I read an intriguing post over at Boing-Boing last week which explained how to create a set of augmented reality overlays for a magazine. Layering digital information over real-world objects (via a mobile phone display) is one of those striking “World Of The Future” developments that seemed like a pipe-dream in childhood.
This got me thinking about applications for this kind of technology in education; a multi-multimedia resource could potentially be achievable, albeit with some hefty coding input.
I imagined a hard-copy hand-out (do people still do those?) that had video and other applications woven through it but it struck me that the amount of effort required for this to actually happen would probably out-weigh the benefits: a multitude of person-hours in developing might be more profitably used in actually teaching the content to the learner. You would also need to factor in the ubiquity of SmartPhone ownership and the student downloads of AR reader – how big would your potential audience be?
I wasn’t really deterred by these thoughts – just trying to get it to work once would be an exciting achievement – but then I saw the reviews of the specific AR browser (required to create this project) in the Android Market and was horrified by the hostility of some of the comments. It appears that once downloaded, the browser is essentially uninstallable, constantly searching for updates and hogging power from the battery – the final nail in coffin for me.