Augmented reality combines virtual and real world elements. According to the below pictured continuum from wikipedia ed, the degree to which the virtual elements are overlaid on the real world determines the extent to which the learner is immersed in the virtual world. Augmented reality can be as simple and static as pointing a smartphone, or other reader, at an icon, and receiving information about an item, such as price information on a store item. It could also be as complex as using GPS technology, and other props (paddles, glasses,wands, etc) to manipulate the virtual environment in which one finds oneself. This process can be, and is today, used to play games, develop skills and tasks which require practice and muscle memory, place more information in an article to keep the article brief while allowing interested users to continue digging for more information. This allows the designer to custom tailor the information flow to the needs of the user, and the user to set his or her own goals for learning the material. Acccording to "5 Current technologies That Will Shape Our Classrooms ," (source) this makes Augmented Reality a strong tool for the constructivist school of education. It allows the student to take responsibility for his or her own learning, as the student's reality is focused on what he or she has chosen to notice or with which he or she has chosen to interact. It also has the advantage of eliminating the consequences of a mistake. If a student is learning a difficult task, such as repairing an expensive piece of machinery, or a dangerous task, such as working with explosives on a construction site, they will not be injured if they make a mistake, but the perceived reality of the mistake, in my opinion, will improve the desire to perform the task correctly in the future.

Milgram's reality-Virtuality Continuum
Milgram's reality-Virtuality Continuum
This technology could help students learn and enjoy classes that are often mandatory and perceived sometimes perceived as boring, such as history. Rather than just memorizing facts and dates, the students can be placed in an alternate reality situation, on field trip to similar terrain, and live life like atypical individual in the time period being studied. they can interact with the world, and the key events, and feel the impact of their actions on their day to day lives. Additionally, if the students take a field trip to a museum with Augmented Reality technology, each student could pursue, and experience, exhibits which catch their own attention , learning far more than they might from a two to three sentence item tag containing someone else's idea of what is significant about the exhibit.

There are multiple videos and links within the first article referenced in the first paragraph of this article which can be viewed for information and examples of the various uses of Augmented Reality. It also contains information on the downside of Augmented Reality, once of which includes the cognitive overload that can be generated. In one of their examples, they discuss the baseball player who gets up to bat and receives a continuous feed of data as he is preparing to swing. Will this help him, or focus his attention on non essentials, thus distracting him when he most needs to focus?



Augmented Reality