Chances are, you, your friend, or maybe even your kid has been swept up by the newly-released, augmented reality game, Pokémon Go. If, not, you’ve surely seen hordes of people circled around seemingly arbitrary public places, phone in hand. What could be dismissed as an overly-hyped game, may actually have the potential to change the way we learn.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. For Pokémon Go, that means seeing your lawn, your work space, or anywhere the game takes you filled with Squirtles, Zubats, and Pikachus.

For learning, that means students could engage with their course material in a multimedia augmentation platform that would provide heightened, experiential learning environments.

AR meets edtech

In a recent study focused on the benefits of using augmented reality as a learning tool, educators found AR technology as a “promising and stimulating tool for learning that could be effective when used in tandem with traditional methods”.

Moreover, in another study, research indicated that learners who had developmental issues often had a more collaborative, positive learning experience when instruction was paired with augmented reality. Ultimately, AR may have the ability to lessen the gap between pupil and learning.

Pokémon Go character, "Farfetch'd" © 2016 Pokémon/Nintendo

Pokémon Go character, “Farfetch’d” © 2016 Pokémon/Nintendo

While AR may provide a uniquely compelling educational experience, there are many obstacles in the way before seeing this technology in the Higher Education sphere. Such concerns include access to technology, implementation delays, standardization, and security concerns.

Despite these concerns, augmented reality could be leveraged as a promising tool that could break new ground in regards to the way in which we learn.

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