Figure 1: Students actively engaging with the AR experience

AR has the potential to impact several areas of learning.

Engagement– The students have most frequently reported that using the handheld computers and the GPS to navigate and collect data is highly motivating. Students and teachers also reported that the physical exploration of the school grounds is highly motivating. Since students are engaged in academic subjects outside of the classroom, it seems more like real-world work. Students unanimously reported their enjoyment of playing the game in terms of having the opportunity to work in teams, contribute to the group effort, and learn socially.

Collaborative Problem Solving– Students and teachers reported the positive benefits of collaborative problem solving as an integral part of success, both in the game and as learning outcomes. Students specifically described components of positive interdependence, shared responsibility, individual accountability, reciprocal teaching, and jigsaw as instrumental to effective game play and engagement.

Positive Interdependence– Students were observed sharing information with one another, helping each other find items in their environments, and collectively processing information for understanding; student participants directly acknowledged that these elements contribute to a positive experience. Furthermore, students made the connection between their interdependence within the game and the idea that in their futures (in the “real world”) they are not likely to work in isolation, but rather will solve problems by working with others.

Shared Responsibility/Individual Accountability– Each student is responsible for collecting pieces of information unique to his or her role that must be shared with the team. This deliberate participatory design enforces collaboration as a necessary construct for successful completion. This creates a collaborative problem-solving environment that requires individual accountability, shared responsibility, and critical thinking. 

Figure 2: Students working collaboratively to solve a problem

Limitations associated with AR implementations:

Students reported difficulties with working in teams. In collaborative AR, students are required to consider the group before moving ahead and are unable to make decisions without input from all team members; they described this as a negative aspect of the collaborative learning experience. Additionally, students had disagreements about which items from their collection would be the most effective for the task at hand. They reported that these types of challenges generally do not arise in their typical science class, so having to work through the issues was an unusual process for them.           




For a more in-depth analysis of the affordances and limitations of Augmented Reality in education, please read the complete article from which the information above was drawn:

Dunleavy, M., Dede, C. & Mitchell, R. (2008). Affordances and limitations of immersive participatory augmented reality simulations for
teaching and learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology.