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Connections of Earth and Sky with Augmented Reality (CEASAR): Transforming Collaborative Learning Practices with Shared and Embedded Digital Models: 1822796

Principal Investigator: Robb Lindgren
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Nathan Kimball, Emma Mercier, Jina Kang
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Augmented reality (AR) technologies are becoming increasingly accessible and there are promising opportunities to develop interactive virtual content that can be shared and worked on by multiple users. The Connections of Earth and Sky to Augmented Reality (CEASAR) project will design and prototype immersive Augmented Reality (AR) learning scenarios that support collaborative interaction around solar engineering design challenges using models of planetary astronomy. This project aims to transform the way that AR is used to support small group collaboration with virtual models of scientific systems. The project envisions future workplace scenarios where teams are tasked with designing solutions to engineering problems that rely upon scientific models. Findings from this work will inform the practice of designing for computer-supported collaborative learning generally, as well as principles for designing effective immersive AR work and learning platforms. CEASAR aims to demonstrate efficacy of these extended AR capabilities for small group collaborative learning that can serve as a launching point for work and learning scenarios in medicine, engineering, science laboratories, industrial facilities, and other contexts.

While there is evidence that AR can generate positive learning outcomes in comparison to traditional instructional methods, only recently has the technology offered collaborative engagement with shared virtual objects. The project will investigate collaborative learning practices in the context of immersive augmented reality. Specifically, the project will investigate the role of 1) coordinated visual models, 2) embodied interaction, and 3) personalized prompts and visualizations based on a collaborator’s role. The project team will work directly with instructors from two local community colleges to design the collaborative learning scenarios and to recruit students for participation in design-based research studies. The project will apply available learning analytics techniques to detect and assess collaborative learning interactions within the CEASAR environment, explore ways of making the activities suitable for “whole-class” contexts, and create a set of design guidelines for supporting future AR workplace collaboration. Identifying practices and principles for effectively guiding learners’ model engagement and design discourse through AR interactions will contribute to the research on human-computer interaction, computer-supported collaborative learning, and technology-enhanced STEM education.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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