Earlier this summer I co-developed and co-led a seminar at the University of Minnesota with Dr. Arthur Harkins about augmented reality and the future of classroom-based education. My presentation is here: “Learning in augmented reality”. Augmented reality is the capability of overlaying data on realtime experiences of our surroundings. There are a couple of videos that demonstrate the concept in the presentation. Augmented reality is a fascinating technology that is rapidly gaining momentum, especially with the proliferation of networked location-aware smartphones like the iPhone and Android phones.
There are two things that I focus on in this presentation. The first is that when we start talking about reality in relation to learning, it raises questions about the nature of reality, whose reality it is, and how an individual relates to any given reality. The second is that learning affects our personal reality, i.e. reality, as a description of our relationship to our surroundings (what I’ve referred to as our “functional reality”), reflects things that we have learned and how we have learned them. So, while augmented reality technology has obvious potential in terms of providing enhanced resources for learning, encouraging learners to use the technology to collaboratively create augmented realities is likely to have far more potential benefit since it allows them to interactively extend and take ownership of their reality (i.e. extending their functional reality) through direct experience.
I have another post that I’m working on (the follow-up article has been posted here) where I’ll go a little deeper into considerations about multiple realities, technology and learning (the part I refer to as “learning as ‘realizing'” in the presentation). That should be up in the next couple of days.