What is Augmented Reality?


Augmented reality (AR), a capability that has been around for decades, is shifting from what was once seen as a gimmick to a tool with tremendous potential. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning. While the most prevalent uses of augmented reality so far have been in the consumer sector (for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information), new uses seem to emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new applications become even easier to use. A key characteristic of augmented reality is its ability to respond to user input. This interactivity confers significant potential for learning and assessment; with it, students can construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual objects that bring underlying data to life. Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a student’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.


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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 24, 2016 I think that the capability of using technology to augment reality can provide us with enormous affordance particulary when we are considering authentic learning and assessment. Within learning and assessment environments where an actual (or high fidelity representation) is required then the capacity to augment a physical space, to provide a virtual overlay is highly valuable.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 24, 2016 I have a sense in which 'augmenting reality' plays very deeply into the human subconscious and acknowledge that it seems to be very important and accepted part of life for many societies and cultures that have closer links to their natural environments. In this respect, I believe that many cultures have overtime added a 'virtual layer' to augment their physical reality and thus augment that reality. It may be that technology is actually returning us to that more inherent way of observing our surroundings(?) a long shot I know...
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 24, 2016 Similarly to the above but I am drawn to the indigenous Australian gift of, as I understand it, being able to overlylay (or augment) the physical reality with the virtual
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 24, 2016 At Griffith University, augmented reality was used in support of a forensics course and similarly builit into their student App. We will explore ways to do likewise at Australian Catholic University.
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