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Using Augmented Reality in Education: Opportunities and Pitfalls

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Listen and learn : Research paper
Roundtable presentation

Research papers are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
This is presentation 2 of 2, scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Dr. Iulian Radu  
Tugce Joy  
Ian Bott  
Yiran Bowman  
Bertrand Schneider  

How will the emerging technology of augmented reality transform learning environments? Hear a systematic review that presents lessons learned from early adopter teachers and researchers using AR in educational settings. Learn about research-based design opportunities and challenges for creating and curating future AR-enabled educational experiences.

Audience: Teachers, Curriculum/district specialists, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Augmented, mixed & virtual reality
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.

Proposal summary


Digital citizenship, Multimodal learning, Active learning, Embodied cognition


Data selection: We selected peer-reviewed papers from academic conferences and journals published in the last 15 years, which evaluated the effectiveness of augmented reality for learning. We also selected blogs and other websites from educational organizations (ex: Educause, DigitalPromise, EdTech Magazine, Maker Magazine, etc). We selected popular applications by searching Top Educational App rankings from Google, Apple, and Microsoft app stores, as well as websites listing popular applications.

Data analysis: We use multiple reviewers (academic researchers and graduate/undergraduate research assistants) to review the data sources and extract relevant data by following a coding scheme. The coding scheme will capture the use cases, results, mechanisms, and lessons learned; and it is inspired by our chapter in The Handbook of Learning Sciences (Cambridge University press; to appear 2021) in which we define the educational affordances of augmented reality based on affective, cognitive and social dimensions. After data collection, researchers will synthesize the data to address the research objectives.


Our research is undergoing. We already have gathered a list of motivation, cognitive and social processes that have been identified by academic research when designing educational augmented reality (to appear Radu & Schneider 2021; Radu 2014). We have a preliminary list of considerations when designing specifically for classroom usage (published: daSilva et al 2019).

By February 2021 we expect that we will have >80 articles and >50 applications included in the review . We expect to have more detailed understanding of the motivational, cognitive, and social processes that are enhanced by augmented reality technologies, including specific research findings of whether this technology was useful / not useful, in specific educational contexts. From this data we expect to also have a list of curriculum topics and age groups for which AR has been applied. Also we expect to generate a list of 10-20 successful popular AR educational apps that have been used by teachers, along with teacher feedback and guidance for future use in classroom settings. We also will have a list of factors that teachers consider when choosing an AR app for their classroom, and a list of factors that teachers and students consider when designing novel AR learning environments


Currently there are many research papers that have explored how AR technology in various forms interacts with learning processes; at the same time multiple applications are being generated with the increased public interest in AR technology. However there is a lacking systematic understanding of what makes this technology effective for education, and the practical and systemic challenges of implementing it at scale in classroom settings. Because there is a lack of knowledge on these topics, there is a lack of usage in school settings. However, in the near future as devices become cheaper and consumer-priced AR glasses enter the market (likely in 2021), researchers expect that AR will become a popular technology for education. Without understanding the benefits and drawbacks of this technology, designers and educators may not fully use the potential of this educational medium. It is thus important to have a synthesis of the lessons gained from research studies on designing AR learning experiences, so that teachers and learning science researchers understand why AR is effective for learning, as well as to have a set of guidelines that teachers and designers can easily use to create and curate AR-enabled learning environments..


Schneider, B., & Radu, I. (in preparation). Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Learning Sciences. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences.

Radu, I., & Schneider, B. (2019, May). What Can We Learn from Augmented Reality (AR)? Benefits and Drawbacks of AR for Inquiry-based Learning of Physics. In 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019).

Radu, I. (2014). Augmented reality in education: a meta-review and cross-media analysis. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 18(6), 1533-1543.

da Silva, M. M. O., Roberto, R. A., Radu, I., Cavalcante, P. S., & Teichrieb, V. (2019, October). Why Don't We See More of Augmented Reality in Schools?. In 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality Adjunct (ISMAR-Adjunct) (pp. 138-143). IEEE.

Radu, I., McCarthy, B., & Kao, Y. (2016, March). Discovering educational augmented reality math applications by prototyping with elementary-school teachers. In 2016 IEEE Virtual Reality (VR) (pp. 271-272). IEEE.

More [+]


Dr. Iulian Radu, Harvard University

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