The New Media Consortium (NMC, 2012) in conjunction with Educause identifies new technologies on the educational horizon and predicts how long it will take until a technology is accepted. Augmented reality is one such technology that the NMC predicted would take two to three years to see in the educational setting (p. 5). Augmented Reality is defined by the NMC as “the layering of information over a view or representation of the normal world, offering users the ability to access place-based information in ways that are compellingly intuitive,” (p. 5). In 1999, Azuma stated “Within another 25 years, we should be able to wear a pair of AR glasses outdoors to see and interact with photorealistic dinosaurs eating a tree in our backyard,” (p. 35). In a shorter timeframe, this technology is now available using our smartphones and without the use of AR glasses. Amazon showed 1507 books available about augmented reality, and a search on Google showed 23,200,000 links. Augmented reality, while not integrated into the educational scene, may be poised to soon hit critical mass (Rogers, 2003). This presentation focuses on augmented reality and its potential impact on education.
The need for this type of technology was driven by the desire to learn and train without subjecting the learner to harmful events or destructive factors (Mashable, Inc., 2013). Martin Heilig patented his Sensorium Stimulator in 1962, and he is considered the founder of augmented reality (Mashable, Inc., 2013). The next step toward augmented reality occurred when “computer scientist and Harvard associate professor Ivan Sutherland, along with his student Bob Sproull, invented ‘The Sword of Damocles,’" (para. 6). For more detail, refer to the augmented reality timeline.
In 1997, Azuma analyzed augmented reality as a technology and discussed the uses of augmented reality for various applications, such as in airplanes, medical field, research, and entertainment. He detailed his reason for the complexity and time it would take for its implementation as “The biggest single obstacle to building effective Augmented Reality systems is the requirement of accurate, long-range sensors and trackers that report the locations of the user and the surrounding objects in the environment. For details of tracking technologies, see the surveys in [Ferrin91] [Meyer92] and Chapter 5 of [Durlach95],” (p. 29). Azuma’s prediction became invalid with the invention and release of the smartphone in 1992 by IBM (Answers Corporation, 2013). In 2000, Hirokazu Kato developed the ARToolKit, which used virtual graphics and real settings, and combined it with tracking to overlay on a video camera. This innovation allowed for various product developments, such as books and “handheld augmented reality,” (ARToolKit, n.d.)
Because of its integrated camera and computer, augmented reality now had a medium it could use to produce an interactive environment. Yet, without the Quick Response Code (QRC), augmented reality was still a few years away. With the release of the QRC, more information could be encoded into the symbol, and with the appropriate application, could read and direct the user to additional information (Mobile-Barcodes.com, n. d.). The QRC code can “connect to a web address, download a MP3, dial a telephone number, and prompt your email client with a sender address. Recently, sound has been embedded into QRCs so that a podcast, song, or voice message could be embedded right into the QRC. In addition, the ubiquitous symbol is seen in magazines, busses and business cards, and can now being printed on T-shirts.
In addition to the use of QRCs, software games, Google’s goggles, and textbooks are now incorporating augmented reality. The Japanese publishing company Tokoy Shoeski is creating textbooks that support AR apps on smartphones, and use lifelike characters for students to learn language skills from (CBS Interactive, 2013)
Businesses have already started using augmented reality “for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information” (NMC, 2012, p. 5). Augmented reality can enhance the learning experience through user interaction; it gives users a way to interact with objects they would not normally interact with because of location or size (NMC, 2012, p. 5). As Dede (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008) suggested businesses have been able to adopt some technologies with success where education has not. Since business has already adopted augmented reality, introducing it into the classroom may be easier because some barriers will have already been removed.
Augmented reality can be seen in the use of Quick Response Codes (QRCs), has also been incorporated into children’s books and textbooks, and can easily be used on a smartphone or iPad. For example, the Japanese have developed a smartphone augmented-reality resource for learning English. As Thornburg (2008) stated, an understanding of history may give us insight into technologies that will change the way we interact with the world. Augmented reality may be able to do that by bring experiences to the learner on a smartphone or iPad as a mobile app. Its potential to change how we interact with objects may change our perceptions of the world by giving access to objects through etextbooks. Augmented reality brings these elements together to create a new way to learn, interact, and think. According to Yuen et al. (2011), “In addition to the 2D and 3D objects which many may expect, digital assets such as audio and video files, textual information, and even olfactory or tactile information can be incorporated into users' perceptions of the real world” (p. 119).
Rather than select smartphone apps or etextbooks, augmented reality uses them to enhance learning, so studying the diffusion of augmented reality encompasses the technologies that are of interest by combining the real world with an augmented one that changes our two dimensional experience into three dimensions, plus smell and feel. Yuen et al. (2011) stated that the idea of augmented reality has been around for a long time exposed to us through science fiction (p. 119), but now made a reality through “Flashbased AR detection algorithms and mobile platforms” (p. 120). Its innovation is now available, especially on the business level, which opens communication channels since business and marketing have less problem implementing new innovations than educators do (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008). Business also does not have to be as concerned with social systems, so as augmented reality becomes more main stream through marketing and business enterprises, the forces educators usually have to deal with will be removed. The NMC stated that time of implementation for educators would be two to three years (2012). Because of the millennials, augmented reality will be adopted easily, especially because it can enhance our understanding through multisensory learning.
This timeline shows the historical overview of augmented reality. Note that in 2013 there was an augmented reality convention. This convention gave recognition and represents acceptance of augmented reality and its growth. In addition, it will help augmented reality achieve critical mass as it become more mainstream.
The Board of Education’s opportunity is to assume the role of change agents stated by Rogers (2003), who ascribed it as part of the centralized system, which influences from the top down or from “expert to user,” (p401).
As the change agent the Board of Directors can introduce the role of augmented reality, provide access to websites and applications, and provide teachers with the necessary tools to incorporate augmented reality into the class and the area of study. As teachers find these tools useful, they will find more innovative ways to adopt the material. The future of augmented reality in education is rushing to the critical mass and this Board of Directors and the educators will play an important role in augmented reality reaching critical mass.
Where will this all lead?
A new filed has recently opened, called educational neuroscience. I believe that augmented reality will play a big part in how people learn in the future. Here is where educational neuroscience becomes important. It will define a process for learning that is totally new and where information will be sent down neuropathways by neurotransmitters to the part of the brain that stores knowledge long term. We will no longer need to memorize or read information and where reading a book will be really old school.
Answers. (2013). When was the first smartphone created? Retrieved from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_were_smartphones_created---first
ARToolKit, n.d. Projects. Retrieved from http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/projects/
CBS Interactive. (2013). Education with Augmented Reality: AR textbooks released in Japan (video). Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/blog/asia/education-with-augmented-reality-ar-textbooks-released-in-japan-video/1541
Cable Network News. (2013). Google unveils 'Project Glass' virtual-reality glasses. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/04/technology/google-project-glass/index.htm
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Diffusion and Integration of Technology in Education. Baltimore: Author.
Mashable, Inc. (2013). Where did augmented reality come from?
Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/09/24/augmented-reality/
Mobile-Barcodes.com. (n. d.). About QR codes.
Retrieved from http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/about-qr-codes/
New Media Consortium. (2012). NMC horizon project short list. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.
Toffel, K. (2013). AT&T’s Pantech Discover smartphone: Hot hardware for a cool $49
Retrieved from http://.com/2013/01/07/atts-pantech-discover-smartphone-hot-hardware-for-a-cool-49/
Yuen, S., Yaoyuneyong, G., and Johnson, E. (2011). Augmented reality: An overview and five directions for AR in education. Journal of educational technology and exchange, 4(1), pp. 119-140