Lessons Learned about Designing Augmented Realities

Lessons Learned about Designing Augmented Realities

Patrick O’Shea (Harvard University, USA), Rebecca Mitchell (Harvard University, USA), Catherine Johnston (Harvard University, USA) and Chris Dede (Harvard University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009010101
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While utilizing GPS-enabled handheld computing units, we have developed and studied augmented reality (AR) curricula to help middle school students learn literacy and math. In AR, students move around an outdoor physical environment, interacting with virtual characters and artifacts on their handheld computer. These invisible objects and characters provide clues to help solve a mystery, guiding the students through a process of inquiry and evidence building. The first AR curriculum we developed, Alien Contact! is based on a scenario where aliens have crash landed near the students’ middle school. Students, working in teams, learn math and literacy skills in the course of determining why the aliens have come to earth. This study describes the design heuristics used during the initial development and deployment of Alien Contact!, the results of two formative evaluations of this curriculum, and the impact these findings have had on revising our design heuristics for a subsequent AR curriculum about beached whales, called Gray Anatomy.

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