Augmented Reality in Education – Extending Beyond Imagination

Children’s gaming applications based on augmented reality (AR) technology are about to change the rules of the game for education and learning

Educating our children is the most powerful investment in our future. As adults we strive to give our children the best possible tools for growing up. As children are open minded and perceptive to new technologies, it is only natural to utilize advanced technologies for their education, creating new opportunities for technology-based educational tools. Children’s attraction to technology can be harnessed to get their attention to new educational tools that will offer them new learning experiences. Using technology in a fun and easy atmosphere is certain to overcome the shortcomings of traditional learning systems, enhance our children’s knowledge and spring them into new and exciting horizons.

Introducing augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a new and exciting technology that enhances our perception of reality by combining real and virtual worlds. The technology augments real-world images such as photos or videos by superimposing extra layers of digital (computer-generated) information. 

Augmented reality enables us to look at something through a device that displays additional digital information creating a rich informational and intellectual experience. Recently, augmented reality technology is gaining a lot of attention for use in many applications for gaming, education, healthcare and more.

How can education benefit from augmented reality?

Harnessing the power of augmented reality for education and learning provides a multi-sensory experience for children that can excite their imagination and provide a better understanding of the world around them through a combination of creative thinking and fun playing.

With augmented reality, imagination and reality come together as one. Books can come alive and surround us with a magnificent three-dimensional (3D) universe, creating new and exciting possibilities for learning, playing and working.

It is a sad fact of our times, that children are less interested in books and prefer to spend their time playing computer games or networking with heir friends over Facebook or WhatsApp. The formal education system is desperately trying to encourage children to read traditional books, but it seems that the battle is long lost. Children perceive books as outdated and prefer to zip through book summaries online or watch the movie. That is when they are not playing computer games.

Augmented reality bridges the gap by transforming old-fashioned books into new and attractive experience. Augmented reality is making a difference by changing the definition of “reading” and bringing it back into the hearts and minds of children.

Using an augmented reality-based gaming app installed on a smartphone or a tablet, and simply looking at a book through the built-in camera, still pictures on the book’s pages turn into live animations and literally jump out of the page into real life.

Imagine Harry Potter or Mickey Mouse jumping out of the book and casually wondering around your child’s room when you read him or her the usual bed time story. Imagine story text coming out of the book and floating around in the air in front of your child’s astonishing eyes.

With augmented reality, children can find a new and fascinating meaning to reading, transforming it into an exciting interactive experience that brings reading back to their realm of interest, and all of this while playing games and having fun.

Augmented reality is gaining a growing attention as an academic educational tool, giving students the ability to take on and easily comprehend large amounts of complex information. For example, students of architecture can view an accurate 3D model of a structure right in front of their eyes while reading a text book. Any abstract object can be realized as if it is physically present. Any real object can be augmented with additional textual informative facts around it, by combing both the real and the virtual worlds on top of each other.

Another fascinating implementation of augmented reality is transforming simple printed materials that children like into fun virtual educational games. Board games, coloring books, clothes and other branded accessories that children happily consume can be transformed into a unique interactive learning experience. Standard memory game card stacks can be transformed into educational augmented reality games that children can happily play repeatedly and get educated while having fun. This way, augmented reality can be used to create attractive learning games for teaching arithmetic, languages, sciences and what not, all while having fun and developing their imagination and creative thinking.

BIM’s augmented reality educational games

An interesting example being developed by BIM is using the popular game character of Lara as an educational tool. BIM has developed unique children’s coloring books based around Lara’s personality acting as a virtual guide and mentor. These are no longer the standard still coloring books but a highly educational tool in which the mentor is guiding the child as to which colors to use and giving feedback as to the child’s choice and recommending next moves. This way the child learns about the various colors in a fun and enriching manner, observing a fun familiar character. The child is immersed in a fascinating world combining the real and the imaginary. For the child, learning doesn’t get more exciting than that.

Looking into the future

In summary, augmented reality-based applications transform the traditional learning process into a modern interactive experience, which makes learning easier and more memorable thanks to the unique blend of reality, imagination and fun. BIM’s augmented reality-based learning games are about to make a real difference in education by re-inventing the way the world is learning.