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BETT 2020 - Can AR help ‘Unlock Potential’ of future genARations?

March 3, 2020
min read

Following a very successful showing a BETT 2020 this year for Konica Minolta and genARate its time for reflection… how applicable is Augmented Reality in Education and can it be a tool to help ‘unlock the potential’ of future genARations

Over the 4 day event I had exactly 141 conversations with educators, education tool providers, students and marketers. Unless my math is incorrect, that on average is 12 minutes per conversation… yes that’s 12 minutes of an individual’s attention in what is, in reality, a sales scenario. This of course is a result of multiple impacting factors, including, an awesome stand and a great sales team. But most importantly, it is down to the wow factor of Augmented Reality and its ability to spark curiosity in the passer by. 

Pricing, Pricing, Pricing
… one thing I personally (and wrongly) dismiss on occasions is the fact that Augmented Reality is still a new and emerging technology. Yes, people generally will have seen Pokemon GO and the Burger King advert on social media but they haven’t necessarily seen anything applicable to the education space that would actually benefit the education of a student. This is because there aren’t many use cases in practise and the value of Augmented Reality is yet to be fully realised as a learning tool.

The entry point has to be low to gain adoption and we have to remember that first and foremost, new education tools affect the teacher first. Schools aren’t only investing financially, they are investing the time of their teachers to incorporate the tool into their classes. As a relatively un-tested tool in the education space, education establishments won’t make the leap on the whole if the up-front cost is too high.

Next up is Use Cases that are both easy to create for the teachers and are beneficial to the students, we have to remember that said students will most likely not be wowed by Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality use cases have to cover one of three following components with value as the underpinning factor:

  • Learn, duh!? Focus here is on the education of current and future generations and the role Augmented Reality plays. This for me is something that you don’t really see advertised as a component of Augmented Reality, but in the education space is most important. Triggering a 3D elephant is good, but not good enough, the 3D elephant has to be accompanied by further interaction, for example, links to elephant facts followed by a trivia section where the input is trackable for a teacher. Use cases in a learning environment cannot be ‘one-off’ experiences, they have to be sustainable and easily developed.
  • Engage, the most popular type of Augmented Reality use case to date. Augmented Reality can be a tool to engage users in new and innovative ways, like for example the Burger King advert. Of course Burger King is not applicable here but the same principle applies, students need to be engaged in their learning and with their topics. 
  • Acquire, more so applicable for higher education establishments, Augmented Reality is the prefect marketing tool when reaching out to potential new students. In January 2020, Kirklees College, a genARate user augmented all of their physical add campaigns and here is what Emma Holmes from the college had to say “We are the first college in the Kirklees area to use this technology in our course guide and we have had a great response to it. Many young people already use Augmented Reality in other areas of their life so found it very easy to use to find out more information on Kirklees College. We are definitely planning on using this technology in other areas around the college.”

Another key takeaway is Usability for the teachers and/or students. Teachers are already very busy and have limited resources, they don’t have time to be experts in a new tool. Investment should only be made in a product that is very simple to use and easy to incorporate into existing curriculum.
Can Augmented Reality be a tool used to help ‘unlock the potential’ of the future? Yes it can, providing the entry point is right for the educational facility, the use cases ate sustainable and the Augmented Reality tool is easily adoptable by teachers and students.

If you didn’t make BETT and would like to see our Augmented Reality use cases in action, please get in touch with us.

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