Augmented Reality and Its Applications for Education

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Augmented Reality (AR) has had a tremendous impact on education during the past few years. 

Augmented Reality and Its Applications for Education

It started out as something really “cool” before developing into one of the most useful resources available for learners. 

What Exactly is Augmented Reality? 

Augmented Reality, which is also known as AR can simply be defined as the process of viewing or scanning a trigger image through a mobile device. This process would give life to a subsequent action. This action can be another image, a video, QR code, 3D animations, games or whatever you want it to be. Even a GIF image can be considered as an AR in action.

The Impact of Augmented Reality on Education

Imagine that you are a student who is sitting in a history class. The lesson you are going to learn is about Egyptian Temples. Augmented Reality has the potential to create a realistic 3D environment of the temple and you will be able to learn it in more of an interactive and appealing way without even leaving the classroom. You can view every corner of the temple and get a clear view of it. That’s the beauty of AR.

Augmented Reality can be used in education via many different methods. These include:

 Virtual Reality

Even though Virtual Reality mainly focuses on games, it can be used effectively in training and education as well. The immersive learning experience delivered by Virtual Reality has contributed a lot towards its popularity. A 3D immersive environment or a 360 degree video shot becomes useful when teaching new languages for students. A large number of learners will be able to get connected to the same virtual space as well which is particularly useful at a time of globalization and increased connectivity between countries via the internet.

 Virtual Reality Glasses

Virtual Reality glasses have also received a lot of attention in the recent past. More specifically, they have become particularly popular among students who are looking for a convenient method to learn marine biology. That’s because virtual glasses are in a position to immerse the students in a seabed environment and help them learn in an effective manner. This method of teaching is not associated with print books. A tablet is being provided to the student by the teacher and the student is asked to follow what appears on the screen. The students can then simply ask what animals are invertebrates and what vertebrates are. Then the students are asked to point them out by having a look. At the end of the lesson, the teacher would be able to know who has got it right and who has not.

 3D Objects and Motion Capture

Offering training on 3D objects is not an easy thing to do. People who learn about these objects will not be able to get a clear understanding until they interact with the objects. That’s where 3D Objects and Motion Capture comes into play. This method is based on motion capture technology where the students will be asked to reposition the 3D objects that they see.

 Virtual Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments involve a platform where students and teachers can come together and collaborate with each other through an intranet. Teachers can use this network in order to create and send homework for their students. In addition, students can complete the assignments and submit them over the network themselves. In this way it is possible for the teachers to have the homework submitted and gathered in an organized manner, as well as being able to access useful statistics at the end of the day. Virtual Learning Environments have changed how traditional class sessions are managed and are thought of as a revolutionary way of e-learning.

Feedback and Monitoring Through Augmented Reality

Feedback and monitoring holds a prominent place in the education system. Otherwise, teachers will not be able to figure out whether they reach the educational objectives or not. Augmented reality creates an ideal platform to achieve this traceability. For example, the teachers will be able to get a clear understanding of what content is mostly viewed by the students and what assignments are completed by them. This type of information can be used in order to make important decisions respective to the students’ learning styles and performance.

Here is a list of some useful applications based on Augmented Reality, which can be used to enhance the quality of education:

One of the most popular applications allowing to bring tagged images, objects and even physical locations to life. Using interactive digital content like video, animations and 3D scenes named Auras, Aurasma unfolds the amazing world of Augmented Reality with the ‘explore’ and ‘featured’ sections to retrieve the latest Auras. This app has been widely used in education since it allows the teacher and student to create their own interactive content. School displays come to life with this great tool!

This remarkable app created by NASA themselves and recently upgraded, as the name probably gives away, is more closely related to science or space teaching. Once you download Spacecraft 3D and print off the ‘markers’, it is possible to use your iPad’s camera to make a three dimensional spacecraft appear right before your eyes. There is also the option of taking a closer look to the structure of Rovers, Satellites and Telescopes while also looking at all angles of the technology since there are moveable parts on some of the crafts. These features can be quite engaging for children yet the app allows also to single handily bring a research lesson to life. Based on the content this app can be used in particular for students aged Key Stage 2 and 3.

