Augmented Reality in education: the solution to one of humanity’s most important problems.

credit: https://dribbble.com/shots/4498958-Virtual-Reality

We are the most intellectually advanced species of all time. We are inventing new revolutionary technologies, saving millions of lives with medical breakthroughs and more on a seemingly daily basis. This is hugely in part to our unwavering commitment to providing high quality education around the world. For the first time in history, there are more people in schools than out of them. This has resulted in brilliant strides for development over the past couple of decades.

Don’t get me wrong, the privilege to education is a remarkable thing, but it’s extremely inefficient. Instead of being optimized for the challenges that children will face in 2030, it’s being optimized for the challenges children faced in the 1900s. The world is changing so fast that this overlooked fatal flaw in the system is resulting in the majority of information taught to become obsolete.

This is a huge problem, but fortunately, there’s a solution. In order to prepare students for the future — rather than the past — we need to change our style of teaching from cramming loads of useless information into our children’s heads, to allowing them to interact with fewer, more important concepts and topics of information. Instead of teaching children to become a google search or calculator, we need to teach children meaningful skills such as asking thoughtful questions, fostering curiosity and nurturing creativity.

As humans, our brains naturally learn information through interacting with the 3D world around it. That’s why forcing students to learn both complex and useless concepts on paper is futile. The system does a fantastic job of teaching students that short-term memory is more important than actual comprehension through the medium of tests. If the principal purpose of school is to get a job, why are class rooms designed like the way they are — completely unreflective of actual workplace environments? Theoretical knowledge is not enough to obtain proper skills in professional areas. Students shouldn’t be mere listeners and passive observers.

This is where AR comes in. While Augmented Reality’s more famous counterpart — Virtual Reality — transports you to a completely new simulated world, Augmented Reality aims at enhancing your perception of reality by overlaying digital information onto the real world. Augmented reality bridges the gap between what is digital and what is real. Virtual objects create another level of interaction with a user that cannot be achieved by normal physical objects alone. It connect and overlay digital information from a user’s environment, enhancing one’s visualisation of their ecosystem. The emerging tech is being pioneered by big tech giants all over the globe including Google, Microsoft, Apple and more.

Using augmented reality in the classroom can turn an ordinary class into an engaging experience. AR technology provides virtual examples and adds gaming elements to support textbook materials. As a result, students interact and learn material as opposed to just memorizing it. The implementation of AR in the classroom would allow students to attain peak learning performance, student engagement and motivation by capitalizing on more opportunities for safe, hands-on experiences.

Solar System app by Arnav Shah

The image above is a scene from an AR app teaching students about the Solar System. Despite the fact that 89% of students have reported that they’ve felt curious about space exploration in their lifetime, learning about it using traditional teaching methods just isn’t feasible because of the complexity of topics such as physics and astronomy. This being said, when comparing information retention data between traditional textbook learning methods and the Augmented Reality learning method above, those who used the latter scored 35% higher.

That was just a simple example of an AR education application. If one singular 13 year old AR developer with no design or teaching experience can produce those results, I can’t even begin to imagine the possibilities and the opportunity that lies within AR.

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