importantly, they could begin to understand how our Roman ancestors built a life and easily add their own walls, windows, and archways to develop the experience. When it came to writing about Rome, this experience gave them something to write about. Learning was no longer abstract, but real, lived, in their memory. 

Creating the set  

There are some who argue that augmented reality is a gimmick. It is certainly true that, for a long time, augmented reality experiences were time-consuming, difficult to create, and ‘clunky’ to use. They were a bolt-on.

This began to change when the London Grid for Learning began to embed augmented reality experiences in its web portal. The London Grid for Learning are a charitable trust whose mission is the advancement of education, and they were leaders in using augmented reality to give access to rich online content that allowed you to experience life for Great Britain’s Roman settlers or the trenches of World War I. Educators could see it as critical to historical enquiry–a way to ensure learners build understanding and empathy at the same time and connect with experts in their field 

Augmented reality has continued to evolve. Today, thanks to a host of modern technologies, AR puts into students’ and educators’ hands the ability to create immersive, interactive learning experiences that unlock students’ natural curiosity. Imagine my delight when children as young as 7 were able to use Sandbox AR to construct their own version of the Great Hall from the epic poem Beowulf using a selection of structures inside the application. In just 20 minutes, students can walk around their creations, hearing the poem being read aloud as they are immersed inside the mythic meeting hall. 

Anything is possible  

AR provides so many options across the curriculum, from using a giraffe in your classroom to explore ratios, from encountering a shark in your corridor to explore length, or taking a trip around the universe to explore if there is life “out there.”  

Importantly, we bring the life that is out there into the hands of our learners. We connect them with the world outside their local area–places many may never experience first-hand. Using immersive technology, we can allow them to see it, hear it, live it, and breathe it all in. We open their eyes to the possibility that there is more to life beyond their own front door.  

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