Augmented Reality in Higher Ed

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Recruitment, Technology | Posted on 01-15-2010


I’ve been doing some research on Augmented Reality for higher ed, and ran across a great campaign utilizing it.   First, you might be thinking “What the heck is Augmented Reality?”  (If you already know, skip below for a great example of AR in Higher Ed).

Wikipedia’s definition states that AR is:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery – creating a mixed reality.

In a nutshell: when I open the UrbanSpoon app on my iPhone and point the camera around (live direct view of a physical real-world environment), it’s going to show me what restaurants are around me (merged elements based on GPS data and compass location) to give me a mixed reality that looks like the below image.  From there, I can click on it, get user-generated ratings of the restaurant, see a menu, check their open hours, and more. Another way AR works is by reading a “marker” on paper and doing something with it via webcam, as you’ll see in the video below. (Doritos did this awhile back too.)

Augmented Reality in Higher Ed

One university that’s pushing AR is Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Their partnership with an agency called BCM has created one of the better Augmented Reality applications I’ve seen for student recruitment.  Check out the below video to see what they’re doing with AR and leave your thoughts in a comment below!  (If the below video isn’t visible, click here).

Comments posted (14)

Great post, Brad! It’s fun to think about where this idea could lead. For another example (albeit from a different industry), Paste Magazine used AR for their Christmas card this year:

Augmented reality looks like a promising tool for higher ed. Queensland is doing some very interesting stuff with that video. So is Harvard is also using AR working with Foursquare to create a campus-based game (see this story from Mashable [yes, Mashable]). :)


Many thanks for the concise explanation and higher ed examples. I definitely think this is going to be a hot future tech.

A few cool examples:


Mike – thanks for the comment earlier this week that made me remember to dust off this old draft and finally make the video! :) Thanks for these extra examples. Good stuff!

I wrote about this topic in December, 2008. I was hoping people would try to come up with some creative uses, but there was just one comment, and it wasn’t a new idea at all (quite the opposite).

Now that people have more or less settled on the terminology and rolled out commercial examples, it should take off.

My take on it was here:

Thanks for sharing! Had the luck of being able to visit QUT last year for work, they’re definitely doing some cool stuff!

I’d be very interested though in seeing more examples of AR tools to support learning. QUT’s is a creative recruitment tool, how can higher ed, k-12 institutions, libraries, etc use AR for anything more than promotions? Plenty of possibilities there, would love to find more examples!

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Now that people have more or less settled on the terminology and rolled out commercial examples, it should take off.

What a great article!

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I have never heard of Augmented Reality before this post — I work for the online education company Edvisors and am always trying to learn more about who is using the newest technologies and what is available in the online classroom. I would love to see all these great ideas actually become reality!! here is an article about online edu being used in K-12 schools

I think the more opportunities for learning the better for us all.

I think this presentation that i’ve conducted about augmented reality and how much it’s influencing our daily life can be helpful. check it out.

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