Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Augmenting High School

As I see more and more Augmented Reality being used in the classrooms, I am surprised how little I see it in the high school.  Most of the apps and such are designed for younger learners.  I've seen the power of this technology in a high school classroom, and I want to see used more!

Why should we see more Augmented Reality in high schools?

1.  High school students want to be engaged.

There have been blog posts and articles written about following a high school student for a day.  The bloggers comment on how little the students moved or interacted with other students.  Their day is filled with a lot of sitting and getting.  I know this is the case in my class some days as well.  High school teachers believe the information we are giving is so important that the students need to get it from us first hand.  Giving the students interactive lessons creates a more engaged classroom which, in turns, creates more retention of material.  I have seen this first hand as my students did significantly better recognizing population pyramids using an AR lesson than students in the past that did the same lesson without the Augmented Reality.  The students want engagement.

I have found this even more true with my standard World Cultural Geography course.  These students, for the most part, are not in many honors classes.  They feel all the cool applications and technology in education are saved for those students in Honors or AP classes.  So, when I introduced some basic augmented reality lessons in that class, the engagement increased dramatically, any discipline problems were non-existent on those days, and they didn't want to leave because they weren't finished!  It has changed that class in amazing ways for me.  I look for ways to incorporate the technology in meaningful ways in my geography classes all the time now.

2,  High school students feel all fun is out of learning.

Augmented Reality is "fun" to the students.  They love using their phones in the classroom for true educational learning.  The enjoy the excitement that comes with using Augmented Reality.  One of the government teachers on campus did a lesson using Augmented Reality.  I talked with one of the students, a senior, about the lesson.  He said it was a lot more engaging and fun (his word, not mine) than the usual lessons.  It takes a lot to impress a senior in their last semester of high school, but Augmented Reality did that!  He had fun that day in class.  Our English teacher created a lesson, and after using it in class one day, a student tweeted out the experience because it said it was the coolest thing he'd ever done in an English class!

3.  High school students love to create their own Augmented experiences.

What I've found most exciting is getting my students creating content.  We all know that when a students creates something, they are learning more than just sitting and listening.  When I had my students first create their experiences, they were thrilled (and surprised) with how easy it was to create something that looked so difficult to create.  Many of them loved creating augmented experiences, and have continued to do so for other projects in other classes.  They know are looking for ways to incorporate this technology in all aspects of their education.

High school teachers, please consider using augmented reality in your classroom.  It will radically change your classroom and your students.  It is worth the time and effort.