Participatory Scaling Through Augmented Reality Learning Through Local Games


The proliferation of broadband mobile devices, which many students bring to school with them as mobile phones, makes the widespread adoption of AR pedagogies a possibility, but pedagogical, distribution, and training models are needed to make this innovation an integrated part of education, This paper employs Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) to argue for a participatory model of scaling by key stakeholders groups (students, teachers, researchers, administrators), and demonstrates through various cases how ARIS ( — a free, open-source tool for educators to create and disseminate mobile AR learning experiences — may be such a model.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. ARIS (2010). Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling. Accessed from on Jan 18, 2013.

  2. Athman, J., & Monroe, M. (2004). The Effects of Environment-Based Education on Students’ Achievement Motivation. Journal of Interpretation Research, 9(1):9-25.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. (in press). (Eds.). Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

  4. Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barab, S. A., Thomas, M. K., Dodge, T., Squire, K., & Newell, M. (2004). Critical design ethnography: Designing for change. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 35(2), 254-268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chawla, L. (2007). Student Gains from Place-based Education. Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design.

  7. Comer, J.C. & Wikle, T.A. (2008). Worldwide diffusion of the cellular telephone, 1995-2005. The Professional Geographer 60(2): 252-269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dede, C. (2006). Scaling Up: Evolving Innovations beyond Ideal Settings to Challenging Contexts of Practice. In R.K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Dewey, J. (1910/1997) How we think. Mineola: Dover. (Original work published 1910 by D.C. Heath & Co, Boston.)

  10. Dikkers, S., Martin, J., Coulter, B. (2012). Mobile Media Learning: Amazing uses of Mobile Devices for Teaching and Learning. ETC Press. Pittsburgh, PA.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Dourish, P. (2001). Where the action is: The foundations of embodied interaction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Ellsworth, E. (2005). Places of learning: Media, architectures, pedagogy. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Engage (2012a). What is Situated Learning? accessed from on January 18, 2013.

  14. Engage (2012b). Examples of Situated Learning Genres. Retrieved April 19, 2013, from

  15. Fishman, B., Marx, R. W., Blumenfeld, P., Krajcik, J., & Soloway, E. (2004). Creating a framework for research on systemic technology innovations. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 43-76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gagne, R. M., & Briggs, L. (1979). Principles of Instructional Design (2nd ed.), New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Gagnon, D. (2010). ARIS: An open source platform for developing mobile learning experiences. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Available at

  18. Gredler, M. E. (1996). Educational games and simulations: A technology in search of a (research) paradigm. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 521-39). New York: MacMillian Library Reference.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Gruenewald, D. (2003). The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy ofPlace. Educational Researcher, 32 (4), (pp. 3-12).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Holden, C. (2012). Local games lab ABQ | Place based-mobile games in Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved April 19, 2013, from

  21. Holden, C. L., & Sykes, J. M. (2011). Leveraging Mobile Games for Place-Based Language Learning. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(2), 1-18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Horst, H.A. & Miller, D. (2006). The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communications. New York: Berg.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Jenkins, H. & Squire, K.D. (2002). The Art of Contested Spaces. In L. King, (Ed.) Game On! (pp. 63-77). London: Barbican Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Jenkins, H., Ford, S. & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Klopfer, E. & Squire, K. (2008). Environmental Detectives - The development of an augmented reality platform for environmental simulations. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56 (2), 203-228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Latour, B. (1997). Trains of thoughts—Piaget, Formalism and the Fifth Dimension. Common Knowledge, Winter, 6, (3), 170-191.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Lemke, J. (2005). Here and Then: Chronotopes and Learning in Semiotic Worlds. Paper presented at the Games, Learning, and Society (GLS) Conference, Madison, WI, June 15, 2005. [electronic, Nov 21, 2005] fp3demo.mediasite. com/fp3demo/viewer/?cid = 12a2c744-64a5-44bf-b3c0- fe69b0932cfc

  28. Lemke, J.L. & Sabelli, N. (2008). Complex systems and educational change: Towards a new research agenda. Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (1), 118-129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Leont'ev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Murray, O.T., & Olcese, N.R. (2011). Teaching and Learning with iPads, Ready or Not. TechTrends, 55(6), 42-48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Penuel, W. Fishman, B., Cheng, B.H., & Sabelli, N. (2011). Organizing research and development at the intersection of learning, implementation, and design. Educational Researcher, 40: 331-337 (October 2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Pinch, T. J. & Bijker, W.E., (1984). The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or How the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science 14: 399-441.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Rowan, B. (2002). The ecology of school improvement: Notes on the school improvement industry in the United States. Journal of Educational Change, 3(3-4), 283-314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sabelli, N., & Dede, C. (2001). Integrating educational research practice: Reconceptualizing goals and policies. How to make what works, work for us? Menlo Park, CA: SRI Press.

  35. Smith, G. (2002). Place-based education: Learning to be where we are. Phi Delta Kappan, 83, 584-594.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Squire, K. & Dikkers, S. (2011). Amplifications of Learning: Use of Mobile Media Devices Among Youth. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, Published online 15 February.

  37. Squire, K.D, Jan, M., Mathews, J., Wagler, M., Martin, J. DeVane, B., & Holden, C. (2007). Wherever you go, there you are: The design of local games for learning. The design and use of simulation computer games in education, 265-296.

  38. Stevens, R. (2012). Keynote Presentation: GLS 2012. Paper presented at the Games, Learning, & Society 2012, Madison, WI.

  39. TPS (2013). Teaching with primary sources. Accessed March 14, 2013 from

  40. Underberg, N. (2012). The Lake Eola Project. Downloaded February 12, 2013 from

  41. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. In M. Cole, J.Steiner, S. Scribner & E. Souberman (Eds.). Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press.

  42. Wertsch, J. V (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to John Martin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Martin, J., Dikkers, S., Squire, K. et al. Participatory Scaling Through Augmented Reality Learning Through Local Games. TECHTRENDS TECH TRENDS 58, 35–41 (2014).

Download citation


  • Augmented Reality
  • participatory scaling
  • mobile computing
  • design-based research