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Constructing liminal blends in a collaborative augmented-reality learning environment


In vision-based augmented-reality (AR) environments, users view the physical world through a video feed or device that augments the display with a graphical or informational overlay. Our goal in this manuscript is to ask how and why these new technologies create opportunities for learning. We suggest that AR is uniquely positioned to support learning through its ability to support students in developing “conceptual blends”—which we propose extend beyond cognitive spaces to include the layering of multiple ideas and physical materials, often supplied by different conversation participants. We document one case study and trace how the narrative structure of a board game, the physical floor materials (e.g. linoleum), a student’s first-person embodied experiences, the third-person live camera feed, and the augmented-reality symbols become integrated in the activity. As a result, students’ conceptualization of force and friction become fused with a diverse set of intellectual resources. We conclude by suggesting that the framework of liminal blends may inform the design of future AR learning environments and in particular help generate predictions about the ways in which the juxtaposition of certain resources may otherwise produce unexpected results.

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This project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DRL- 0733218). This project would also not be possible without the help from members of our team who are not authors on this paper Fabian Wagmister, Jeff Burke and Alessandro Marianantoni. Finally we would like to thank Sylvia Gentile who taught the lessons and led the students in some remarkable discussions of force and motion.

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Correspondence to Noel Enyedy.

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Enyedy, N., Danish, J.A. & DeLiema, D. Constructing liminal blends in a collaborative augmented-reality learning environment. Intern. J. Comput.-Support. Collab. Learn. 10, 7–34 (2015).

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  • Augmented Reality
  • Physics education
  • Elementary education
  • Play
  • Video analysis
  • Conceptual blends