Augmented reality (AR) is a technique that enhances or adapts the real-world environment by blending interactive computer-generated digital information and interactivity, for example through text, audio, video and imagery within it.
This process may utilise wearable technologies, such as headsets or glasses (see for example the Microsoft HoloLens) or be a location based AR in which applications, commonly loaded on mobile devices, can show information and images when the device is at or close to a specified location. Examples include games and apps, which do not require a headset or glasses. Some of these games are global as locations and interactive digital overlays are not limited by geographical areas.
The project is interested in all types of mixing the real and virtual, through techniques such as overlaying interactive text, images, video, audio, 3D models or animations into representations of real-world environments. This includes 360 images, mobile apps, simulations or educational games that can potentially provide opportunities for creative learning information or fact finding.
The aim is to investigate the existing use and pedagogic potential of the different pedagogic approaches to AR in educational environments. As a part of this investigation, it will assess tools, techniques and report on the training and support needed for staff and students, as well as the technologies (hardware and software) required by developers and users.
A key part of the research is to engage with academic staff in order to ascertain which specific areas of the DMU curriculum already, or could, benefit from this type of resource, and to evaluate the pedagogic benefits of these technologies.
The Augmented Reality project will scope current and innovative methods, tools, techniques and skills required for augmented reality (AR) implementation and identify potential use of AR at DMU.
The initial part of the project involves desk-based scoping of AR pedagogical usage and potential in education environments, particularly in higher education.
Examples and case studies from the literature, including themes around inclusivity and current engagement in practice will be collated.
The tools and techniques from small to larger scale delivery, as well as implications for pedagogy and AR approaches for teaching will be mapped and evaluated.
Outcomes of the project will include a detailed literature review, a report on potential resource requirements and evaluation of the most appropriate tools and methods for development. This will also include academic staff and departments at DMU who have expressed an interest in engaging with AR development for going forward in their teaching.
Heather Conboy and Danielle Shalet