Posted by Lucas Nygaard
Getting the best of digital and traditional learning
Educators today have access to more learning tools than ever before. Generally, these tools can be divided into two types - traditional tools and digital tools. These are very different. Either your students or employees went online to learn in a completely digital universe, such as Discovery Education’s Espresso or Skillsoft, or stayed in a completely physical/analog world and received a physical book. Both of these have their advantages and drawbacks - physical books foster focus, gives the best reading experience, while digital makes interactivity possible and the possibility to use videos or animations.
But since educators had to choose between traditional and digital tools, they couldn’t get the best of both worlds. Until augmented reality came along.
From fighter jets to your classroom
Augmented reality is a technology originally invented in the nineties, for fighter jet pilots. It allowed their helmets to project a digital layer on top of the real world, through transparent glasses with screens built into them. Since then, the same technology has further developed so that today, it can run on any smartphone or tablet, without even having to install an app. In a learning context, this technology makes it possible to close the gap between traditional and digital learning. With augmented reality, educators now no longer need to choose between the benefits of digital and traditional learning - they can have both! Imagine this:
Today’s biology class is about cells. After a brief introduction from the teacher, the students pick up their book and start reading about cell structures. In an ordinary book, that doesn't have a bright screen, doesn't distract the students and where the teacher can always see whether they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, reading. After about fifteen minutes of focused reading, the students are asked to take out their smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever device they have access to. Today is no ordinary class. The teacher shares a web link that the students open on their devices. The built-in rear-facing camera turns on and when the students point at the book they just read, it becomes alive. Now they don’t just read about cells, the cells are actually present in full 3D, floating above the books. The class is shearing with excitement as the students start naming the different parts of the cells that they just learned about. Meanwhile, the teacher is preparing another trick up his sleeve. Before that class started, he placed small markers around the schools' outdoor areas. When the students are done with the augmented reality quiz, he shares a second link. He tells the students that the markers are hidden around the schools' outdoor areas. The markers have pictures of different plants and animals. When the students scan them with their phones, it shows the cells that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye, as 3D models.
When they’re done with that, the students log into the Hololink platform. Now it’s time to reinforce the learning. The students now have to create their own augmented reality experiences, based on what they learned about cells. They can create their own 3D content with free online platforms such as Tinkercad and turn them into augmented reality experiences with Hololink.
Augmented reality has been a hyped technology within the classroom for a long time. Companies like Google, BBC and Within have all created great AR apps for use in the classroom or at home. But students today have so much to learn and the number of learning apps is way too small to cover even a fraction of any curriculum. This is because it used to cost a lot of money and required great developer skills to create these experiences. Hololink wants to change that with our platform that makes it easy to create and distribute experiences like the one I described earlier. No matter if you’re a teacher looking to expand your toolbox or a large publisher wanting to offer the newest technology to your customers, Hololink is for you. Sign up for early access to get started.