Before reading this article, I knew that Augmented Reality (AR) can take something that you’re seeing and distort or change it through a phone, tablet, or other technological device. I also knew that there has been much research and development in this area and that it’s likely we will see it boom in the next ten years. Like many people, one of the first AR experiences I ever had was through the app SnapChat. I always found the various filters that can change the appearance of your face to be really funny, but I never actually thought it was AR or could have impacts on educational opportunities. We also learned about AR in our Visual Design and Communications class. One thing that stood out to me from that class was researching IKEA’s AR app that allows you to place furniture in your home to see if you would like it and ultimately purchase it.

One aspect of the reading that I found especially relevant to enhancing my understanding of gaming and its potential use for learning was that through AR, students can see phenomena that is impossible to view through the naked eye. The example that stood out to me the most was when students were able to see sound waves, magnetic fields, and electricity running through wires. This quite honestly blew my mind. I really wish I had something like this when I was a kid- I think being able to physically see these scientific concepts would have really engaged me and also helped me be less intimidated by them. Having the ability to see these esoteric concepts is impactful as both a learner and human being. I believe the benefits are twofold: (1) it provides various learners i.e. visual or kinesthetic the opportunity to learn concepts that may not have been as easily accessible to them in the past and (2) it allows us to really examine these processes that surround us on a daily basis and that we take for granted.

This article helped me see AR from a larger perspective and made me think about some of the ways in which it could be used in the future. I work at a hospital and I thought about AR, Virtual Reality (VR), and medical simulations. I would be interested to see from a medical student’s point of view on whether AR could help them learn concepts that are being delivered to them in medical school. I also think that AR could be used to help employees strengthen their skills in customer service and communication with both customers and coworkers. I often hear from students that going over actual or potential scenarios really helps them to learn communication skills on a deeper level. AR could provide an even more impactful educational delivery for these students.

One last thought I had about AR is how it could be used to help improve the patient experience. Going to the hospital can be scary and intimidating. The hospital could use AR to have patients see various scenarios within the hospital so that they have a better understanding of what to expect i.e. a surgical procedure. A patient could visit their surgeon before the procedure and then use AR at the outpatient office to simulate the inpatient experience. This could mentally prepare them for what they’re going to potentially encounter and hopefully minimize their anxiety. There are so many opportunities for AR and I’m excited and hopeful for all that it can bring to us as both learners and human beings.

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