Science Spots AR: a platform for science learning games with augmented reality

  • Teemu H. Laine
  • Eeva Nygren
  • Amir Dirin
  • Hae-Jung SukEmail author
Development Article


Lack of motivation and of real-world relevance have been identified as reasons for low interest in science among children. Game-based learning and storytelling are prominent methods for generating intrinsic motivation in learning. Real-world relevance requires connecting abstract scientific concepts with the real world. This can be done by situating learning processes in real-world contexts, and by bridging the virtual content and the real world with augmented reality (AR). We combined these ideas into a Science Spots AR platform on which context-aware storytelling science learning games can be created. As proof-of-concept we developed and evaluated Leometry game, which contains geometry problems based on the Van Hiele model. This paper’s contributions are as follows: (1) concept and architecture of Science Spots AR, (2) design and implementation of the Leometry game prototype, and (3) mixed-method formative evaluation of Leometry with 61 Korean 5th grade elementary school children. Data retrieved by questionnaires and interviews revealed that the students appreciated Leometry despite its minor shortcomings, that the platform’s concept is feasible, and that there is potential for building science learning games. These results are useful to educators, computer scientists, and game designers who are interested in combining context-aware learning, AR, and games.


Context-aware Augmented reality Games Science learning Storytelling 



We are thankful to Renny Lindberg, Daehwan Kim, Nina Hytönen and Jaemu Lee for their contributions to Leometry. Yuna Oh and the children participating in the Leometry evaluation also deserve our gratitude. This work was supported by the Korean National Research Foundation project NRF-2015R1C1A1A02036469.

Compliance with ethical standards

Research involves children as participants. Before running the experiment with the children, we acquired data collection and media usage permissions from their guardians. Furthermore, children’s personal data such as names were not collected.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teemu H. Laine
    • 1
  • Eeva Nygren
    • 2
  • Amir Dirin
    • 3
  • Hae-Jung Suk
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Information and Computer EngineeringAjou UniversitySuwonSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of ComputingUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.Business Information TechnologyHaaga-Helia University of Applied SciencesHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Digital MediaAjou UniversitySuwonSouth Korea

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