Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality, Continued

I wrote the other day about the overwhelming success of Pokemon Go and the applications of Augmented Reality (AR) technology for education, but after I spoke with some friends about my previous editorial, I realized I did not fully express the value of AR compared with any competent Google search. One of my friends asked how my hypothetical AR system differed from static databases of information, and our discussion helped me realize how much I originally undersold the potential of AR.

Scenario 1: You visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and see the following painting inside one of the galleries:

Guardians of the Secret

If you read the placard, you might learn the title of the work (Guardians of the Secret), the name of its artist (Jackson Pollack), the date (1943), and some additional information about its context and significance. With AR, you might automatically receive verbal commentary about the painting from professional art historians, examples of other Pollack paintings for live, side-by-side comparisons using your device, and a short video of Pollack splatter-painting.

Scenario 2: Your class plans some volunteer work at McClellan Ranch removing invasive species. Instead of receiving field guides or extensive instruction about the differences between native and invasive plants, you receive color-coded information from your phone about the specimens you discover: green for native plants and red for invasive species you should remove. You spend most of your trip directly helping the ranch while still learning the differences between native and invasive species from your hands-on experience.

Scenario 3: You download an application modeled after Pokemon Go, but the application does not map virtual Pokemon but crowd-sourced information about live community events within your neighborhood, including concerts, volunteer opportunities, food trucks, etc. You receive points for your civic activities (constrained using event-specific check-in requirements) and earn the most credit for public service. Once you accumulate points, you spend them on virtual collectibles and awards that you can share over social media. Teachers even use the application so they can provide monitored extra credit for service activities outside class.

I would appreciate if you post other educational applications for AR using the comments section; the traffic for the site has increased dramatically over the past week, but I hope we can start more interactive conversations about these posts, my archived course materials, and whatever resources you upload using the Visitor Contributions page. And for those of you who play Pokemon Go: happy hunting.

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