WES Track: Skills and Vocational Education
Title of Paper: Role of Augmented reality and virtual technologies in education
Author Name: C. Jagan Mohan
Organization: Trikona Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Address: #7-1-58, 5th Floor, Surekha Chambers, Ameerpet, Hyderabad – 50016, India
The ability to overlay computer graphics onto the real world is commonly called Augmented Reality (AR). Unlike immersive Virtual Reality, AR interfaces allow users to see the real world at the same time as virtual imagery attached to real locations and objects. In an AR interface, the user views the world through a simple handheld camera or head mounted display (HMD) that is either see-through or overlays graphics on video of the surrounding environment. AR interfaces enhance the real world experience, unlike other computer interfaces that draw users away from the real world and onto the screen. Imagine a 3D object in 3D space sitting among a very real and familiar environment of desk, chair, and walls. It is very interesting experience to see the real world when blended with virtual objects. As an advanced media technology company, the potential for using this kind of technology for learning and teaching is what strikes us the most. Augmented reality as a science and practice has been receiving more and more attention recently. The virtual objects may be stationary or manipulated, seen on a large flat screen or in a heads-up display. AR technology allows for viewing things in a natural environment that otherwise would be impossible to show, such as labels on parts of an engine or forces on the poles of a magnet. Using AR tools, many books can be converted into magic books. This magic book is a book just like any other, complete with a story or an intricate serious subject written on pages that could be read without the help of AR technology. However, the pages also contained virtual animated figures, which once viewed with a camera or with a special heads-up display would act out the story in 3D space above the pages. Augmented Reality is a variation of Virtual Reality. VR technology completely immerses a user inside a synthetic environment. While immersed, the user cannot see the real world around him. In contrast, AR allows the user to see the real world, with virtual objects superimposed upon or composited with the real world. Therefore, AR supplements reality, rather than completely replacing it. Ideally, it would appear to the user that the virtual and real objects coexist in the same space. But what about more mainstream education? Can we use AR for teaching classroom based curricula? And make it available for students easily. Very little of this technology has been used outside of a laboratory setting, hi-end publicity and promotion of expensive goods and articles, let alone inside a classroom. But some efforts have been made in this direction and more answers may be forthcoming. I believe the AR tool and interface is a visualization technology that can take advantage of the limitations offered by other visual means of communication for learning. The theory is that the traditional methods of learning spatially-related content by viewing 2D diagrams creates a sort of cognitive filter. This filter exists even when working with 3D objects on a computer screen because the manipulation of the objects in space is made through mouse clicks. Additional research is looking at other topics that also naturally lend themselves to 3D space, such as the 3D structure of molecules. We are looking at a AR models that teaches molecular biology concepts to high school students. Teachers and students experiment with different kinds of 3D molecular models and discover new ways of interacting with them. With some more customised module development the high school will use AR for teaching biology and chemistry, with plans to expand the program to include more complex concepts and techniques in the near future. But despite current efforts, research into the “how, what, and why” is lagging far behind the technological development of the AR systems. I hope the educational research community remains enthusiastic about the building of AR tools aimed at teaching and learning. AR technology has matured to the point where it can be applied to a much wider range of application domains, and education is an area where this technology could be especially valuable. The educational experience offered by Augmented Reality is different for a number of reasons, including: • Support of seamless interaction between real and virtual environments • The use of a tangible interface metaphor for object manipulation • The ability to transition smoothly between reality and virtuality In educational settings physical objects or props are commonly used to convey meaning. In Augmented Reality there is an intimate relationship between virtual and physical objects. The physical objects can be enhanced in ways not normally possible such as by providing dynamic information overlay, private and public data display, context sensitive visual appearance, and physically based interactions. AR applications based on a tangible interface metaphor use physical objects to manipulate virtual information in an intuitive manner. In this way people with no computer background can still have a rich interactive experience. For example, in the Shared Space interface users could manipulate three-dimensional virtual objects simply by moving real cards that the virtual models appeared attached to. There was no mouse or keyboard in sight. This property enables even very young children to have a rich educational experience. Young children often fantasize about being swallowed up into the pages of a fairy tale and becoming part of the story. This technology makes this fantasy a reality by using a normal book as the main interface object. People can turn the pages of the book, look at the pictures, and read the text without any additional technology. However, if they look at the pages through a simple inexpensive handheld Augmented Reality display, they see three dimensional virtual models appearing out of the pages. The models appear attached to the real page, so users can see the AR scene from any perspective simply by moving themselves or the book. The models can be any size and are also animated, so the AR view is an enhanced version of a traditional three-dimensional \”pop-up\” book. Users can change the virtual models simply by turning the book pages. When they see a scene they particularly like, they can fly into the page and experience the story as an immersive virtual environment. In the VR view, they are free to move about the scene at will and interact with the characters in the story. Thus, users can experience the full Reality-Virtuality continuum. These special books with AR interface supports new forms of educational experience. No longer are textbooks static sources of information. Through the use of Augmented Reality the printed page can become means to move students to animated interactive virtual environments. Research in conceptual learning in immersive virtual environments is a relatively young field but growing rapidly. As suggested by several studies Virtual Reality (VR) can contribute to raise interest and motivation in students with a high potential to enhance the learning experience. However, the practical potential of VR is still being explored and understanding how to use VR technology to support learning activities presents a substantial challenge for the designers and evaluators of this learning technology. Augmented Reality cannot be the ideal solution for all educational application needs but it is an option to consider. The technology used always has to depend on the pedagogical goals and needs of the educational application and the target audience. For the development of any educational application technological, domain specific, pedagogical and psychological aspects have to be considered. First and foremost an extendable (mobile collaborative) AR or VR system is needed as a platform to develop an application for real use in classrooms. There is no single technology that fits all needs. It is very important that user interfaces and display types fit the application and educational needs. Due to advances in the development of pedagogical concepts, applications and technology, and a simultaneous decline in hardware costs, the use of small scale or mobile immersive virtual or augmented reality systems could become feasible for educational institutions within next few years. Nevertheless, the potential of each VR/AR feature needs careful reflection in order to be actually translated into educational efficacy. The matter is not questioning whether or not VR/AR is useful to enhance learning. The matter is understanding how to effectively exploit its potential.
Brief Biodata of Presenter:
C. Jagan mohan is in media space specially media related technology for the last 20+ years. He is in to content digitization, media compression space and edu-entertainment content generating area. Heading Trikona Technologies Pvt. Ltd. as CEO and Managing Director. Trikona is into development of content for 3D Holographic systems, Virtual Reality based solutions interacting with gestures, Augmented Reality and interactive wall and floor projection systems. He is actively involved in the development of Restoration, Colorization, 2D to 3D conversion softwares for Trikona. His is an expert in Image processing, Restoration, Colorization, Holography, Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies.
More details about TRIKONA TECHNOLOGIES PVT. LTD. can be found on www.trikonatech.com. you can reach Mr. Jagan mohan through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.