Meetup: Augmented Reality in Education

This week Venture Hunter Lucy dipped into Augmented Reality in Education. Take a look at her write up of the event.

Skip Basiel of Hult International Business School, an expert on digital learning, opened in true AR style: by interviewing himself with an avatar of himself.

Skip spoke of technologies that will shake up some current teaching paradigms. One I particularly liked was a virtual environment, everyone complete with avatars. Experts sat in a central circle, the students in an outer circle, also facing inwards. When a student had a question they would take the place of the expert and participate in the discussion whilst the expert viewed the conversation from the perspective of the audience.

First up to speak was Ogglebox — an AR production company that creates technologies to bring museums to life. The museum status quo as it stands is this: information pours from each and every artifact, and yet so little of it is captured and conveyed. Imagine a school trip to Bosworth Battle Field. You walk around an empty field kicking over stones, wondering what you have in your lunchbox. Then you don you’re smart glasses and skirt around until you spot a patch of slightly thicker, blue air. You concentrate on it, it intensifies, and suddenly a full scale battle breaks out on the field all around you!

This is happening. Ogglebox filmed a recreation battle with 3D cameras, jimmied a wrap around effect, and loaded it up into the glasses. Historical trips are going getting so much cooler.

Colin, freshly recruited to build out Blippar for Education talked next. Blippar aims to be the platform on which you search and create augmented reality. Google for the visual world. So far they have focused on commercial propositions (recipes appearing when you hover over Heinz, a song plays when it recognizes a Coke bottle). Big bucks indeed. Now they have swiveled their attention to education, and the handful of examples Colin gave us last night were enchanting.

As I find biology particularly enthralling I loved this application of AR in the classroom: a small sticker in the corner of a child’s desk acts as a trigger; when a phone or tablet hovers over it and a plant pot appears, chock full of soil. By correctly answering questions on photosynthesis, the child earns precious water that falls from the sky. The plant grows in real time, and over the course of a few weeks they have a fully grown sunflower propped on their desk, and an appreciation of how plants convert light energy to chemical energy.

If this writeup has whet your appetite about the possibilities for augmented reality in the classroom, you might be tempted to attend the following event in March. Meta, makers of a collaborative AR platform (www.getameta.com) are hosting a cocktail party and workshop for those interested in AR. It’s a great opportunity to get more info on their platform and their thoughts on the future of AR broadly. For a 10% discount, feel free to use the code ‘augmentingreality’ or this unique link.