In the recent years, the emergence of new technological innovations has started to impact every sphere of our lives. Of all the new technologies that have cropped up, augmented reality has caught the fancy of many from different sectors. Though there is a lot of misconception about AR being just an entertainment tool, the versatility of this cutting-edge technology and the vast applications it has in various sectors proves it wrong. AR, the technology that helps to add digital content to the user’s view of the physical world, holds great promise in the education sector.
Challenges Faced by Educational Institutions
Until now direct communication between students and teacher has been the common method of teaching which usually takes place in the classrooms. Although the current teaching methods have been successful to an extent, they also have certain flaws and are going to get worse, especially with the changing dynamics in relation to the next generation of students. There arises a need for the educational institutions to come up with more productive methods for enhancing the learning experience of students and increasing their level of understanding the concepts.
More number of students are opting for higher education which is a good sign. But there is a dearth of teaching staff adding to the woes of educational institutions. Student/teacher ratio has become a thing of concern for universities and colleges which has started to negatively impact the teaching quality and the attention paid to students. The situation worsens when it comes to practical teaching where it requires monitoring and supervision of students.
Another concern is the students’ participation in other extra-curricular activities like sports or major health issues coming in their way of attending the lab sessions at the allocated time. Considering the importance given to practical labs in universities and colleges to successfully complete a course in science and the emphasis on practical experience by employers, attending the lab sessions has become crucial for science students.
AR in Laboratory Practices
AR is an efficient alternative that can help to minimize these problems in the actual context. Today’s university classrooms are equipped with internet, computers, and projectors. Add to it the proliferating use of smartphones among 16 to 24 years-olds, helps in the integration of augmented reality in classrooms and labs. One interesting way of using AR in the practical labs is by including markers on machines, lab instruments and manuals which when scanned using a tablet or a smartphone gives access to instructions/training to use the lab equipment or perform the practical experiment. This allows the students to complete their practical sessions at their own pace and time without the assistance of a teacher.
AR not only helps to improve the skills of the students but also can create a positive attitude in them towards practical labs. It helps to create interactive environments that allow students to interact with their surroundings and enhances the information they receive by superimposing virtual elements that help to bring in additional information.
SMACAR Solutions plans to collaborate with universities and colleges to introduce the concept of AR Lab in the classrooms. The goal is to set up an interactive environment that aids the teaching staffing in imparting practical knowledge in a productive way and encourages the students to attend practical labs at their convenient time and enhance their learning through interactive and immersive experiences. We are leveraging the versatility offered by AR in developing apps in several areas of education.