Augmented Reality

Trough of Disillusionment
UMN Assessment
Time Frame
2 to 5 Years
Last Updated on Sep 12, 2014

Sometimes referred to as Blended Reality, the NMC Higher Education Wiki describes Augmented Reality:

"The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning."

Augmented Reality applications include both real, physical world objects and virtual information overlaid on them. An application that aids a student of biology by overlaying outlines or information about anatomical structures in a dissection may be considered using AR. Such an application may need specialized hardware such as glasses to blend real and virtual images, or it may use the displays of small mobile devices (such as smartphones or tablets) to do a similar fusion.

The promise of AR applications in education include

  • Contextual, authentic learning
  • In-situ real-world learning (not textbook or lab)
  • Provides for multiple learning styles
  • Can increase engagement

AR applications may not be of use in some disciplines however, and AR may be thought of as still in very much an experimental state as a technology.

Augmented Reality at the University of Minnesota
Faculty at the University of Minnesota have been experimenting with forms of augmented reality. Eric Watkins, faculty member in Horticulture, has tried using augmented reality software (ARIS) on smartphones in horticulture courses.