The limits of augmented reality in education

Highly relevant, augmented reality technology serves the education community well, but is not yet perfect. Here are some limitations.

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Highly relevant, augmented reality technology serves the education community, but is not yet perfect.


Embryonic and sometimes expensive technology

Rudimentary in some respects, the hardware and interfaces used in augmented reality have technological and ergonomic limits that affect their handling.

Certain difficulties encountered in a learning context are indeed difficult to anticipate. When using mobile devices outdoors, for example, the quality of the image observed by the student may be affected by the glare of the sun or the temperature. In addition, the energy consumption of certain applications is high and geolocation is not always perfectly precise.

Purchased at a high price in some cases, mobile devices and their complementary tools are not easily accessible to everyone. Schools are therefore reluctant to obtain them in large quantities because of the purchase and maintenance costs. This reluctance thus indirectly slows down designers' ambitions to develop further. Probably for this reason, few tools, augmented books or serious games are available in the French language. At the moment, the vast majority are available in English.


Metadata management

Managing personal location data and saving them is also an issue. Cloud-based, they become easily accessible if they are not secure, especially when used in public places.


Knowledge and skills of education stakeholders

Knowledge and skills are needed to produce and optimally use technology such as augmented reality for educational purposes.

Research must therefore continue in order to develop applications of augmented reality specific to education as well as to determine how to implement them in the classroom. Indeed, the contribution of these activities must be significant in the learning of the pupils and must go beyond the attraction of the novelty.

However, it is sometimes difficult to bring together actors who master both the technical knowledge to create and deploy augmented reality models as the knowledge and skills for learning and educational design. Under the circumstances, would it be preferable to train teachers in these technologies? Should we work on simplifying tools and applications? At the current stage of development, several facilitators are necessary to adequately implement augmented reality and thus minimize technical problems.


Little-known real impacts on education

Research on augmented reality in education remains a relatively recent practice and scientific literature and objective studies are rather scarce. Describing and explaining the phenomenon, studies pay little attention to norms and standards.

Thus, although students seem to be interested in this phenomenon, it is still too early to measure its real impact on learning. The playful and entertaining aspect certainly piques the interest of users, but it is difficult to determine if they are more interested in technology and entertainment than in learning. If this is the case, the objective is not reached and conclusions about their educational impact cannot be drawn.


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About the Author

Felipe Antaya
Felipe Antaya
Pursuing studies in educational technology, Felipe Antaya has worked for several years in the field of education at the secondary and college level. Holder of a master's degree in Quebec studies and a bachelor's degree in philosophy, he has also worked in the field of written media.

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