Augmented reality breakthrough in education

In the modern era of digital technologies with an escalating role of virtual reality in the recent years, augmented reality is step-by-step conquering its place among the latest developments. While nowadays AR can be traced in such smartphone applications as Pokemon Go or Ingress and AR-glasses design attempts including Microsoft Hololens, Google Glass or FB Oculus Rift, its subsequent application is expected to be vast and commonplace, and integrate into such areas of life as education, architecture, building construction and even medicine.

One undeniable fact of AR growing popularity is success of Pokemon Go Game which was launched in July 2016 and quickly became a global phenomenon that reached the milestone of over 500 million downloads worldwide and brought round 10mln dollars of daily profit to its owners in its peak performance. It was credited with popularizing augmented reality technology and promotion of physical activity in the age of technology-addicted generation.

In a nutshell, AR is a technology that layers computer-generated components on the top of existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. Digital and real-life components enhance each other but can be easily told apart, and unlike virtual reality, AR doesn’t create vulnerability of bumping into the objects around or sitting blind in front of the screen. Just imagine having a history class with dinosaurs walking in the same room or you witnessing fighting shoulder-to-shoulder warriors on the battlefield!

To justify increasing attention to AR in such spheres of our lives as entertainment and education, all needed is to surf the internet and find a dozen of extraordinary educational AR applications and websites. Most enable students and teachers visualize 3D models in the real environment, in real time, and at scale while changing the way we see, imagine, and learn about the world around us. These applications help students study chemistry, biology or math from the whole new perspective while adding fun and ‘a touch of reality’ to classes.

Another remarkable case of already successfully implemented AR is an educational project released by IBM and the NY Times which allows you visit 150 locations around the US and discover AR statues of leaders in science and technology. By scanning a QR code you’ll get a 360-degrees image of the statue which offers a short biography, audio and video content. The name of the app is ‘Outthink hidden’, and it was inspired by Hidden Figures movie, another project of the NY Times, already claimed to be an AR pioneer in journalism.

While gamification of history education is becoming a new trend in US, Accellabs Development team did its best to launch The HMS Caroline Augmented Reality App which became a part of the new blockbuster exhibition '36 Hours, Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War' at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in UK. The application allows visitors to view a 3D digital model of HMS Caroline using the dedicated trigger image and read its history, as well as the history of the museum and its forthcoming happenings. You can read more about the project here:

To sum up, while there is still a certain concern about possible unintended consequences of using AR technology in the nearest future, we believe Alex Fleetwood, a designer of AR board game called Beasts of Balance, to be right speaking about huge benefits it might bring in case used wisely and with empathy, including the fields of science and education.