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Augmented Reality and Applications for Education – Part 2

by Kelly Walsh on October 17, 2012


A further look at how AR applications can be leveraged in education.

Guest post by James Roberts.

Though many would say that augmented reality is destined to play a role in the future of education, others would point out that it’s already here. Here is a lowdown on what Augmented Reality is and some ways it can be used in the classroom.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the combination of reality and virtual reality, and allows you to put 3D content and images into the real world. AR has many applications in various fields from military training to education.  Augmented reality provides a richer learning experience for the student, providing a extra element of visual/physical context that makes learning more interactive.

Following is a selection of free applications that utilize Augmented Reality that can enhance learning in a number of subject areas:

  • An great tool for making Astronomy more interesting and interactive is Google Sky Map for Android – with it, you simply point the camera on the stars on the smartphone, and Google Sky Map will attempt to identify them. Star Map is a similar app for the iPhone.
  • Wikitude can provide insights into geographical locations, features, buildings, and more, which can clearly play a role in Geography, but may also be relevant in Social Sciences, History and more.
  • For a better understanding of shapes (applicable in Geometry and other Mathematics subjects), Google Sketchup can be used by students and can be used to understand different shapes like a hexagon, sphere and oval. This tool also has applications for the Sciences and other disciplines.
  • Fetch! Lunch Rush is an augmented reality iPhone app that teaches younger students Mathematics by using real world scenarios as a visualization tool.
  • If you would like to create your own 3D popup book for educational use, you could look at Zooburst. Using nothing more than a webcam and a piece of paper you can create a 3D popup book that jumps out of the paper and into the real world. This has applications in many elementary grade level subject areas.
  • In Second Life, the avatar based virtual world, students can build vehicles, navigate geographies and buildings, develop knowledge in mechanics, as well as create virtual chemical reactions and see how different chemicals interact with each other. These abilities hold excellent potential for applications in a variety of Science subjects. (Second is a Virtual Reality tool, but these tools overlap with AR in many ways).

For more insights into developments in instructional uses of Augmented Reality applications, check out last week’s post, “The Evolution of Augmented Reality Applications for Education and Instructional Use”.

James Roberts is a Freelance writer, whose interests include education and technology. He enjoys reading books on learning methods, education and web technology.

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Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
10 Emerging Education and Instructional Technologies that all Educators Should Know About (2012)
The Evolution of Augmented Reality Applications for Education and Instructional Use
Introducing a Game-Based Curriculum in Higher Ed


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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