What skills and concepts do today’s software design students need? What is the best way for them to develop these and how can their learning be supported most effectively?
These questions are of crucial importance to Barry Spencer, Computing and IT tutor at Bromley College. Some of his innovative approaches were showcased at a recent open day. I was delighted to be invited in to take a closer look.
Learning and Teaching
Barry, who teaches students computer programming using the ‘C’ language, showed me some quick reference revision cards that he is trialling with Level 3 and 4 students. These laminated cards come in two sizes: credit card sized and pocket sized. They are printed with summary information about fundamental concepts, such as ‘C’ function types and each has a distinctive heading. However, there is more to these cards than first meets the eye… Whilst the printed material is useful in itself, students with Aurasma app installed on their mobile device can watch the content come to life, line by line, through an augmented reality video. This adds an engaging and enriching dimension, providing deeper engagement with the content. The portable format enables learners to access the revision material in short bursts of time whenever they like. Students can reinforce their learning on the move or other short periods, outside any dedicated ‘desk time’ used for their learning. Building on the experience with the revision cards, Barry is now introducing AR triggers into his lecture note handouts. Whilst all the concepts are covered in the notes, students can use the AR application to view related videos that further elaborate on the topic, developing the same ideas in different ways.
In addition to using AR for teaching, Barry is also helping Bromley introduce AR elements into their new brochure. They are hoping to draw in potential students with a more dynamic and engaging presentation than is possible in the traditional print medium.
Barry’s Computing and IT students are likely to go on to work in the software industry at a time when the use of apps and AR technologies is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. It must be useful for them to have first-hand experience of both the use of mobile apps for learning as well as of AR technologies to help to develop an understanding of the mechanics of what’s involved.
Barry is asking all those involved in the pilot, students and staff, for their views and experiences of the experiments. The questionnaire asks what types of videos they preferred, what format worked best and whether they think it helped their learning. It’s great to see examples of AR technology being used to support learning and teaching as well as marketing.
Analysing results from the questionnaire and monitoring usage and progress will help Bromley College and the wider community to better understand what we need to do to make the most of emerging technology for the benefit of our learners and society in general.
I look forward to returning in the future to find out what Barry has found works best for engaging students using AR.
Guardian higher education network blog:
Augmented reality in education: teaching tool or passing trend?
Excellence Gateway case study:
Kendal College: The 2012 Prospectus Featuring Augmented Reality case study
Jisc RSC London event report:
Augmented Reality Workshop, 14th November 2012