The success of Pokemon Go has shown the untapped potential of Augmented Reality (AR) applications, where software developers layer digital components over the real world instead of constructing self-contained virtual environments. Users worldwide have posted pictures of their Pokemon and the physical locations where they were captured, and the principles of augmented reality could support the recent transition away from passive instruction towards interactive education and civic participation within modern education research.
EdTech developers should consider how augmented reality might help students learn more from natural ecosystems, museum exhibits, and even classroom lectures. What if students could directly scan artifacts with their phones so they could learn more about the history and significance of Greek pottery and Native American textiles? What if this same technology could help chemistry students identify compounds inside the laboratory and determine their physical properties?
With the proper combination of gamification systems and augmented reality technology, education professionals could reward students for collecting litter, eating nutritional food, exercising, volunteering, attending community events, and even reading outside of class. Augmented reality could not only improve the classroom experience for our students but also extend this space into the public sphere. I recently posted some opinions about the Google Expeditions project, and augmented reality offers similar opportunities for local sites. If users will spend hours chasing Pokemon around town, then perhaps students will dedicate more time towards exploring and improving their own communities once technology helps them process their experiences.