University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Exploring Augmented Realities

On 05 June 2010 the University of Minnesota’s Leapfrog Institutes initiated an exploration of Augmented Realities (AR) with the help of a number of professionals, including doctoral students, the editor of a major education futures journal, and a number of established education and media professionals.

What is AR? 

AR provides immediate visual and aural “overlay” information about objects and situations digitally encountered by individuals in formal, informal, and non-formal learning situations.

AR can provide descriptions and analyses of objects, updated forecasts, immediate language translations, international information, and much, much more.

This means that cameras and other optical devices can can automatically supply information about any object in their fields (e.g., buildings, planets, and individual human beings).  Such information may be historical and contemporary, or it can project a variety of alternative futures for targeted objects.

Our exploration began by focusing on the ancient history of AR in the human cultural context (e.g., projections of spirits, gods, forces, etc.), and moved to alternative futures for AR software that is currently embedded in computers, cameras, binoculars, and cell phones.  

We asked: 

  • How will AR help to merge enhanced realities with “real” ones?
  • What are the learning implications of augmented realities?
  • Will the short term implications mean that most augmented reality capabilities will occur at the fringes of “official” education?
  • Will the longer-term AR implications push us toward individualized learning paradigms by creating “on-demand” and “automatic” reality enhancements, anywhere, anytime, and any place?
  • How might AR supplement or replace the Western model of formal education that has persisted for over 2000 years?
  • What can be the professional and learning benefits to you while you explore augmented realities on your own terms?

Our three-hour discussion was energetic, practical, heady, and at times emotional, particularly as we considered the effects AR might have upon contemporary institutions, societies, and teaching/learning systems.

We will provide videos, text, and other results of our work over this summer.  We invite your participation in this and later phases of our exciting explorations into augmented realities.

Arthur Harkins, Ph.D., Leapfrog Institutes

1 Comment

  1. What is graphene says:

    Augmented reality is definitely here to stay. . . When eyeware becomes fully available for your mobile devise we are going to see Augmented reality fly at a pace beyond all other technologies.

    “As advances in technology continue, and we see an increase in smaller, more powerful devices, the barrier between man and machine via Augmented Reality via our iPhone , or Virtual Reality is not as farfetched as it was”

    The next big step in all this technology is going to be eyeware. We are all going to know almost everything about each other just from a glance. . . I don’t know if its going to be a great thing or a very bad thing???

    We are currently looking into the application of graphene into the eyeware and are seeing some exciting things for the future.

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