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AR is where embedded animations, video clips, 3D graphics ‘come to life’ when a SMART device is help up to an image, which ‘triggers’ the media. There has been significant interest in this technology, especially with the potential of AR Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), leading to investment by corporations such as Microsoft and HoloLens; however there is a gap in the literature around the evaluation of the pedagogical potential when embedding this technology into Higher Education classroom contexts.
In line with QAA benchmarks (QAA 2013) our University is moving towards developing graduate attributes, and early connections with ‘softer skills’ are embedded through Personal Development Planning (PDP) module. The PDP module, taken by our first year computer gaming and technology students has a history of lack of engagement and a poor submission rate. Initial research showed that STEM students in particular can be reluctant to engage with the ‘employability’ agenda (CB1I/Pearson 2013; Harris 2014; UKSES 2014). Our response was to use an Action Research methodology to explore and address these issues (c.f. Norton, 2009), including our students as part a participative research process.
Working with Aurasma, a free ‘App’ that enables the creation of AR artefacts, the curriculum was redesigned placing the development of an AR artefact at the core of the module. The brief for students was to create an artefact based on some aspect of the library, and to keep a blog of group interactions and reflections. To support a more critical approach, the lecturing team modelled a ‘video research focus groups’ in class, where the authors (Holley, Hobbs and Paraskevopoulos) were filmed facilitating the focus groups, and observed by the rest of the students who participated by offering suggestions for questions and feedback on the work of others.) were filmed facilitiaing the focus groups, and observed by the rest of the students who participated by offering suggestions for questions and feedback on the work of others. Our early findings show positive engagement and improved submission rates, and our interactive workshop will invite ALT_C participants to come and bring their SMART devices and discover the planning, process and results of our project through a series of AR artefacts produced by project participants, both staff and students.