Over the past five months we have all had to learn how to balance our lives around the pandemic in order to maintain a certain level of normalcy. People need to work, children need to keep learning, and life must go on. However, dealing with the complexities of distance learning as schools return remotely, or via a hybrid model this fall, has not been an easy task.
Part of adjusting to this challenge has been adopting digital tools that aid distance learning. We’ve all become a lot more acquainted with Zoom and Google Hangouts. That said, these tools are limited in tackling the serious hurdles that distance learning presents. A recent survey from Educationdata.org found that 81% of educators are worried about maintaining student engagement during remote learning, making it the largest concern across the board.
Many of us have a hard time paying attention during a lengthy lecture or presentation, even more so if it is online. The Edgar Dale Cone of Experience teaches us that students only retain 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see, however, that retention rate jumps to 90% when the information is experienced. For that reason, academia constantly utilizes active learning techniques like science experiments, field trips, crafts, or other activities to promote experiences.
All of those hands-on experiences have been put on hold for the time being. No beakers or flasks in the science lab, no molecules made of marshmallows and toothpicks, no 3D skeletons, and no visits to the local museum. Educational experiences appear to have been put on hold, right? Wrong. Augmented Reality is the answer.
AR-based learning is changing the way students receive and retain information
Augmented Reality is the future of learning. By pairing educational AR models with the teaching curriculum students receive an immersive learning experience far superior to the common visual aids used. Many children are visual learners and a 3D/AR model of the Solar System or a human DNA strand is far more interactive and engaging than a picture in a textbook or a slideshow on a screen. In fact, research has shown the benefits of immersive technology are extensive – such as increased engagement levels and improved long-term memory retention.
When it comes to distance learning, children rarely have the same access to valuable resources that you might find in a physical classroom at school. AR can mitigate this by democratizing access to more effective visual learning content from any location – effectively bringing the classroom to the student.
Educational AR content is now easy to access with completely online platforms that don’t require goggles, headsets, software or any additional hardware besides a phone or tablet. This makes the use of AR extremely simple and convenient. For example, teachers can easily embed QR codes into their teaching materials, which students can scan with their smartphone or tablets, and instantly bring the model to life.
Teachers might also consider taking students on virtual field trips. Imagine a student having the chance to tour the Egyptian pyramids, visit the Lincoln Memorial, or walk through a field of the Terracotta Warriors – all from the comfort of their homes. Students can even take a journey to outer space or visit a selection of the UNESCO world heritage sites! At Seek Education we have developed and compiled a variety of pre-made Virtual Field Trips that can be seamlessly integrated into any curriculum. With AR, there are countless ways to inspire students and help them gain more from their learning experience.
With only one in seven parents stating their children will be returning to school full time this fall, remote learning is here to stay and students need every advantage they can get. The intersection between AR and education is an obvious and endless road of possibilities. Technology is finally reaching a point where content is more accessible than ever before, and every student deserves to benefit from it.
By Parker McDonough, Head of Seek Education
Seek Education, is an online platform and supplemental teaching resource designed to encourage interactive learning through augmented reality.