While it is true that classical pedagogical formulas have demonstrated their potential, today the inclusion of new teaching methods is welcomed, with the aim of improving student performance. In that sense, the incorporation of Information Technology and Communications (ICT) in the teaching and learning processes can gradually shift to traditional methods.
In recent years, new visualization methods have begun to be explored, with the aim of enriching the current educational programs, with Augmented Reality (RA) being one of the most promising technologies, of those existing today. In fact, in 2010 Time magazine included it among the ten technological trends of that year – exactly in a fourth place -, although the RA uses other technologies that also appear in the ranking, such as geolocation, cloud computing and social games, among others. Along the same lines, the consultant Gartner Research identified the RA as one of the ten most disruptive technologies in recent years, with a forecast of use, around 2014, of the order of 30% of mobile device users.
In the educational field, the RA constitutes an especially effective technological platform in everything related to the way in which students perceive physical reality, since it allows it to be separated into its different dimensions, to facilitate the understanding of its various peculiarities, sometimes imperceptible For the senses. Thus, with RA it is feasible to generate models that simplify the multidimensional complexity of the surrounding world, which, from an academic perspective, brings completeness to any learning experience.
The RA is able to provide more contextualized learning experiences outside the classroom, displaying links between reality and the learning situation in which students participate. Any physical space can become a stimulating academic scenario. For example, History students may have applications that reconstruct important historical sites. Through three-dimensional maps and graphs different moments of history would be recreated. In the same way, museums are transformed into interactive spaces, completely immersive and self-taught.
The RA also offers the possibility of modeling 3D objects on physical planes, the Architecture students could explore the benefits that the RA entails, projecting models of building stairs, so that the times dedicated to the presentation and construction of architectural designs are reduced .
The augmented textbooks comprise another interesting variant of the RA, it would only require the installation of special software on the computer or mobile device, as well as focusing the book with a webcam. The purpose is none other than to complement the textual or graphic information, characteristic of a book, with simulations or analysis of case studies, thus fostering a more holistic and holistic approach to the exposed contents.
In the specific case of teaching science to children, it is known that this is not a simple task, because they conceptualize from their childhood the facts and phenomena of nature spontaneously, so the teacher should try to approximate those initial conceptualizations to the scientific ones. In the stage of primary education, students begin and consolidate progressively all those processes that allow reading and understanding the meaning of what they read, for that reason many of the activities carried out in the classroom seek to stimulate both the taste for reading and the use of the school library.
A large part of the professors show the difficulties that their students show in the understanding of scientific texts and in some cases the progressive demotivation observed towards the reading of science books. That may be due to some extent because science texts, aimed at children in this educational stage, can present very different obstacles, some of them are: vocabulary, text structure (sometimes brief, synthetic, boring), absence of referents (disconnected from previous knowledge), images or graphics that do not arouse much interest when compared to other multimedia resources.
NOW, WHAT IS INCREASED REALITY?
Augmented Reality, from English, Augmented Reality , is a technology that makes it possible to combine real information with other synthetic or virtual information. Ideally, the user perceives a mixed scenario where in some cases it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between real and computer generated information. Virtual information must be spatially linked to the real world in a coherent way (image registration), so you need to know at all times the user’s position with respect to the real world.
Through simulations it is possible to transfer certain parts of the process to the virtual layer, keeping the rest in physical reality, which facilitates the transfer to totally real situations, real-time interactivity is offered, allows execution in safer conditions , reduce costs and others.
However, the RA should not be confused with Virtual Reality, despite the common characteristics they share, such as the insertion of 2D and 3D virtual models in the user’s field of vision; The main difference is that the RA does not replace the real world with a virtual world, but preserves the real world that the user perceives, completing it with virtual information superimposed on the real world. The user never loses contact with the real world around him, rather he can interact with the virtual information interspersed.
In general, there is no need for large hardware requirements to implement it, you can use commonly used devices such as personal computers, mobile devices and even video game consoles, all provided with a webcam. The wealth of the available information affects the motivation of learning, giving the possibility of being transparently integrated to the rest of the ICT resources generally used in an educational proposal.
When applied in the development of books and teaching materials, it allows to introduce a new dimension that enriches the contents with interactive learning objects, which can also improve the understanding of the contents, promote a more active student behavior, increase motivation and enrich the learning experience. It usually works with the visualization of three-dimensional models that can be manipulated using a webcam. Thus, from a certain physical reference, the computer screen would show the 3D object chosen corresponding to the movement made by the user.
The RA acquires a presence in the scientific world in the early 1990s when technology based on a) fast processing computers, b) real-time graphics rendering techniques , and c) portable precision tracking systems allow the combination to be implemented of computer-generated images about the user’s real world view.
In many industrial and domestic applications, a large amount of information is available that is associated with real-world objects, and augmented reality is presented as the means that unites and combines that information with real-world objects. Thus, many of the designs made by architects, engineers, designers can be visualized in the same physical place in the real world where they have been designed.
Augmented Reality allows to establish a bridge between theoretical concepts and the physical realization of experiments with real devices. The system through a camera captures the image of the real device (for example an electronic circuit) and will show the student on the screen of the device the real object with additional information. The virtual information added to the real image will be related to the theoretical concepts of the real object and will be presented in a 2D, 3D, video, audio or text format, among others.
Some research concludes that augmented reality provides valuable tools that can reinforce learning and increase student motivation. These tools use 3D applications to enrich the explanatory methodology collaborating in the understanding of the concepts and achieving a better scenario for practice and experimentation.
Through the use of perceptible interface metaphors, physical objects can be used to manipulate virtual information in an intuitive way, in addition to allowing the transition between the real and virtual worlds in a natural way. These interfaces also allow promoting and increasing collaborative work.
The RA, like all technology, by itself does not improve learning, to enrich the teaching and learning processes, a good use of it by teachers and students will be required. The success will depend on the educational purposes, the didactic methodology employed, the training of the teachers and an adequate selection of activities integrated in the curriculum that allow covering the learning needs detected and favoring a meaningful, autonomous and collaborative teaching of the students.
The augmented reality also enables 3D work and facilitates the manipulation of virtual objects with the body itself, without the need for mediation through elements such as the keyboard or mouse. This provides a great advantage for laboratories with a low number of computers, where several students generally must work in groups.
At a time when the penetration of mobile devices in the country is growing rapidly, the digital transformation is an objective of the top management of the country and education must be the support that we are a “… country of women and men of science”, the appropriating quickly and creatively by the education and museum sectors, fundamentally, would be a great contribution to the Cuba we build.