Augmented reality might sound awfully expensive for classroom use, but companies like Google are opening up the AR market to educators.
Last fall, Google released Expeditions AR to bring the world into the classroom with immersive lessons. With an Expedition kit, students can stare into the eye of a Category 5 hurricane before getting up close and personal with a strand of DNA. For an AR expedition, all students need is a compatible mobile device with a Wi-Fi connection. For those that include virtual reality, students will need a VR viewer, such as Google’s $15 Cardboard VR, as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer that attach to their smartphone or tablet.
Once they have their AR kit, students just need to point their digital devices at a 2D image that triggers a video or animation. Free and low-cost classroom AR apps offer an enormous range of images to explore, and unlike virtual reality, no headset is required. Plus, QR codes in museums and at historical sites can trigger AR experiences, adding an interactive component to any school trip.
Augmented Reality Brings Classrooms to Life
Of course, students can’t go on field trips every day. But best-in-class AR delivers the next best thing: digital experiences that relate in-class ideas to real-world events and phenomena. With today’s AR, students and teachers can:
Dig into life and physical sciences.
Subjects like biology and chemistry are notoriously difficult for students because their concepts are difficult to visualize. But DAQRI Anatomy 4D is about as hands-on as you can get without a scalpel, and its cousin, DAQRI Elements 4D, brings the periodic table to life right in front of students’ eyes. Both come with 2D printable posters that students can point their smartphones at to see scientific animations. And because each field (particularly anatomy) is established, the information presented in them won’t differ from what students are learning in their textbooks.
In the future, it’d be great to see even more standalone products on settled STEM topics, such as geology or agriculture. But remember, content must be tailored to teachers’ curricular needs for it to be a worthwhile investment. When in doubt, consider the questions teachers ask about edtech products that they evaluate for classroom use.
Get animated with interactive art.
Quiver is a quirky, creative AR app that uses downloadable pages colored in by students as trigger images. Quiver Education offers a series of coloring packs, covering domains from science to social studies, as well as fun stuff like Halloween pumpkin carving. The animations are appropriate for younger age groups, with one page featuring a flag that students can color and then watch wave in the wind.
Quiver is perfect for students in grades as early as kindergarten, but it also offers more advanced topics like cellular structure. Plus, Quiver’s coloring pages offer all the benefits of regular coloring activities, including improved motor skills and hand-eye coordination. To improve classroom adoption, art apps like Quiver should create lesson plans and provide other implementation tools.
Craft custom experiences.
For teachers who insist on creating their own curricula, HP Reveal is nothing short of amazing. The app allows users to create unique AR experiences using their own images, animations, or videos. Students interested in technology get a taste of how AR content creation works, while teachers get AR experiences that are tightly in line with their lesson plans.
HP Reveal offers a bevy of preloaded trigger images, as well as content created by other users. Sharing augmented reality experiences is a sure way to populate the field with useful content, at least for those using this app.
But remember, time is a precious commodity for teachers. Fortunately, HP Reveal’s easy drag-and-drop interface allows users to create a trigger image in less than a minute. Companies looking to create something similar should look to minimize teachers’ time investment with elements like user-generated content.
Of course, teachers often have their hands tied when it comes to bringing new technologies into the classroom. It’s usually up to districts and administrative leaders to decide which new tools to invest in, and AR can be a tough sell without supporting research and low-cost options.
But once augmented reality developers and marketers realize the opportunity of the education sector, expect classroom content to skyrocket. AR is too exciting and educational for educators and students to stay away for long.
Not sure how to reach America’s educators about your AR product? Ace the test by downloading our free whitepaper about marketing to educators, and reach out if you’re interested in some one-on-one help.