What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR), a capability that has been around for decades, has shifted from what was once seen as a gimmick to a tool with tremendous potential. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning. While the most prevalent uses of augmented reality so far have been in the consumer sector (for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information), new uses seem to emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new applications become even easier to use. A key characteristic of augmented reality is its ability to respond to user input, which confers significant potential for learning and assessment; with it, learners can construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual objects that bring underlying data to life. Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a learner’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • While it still has some hurdles to overcome, I think AR tech is one of the most promising in conjunction with BYOD. - jaronowitz jaronowitz Oct 20, 2014
  • The technology seems to be getting cheaper and more widely available. Teachers are using this tech in their classrooms in Australia for a wide range of purposes. Here's a keynote from an educator from a conference I attended (hopefully link works - there's some good stuff in there!): http://prezi.com/cfsfmag1pxs1/augmented-reality-in-education/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy - lkelly lkelly Oct 27, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I am most excited about the AR's potential as described in the last few sentences of the above description, especially the ability to manipulate objects on a personal level. AR can be gimmicky but if the technology is used as a hook to draw the user in, a very special learning experience can be had. ( - ryand ryand Oct 28, 2014 ) Agreed- jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think the description does a great job of detailing an incredibly complex technology. If anything, I think discussing how AR will interact devices such as Google Glass or VR headsets such as Oculus Rift is missing. Both are coming and AR will be a huge component of their use. No longer will AR be limited to just phones and tablets. - jaronowitz jaronowitz Oct 20, 2014
  • One thing missing for me is acknowledgement that accessing AR currently often still requires the user to wear a somewhat clunky or intrusive device. Oculus Rift headsets, for example, are devices that physically separates the user from their real world surroundings. The innovation that we will wait to see is AR becoming more incorporated into wearable devices for an experience that is more seamlessly incorporated into the real world. [- ewallis ewallis Nov 2, 2014] +1 - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014 - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • As the tech matures, I see this as an unobtrusive way to add additional content and enhance the onsite experience. The various uses of application already in practice demonstrate a near limitless range of use for just about every learning environment. - jaronowitz jaronowitz Oct 20, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • students and teachers are using this technology now and may expect this in museums in future? A great way to augment and manipulate objects in interesting ways - lkelly lkelly Oct 27, 2014
  • There if you want to access it, as part of a lesson plan but invisible if you're looking for a more traditional experience. ( - ryand ryand Oct 28, 2014 )
  • I feel like there is real potential for museums, but it will need to get beyond the hardware hurdle to really be integrated, so the richest potential still seems like it's a little ways in the future. - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Working at an archaeological site, one of the major issues to overcome is recreating the structures which would have stood while maintaining the integrity of the site for future research. I've begun work on looking into AR as a solution by projecting 3D models of structures using a combination of geolocation, visual, and identified object based triggers. The results have been promising, and I think AR in conjunction with VR will be a great way of enhancing a visitor's onsite experience. - jaronowitz jaronowitz Oct 20, 2014 - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014
  • Schools in Oz are using it - they tend towards Aurasma (https://studio.aurasma.com/login) or LearnAR (http://www.learnar.org/) and making lessons themselves - lkelly lkelly Oct 27, 2014
  • We've used AR as part of our HistoryPin experiment. Historical photos of exhibits are overlaid through the HistoryPin app on your device. There's also our Ultimate Dinosaurs AR experience from 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhLMNGy_PX8 ( - ryand ryand Oct 28, 2014 )
  • There's an artist in San Francisco, Elliot Anderson, who did an AR project that was shown at the last Zero1 Biennial, about toxic waste sites in Silicon Valley. I think he is still working on it. I don't have a link.- weberj weberj Nov 3, 2014
Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project Sharing Form.