In this post of ‘Future Technologies in the Classroom’, our Head of Product Design Dr Leila Walker explores AR technology and it’s use in the classroom.



Image Source: Google

Simply point your mobile phone camera at something and see animated 3D objects come to life! Augmented Reality (AR) is another example of amazing wizardry that is part of the technical revolution we continue to live and breathe in our everyday lives.

Already available through a growing number of apps – AR is beginning to compete with Virtual Reality (VR) in the latest instalment of the edtech serial drama ‘next tech you should get in your classroom’.

But why should we? Why do we keep seeing these tech-driven headlines in future education forums? Why don’t we read more often ‘next instructional design that will make a difference to your students’ learning’? Shouldn’t it be pedagogy not technology that drives the future of education?

So let’s attempt to answer our own question. Does AR have an educational value other than the technological ‘wow’ factor that comes with all these new kids on the block?

One way to answer this is to look at what functionality AR brings to the classroom and how this can be translated into a learning experience that enhances current teaching and learning practice.

AR is many things but a core function is its ability to contextualise an object or space that enables the learner to scaffold their learning from a starting place of something familiar and relevant. Let’s illustrate what we mean.

NanoSimbox places interactive, molecular simulations into the hands of the user – providing teachers and students with scientifically accurate representations of the invisible world of molecules that explain the visible world around us. Key to the success of NanoSimbox is its ability to bridge the gap between the visible and the abstract. Currently available on tablet and within VR. The NanoSimbox will soon have an additional AR application that enables your environment to come alive with 3D molecular simulations. Point your mobile phone or tablet camera at an object and see the molecules that it contains spring to life in 3D animation. Simple but impactful, through the immediacy of connecting what you see with what you can’t.


Image Source: Augment

But don’t take our word for it. At NanoSimbox we listen and co-create with the science teaching community. They are the experts and importantly, they are the people who will decide whether to and how to implement new technology into their instructional design.

“In the Chemistry classroom the benefits of the use of AR are two-fold in that it allows us to not only visualise but also interact with items, concepts and processes that are totally invisible and because of this the impact on student engagement is remarkable in a way that no static- or paper-based model can compete with.” Caryn Harwood, St Mary’s, Calne

“AR allows students to interact with materials they would never normally experience, in both time and space, and encourages them to investigate them further. It gives them an in depth understanding of processes and concepts by providing a resource that is visual and interactive – science is all about connections and how one thing alters another, therefore being able to see and manipulate different substances or processes puts learners “inside” the concept. This adds a whole new dimension to their learning, and is definitely a tool that will revolutionise the teaching of some parts of the curriculum.” Alice England, Clifton High, Bristol

If you are a teacher and want to be part of implementing future pedagogical instruction through innovative technologies in your classroom, then sign up below to be part of the NSB100 to enhance science learning!

Nano Simbox is being launched July 2017, and is available to innovative schools ready for the Autumn term.

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