Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. - Oxford English Dictionary
AR technologies are rapidly developing and are emerging in multiple industries. AR uses apps on your smart phone or tablet. Using your camera, the app recognises certain signals like an image or QR code and presents you with a 3D image/animation. One famous app that uses this technology is Pokemon Go. The pokemon appear as computer generated animations on your screen while the background is the real world around you.
Companies are jumping on board to help develop AR for multiple industries, this includes STEM education. There is an endless list of free and paid apps that can be downloaded to help in any disciplines, but below are just a few that are my favourite.
Quiver is a free downloaded app. They have limited range in terms of educational STEM topics, but there are some downloads available below that you can print, colour in, than scan using the app. The app will produce a 3D image of the page you have coloured in.
Atom AR and RappChemistry
Download and print the atom flash cards which can be found below. These apps recognise and present 3D representations of the atoms. When you push some of the atoms together within the same screen, they can turn into molecules.
Star Walk 2 - https://starwalk.space/en
Space walk is a fantastic app that lets you observe our skies simply by moving the phone around. This is a great way to introduce space topics. It is a free app, but can be upgraded to show more.
AR Kids/Virtual Teacher: http://arkids.cards/en
This company has developed AR apps for multiple STEM disciplines including mathematics, physics, anatomy, programming and geography. Although the apps are free to download, their flash cards to scan come at a cost through their website (a small fee though).
Also try: https://www.zappar.com/
There are many, many, many more AR apps that are being developed to suit not only STEM needs, but every aspect of education. It simply takes the patience to shift through the app store to see what is valuable to you.
AR could be a simple solution for schools who don't have the budget to buy physical resources for students, instead having students engage through a 3D model on their tablet. Both teachers and students find these softwares encourage learners engage in subject matter in new and fun way (Kaufmann and Schmalstieg, 2002)(Martin-Gutierrez et al., 2012).
The curriculum can be linked to any discipline you choose to take the app in.
The following is listed for the above apps.
The Universe contains features including galaxies, stars and solar systems; the Big Bang theory can be used to explain the origin of the Universe (VCSSU129)
All matter is made of atoms which are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons; natural radioactivity arises from the decay of nuclei in atoms (VCSSU122)
Cells are the basic units of living things and have specialised structures and functions (VCSSU092)
Simplify algebraic expressions involving the four operations (VCMNA281)
Examine the main components of common digital systems, and how such digital systems may connect together to form networks to transmit data (VCDTDS026)
Check out this great video
KAUFMANN, H. & SCHMALSTIEG, D. Mathematics and geometry education with collaborative augmented reality. ACM SIGGRAPH 2002 conference abstracts and applications, 2002. 37-41.
MARTIN-GUTIERREZ, J., GUINTERS, E., PEREZ-LOPEZ, D. J. P.-S. & SCIENCES, B. 2012. Improving strategy of self-learning in engineering: laboratories with augmented reality. 51,832-839.
Images from: zappar.com/