The Co-autohor of this article is Costanza Casullo, Music teacher at ICS International School in Milan (Italy), and tech-savvy educator in the making aspiring to become a 21st century teaching and learning evangelist.
“There’s an elephant in my room!” is overheard by a mother of a 1st-grade student who is taking an online class. To create an engaging learning environment, the teacher is using Augmented Reality to remote-teach about animals through hands-on experience.
According to Mealy (2018), augmented reality is a way of viewing the real world (either directly or via a device such as a camera creating a visual of the real world) and “augmenting” that real world visual with computer-generated input such as still graphics, audio, or videos.
Evolving STEM learning process during remote lessons
COVID-19 pushed the global educational industry into a new digital era! Many educators were forced to search for and embrace EdTech that can improve students’ distance learning experiences and keep them engaged during remote classes. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the technologies that gained tremendous popularity at K-12 due to its ability to provide an interactive and immersive learning environment to learn STEM subjects for students of all ages, keep them focused and encourage in-depth learning. AR allows for an image or video to be placed in the real-world when utilizing compatible devices.
The global augmented, and virtual reality (AR/VR) in education market size is projected to grow to EUR 17.3 billion by 2023 (source: https://bit.ly/3hktTrN). North America, followed by Europe, has the highest market share in the AR/VR in education. Combined, they together create around 67.2% of the global market segment. It’s forecast that this visual 3D technology will change the way digitally native students learn in the classroom and beyond, preparing them for the future workforce.
In 2019, Forbes mentioned that AR is one of the top five digital transformation trends that will change the educational landscape in the next decade that can help to get K-12 students interested in the process of learning through seeing, hearing, and touching the knowledge. While appealing to the emotional context and creating the “wow” effect with emerging technology, there is a stronger possibility that this piece of learning will be memorized for a longer period.
How leveraging on Augmented Reality to transform STEM Education
AR gives the teachers an alternative tool to teach complex STEM topics and concepts in a simplified way and to explore the subjects in different settings and scenarios that would not otherwise be possible. These outcomes, therefore, enhance the students’ academic performance and the learning experience.
One of the examples of widely used AR educational resources is Augmented Classroom by CleverBooks. It is the first SaaS platform that provides multi-user interactivity in real-time for collaborative and co-creative projects regardless of geographical location. The main objective of the AR solution is to enhance the development of resources for digital education, empower personalized learning, reinforce inclusive education, help 21-century skills development, and facilitating remote and mobile learning in every classroom.
Darya Yegorina, CEO of CleverBooks in her TEDx Talk in 2019 pointed out that: “Every child has a right to succeed in their future career. As well as the right to have access to the most innovative 21st century pedagogical practices”.
AR technology earned a solid place in education in the recent decade and due to the hard times of remote learning, thousands of educators around the world were able to benefit support student’s learning through the application of this engaging EdTech tool. Furthermore, creating an environment where educators are empowered to embrace the 21st-century teaching practices helping students to develop skills necessary for the unknown future workforce.
It is therefore clear that the value of tools such as Cleverbooks goes beyond the product itself, being part of a bigger context which encompasses innovative pedagogical methods that are in line with current market trends. As well as improving students’ performance and engagement through increased interactivity, being exposed to AR technologies in and outside the classroom means that students are more likely to pursue a career in augmented reality in the future. In fact, whilst being an AR ‘consumer’ in school is an essential step to get started, the future holds numerous career opportunities for AR creators. These include jobs in creative advertising, video game design, as well as of course, education technology.
Having outlined the benefits that AR provides to students, the advantages that it provides educators with are also worth mentioning. Apps such as CleverBooks demystify the view of the mobile phone as a source of distraction, showing teachers that there is so much more to it than social media and addictive games.
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