Active Learning Augmented Reality for STEAM Education—A Case Study

Jesionkowska, Joanna; Wild, Fridolin and Deval, Yann (2020). Active Learning Augmented Reality for STEAM Education—A Case Study. Education Sciences, 10(8), article no. 198.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10080198

Abstract

Immersive technologies are rapidly transforming the field of education. Amongst them, Augmented Reality (AR) has shown promise as a resource, particularly for education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). There are, however, few teachers deploying this new medium in the classroom directly, and, consequently, only a few, elect students benefit from the AR-enriched offers. Curricula are already overloaded, and schools generally lack developmental resources, thus leaving no room for experimentation. This situation is further aggravated by the too few educational applications available with sufficient learning content. In this article, we investigate the method of Active Learning for the teaching of STEAM subjects, using a format where students are tasked with building an AR application as part of their learning. We evaluate the applicability of the Active Learning for STEAM subjects with a qualitative, case study approach, applying the workshop format as an extracurricular activity in our work with students from a range of secondary schools in Oxford. We discuss how the format works, so it can be embedded into regular curricula, not just as an extracurricular activity, also providing an overview on the involved teaching units and rationale. All teams in our preview audience of the case study succeeded in building working applications, several of impressive complexity. Students found that the lessons were enjoyable and AR technology can enhance their learning experience. The Active Learning method served as a catalyst for students’ skills development, with the case study providing evidence of learning to code, working with a physics simulation engine, ray-tracing, and geometry, learning how to manage teams and interact with other students/instructors, and engineering a working prototype of a game. We consequentially argue that combining the STEM subjects and the arts, using the proposed Active Learning format, is able to provide a more holistic and engaging education.

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