Creating magic in classroom

Imagine watching a meteorite exploding in front of your eyes or poking inside a human heart? As intriguing and far-fetched it sounds, it is possible to do it all with augmented reality (AR). 

Though AR has been around for decades, only recently has it started gaining attention from big tech sharks who are investing billions to advance AR and its uses. The most impressive feature is its availability and usage — anyone with a hand-held device like a smartphone or tablet can use AR to ‘bring to life’ learning subjects, thus helping students understand concepts faster and better. 

Augmented Reality creates a link between the real and digital world, enhancing our physical world that is overlaid with information. This information could be in any form — digital images, videos or 3D content that is laid on top of real-world objects like a picture, flashcard, signboard, among others.

Across the globe, AR is being harnessed in the education sector and the outcomes reveal that educators along with AR can be the magic combination that can change the overall system. A simple way of implementing AR is to use an app on a smart device with a real-world object in place. But why do we need it, in the first place? Today, kids are exposed to technology and various multimedia devices, early-on. Any new tech can be picked up quickly by kids. This can be used to our advantage and can be deployed to unlock different avenues of learning that enhance our traditional methods of education.

The power of AR lies in making every lesson interactive and immersive. AR helps in visualising content inside-out which can be customised to suit the learning needs of each student. This way, education truly becomes inclusive and flexible in every sense of the word.

Real-world applications

AR is not limited to higher level applications. It can be integrated into the elementary levels of learning, too. All you need is a smart device. If there are too many kids involved, they can come together to share one device or the teacher can project information from one device on a bigger screen with the help of a projector. Whatever the medium is, AR can be accessed and used easily. 

One could use resources like AR flashcards to teach Grade 1 students about animals. All you need to do is scan the flashcard and let children interact with the content — what animals eat, what are the sounds they make and where they live.

Even Life Sciences is made easy with AR. For instance, you can teach kids about germination with a real potted plant vis-a-vis a virtual plant. Track the progress of a seed to the sapling in a pot on the windowsill but personalise students’ learning through AR. Give them their own scannable plant images, and kids can begin to take care of their own virtual pot every day with adequate water, manure and sunlight, while learning about it simultaneously. 

Personalised learning

Instead of just creating diagrams to understand the human body, use AR to scan the drawings to see them functioning. For instance, learn about your heart with the help of a 3D model and watch how it pumps blood to-and-fro. 

You could also use an AR globe or AR map to explore beyond countries and their capital instead of flipping through pages to understand more about the physical realm. Visualise cities, wildlife and so much more, with AR that will create capsules of information personalised for your learning. 

AR gives you the freedom to manipulate variables in a physics experiment. Experience the effect of gravity while walking on the surface of the earth compared to walking on the moon. Change the angle of a pendulum by a degree and observe how it impacts the domino effect. Drop variable loads like a truck, bicycle or a feather and notice the effect of gravity and acceleration. 

The periodic table in chemistry can be difficult to memorise. But with AR, it can be understood using real-life images. Use 3D atoms and molecules to explain the chemical interaction and how atoms make bonds or repel other atoms.

Many teachers have ‘gamified’ their classrooms using AR-technology; creating challenges and quests instead of homework and projects.

A host of free and paid tools, products and apps come in handy to help you create your own customisable AR experiences or give you pre-designed AR lessons to use.

To start your foray into creating smart classrooms, what you need to do is get your research in place, ask questions, contact higher management and discuss the possibilities to bring AR that will open a world of knowledge and interactive learning.

AR as an educational tool is revolutionary, changing the way all stakeholders involved — parents, educators and children — teach and learn. 

(The author is co-founder, PlayShifu)

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Creating magic in classroom

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