Augmented Reality will change education

March 27th, 2015 by in Opinion

After Google pulled Glass a while ago and the hype about it was over, it became quiet when it comes to augmented and virtual reality for a short while. With more funding for MagicLeap, buzz around Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s launch of HoloLens until the end of the year, accompanied by Bill Gates’ comments on the future of the company around augmented reality, the topic is hot again. And – as it seems – a new quality has been reached.

By the year 2020 wearables with augmented reality capabilities will have reached mass market. The advisory Digi-Capital predicts a $150 Billion market in the next five years. That seems to be not too far away, but just remember – the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, soon more than 2 billion people worldwide will have a smartphone. The iPad was introduced in 2010 and now you can find tablets everywhere, with a growing adaption in class rooms, too.

The amazing possibilities of augmented and virtual reality devices have been shown by a Blogpost, featuring a few patents by MagicLeap: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3041174/48-crazy-ui-ideas-coming-from-the-500-million-stealth-startup-magic-leap?curator=mediaredef
That goes far beyond the capabilites Google first promised when introducing Glass.

Use cases for education

At Microsofts recent developer event „Build“ a first glimpse on how the HoloLens could impact education was presented. See an article by Wired here: http://www.wired.com/2015/04/microsoft-build-hololens/ and video-coverage about HoloLens education uses-cases from the Build conference here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykpQjO_0tig

Publishers are far from driving innovation

A informed and balanced usage of tech, starting with intelligent usage of the capabilities smart phones and tablets have, could be a great opportunity for publishers – as they have proven to be experts in creating and curating content that gives a guideline for teachers and helps learners achieve their goals for decades. Yet, most of them fail to drive innovation by creating richer and more engaging content suitable for those devices. Experimentation with augmented reality is probably considered hogwash.

Just as paper-based materials can be created to foster collaboration or group work, it might be even easier to reach that with the help of digital devices. Scenarios that enable learners to continue learning outside the classroom could be created with augmented reality easily. A new way of blended-learning could be possible, where the “real world” blends with learning objectives.

APIs might pave the way

To draw upon the rich history and experience in content creation and curation publishers must adjust their workflows. Instead of thinking in terms of a product – which is most likely a page – that has to change into a more flexible form of content. Besides workflow, technical capabilities to publish the content must be given as well. In order to be able to deliver content in not yet known forms, I believe, contemporary and flexible APIs are the way to go. Then augmented reality can be a huge chance for publishers, learners and teachers alike – to reach new spheres in education.

"Augmented reality - heads up display concept" by Leonard Low from Australia - Concept for augmented reality mobile phone. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Augmented_reality_-_heads_up_display_concept.jpg#/media/File:Augmented_reality_-_heads_up_display_concept.jpg

Augmented reality – heads up display concept” by Leonard Low from Australia – Concept for augmented reality mobile phone. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Augmented_reality_-_heads_up_display_concept.jpg#/media/File:Augmented_reality_-_heads_up_display_concept.jpg

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