Several speakers highlighted the growing share of AR and VR tools and apps that teachers have at their disposal for use in the classroom. Robert Kalman, Digital Design Teacher and Tech Integrator at Eric S. Smith Middle School in Ramsey, New Jersey, shared more about why he attended the conference to lead his session “Exploring Augmented Reality in EDU.”
“Over the last couple years, the advancements with the processors in phones and tablets have made AR and VR apps much more accessible. My presentation was kind of broken down into AR consumption and AR creation. The exciting thing is that students now cannot only consume AR and VR experiences, but they can make their own using a bunch of different tools, which is cool” he said.“ That can branch into a variety of projects that bring in different content areas.”
Regarding the role that technology is playing in education, Kalman emphasized that AR and VR are not slated to replace existing teaching methods. Rather, they enhance learning already happening in the classroom by providing context for instructional content and by increasing student engagement.
“EdtechTeacher really tries to focus on not just grasping for what’s the shiny new toy, but [being] more responsible and open-minded in terms of still doing what is pedagogically sound. So, AR and VR give the opportunity for students to experience different things, whether it’s digitally seeing it, or experimenting with it in a different sort of way,” Kalman said. “Definitely the powerful thing is the engagement. If students are engaged, they’ll be more motivated and interested and put forth higher effort and it will ultimately create valuable learning experiences.”