top of page


  • Philip Osadebay - Tech Journalist

How Augmented Reality can increase student engagement for teachers

Augmented reality (AR) is increasingly becoming a significant aspect of our daily lives, and its potential impact on education is remarkable. In the classroom, AR technology has the ability to enrich the learning process by providing students with interactive and immersive experiences.

This enhances their understanding of complex concepts and enables them to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. By incorporating AR into education, learning becomes more accessible and engaging for all students. EdSurge recently interviewed experts in the field to explore the advantages of integrating AR in the classroom.

Differentiating Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

The term augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) often cause confusion among educators and educational researchers. Both technologies have found their way into classrooms, prompting a desire to understand their distinctions and implications for learning.

In the classroom, AR can be employed to create interactive learning experiences that supplement traditional instruction. For instance, an AR application can generate interactive 3D models of historical artefacts or scientific specimens, allowing students to learn from and explore them.

AR can also overlay digital content, such as videos or animations, onto printed textbooks, enabling students to access additional resources using their mobile devices. Spierenburg compares AR to a safety net for students, providing them with a secure space to experiment without real-world consequences.

Renee Dawson, an educational technology specialist at Atlanta Public Schools, witnesses firsthand the positive impact of AR on students. She highlights that AR engages students who are typically less engaged in traditional learning methods.

AR serves as a bridge for these students to connect with the classroom and facilitates their participation. Dawson recognizes that AR levels the playing field, offering experiences that students may not have access to due to socioeconomic or physical barriers.

AR allows students to examine objects up close and gain background knowledge on various topics, promoting deeper learning. Drawing from her 15 years of teaching experience in special education, Dawson emphasizes the equity and accessibility aspects of AR. She states that AR grants access to every student in the classroom, irrespective of their circumstances, providing a wide range of learning opportunities.

One advantage of using AR over VR in the classroom is the ease of integration. AR can be utilised with basic mobile devices like smartphones, eliminating the need for special hardware.

Effectiveness of AR Integration in the Classroom

Educators can be confident in integrating AR into their lessons if they use McGraw Hill AR, a free app developed in partnership with Verizon for the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative. The initiative aims to bridge the digital divide by providing digital skills training to 10 million students by 2030.

Each activity in the McGraw Hill AR app follows an observe-explore-evaluate approach. Students first observe a narrated animation, then engage in an interactive component where they perform actions themselves. This is followed by an evaluation section, which includes self-assessment questions aligned with standardized tests.

Expanding AR into the Humanities

While AR has predominantly been seen in math and science, the McGraw Hill program is now introducing a social studies and language arts component that integrates these two subject areas. Students can witness a reenactment from different witnesses and explore their varying perspectives. Each perspective is derived from the actual trial testimony, thereby incorporating history with language arts and reading comprehension. This integration of humanities and relevant contexts brings a new dimension to education.

Dawson also expresses excitement about the use of AR in math and science classes. She shares an example of a student who had previously struggled with solving equations but was able to balance an equation immediately using an AR scale. Many students achieve a deeper level of learning through a cross-disciplinary approach. By subtly integrating additional layers of learning, students find these experiences enjoyable and engaging.


bottom of page