Utilization Of Augmented Reality In Education Sector Of South Africa
Technology today has been incorporated across multiple industries. But particularly in the education sector, we have seen some notable changes such as Textbooks are being converted into e-Books, classroom lessons are taught with digital projectors and not chalkboards and the way lessons are taught do not work the same way it did in the past. Even though it proves to beneficial in the education system, it diminishes the physiological interaction that learning was in the past (Oza, H. , 2018). Pupils often abuse or have no knowledge of how to use this new way of learning to a captivating and interactive experience way of learning it is intended to be. And this is where the age of digital technologies allows us to renovate the educational process and make it an entertaining and increases curiosity in the learning process (Oza, H. , 2018). One of the emerging technologies that will have an impact on how the internet is used for learning thus changing the education industry in South Africa is Augmented Reality (AR). It has become one of the fastest growing fields of technology globally. With devices within reach of most high school pupils nowadays, this can help increase learning activities among pupils and with the help of AR apps, it can help make education learning fun and enjoyable for South African pupils.
Augmented Reality is seamlessly turning real-life objects into transparent Three-dimensional (3-D) or four-dimensional (4-D) spatial models to display in real time (Blum, A. , 2018). You can interact with these models over a real-world environment and performing actions such as rotating, changing the shape and color scheme of the object etc. There are even more advanced animations of AR via special gadgets like holographic lenses that project holograms which can be used as a way of communicating with people from different places in real time. According to many studies, augmented reality mobile app development starting from 2010 already became over $200 million industry and the secret ingredient that improved educational processes in many countries across the globe (Blum, A. , 2018).
It can prove to be a useful educational tool when it comes to simulation skills and training. These apps depict real-life scenarios AR gives pupils a sense of embodiment letting them gain some real experience that they can remember afterward. While teachers and lectures do not necessarily need to recruit all high school pupils into their respective school subjects, their goal is to get them interested in those school subjects and this is where AR will prove to be useful. The introduction and use of AR in education can help create a fun and excitement for high school pupils across South Africa. It helps them become excited to learn and stirs up their motivation to the learning process. It pushes them into a learning place where they become critical in dissecting new and creative ideas. This increases the imaginative prowess of the pupils in the learning process. In the end, they grow their imaginative and thinking ability. Thus, discovering and getting to know more about themselves and share their experiences with others during the learning process. The use of augmented reality in education will enhance the mental and physical dexterity of pupils. AR gives them the privilege to see, observe, and feel at the same time while learning. This then takes the educational learning process to a whole new level. The use of AR in education provides interactive lessons to pupils. They have full access to educative and interactive models on their devices. On the long run, this propels clear and better understanding of educational concepts. This is one of the best ways to engage pupils. This aids learning and increased educative activities among classmates.
Thus, help them reinforce the concepts they have seen in class. Apple and Google are some of the big tech companies that are encouraging the use of AR for their respective products. They have seen the value of AR in an educational environment and the various ways in which it can be used such as gaining extra digital information about any subject, make complex information easier to understand and exchange information with others. An example of this would be for example in biology class, pupils can use the AR application called Anatomy 4-D (available on iOS / Android devices). When you scan given printed targets, the application shows 3-D models of a human body and allows users to interact with it. Users may change and adjust any part of the human body, learn more about body parts, joints, functions etc. This could bring about the increase in learner participation in class. A case study of “learning by design” using Augmented Reality in high school Visual Art was presented, with pupils submitting the samples of their work and feedback gained from this approach indicated high levels of independent thinking, creativity and critical analysis (Bower, M. , Howe, C. , McCredie, N. , Robinson, A. and Grover, D. , 2014. ).
AR technology can enhance the environment that you are in because it has an ability to render objects that are hard to imagine and turn them into 3-D models, thus making it easier to grasp the abstract and difficult content. By incorporating Augmented Reality into lessons teachers are able to involve pupils into the process with 3-D models and seeing information from a different perspective (Blum, A. , 2018). AR can be used to depict real-life scenarios and other simulations to test a pupil’s ability for decision making, grasping information and coordination. An example of this would be fire drills. An AR application will force them to make reasonable choices on what to do in a certain situation and based on the choices they have made they can see the outcome in a virtual world. This can use this experience to teach them about the importance of safety around dangerous chemicals in the science classroom to prevent fires from happening. AR can be used as a career guidance tool for pupils in that there are various AR applications that create a virtual work environment can be created where they are given tasks to do and get hands-on experience of the job they want to do later in life. The AR application can be used to judge their actions; test their skills; record data and help determine the career for pupils for the future. They got exposed into a variety of fields Such as the Anatomy AR application listed above, which will be best suited for considering going into the medical field and Flight Simulator for those who want to be pilots. Physical education can also be transformed as the normal game of dodgeball can be turned into a game where pupils hit objects and try to evade objects thrown by their opposing classmates. This, therefore encourages active participation as they have to move around to find the objects and value of teamwork. A similar concept to this is Pokémon Go and its mechanics. The potential of combining smartphones and tablets with Augmented Reality for education is big, though it still has to be fully discovered in South Africa. AR has the potential, to introduce new and additional ways and methods of studying and enhance the process of learning. AR exposes pupils to the knowledge of the past, present, and future; learning and understanding about educational concepts using models and having the privilege to use same models to learn about events of the future them (Staff, V. , 2018).
This is the exact opportunity offered by the use of AR in education. It helps expose the minds of pupils by visiting past, present, and future events to gain knowledge of them (Staff, V. , 2018). This will then give them the opportunity to use the knowledge acquired to solve the problem. AR does not require huge monetary funds to maintain. They do not get damaged; lost or even stolen because of the applications that are made available to electronic devices. This means that if the pupils electronic devices get damaged, lost or even stolen with that AR application, they can just download them on a secondary device and continue where they left off. This convenience makes learning less expensive over time as there is no need to invest in physical materials which eases high costs government spends on education in South Africa and can be allocated elsewhere where needed. Since pupils are often offered eBooks for certain subjects, some of these eBooks are integrated with AR models that visualize educational concepts and this way they have access to AR learning models on the go, at home, and classroom (Ron, C. , 2018). Augmented reality applications do not require goggles for you to interact with it. According to scientific studies, 80% of young people own smartphones (Oza, H. , 2018) and all you need is your smartphone or a tablet to experience AR. Implementing augmented reality in secondary institutions means gaining amazing portable and much cheaper teaching tools for teachers (Ron, C. , 2018).
Augmented Reality is soon bound to transform the education industry as we know it. The capacity to overlay rich media onto the real world for viewing through web-enabled devices such as phones and tablet devices means that information can be made available to pupils at the exact time and place of need. AR has the potential to reduce cognitive overload and providing new ways of future learning (Bower, M. , Howe, C. , McCredie, N. , Robinson, A. and Grover, D. , 2014. ). New technologies and information communications are not only powerful and compact enough to deliver AR experiences via personal computers and mobile devices but also well developed and sophisticated to combine real world with augmented information in interactively seamless ways (Lee, K. , 2012). Teachers get to catch the attention of pupils and motivate them better, while they get new tools to visualize their subjects and complex concepts, as well as obtain practical skills. Moreover, even parents can benefit from this by engaging their children to study with playful apps. It has continued to expand into all areas of the learning process.