Through the Looking Glass: the 21st Century AR Classroom

Well, this is the week of the school year that we administer the state tests. Because of that I have to hide/remove many of the paper Augmented Reality Triggers that decorate my classroom walls because they are rich with knowledge. As I was looking at my classroom today I was inspired to see how the collection of Augmented Reality triggers had taken over the physical space so it inspired me to take a panoramic shot with my iPhone.

21st Century vs. 20th Century classroom
Once I looked at the panoramic footage I was overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas so I had to blog. While there are still many traditional 20th learning objects in my classroom(I teach in a public school) chairs and desks etc. — these objects fade into the facade in the panoramic photo. What catches the eye is the large number of AR triggers that litter the walls of my learning space. What is wonderful is that each piece of paper on the wall is a separate bundle of knowledge which tells its own AR story.

Four Big Ideas of AR
AR Researcher Helen Papagiannis once spoke in a TED talk about the four phases of wonderment that frame the Augmented Reality experience: delight, curiosity, inquiry, and action. This is related to the student behavior in my room. Augmented reality “triggers” high levels of engagement. The technology is what Dr. Ruben Puentedura would call a “curiosity amplifier”. The AR technology piques student interest which drives them to a course of action: to get up out of their seats, scanning the AR content, and actively engaging in the tasks of their 21st century learning environment.

As Christopher Dede notes from his perspective at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “You can’t just sprinkle 21st century skills on the 20th century doughnut.”  I think we threw the doughnut out the window.


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