How Augmented Reality Helps Put Storytelling into STEM Education

A big part of improving STEM education is finding ways to engage all types of learners.  Educators are often on the lookout for new tools that will encourage female learners to connect with subject areas that have traditionally been seen as “male”, but there are also male learners who are reluctant to venture into STEM, as well as learners with specific challenges who might benefit from a different approach.

In all of these cases, putting STEM into a different context can help, and one way to accomplish this is by including the stories behind the theory in STEM.  Knowing the who, the when, and the why, in addition to the how, can capture the interest of a variety of learners.  All of this can be supported by augmented reality apps.  Whether it’s through 3D models, audio recordings, or video clips, here are some examples of “storytelling” that can be accomplished with AR:

  • Use augmented reality to give a “before and after” view of a discovery or theory in STEM.  Use multimedia targets to give learners a general sense of progress, what used to be held as common knowledge, and the way a new development changed how people thought and lived.
  • Provide augmented reality resources about the people who made discoveries and constructed theories, and the challenges they encountered.  This is particularly important when providing examples of famous women in STEM.
  • Give examples of the practical uses of a theory or discovery, such as links to people who use it in their career and their everyday lives.
  • Use augmented reality to demonstrate the impact something has had on society, not just in one’s own corner of the world, but internationally.
  • Augmented reality can be used to provide examples of STEM’s appearance in the news, and popular media.  Even fictional accounts of STEM can be engaging and useful.
  • There are lots of opportunities for students themselves to tell STEM stories using AR as well.  The right tools will allow them to demonstrate learning by finding and sharing examples that are meaningful to them.

Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education and Communications Manager at Infinite Octopus.

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