Augmented Reality Technology
Types of AR include:
- Marker based (a particular image causes multimedia resources to be layered across it)
- Object based (an object caused mutlimedia resources to be layered across it)
- Location based (geolocation on a mobile device causes AR to appear, complete with pre-specified orientation and play settings)
The types of multimedia that can be incorporated include images (which could be text) and video. Audio can also be embedded, for instance by utilising a transparent video.
Perfectly Situated Scaffolding
Augmented Reality provides educators with previously impossible opportunities for embedding perfectly situated scaffolding into learning episodes. The ability to not only place instructional support exactly where it is required but to also layer that support across those real-world resources so that they appear as though they are really there means that the sort of scaffolding we provide need no longer be degraded by temporal or spatial disconnection (i.e. perfect contiguity).
Ways in which Augmented Reality can support different types of thinking
Anderson & Krathwohl’s (2001) revised Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a framework for considering different types of knowledge and cognitive processes involved in learning. This posits the question – how might AR might be used to support different types of knowledge and different cognitive processes related to items in our everyday world. Some possibilities are provided in Table 1 below.
Table 1 – Ways in which AR can be used to scaffold learning
|Factual||Name written alongside item using AR||Explanation written alongside item using AR||Short written response relating to item based on AR descriptions||Interrogation of written labelling associated with item||Judgement of quality of written text associated with item||Create written descriptions to associate with items|
|Conceptual||Simple image/icon provided alongside item using AR||Explanatory illustration provided alongside item using AR||Illustration drawn relating to item based on AR descriptions||Interrogation of illustration associated with item||Judgement of quality of illustration associated with item||Create illustrations to associate with item|
|Procedural||Simple video provided alongside item using AR||Explanatory video provided alongside item using AR||Processes completed relating to item based on AR descriptions||Interrogation of video provided alongside item||Judgement of quality of video associated with item||Create videos to associate with items|
* Note that the metacognitive knowledge type has been omitted from the table as this may be represented either as factual, conceptual or procedural knowledge.
Table 1 can be utilised in the learning process in one of two ways. Firstly, it can be used in a more traditional teaching sense where students are provided with the scaffolding that the teacher has integrated into the learning experience using AR. The second, potentially more powerful approach is to have students as producers of AR in order to demonstrate their disciplinary understanding.
A brave new world is upon us where educational service providers (and advertisers) will be competing to provide the most desirable AR layers for our world. Hopefully this will be a layer governed by principles of open access and student and teacher control rather than being entirely dominated by corporate enterprise.
Research Project Idea
We can map out the above strategies for using AR in the curriculum (to visual arts students curating a sculpture park, science students studying ecological systems, etc) and then evaluate how much each component contributed to the learning process (based on student, teacher and researcher perceptions) using post-survey instruments as well as open ended responses to group interviews. As well, pragmatic issues and potentials can be discussed with relation to providing this sort of AR-based situated scaffolding.