Monday, 11 March 2013

A4: Augmented Reality: A marketing gimmick or a new way to engage learners?

Judy Bloxham
JISC North West Regional Support Centre, UK

The aims of this session are:
• To demonstrate some of the ways AR can be used in Learning and Teaching
• To consider the pedagogical imperatives for the use of AR
• To look at the evidence of the benefits of the use of AR from those who have begun using it as a tool for Learning and Teaching.
This presentation will look at the potential of harnessing AR (Augmented Reality) as a tool for learning. How it can be used to engage learners, and what learners, where it has been used, think of the technology. The benefits it can bring in both terms of teaching and learning, reaching a wider audience and the 'green' aspects of the technology.

AR In a Nutshell

Augmented Reality technology is now everywhere around us. You may not be aware of its presence but many learners probably are. From CD covers to film posters, magazine adverts to food items the technology is increasing in use. Companies like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Cadbury and even Saga are making use of the ability to add hidden content.
Augmented Reality (AR) offers the ability to augment printed material, places and objects with overlayed, digital information. This can be as simple as labels that direct you to the nearest tube station, to a video triggered from a poster or a 3D model of a new building in situ so you can envisage what it will look like. The content is triggered by a real world image or being in a specific location that the GPS in your smart device detects.

The Benefits of Using AR

Using AR technology it is possible to increase the information content of your print at little extra cost. This has an added bonus in that, unlike print, you can update the content easily, or run timed campaigns to increase interest.
• AR has many benefits including:
Creating material with a wider appeal as it makes use of emerging technology.
• Adding wider accessibility, as video can appeal to dyslexics, BSL can be incorporated and audio content for the visually impaired.
• It allows you to develop content for smartphones and tablet devices to fit in with the agenda of BYOD.
• It adds incentive to pick up that printed item as it has an extra reward to it. Can be added to older material to update it as no specific marker is required as a trigger just the image (again a greener option to new print runs, but there are copyright implications).
• Locks viewer into the task as no address bar is present.

So is this just another one of those slick marketing tools or are there ways we can harness its potential to engage learners?

If you have an Apple or Android device with an outward facing camera please bring it along to this session and try the technology for yourself. You will need to download the RSC Northwest app available free from both the iTunes and Google Play stores.

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