As a teacher, I routinely hear students commenting on their lack of interest in their classes or the content being taught.  Students are unconcerned about learning, waste time, fall asleep in class or enjoy taking part in the non-academic aspects of school.  School has become a place that many students see more as a place for socializing than a place for learning.

So, why are so many students bored in school?  Basically, boredom in classrooms is the perception by many students that school learning is worthless or not associated with their goals and interests in their lives.  Every student wants to be the next big YouTuber or pro athlete.  Therefore, they don’t understand why they are sitting in classrooms completing worksheets.

The bigger question is why are they sitting in classrooms still completing worksheets when there are so many ways to incorporate real-world projects and technology into their classrooms.  This would give meaning to what they are learning.  Because students are immersed in a world full of technology, they need to see that world carry over into their learning in order to find it meaningful and relevant.

Kid Sleeping In Class

What is AR and why is it beneficial for students?

According to Credencys, Augmented Reality (AR) makes use of computer-aided graphics to add an additional layer of information in order to have a clear understanding and interaction of the physical world around you. Simply, AR is represented through rich digital information, displayed through some sort of visual output screen.  If a picture is worth a thousand words then AR is worth a million.  Augmented Reality  allows students to visualize the subject or content, rather than reading a chapter.   This will allow students to get a better understanding and insights about the topic, while seeing the relevance of content in their life.

eLearning Industry states that one of the most significant benefits of Augmented Reality in Learning and Development is that it does not require any investment regarding hardware. We can experience Augmented Reality using our smartphones or tablets by simply using an app to see a 2D image turn into a 3D animation.

Kia's Clan Mars VR in the classroom
Kia's Clan Smartcity AR in the classroom

What is VR and why is it beneficial in the classroom?

Contrary to AR, Virtual Reality (VR) exists in an entirely artificial environment. VR requires the establishment of an environment with the animation being built around it.  Although VR gives the feeling of a more realistic environment than AR, it requires a dedicated VR device, like headsets, to run any application.

Kia's Clan AR and VR in the classroom

Sylvia Duckworth, sketchnoter extraordinaire, put together a graphic of ideas from Maria Galanis and Andrea Trudeau on Top 10 Reasons To Use Virtual Reality In The Classroom to help bring the world (and beyond) to your students with technology.

Top 10 Reasons To Use Virtual Reality In The Classroom

Why should educators use AR and VR in the classroom?

So why should we use AR and VR in the classroom?  Augmented Reality has already entered the designing world. Augmented Reality is used in designing cars, buildings, creating 3D images, etc. As stated by Viar360, businesses are using VR to recruit and screen employees, to train staff, for video interviews, and to connect with consumers in real time.  This means that our students need to be using this technology if we plan to actually prepare them for college and careers.

Doctors use VR in the classroom and in real life
VR in Design classrooms
AR used in Design

What are students saying about AR and VR in the classroom?

I asked some of my students what they thought was most beneficial of using AR and VR in the classroom.  One of them responded, “it allows us to immerse ourselves in what we are studying in a way that allows us to gain a deeper understanding.  For example, I can’t go inside the mechanics of a clock or a rocket in real life but I can by using VR.”  Another commented, “I can hear how big a dinosaur is compared to a human but with this technology, I can truly understand and see the size in what feels like a real-life experience.  I could never really do this but with AR and VR I can.”

How can teachers use AR and VR to supplement or replace field trips in the classroom?

In a time where field trips aren’t possible, AR and VR are opening doors that would otherwise not be possible.  In addition,  AR and VR offers a level of learning that was never possible before.  For example, students can’t actually go to the seafloor to experience it  or go inside of a clock, but with AR and VR this is possible.  According to EdTech, K–12 schools should be a place for all students to have a rich, educational experience. Now, with the implementation of augmented reality and virtual reality these experiences are possible.

The “How To’s” of AR and VR in the classroom.

Teachers are the best resource for creative ideas to incorporate these immersive technologies into their classrooms.  They can answer questions such as how to select activities, how to set up the classroom, how to get support during the activity and how to transport devices. Check out their lesson ideas in this article from The Journal, titled Making Virtual Reality a Reality in Today’s Classrooms.

Coding is a skill that often goes hand in hand with AR and VR projects. The idea of teaching coding in school has generated unprecedented interest around the globe, with studies indicating that it is critically important, both educationally and socially, for students to learn how to code or program starting as early as Kindergarten.  As stated in our article titled 5 Reasons To Teach Coding Skills to Young Learners, we note that coding helps students in our technology-based society to move from the role of ‘consumer’ to that of a ‘creator.’

Experiences with AR and VR in the classroom.

My personal experience with AR and VR in the classroom has been both positive and negative.  I jumped into AR and VR years ago.  I experienced some of the first educational items that promised but didn’t deliver or were not really practical for the classroom. More recently, my favorite products are Kai’s Clan’s robots.

Kai’s Clan is a platform where the physical and the virtual worlds merge to become an interactive learning playground, with the goal to nurture an interest for coding in children. Students code their robots to navigate the mat in real-time, wherever they are in the world. Through designing their own robot avatars and environments a fusion of the real world and virtual world come to life. Kai’s Clan breaks the traditional geographical barriers to bring kids from around the world together and allow them to solve challenges in exciting new ways. Through design, coding and collaboration students can see their code come to life in augmented and virtual reality. You may be sitting in a Mars Rover driving around Mars, or in a Forklift in a Warehouse, or in a helicopter flying over a busy metropolis. You can interact with all the other robots and objects in your environment in a true multiplayer gaming experience.

Kia's Clan Smartcity AR in the classroom
Kia's Clan in the Classroom
Kia Robot

A program that pairs well with Kai’s Clan, and one I use often in my class, is FUNecoleDigipro, the parent company of FUNecole, and Kai’s Clan have worked together to develop dedicated lesson plans and materials that can be incorporated into FUNecole® platform. These projects have been developed specifically to be taught using Kai’s Clan’s hardware and programming environment.  Be sure to check out these products and more referenced on our products page, to see what we use in our classrooms.

Stated best by Promethean World, “From taking a walk through the worlds galleries and museums to launching students into space, or even a class trip to see the dinosaurs, it’s both educational and fun and has the ability to capture the attention of the digital generation across all disciplines.”  Teaches can truly help their students broaden their horizons and experience the world around them with the use of AR and VR technology.

I hope this article helped you to better understand what augmented reality and virtual reality are.  In addition, I hope it encourages you to utilize them in your classroom.  I would love to hear from you about how you are using them or plan to use them.  Be sure to share in the comments below.

Immerse your students in an alternate universe and real with augmented and virtual reality teaching!