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Nov 20 2014 - 07:00 PM
Augmented Reality in the Great Outdoors

Outdoor learning provides a real world context for science concepts, but the same novelty and variation that make outdoor learning engaging might also become a limitation and distract students from their learning tasks. How should educators provide students with authentic learning environments while keeping them on track with their learning? Location-based augmented reality technology could offer a solution to this challenge.

A recent study following elementary students' learning with iPad augmented reality software finds some encouraging evidence of the effectiveness of this learning approach. In the study, students carried their iPads to a local pond to learn about aquatic plants. The software guided them through the scientific inquiry cycle of ask, investigate, hypothesize, discuss, and reflect. Students accessed relevant information at the location and shared their thoughts and discussed them on the platform's online forum.

Compared to control group students who learned the same content on their iPads in the classroom without the augmented reality component, students who used the augmented reality software showed new learning patterns. These patterns included more knowledge construction activities in the hypothesis and discussion phases and a more rigorous analysis and examination of their conclusions. Furthermore, students from the augmented reality group had fewer off topic conversations.

Augmented reality technology has been increasingly popular in various learning spaces. This study combined technology and novel, onsite learning activities. The role of augmented reality in this type of learning has yet to be fully explored, but it has the potential to merge the virtual and real into one seamless learning context.

Chiang, T. H. C., Yang, S. J. H., & Hwang, G.J. (2014). Students’ online interactive patterns in augmented reality-based inquiry activities. Computers & Education, 78, 97-108.

Image: by Bureau of Land Management via Flickr
|By: Ching-Fu Lan|686 Reads