Engaging students and getting them excited about STEM concepts can be a challenge. In recent years, museums like The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia have begun exploring new ways to connect with students. One of it is fusing Augmented Reality (AR) into some of their displays.
Dr. Susan Yoon, a learning sciences professor from University of Pennsylvania has conducted a study on AR at The Franklin Institute as well as other places. Here's why she suggests it might have a spot in your lesson plan!
1. The advantages.
AR helps students to see things that can't be seen, like electrical waves in the air or where a building once stood in a historic neighborhood. Unlike a static picture in a book, AR can display how something changes over time.
2. AR is interactive.
With AR, students have control over the pace of their own study. They're the ones who press the play, pause, and replay buttons. Some AR programs urge them to engage! For instance, they might need to customize variables in an experiment to test a hypothesis.
3. It shows why things work.
Studies have shown that engaging with AR alone helps students understand an idea easier. If they can see how electricity runs through a circuit, it will make more sense to them. If you can add a little structure to the experience, students' conceptual and cognitive abilities will improve. On a museum field trip, this can be done by putting your students in groups. Utilize the museum signs and guides to keep them focused on the ideas you want them to discuss. The trip will have a structure, yet students will feel a sense of self-discovery.
4. A platform for collaboration.
Getting students to work in groups might not be easy. AR can help. At The Franklin Institute, when students began interacting with AR, they also started interacting with each other. They brought up new bits of knowledge, helped each other answer questions, and coaxed out why things happened.
5. Make a game out of it.
AR isn't only for exhibition halls. Smartphones are perfect for playing games. Teachers can utilize those gadgets to walk students through game-based exercises. Developers have utilized mapping technology to make games that help students understand historic sites and other places they encounter. In these games, the information shown on screen urges student to explore the physical world around them.
6. Coming back to classroom.
Back at school, you can brought up students' field trip encounters as a starting point. After an excursion to a science museum, you could follow up with more experience with technology. Presenting numerous examples of similar concepts gives them additional insights. This offers another opportunity to strengthen students' comprehension while at the same time keeping the lesson interactive and exciting.