Butterfly Fingers is one app that makes use of the Augmented Reality in combination with SEN. What the app does is that it places animated butterflies in the room while you look through the iPad’s camera. You might be stunned but this fluttering of butterflies can create a calming environment in the classroom especially when you have a very vivid student population. Importantly, the app does not require to be excellent in fine motor skills so it can be useful with children with special educational needs and all age groups.

4. Quiver

Whilst for many applications using AR, the user basically points the tablet’s camera at something and watch the effect, there is nothing physical about the endeavour. In contrast, Quiver is a fantastic app which allows you to physically customize the Augmented Reality object using coloring pages as triggers, and this video shows it in action. The way to do this is simply by downloading and print off markers which you can color and redesign yourself. Once the child (or adult) draws a picture and sketches its parts, pointing at the colored image using the tablet turns it into a three dimensional animation with moveable parts. There different markers, all enabling for creative and imaginative artistic learning. For example, the app can help a child visualize a character and stimulate more ideas for scripts, storyboards etc. 

One extremely favourable app is AR Flashcards. The app is rather simple: there is a card for each letter of the alphabet, featuring one animated animal for every letter. You therefore realize that immediately the app allow you to play with twenty six Augmented Reality animals. There are more exciting stuff to do though, like using a huge number of dinosaur flashcards available for free. This creates endless educational potentials, ranging from phonics teaching and early language development, to topic-related learning such as using the dinosaurs which are pretty popular among children. Embedding these flashcards in your classroom teaching can therefore help with story writing, artistic endeavours, research projects and so much more!

A very interesting Augmented Reality app by the colossus focused on learning about astronomy in a fun and engaging way. Google Sky Map allows you to directly identify stars and constellations using a smartphone camera rather than through a book.

A great educational game app to get elementary level kids to overcome their fear of Maths by learning, Fetch! Lunch Rush released by PBS KIDS uses printable cards as Augmented Reality pieces. Designed in 3D, the app uses the smartphone camera to place graphics in real-world surroundings. Specifically, there is a plot in the game where students help Ruff the Dog feed sushi to a movie crew by solving math problems. 

GeoGoggle is awesome when it comes to expanding students’ geography skills and help them measure distances to specific destinations, like latitude and longtitude by applying GeoGoggle to real-world surroundings. 

9. AugThat

One former teacher developed AugThat specifically targeting students that are not motivated to follow the classroom routine. Using the app's features, it is possible to create animated lessons in a variety of topics to engage students, including 360-degree virtual environments and 3-dimensional experiences.

One of the most quality apps created by DAQRI, a powerful AR developer, is the application Elements 4D. As the name implies, this app brings elements of the periodic table to life to allow students of elementary, middle and high school level, see chemistry in action. The app work by printing out and assembling blocks that are used as trigger images for an AR experience. There are also lesson plans available for integrating Elements 4D at the DAQRI's website.

Another amazing app by DAQRI, Anatomy 4D, allows teachers to design their own anatomy lessons by allows to view 3D images of the human body and heart. The app works by having teachers print off one of the target images and have students look at it through the app. This way they can learn about the different biological systems and bring the human body to life in a fascinating way, turning them "on" and "off" with the touch of a button.

12. Layar

This application employs Augmented Reality features to scanned print materials to enable a rich digital experience. Some of the app’s characteristics include seeing magazines come to life with videos on top of pages, browsing and viewing thousands of Geo Layers to find nearby stuff, enjoying interactice print with pop our content, and sharing your interactive print experiences without having to scan. Layar is thus one great app for use on a variety of learning projects. 

These are only a few Augmented Reality applications that are related to education. You can find a variety of similar applications that have taken the entire education system to a whole new level. Given this increased interest in Augmented Reality in the field of educational technology and technology enhanced learning, substantial empirical research has taken place in the past two decades to determine how this technology meaningfully engages students. 


The existing evidence so far suggests a variety of benefits from using Augmented Reality and similar immersive experiences during the lesson. More research however is needed before a conclusive argument is made, and what is certain, is that the use of Augmented Reality for educational purposes, like any other trending method, should be accompanied by a solid theoretical background while also addressing the individual needs of the particular classroom at hand.

Did you find this article interesting? Don’t forget to drop your feedback in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

*by andreascy*

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