Because mobile applications using augmented reality are relatively new, there has been less research done in this area compared to augmented reality that involves the use of wearable computers and goggles.

Augmented Reality and Gaming


Considerable research has been done on the use of augmented reality games particularly by '''MIT''' researcher '''Eric Klopfer''' and the Scheller Teacher Education Program. Their program has been creating simulation games that combine real-world experience augmented by handheld computers. The simulations give participants authentic experiences that enhance complex problem solving skills in sciences and humanities, math and language. Their games include Environmental Detectives, Mystery at MIT (a game about environmental health) and TimeLab, a game about impact of climate change.

In the 2008 book ''Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games'', Eric Klopfer explores past and present educational technology. He looks specifically at case studies of mobile educational games and their ability to augment reality. From his experiences with mobile gaming, he concludes that the real world context and social dynamics of these augmented reality applications have the potential to develop 21st century skills in today's students.

Chris Dede a professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has done extensive research in emerging technologies, policy, and leadership. Specifically he has studied immersive and semi-immersive simulations and their relation to student engagement, learning, and assessment. In his article "Immersive Interfaces for Engagement and Learning", he explains how augmented reality allows users to be immersed in realistic experiences. He believes that the more immersive the experience, the more a person suspends her/his disbelief and feels a part of the experience. According to Dede, AR can enhance education in three ways,''"by allowing multiple perspectives, situated learning, and transfer."''[http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/323/5910/66]

Building on previous work Schmalstieg and Wagner in 2007 developed a handheld augmented reality application called Studierstube ES. They created two location-based museum games that were used and evaluated. They found that users readily accepted the games and showed high motivation. The reactions to the AR experience were very positive. Students wanted more handhelds, more action and longer messages to decode. The users rated the experience as highly motivating. Students also liked the collaborative aspects. Students readily formed groups and when not everyone had a device, they shared the handheld device. [http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1514382]

In 2009 researchers Morrison, Oulasvirta, Peltonen, Lemmela, Jacucci, Reitmayr, Nasanen & Juustila in Helsinki investigated the differences between playing a location-based game using either a 2D map or an augmented reality application MapLens. Their research showed that the augmented reality application allowed users to find common ground, invited discussion, negotiation and improved problem solving. Players of the game are required to collaborate and negotiate multi-level tasks. The researchers collected multiple types of data: video recordings, field notes, log notes, interviews and questionnaires. The main difference they found between the 2D map and the AR system was that the 2D map seemed to result in more solitary problem-solving; whereas, the AR MapLens system resulted in more collaborative problem solving. The paper's name reflects the result of the AR experience: '''''Like bees around the hive:''' a comparative study of a mobile augmented reality map.'' [http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1518991]

Augmented Reality in Sciences and Math


In 2003 Kaufmann and Schmalstieg in the study ''Mathematics and Geometry Education with Collaborative Augmented Reality'', investigated how an AR system called Studierstube improved spatial abilities and transfer of learning of math and geometric objects. They suggest that the system encouraged experimentation and improved spatial skills.[http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1242086]

Maier, Klinker and Tonnis in 2009 studied how an AR tool they developed called Augmented Chemical Reactions could aid students learning and understanding chemistry. They found that the system allowed students to inspect molecules from multiple viewpoints, and also allowed students to control the interaction of molecules. They believe that the system could increase the understanding of chemistry and decrease a student's fears. (Maier, et al. 2009, Augmented Reality for Teaching Spatial Relations)

Augmented Reality Books


Martin-Gutierrez, Saorin, Contero, Alcaniz, Perez-Lopez & Ortega in 2010 in their paper ''Education: Design and Validation of an Augmented Book for Spatial Abilities in Engineering Students'', looked at how an augmented book called AR-Dehaes helped students visualize and perform spatial engineering tasks. Their study looked at the effect of the experience on 24 freshman university students. The experience required only the book a computer and a webcam. The researchers found that students found the experience easy to use and useful. The training had a measurable and positive impact on student's spatial ability.[http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1715933.1716057]

Albertina Dias also studied the use of an augmented book. Her 2009 research looked at the use of the miBook that uses augmented reality interfaces. According to Dias, the AR book presented a rich user experience that enhanced the learning experience. In a preliminary evaluation with five adults she found the book's features impact learning in these ways:
  1. Adding visualization to a standard textbook will enhance its value as an educational material.
  2. The visualized text is easier to understand and thus learning process will be fostered.
  3. Audio-visual content is more attractive than standard text books.
  4. Adding visualization features to a standard text book creates a new media concept and possibilities, resulting in completely new educational instruments.
  5. A very intuitive and easy to use authoring tool will allow for creativity during educational material preparation. [http://revistas.ulusofona.pt/index.php/iber/article/view/862]

In a 20 minute interview Don Marinelli of the Entertainment Technology Center makes a plea for reform in classrooms. He asks, "How can we get students to think outside the box when we put them inside a box." The interview deals not only with the bricks and mortar of classrooms but also with the use of technology. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDYcsjIyP54 Don Marinelli of the Entertainment Technology Center]



Next Up: Criticisms of Augmented Reality