Sunday, December 03, 2006

Augmented Reality

I've been fascinated by developments in virtual reality for some time. I've participated in any game-type exercises I could find (some exciting while others all-hype and no substance). I've also had the pleasure of meeting and discussing developing projects by the Boston Computer User's Virtual Reality Group. Virtual reality's impact on education has been saddly limited (although the possibilities are vast). One well-known application is Chris Dede's River City (his work with MUVEs in education).

More sites and information compiled here.

Enter augmented reality! We've seen it on car commercials and in kids' movies. Can it really work its way into education? This youtube clip of a demo by D'Fusion at a 2004 conference certainly is impressive.

Now, Nokia researchers are working on a system called Mobile Augmented Reality Applications (MARA) that allows physical objects to be identified and connected to the internet through mobile-phone screens. For a review of this technology, take a look at this recent article by Kate Greene in MIT's Technology Review. As this type of technology becomes a part of our everyday lives, how can we ban it in schools instead of embracing its opportunities in teaching and learning?

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