It is no surprise to anyone that technology has influenced and transformed learning. The ubiquitous nature of digital technologies resulting from digitisation and wireless networking means that teachers and students of all ages and abilities can learn anytime, anywhere. Schools are increasingly using technology such as online collaboration tools, multimedia tools, web conferencing software and Apps to enable students and teachers to work together and learn more effectively and efficiently.
Technology advances so rapidly and relentlessly it can sometimes be quite a challenge to keep up to date with the latest educational tools or applications. However, the key to determining the suitability of a new tool or digital innovation in learning and teaching is simply apply the relevance test. Does this tool or innovation support students to develop and consolidate curriculum concepts? Does this tool or innovation offer authentic learning experiences related to a curriculum goal or task? How is it relevant? Some digital tools or Apps are lots of fun to use and play with but offer no real connection to the curriculum.
An exciting form of digital innovation to enter the educational landscape is Augmented Reality. This innovative technology can be relevant across a wide range of curriculum and learning areas. Augmented Reality is the technique of adding computer graphics to a user’s view of the physical world. It is sometimes referred to as ‘mixed reality’ and is different to virtual environments. In a Virtual Reality (VR) environment, the real world is obscured and the user is immersed in a fully digital experience. Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digital information on real world objects via the use of the camera on a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet. The most familiar educational uses of AR have been when three dimensional images, video, audio or text are prompted to appear by a printed image or code. The game Pokemon Go is an example of AR. Through AR, any graphic seen on a computer screen can be extracted and superimposed onto a real-world environment.
How exciting to be able to examine an anatomical model from all angles? Look no further than Froggipedia. This interactive App enables students to explore and discover the life cycle and intricate anatomical details of a frog. No longer do biology teachers need to use real frogs to help students observe and learn about the anatomical features of this animal. AR technology provides students with a unique learning experience where they can move and manipulate the frog. They can observe and follow the life cycle of the frog viewing its metamorphoses from tadpole to a fully-grown frog and using their fingers or pen, students can dissect the frog and examine the various organ systems.
What an exciting innovation that offers today’s students with a fully immersive, real and relevant learning experience.