There’s no denying it. Augmented Reality is hot, and its trajectory doesn’t appear to be slowing down. For the most part, this is a great thing. It’s wonderful when technology and online education can combine to create interesting and engaging learning experiences. AR is a great way to get students who are generally disinterested in a subject on board, and to keep them engaged during lessons. Unfortunately, as with every good thing, there are some downsides. If you are a teacher who is excited about the latest EdTech trends and Augmented Reality technology, that’s wonderful! Just be sure to avoid a few of the following mistakes.
Not Fully Investigating Apps before Using Them in the Classroom
Imagine this. You’re looking on the internet for a great AR app that you can use to get kids really involved in learning spatial geometry. You download the app, and go through a demo. The product looks really great. So, you bring it into your classroom, and get the kids started.
Then it happens. The first couple of chapters are great, but things fall apart after that. You find that the app only allows you to go through a limited number of chapters before you have to buy the full version, or you find that the learning process is continually disrupted by ads. Be sure you know exactly what you are getting with each app, and read the reviews as well.
Teaching Kids to Become Too Dependent on the ‘Wow’ Factor
One of the appealing things about using AR technology is simply that it’s a really neat thing to see and use. Students love it, because it creates a hands-on, interactive learning experience. On one hand, this is a great thing. Students are engaged and participating in the learning process. On the other hand, students can develop some lopsided expectations.
The truth is, not all learning can be augmented. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through drilling, memorization, or listening to information and taking notes. Part of a teacher’s job, in addition to teaching concepts, is to help students develop the self-discipline it takes to also become effective learners in all situations. Care must be taken to balance
Not Ensuring That All Kids Have Access to the Technology to Participate
Occasionally, teachers assume that all students have equal access to the technology they need to participate in augmented reality enhanced assignments. For example, a teacher sends home a worksheet that is a trigger image for a video describing steps to take to complete an extra credit assignment. The only problem is that a full third of the students don’t have home access to a device that is enabled for this kind of technology. This can also impact BYOD, if not all students have a device to bring, and the school district is not open to lending them out.
Failing to Ensure That Use of Technology Aligns With District IT Policy
Everybody wants to be the teacher whose students look forward to class each day. Integrating iPads, smartphones, augmented reality, smart projectors, and other technologies into the classroom is a great way to become that teacher. However, it’s all important to get use of technology cleared through the proper channels. After all, nobody wants to find themselves sitting in a meeting because their username showed up on director of IT’s naughty reports.
Failing to Explore New Apps and Technologies
If you are going to use AR technology, don’t simply download a few great apps. Stay on top of things. Make a commitment to reading up on a new AR app each week, and then trying it out. Not only that, invite your students to explore AR technology possibilities for your classroom, and recommend things to you. They will feel even more involved, and will have a sense of ownership. This is also a great way to get kids excited about technology in and out of the classroom.
Forgetting to Use AR to Reach Students with Multiple Learning Styles
In the classroom, it can be difficult to accommodate various learning styles. One of the benefits of AR is that it allows you the opportunity of doing this through the use of technology. Unfortunately, it only works if you use it for that purpose. For many teachers, AR simply becomes an extension of the teaching methods they are already using. As you plan your use of augmented reality, consider the students who aren’t currently as successful as they can be, and try to design your AR curriculum around meeting the needs of students who have different learning styles of preferences.
By all means, take advantage of AR. Your students will love you for it. Just be sure that you know exactly how each app works, that you are using technology in a safe and compliant manner, and that all students can benefit.