Higher Education Teaching and Learning With Augmented Reality

Higher Education Teaching and Learning With Augmented Reality

Janet L. Holland (Emporia State University, USA), Sungwoong Lee (University of West Georgia, USA), Mohammad Daouk (Cerner Corporation, USA) and Daniel A. Agbaji (Emporia State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0119-1.ch013
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This chapter is based on a review of the literature, initial lab examinations, and experiences teaching university undergraduate pre-service teachers and master degree students in Instructional Design and Technology. The authors analyzed the literature, benefits, drawbacks, experiences, and educational implications of integrating augmented reality in higher education to prepare students for eventual workplace success. Using augmented reality, three-dimensional interactive digital imaging provides an immersive, engaging learning environment to interact with content in new ways not previously possible. The 3D models can impart significant content information by viewing digital objects from any angle, sometimes peeling back the layers, all in real time. In addition, they consider the educational implications for integrating and evaluating augmented reality.
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Augmented Reality (AR) provides the simultaneous interaction between the real authentic environment and a three-dimensional digital overlay of hologram objects in real time. The digital objects can be manipulated by expanding the size of the object, changing the position or location, and viewing it from any angle above, below, or 360 degrees around it.

A study by Yilmaz and Batdi (2016) found augmented reality can be used in a systematic way in order to create fruitful learning environments for increasing academic success. This can be applied to all educational levels. The researchers found augmented reality “has a positive effect on social, cognitive and emotional improvement and it makes the learning environment more realistic” (Yilmaz & Batdi, 2016, p. 273). Augmented reality provides a new type of learning environment. It is one where students with low success rates can learn more efficiently by increasing attention and gaining the ability to materialize abstract concepts for easier comprehension (Cai, Wang, & Chiang, 2014). Augmented reality can be used to create new original 3D digital hologram objects directed towards the desired subject of interest. After creation, the objects can be placed in a real authentic environment to interact with. It “allows us to perceive whole new parts of the world” (Liberati, p. 27, 2016).

The studies mentioned above are more true today as many small public and private universities are dealing with constantly eroding budgets, forcing faculty researchers to look for connections with industry for multiple reasons. One, faculty are more likely to be able to acquire grants both internally and externally if we can find a use for our research in a business or industry setting. Also, in the constant competition to attract the attention of new students to our programs there is a strong underlying demand for the education we provide to connect to the real world as we have to prove to students they can get jobs after obtaining their education from our institutions. Therefore, discussions of industrial connections are included, first:

Augmented reality has roots as far back as 1968 with Ivan Sutherland who developed the first head mounted display (Augment News, 2016). AR technology has continued to grow and evolve in stages ever since. Each new technology development has contributed to the current form we have today. We are really still in the infancy of AR start-ups with both successes and failures. To date, the high-end augmented reality used in universities tends to be Microsoft HoloLens ®™.

Later on, Ronald Azuma is credited with defining augmented reality in 1997 as “AR allows the user to see the real world with virtual objects superimposed or composited with the real world. Therefore, AR supplements reality, rather than completely replacing it” (Azuma, 1997, p. 2). It combines the real world, with the virtual world, appearing as three dimensional objects in real time.

In AR, the 3D objects viewed can be defined and driven by the user. The personalized content selected for viewing can relate to the individuals’ area of interest. The objects can be retrieved and examined from pre-made three-dimensional models. Alternatively, objects can be modified from basic shapes provided in some programs, existing code can be modified, or original code can be written to create completely new original 3D objects with some 3D objects offered for free. Highly complex layered 3D objects can take a great deal of time to create, as a result are very expensive to buy. One example is in the medical field where highly granular quality detail is needed, the cost can be extremely high.

When wearing the AR head gear, it has a clear shield to be able to view in the actual environment. After opening the 3D object, it appears as being layered on top of the actual environment. The viewer can walk around the object to look under and over it, and sometimes even look inside of the object depending on how the object was built. The Meta headset has been designed with haptic hand gesture control over the 3D objects. Using Meta one can grab the object using the fist, then drag to move the item to the desired location or resize the object. Augmented reality is truly a new way to see the world through digital enhancement. An excellent goal for augmented reality will be to focus on “delivering a meaningful and compelling experience that enhances your reality” (Papagiannis, 2017, p. 4).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Augmented Reality (AR): The augmented reality technology provides the simultaneous interaction between the real authentic environment and a three-dimensional digital overlay of objects in real time.

Toolkit: A set of software tools enabling specific functions on a platform. For example, ARKit is a toolkit enabling AR functions for apps running on the iOS platform.

Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM): A system originating from robotics and computer vision, SLAM is the procedure by which a computer scans an environment and constructs a digital map of the area. This has become a standard for anchoring augmented reality content within the real world physical spaces. This is the process ARKit apps undertake to detect surfaces.

Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) Tracking: In AR and VR, 6DoF describes the range of motion a head-mounted display allowing users to move on an axis in relation to virtual content in a scene. The three degrees refer to the motion of the user's head—left and right (yaw), backwards and forwards (pitch), and circular (roll)—Applying these concepts to augmented reality three pertain to the movement within the space—left and right, backwards and forwards, and up and down.

Heads Up Display (HUD): The Heads-Up Display (HUD) is a technology allowing a computer-produced diagram object to be superimposed and stabilized on a specific position on a real-world object.

Visual-Inertial Odometry (VIO): Pairs a camera and inertia sensors in a device to estimate its position and orientation.

Optical Engine: This refers to a component in a head-mounted device generating visual content for the user. An optical engine includes the device's GPU, light-generating, and mirroring elements, all connected to a CPU and interface for input, and a transparent display for output.

Head Mounted Displays (HMD): Augmented reality is a method of digital projection happening inside a Head Mounted Display (HMD), generally in the form of goggles, glasses, or a specialized visor.

Platform: The platform is a major software environment where smaller applications run.

Extended Reality (XR): It is a term referring to both augmented and virtual reality. The X represents the computer-assisted visual modification to reality.

Virtual Reality (VR): The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment with simulated objects. The virtual reality replaces the user’s view of the physical environment with a virtual environment interacted with by a person using an electronic helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with haptic sensors and includes audio.

Waveguide Displays: They are transparent displays through which digital content is projected for users to see in their field of view.

Light Field: It enables objects to be displayed at varying focal planes, allowing for the illusion of depth in an augmented reality experience.

MeSH: A web of identified points in space and lines drawn between them representing a computer's raw view of the three-dimensional space. This is commonly seen in the HoloLens when an application is mapping its environment, or when viewing layers of a 3D model.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): It is a self-contained system measuring linear and angular motion usually with a variety of gyroscopes and accelerometers.

Hologram: An augmented reality 3D hologram object is placed into the real learning environment. It is formed using light projection on a transparent display to interact with it.

Tracking: In augmented reality, tracking is the method by which a computer anchors content to a fixed point in space, allowing users to walk and/or look around it, as defined by the degrees of freedom allowed by the display device. In marker-based tracking, computers recognize a two-dimensional image or code on which it anchors the content. In marker-less tracking, the computer uses some other mapping techniques (usually SLAM) to determine a surface to anchor content.

GL Transmission Format (gITF): It is a free format for exporting 3D models and scenes from one program and importing them into an application to view in augmented or virtual reality.

Field of View (FOV): The Field of View is the visual area where users can see virtual content in an augmented reality headset. It is also known as “FoV,” a measurement of the angle formed by the distance from the user to a fixed point in space and the bounds of vision to the left and right of that point.

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