Virtual Reality

, Volume 10, Issue 3–4, pp 163–174 | Cite as

“Making it real”: exploring the potential of augmented reality for teaching primary school science

  • Lucinda KerawallaEmail author
  • Rosemary Luckin
  • Simon Seljeflot
  • Adrian Woolard
Original Article


The use of augmented reality (AR) in formal education could prove a key component in future learning environments that are richly populated with a blend of hardware and software applications. However, relatively little is known about the potential of this technology to support teaching and learning with groups of young children in the classroom. Analysis of teacher–child dialogue in a comparative study between use of an AR virtual mirror interface and more traditional science teaching methods for 10-year-old children, revealed that the children using AR were less engaged than those using traditional resources. We suggest four design requirements that need to be considered if AR is to be successfully adopted into classroom practice. These requirements are: flexible content that teachers can adapt to the needs of their children, guided exploration so learning opportunities can be maximised, in a limited time, and attention to the needs of institutional and curricular requirements.


Augmented reality Educational dialogue Primary classroom Design requirements 


  1. Azuma R (1997) A survey of augmented reality. Presence Teleoperators Vir Env 6(4):355–388Google Scholar
  2. Bajura M, Fuchs H, Ohbuchi R (1992) Merging virtual objects with the real world: seeing ultrasound imagery within the patient. In: Proceedings of SIGGRAPH ’92. ACM Press, New York, pp 203–210Google Scholar
  3. Barab S, Hay K, Squire K, Barnett M, Schmidt R, Karrigan K, Yamagat-Lynch L, Johnson C (2000) Virtual solar system project: learning through a technology- rich, inquiry-based, participatory learning environment. J Sci Educ Technol 9(1):7–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Billinghurst M (2003) Augmented reality in education. New Horizons for Learning IX (1)Google Scholar
  5. Billinghurst M, Kato H, Poupyrev I (2001) The MagicBook: a transitional AR interface. Comput Graph 745–753Google Scholar
  6. Caudell T, Mizell D (1992) Augmented reality: an application of heads-up display technology to manual manufacturing processes. In: Proceedings of the 25th Hawaii international conference on systems science Kauai Hawaii 2:659–669, 7–10 January 1992Google Scholar
  7. Cole M (1996) Cultural psychology. The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Crook C (1994) Computers and the collaborative experience of learning. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Edwards D, Mercer N (1987) Common Knowledge: the development of joint understanding in the classroom. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellis SR, Menges BM (1997) Judgments of the distance to nearby virtual objects: interaction of viewing conditions and accommodative demand. Presence 6(4):452–460Google Scholar
  11. Feiner S, Macintyre B, Seligmann D (1993) Knowledge-based augmented reality. Commun ACM 36(7):53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fjeld M, Schar S, Signorello D, Krueger H (2002) Alternative tools for tangible interaction: a usability evaluation. In: IEEE and ACM international symposium on mixed and augmented reality (ISMAR), Darmstadt, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  13. de Freitas S, Levene M (2005) Wearable and mobile devices for informal learning. In: Encyclopaedia of human computer interaction. Information Science Publishing, USAGoogle Scholar
  14. Lalioti V, Woolard A (2003) Mixed reality productions of the future. BBC R&D White Paper available at (accessed 20/04/06)
  15. Lewin C, Mavers D, Somekh B (2003) Broadening access to the curriculum through using technology to link home and school: a critical analysis of reforms to improve educational attainment for all K-12 students. Curriculum J 14(1):23–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McKenzie J, Darnell D. (2003) A report into augmented reality storytelling in the context of a children’s workshop. Centre for Children’s Literature and Christchurch College of Education, New Zealand. (accessed 20/04/06)
  17. Piekarski W, Smith R, Thomas B (2004) Designing backpacks for high fidelity mobile outdoor augmented reality. In: 2nd international symposium on mixed and augmented reality, Tokyo, JapanGoogle Scholar
  18. Rolland JP, Fuchs H (2000) Optical versus video see-through head-mounted displays in medical visualization. Presence Teleoperators Vir Env 9(3):287–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shelton B (2003) Augmented reality and education: current projects and the potential for classroom learning. New Horizons Learning IX (1)Google Scholar
  20. Shelton B, Hedley N (2002) Using augmented reality for teaching earth–sun relationships to undergraduate geography students. In: The 1st IEEE international augmented reality toolkit workshop. Darmstadt, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  21. Shelton B, Hedley N (2003) Exploring a cognitive basis for learning spatial relationships with augmented reality. Tech Inst Cogn Learning 1:323–357Google Scholar
  22. Sims D (1994) New realities in aircraft design and manufacture. IEEE Comput Graph Appl 14(2):91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Urban EC (1995) The information warrior. IEEE Spectr 32(11):66–70Google Scholar
  24. Vygotsky (1979) Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. In: Cole M, John-Steiner V, Scribner S, Souberman E (eds and trans) Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Wertsch J (1991) A sociocultural approach to socially shared cognition. In: Perspectives on socially shared cognition. In: Resnick L, Levine J, Teasley S (eds) American Psychological Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  26. Wood D, Bruner J, Ross G (1976) The role of tutoring in problem solving. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 17:89–100Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucinda Kerawalla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rosemary Luckin
    • 2
  • Simon Seljeflot
    • 3
  • Adrian Woolard
    • 3
  1. 1.IDEAs Lab, Department of InformaticsUniversity of SussexEast SussexUK
  2. 2.London Knowledge LabInstitute of EducationLondonUK
  3. 3.Creative Research and Development, British Broadcasting CorporationLondonUK

Personalised recommendations