“ARious arouses the spirit of inquiry of your curious child to explore Science by immersing her/him into a wonderful and unseen world of science using the capabilities of augmented reality.” “Realistic and highly interactive 3D models, placed right in front of them, motivates to explore the AR scene in detail. Thus, ARious creates a possibility for your child to participate in cycles of scientific thinking. It helps in developing observational skills and ignite construction of plausible explanation”.
It might come as a surprise to many that the concept of merging the physical world with digital elements has fascinated humans for over a century. Perhaps the first mention of a device capable of overlaying virtual information into the real world was made by author L. Frank Baum. What he imagined was fascinatingly akin to a modern-day Augmented Reality (AR) eye wear. However, it was only in the early 1990s, preceded by years of research and development in the field, that the actual term Augmented Reality came to be first used.
The 90s was also the decade when some of the more interesting developments in the field of AR took place. However, these developments were mostly restricted to universities and research labs. Recent advancements, on the other hand, have finally brought AR technology into the hands of consumers, thanks to powerful and common hand-held hardware, namely smartphones.
The State of Augmented Reality Today
AR technology is at last seeing widespread use. Hardware such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and developer tools like Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore are helping companies and individual innovators bring AR experiences to the mainstream. Today, smartphone-based AR, the most popular and widely accessible form of the technology is more commonly used for entertainment purposes, games, communication (Apple Animojis) and other casual activities.
That is not criticism. Making technology fun and entertaining actually helps with widespread adoption. And this leads the way towards more meaningful uses. In fact, it is the fun aspect of AR technology that is moulding it into a perfect education tool. AR based education has finally arrived in the form that is practical and universally accessible.
ARious – The Future of Learning
Humans start learning from the time they are born. Primarily, this happens through interaction with physical objects in our surrounding. It is the curiosity to explore that drives their motivation. As babies, humans learn the most basic aspects of life and arguably some of the most important ones, through touch and sight. This is the most fundamental form of learning and also the most effective. On the contrary, as we grow older and start to explore and try to learn increasingly complex things, we are restricted by our current methods of learning.
It is this aspect of learning that ARious is looking to make a difference in. The name ARious signifies Augmented Reality (AR) for curious minds. More specifically ARious aims to open up a curious child to Explore, Excite and Engage (E3). These things can be achieved by Anyone, Anywhere and Anytime (A3) leveraging Life-long Learning (L3).
ARious focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and is available on
Bringing the Advantages of AR Aided Education to the Masses through ARious
ARious was developed with a strong belief that when learning takes a leap beyond conventional methods like reading a book or listening to a lecture, it can revolutionize education, paving the way for tomorrow’s problem solvers and critical thinkers.
- Takes learning back to the basics: AR education takes you back to the most basic (and effective) way of learning, which is through visual experience. Exploring complex science concepts and principles through 3D models gives lise to new perspective, critical for understanding abstract topics and matters that are hard to visualize.
Learning about the intricate structures of a DNA is a basic, but excellent example. Let us compare reading about DNA structures or even watching a video against exploring it intimately using an AR tool such as ARious. While simply reading and looking at a 2D image of a DNA still gives you a decent understanding, watching a video makes the concept clearer. AR takes it one step further by allowing you to interact with a virtual 3D model. A three-dimensional interaction such as this not only enables better understanding of a concept, but also improves information retention by reducing the cognitive load in learning.
- Makes learning a fun activity: The idea behind gamification of education is to make learning an enjoyable activity that students are automatically motivated to take part in as opposed to traditional learning session that might come across as a chore. AR provides for countless ways in which gamification elements can be added as well either in the form of progress points or level advancements. Rewards are great motivators. ARious changes the role of students from being mere observers and listeners to participants who can take active part in the learning through interaction with virtual objects.
- Lets you tell stories that come alive: From experiencing the life cycle of a butterfly to watching a fruit grow from a flower, nature is full of wonderful stories, which are best explored through interactive experiences only AR can offer. ARious uses state-of-the-art interactive timelines to explore beautiful natural processes and tell stories that not only capture the attention of learners, but imparts knowledge in a much effective manner.
- Reduces the learning curve: Irrespective of the complexity of a concept, one can learn and understand topics with greater efficiency through 3D visualizations and interactive virtual objects.
A simple way to understand this would be to imagine trying to memorize the shortest way from home to your workplace. The most inefficient way to do this would be to read the route and try to remember every turn and road names. Using a map to do the same is a lot more efficient. But you best recall the route only when you travel on it because you experience it first-hand. It is this aspect of AR that ARious takes advantage of to make learning more efficient.
- Enhances collaborative learning: Learning is enjoyable and simply better when you can do it as part of a group. ARious makes this possible through shared AR experiences. Whether it is assembling a virtual engine using virtual parts along with your friends or figuring out a way to solve a virtual puzzle through teamwork, ARious opens up endless possibilities for collaborative learning.
- Gives a new perspective: Interactions with virtual 3D objects enable users to look at things differently and understand concepts with a different approach. This change in approach can trigger a scientific method of inquiry that is useful for learning.
- Changes the way students study at home: Studying at home can be made easier with ARious, thanks to 3D visualized topics, which make revising topics learnt earlier at school a breeze. Homework will never be the same when students have the support of ARious. Assignments can take advantage of AR enabled worksheets that come to life when a smartphone is pointed at them. ARious can make studying at home an engaging experience for students rather than a tedious task.
Designed for the Development of STEM education
Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics or STEM education is important for the development of our society. As a result, modern education policy and curriculum is designed to accommodate the development of STEM knowledge.
For educators imparting STEM education making everyone understand concepts equally well is a constant challenge. Examination systems that focus on scoring rather than an evaluating the understanding of a concept add to this problem because a lot of students resort to rote learning. ARious aims to remedy this shortcoming of modern education by kindling natural curiosity of a child to explore through deliberately designed AR courses aimed specifically to make STEM education fun and easier.
“STEM education is conducive to the development of 21st century skills. And we truly believe that when a curious child is given the opportunity to explore, becomes a vital key for thinking critically and creatively – a need for next generation humanity. If learning is assessed through high-stake examinations, students who do not understand may resort to rote learning. Hence, their curiosity to recognize patterns and understand cause-effect relationships in natural phenomena remains unsatisfied. The “ARious” app attempts to deal with this genuine problem in science education by providing a platform for interaction, exploration and collaboration. Students have been found to engage with ARious enthusiastically and understand scientific concepts effectively.”
Overcoming the Barrier of Educational Budget Restrictions
While several different factors affect the quality of education, money is one factor that universally has a direct relation to education. Higher budgets enable educators to improve the quality of education and a lack of it has a negative effect. Adoption of an AR education tool like ARious changes the equation dramatically. With ARious, institutions can offer students the benefits of better educational infrastructure and tools without the additional costs involved in setting up the said infrastructure.
For instance, classrooms can teach about the solar system using virtual 3D models, which every child can have access to, instead of using actual physical models. The only investment required would be the AR hardware (tablets or smartphones) and the AR software such as ARious, which will also take the place of any other physical model otherwise required. This not only saves money but also makes sense from a practical standpoint.
The ease of accessibility, owing to the near ubiquitous presence of smartphones and with the arrival of AR glasses, providing virtually endless improvement potential in every aspect of education will bring about dramatic change in the way teaching is done. Given the speed of advancements in AR, if stakeholders of education have not started embracing the technology it may place them at a dramatic disadvantage even a few years down the road.