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EXP: Exploring the potential of mobile augmented reality for scaffolding historical inquiry learning: 1318977

Principal Investigator: Doug Bowman
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): David Cline, David Hicks, Jeffrey Ogle
Organization: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In this Cyberlearning: Transforming Education EXP project, reserachers are addressing how and for what purposes Augmented Reality (AR) technologies can be used to support learning of critical inquiry strategies and processes; the question is being explored in the context of history education and the SCIM-C (Summarizing, Contextualizing, Inferring, Monitoring, and Corroborating) framework developed for inquiry history education. A combined hardware/software platform is being designed and developed to support SCIM-C pedagogy. Students use a mobile device with augmented reality to augment their “field” experience at a local historical site. In addition to experiencing the site as it exists, AR technology is being built to allow them to view and experience the site from several social perspectives and to view its structure and uses over several time periods. Students also use the mobile device to collect, annotate, and organize data at the local site, and the apps organize that data according to where it is collected at the site. Additional desktop and laptop software supports exploration, manipulation, and analysis of the data and writing and discussion in support of telling the site’s story. Research focuses on the design of AR applications and associated technologies to support inquiry based in field work for the variety of disciplines where analysis of change over time is important (e.g., historical-cultural studies, geosciences, eco-sciences) and on understanding how to use the perspectives augmented reality can provide to promote inquiry processes and to promote understanding of how very small changes over long periods of time may add up to very large changes.

Learning how to think critically, analyze sources, and develop an evidence-based account is central to a variety of disciplines. However, learners struggle to grasp the importance of such inquiry processes, to understand how experts engage in inquiry, and to master the strategies needed to practice such inquiry themselves. The purpose of this project is to explore how augmented reality (AR) technology can be used to give learners concrete experiences of life during several historical periods and support their reasoning as they make sense of the story of the place and what influenced its history. The researchers posit that the same types of concrete experiences with the past and the same types of help with making sense of changes over time are necessary to understand many sciences as well, and they expect that what is learned about making the historical past concrete enough for high schoolers to grasp will also be applicable to making the history of the natural world concrete enough for high schoolers to support their understanding of such concepts as geologic time, geologic processes, and evolutionary processes.

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