BIG business! By 2022, Juniper predict the total Smartphone AR Games Value will be $2.3 Billion dollars; augmented and mixed reality applications worth $6.1 billion dollars and mobile augmented and Mixed reality applications worth $9.1 billion.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a term given for the ability to overlay a view of the real world with images, sounds and media, triggered by a predetermined image or location. The augmented scene is watched through the camera of a smartphone or a dedicated headset. The essential characteristic that differentiates it from other computer-generated environments is that a user has to be in the real world at a specific place looking at a particular object, making it ideal for context sensitive material. The business side, is, of course, driven around gaming, personalisation, customisation, in-app purchases and increasing disruptive media – where consumers of the media can ‘select’ their own preferred ‘ending’ for plots and characters.
So where, and how can educators fit into this all-encompassing wave of consumer choice? Can our students select the ending they desire of easy assessment, first class degrees all round, taught by their preferred instructor, as they view education is a commodity – so accurately predicted in the ‘Digital Diploma Mills’ writing of David Noble two decades ago?
From the large big business booming headlines to a small action learning study in a University in England. My colleague, Dr Mike Hobbs and I were presented with a challenge – he led a Personal Development Planning (PDP) ‘portfolio’ of activities which had to be passed by all first-year computing and gaming students. Unfortunately, they saw little value in PDP, often failing to submit with the consequence that part of the cohort was unable to progress directly to the second year.
As an educationalist, I was called upon to review, and in conversation with tutors and students, it became clear that although industry needs of PDP, teamwork and so on were appreciated by the students, in this first semester, a seemingly meaningless set of tick box exercises around ‘employability’ was not helping develop their learning.
Back to the drawing board, and we looked at ways of enabling student engagement through ‘Bring your own device’ BOYD, as advocated by researchers such as Pachler, Cochrane and Bannan, within a constructivist pedagogic framework that utilised campus wide fast wireless, freely available social media and communication resources.
Thus, the concept of student led, project-based activity outside of class became a viable alternative to traditional delivery. This affords educators huge potential for more innovative learning, and in its turn, more personalised and interactive learning opportunities.
Constructivist pedagogies encourage flipped approaches to learning; and offer tutors and learners affordances of blending learning inside and outside the formal classroom. Our revised offering saw the tutors introduce topics; discuss progress on student team projects; review and provide supporting materials; lead reflections on the readings/tasks; facilitate group presentations to class; and encourage students to provide their own evidence for key ‘PDP’ assessment criteria.
In turn, the students were offered the metaphor of the ‘Treasure Hunt’; they choose members and organised group work; they were free to use buildings, signs, images across campus and locality. The only requirement was to reflect upon team working through online PDP; and to create an augmented reality trail that would be of use to the next cohort of students entering the University.
Below are three examples of the outcomes, (all shared with permission) but our three year project has seen surprising outcomes – notably the last year where more students submitted their PDP than the main coding coursework!
|Year||Cohort Size||Main Assessment||PDP||Questionnaire:
'Agree that PDP tasks helped my skills'
Back to the big business – what can be said about the huge boom in AR/VR and ways in which educators can harness technologies for learning in meaningful ways? For me, it is about the shift from students consuming the media to enabling and empowering, through careful curriculum design, learners to have a voice in their assessment outcomes. It is about seeing the value to 21st century workplace which needs digital makers, to really drive forward innovation. And it is about educators being adaptive and proactive, and drawing upon our own expertise and knowledge, to frame the learning environment based upon excellent research.
Group 1: note the link between teamwork and very different skills implied in the summary, from an attempt at creative writing to coding.
Group 2: Went outside standard University tools to communicate in Trello – a free tool that supports projects, images and text.
Group 3: User testing is being modelled, despite this not being on the formal curricula until later in the course.
About the Author
Debbie Holley is the Professor of Learning Innovation and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning at Bournemouth University. Her research interests are in in engaging students inside and outside the formal classroom using technology enhanced learning. You can follow her on twitter @debbieholley1. Debbie would like to acknowledge the contribution of Dr Mike Hobbs to work described here.
Bannan, B., Cook, J. & Pachler, N. (2016) Reconceptualising design research in the age of mobile learning, Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 24 no. 5, pp. 938-953.
Cochrane, T., Aotearoa, A., Antonczak, L. & Auckland, (2014) Riding the wave of BYOD: Developing a framework for creative pedagogies. Research in Learning Technology, vol. 22, pp. 1-14. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v22.24637
Hobbs, M. & Holley, D. (2016) Using Augmented Reality to Engage STEM Students with an Authentic Curriculum. In: Vincenti G., Bucciero A., Vaz de Carvalho C. (Eds) E-Learning, E-Education, and Online Training, LNICST, vol. 160. Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28883-3_14
Juniper Market Research Infographic , available online at https://www.juniperresearch.com/resources/infographics/augmented-mixed-reality-market-summary-key-ta available online [accessed 20.01.2019]
Noble, D., (1998 ) Digital Diploma Mills: The automation of Higher Education, First Monday available online at https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/569/490 [accessed 20.01.2019)
Pachler, N., Cook, J. and Bachmair, B., (2012) Appropriation of mobile cultural resources for learning. Refining current practices in mobile and blended learning: New applications, pp.10-30.