Augmented Reality in Education: The ‘Why and How’ of Faster Learning and Improved Communication Skills pt.2: ‘The How’

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Augmented Reality in Education: The ‘Why and How’ of Faster Learning and Improved Communication Skills pt.2: ‘The How’

Category: In Class
Augmented reality in education: the ‘why and how’ of faster learning and improved communication skills Pt.2: ‘The How’
by ViewSonic

Continued from part 1

There is no need for a complete curriculum overhaul when it comes to adopting augmented reality: it can be all the more effective in supplementing current pedagogical materials by simply adding a more contextual experience. It can stimulate interest and discussion in different subject areas and be the basis for class activities.

Justin Aglio, who served as a teacher and principal and is currently the Director of Innovation at Montour School District in Pennsylvania, suggests “If possible, connect the learning to action research – research conducted to solve an immediate problem. What are the benefits of using VR/AR? Have students collect data along the way to research VR and AR’s effectiveness.”

Configuration requirements for Augmented Reality in the classroom

A minimal Augmented Reality setup for almost any class may include

  • an internet connection
  • a mobile device (i.e. a smartphone or tablet)
  • an Augmented Reality app (especially one tailored for education)
  • a “trigger” or “marker” (i.e. an image, object, location and/or action that triggers an action on the device screen via the Augmented Reality app)

Educational Augmented Reality apps to get the (3D) ball rolling

To provide further guidance for educators looking for suggestions, below are companies and apps that facilitate studying through augmented reality – all of which come recommended by professionals in education.

“Plug ‘n play”: Apps with ready-to-go Augmented Reality content

For educators who want a simple introduction to Augmented Reality, and/or want Augmented Reality content ready for use in the classroom, the following provide exactly this – including pre-designed triggers or markers.

Quiver 3D Coloring App. In addition to the items listed above, this Augmented Reality app will also require students to break out their coloring pencils.

To use Quiver, educators will need to print out coloring pages (trigger images provided by QuiverVision) which students color in. These images are then brought to life, students’ original coloring and designs intact, on a smartphone/tablet screen by looking at them through the app’s viewer and pressing play.]

Educator Terri Eichholz mentioned in one of her blog posts that the Planet Earth coloring page would have been beneficial and engaging to her first graders who had just studied the world’s continents, especially since the app allows children different viewing options, the ability to manipulate the image and even “take pictures and video.”

Ed Tech Specialist Katie Ann Wilson, who previously worked as both an elementary and middle school teacher, also provides suggestions for student assignments to develop storytelling skills that incorporate classmate cooperation and additional tech skills, if desired, for both older and younger students.

In addition to having “plug and play” content, the following suggestions are for educators also looking for companies that cover multiple academic subjects.

DAQRI and Arloon are two companies that have created Augmented Reality apps spanning more than one academic discipline.

Respectively, the former’s Elements 4D and Anatomy 4D apps cover topics in chemistry and anatomy, whereas the latter’s Arloon Plants, Arloon Mental Math and Arloon Geometry focus on botany, arithmetic and geometry. As is the case with Quiver, these apps also include triggers that can be printed out on paper. DAQRI’s website even includes lesson plans for the Elements 4D app.

Benefits specific to these types of apps vary, including allowing students to experiment in a safer environment than handling chemicals in real life would otherwise allow; learning about plants and their interaction with the environments through virtual growth cycles when space, season and/or budget would otherwise limit students’ ability to make these observations and analyses in the classroom; and improving understanding of abstract, spatial geometric concepts through manipulation and multi-angle observation of virtual 3D objects.

Apps for Augmented Reality content creation

In addition to the listed requirements for “plug and play” educational Augmented Reality apps, the following also provide opportunities for educators ready to create their own Augmented Reality content and lesson plans more precisely tailored to their own curriculum, or even for those who would like to engage students in doing the same. In other words, to do this educators and students will have to use Augmented Reality apps with built-in studios to create their desired presentations.

Aurasma and Blippar both provide tools to facilitate the creation of Augmented Reality experiences. For example, art students attending São Paulo, Brazil’s Graded School used Aurasma in conjunction with a green screen app to create an enhanced exhibition for visitors to their gallery. Through this experience, visitors could learn about influences and techniques behind each work by way of videos featuring the artists – videos that appeared to come out of the artwork directly.

Dr. Silvana Meneghini, Technology Coordinator at the school, provides the three main steps students took to create this “hyperlinked reality” in a blog post entitled “Augmented Reality that’s ‘Real’ and Focused on Learning.”

In addition, librarian Bethanie O’Dell provided a Blippar tutorial on YouTube for students who were given an interactive assignment on banned books (also: another Blippar YouTube tutorial for educators who generally want to delve even deeper into integrating AR within the classroom).

Educators interested in additional information regarding the curricular integration of Augmented Reality and/or measuring the effectiveness of any new curricular designs integrating new technologies such as Augmented Reality, especially in ways tailored to their school’s needs, may benefit in collaborating with technology facilitators.


Augmented reality is evolving to become more cost-friendly, accessible, effective and essential – including in grounding schoolchildren with the competencies and know-how required to collaborate with others and get ahead in careers of the future.

A strategic factor that can increase their effectiveness and confidence in these areas will be to design open-ended lessons that enable them to follow their own pursuits. One significant reason for doing so: taking ownership of projects helps increase a student’s feeling of responsibility and engagement with the material.

In some cases, Augmented Reality is even blurring the lines between textbook material and educator-/student- created content.