Report – Learning – What’s Next?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 2:00am

This session explored ways in which AR and VR is being harnessed to bring about improvements in children’s learning, what early adopters are doing and also what needs to happen to make this type of learning experience part of children’s everyday lives?


  • AR and VR each have enormous potential at home and in the classroom to enhance existing experiences and be part of new types of learning experiences.
  • Technology issues are important; it is important not to creep into a ‘have and have not’ issue where not all children in the classroom have access to rich learning experiences.
  • AR will change the classroom at a deep level and ties in with the future of learning, including the flipped classroom and personalised learning experiences.
  • Teaching children about the deeper concepts and technology behind the AR and VR is as important as the experiences themselves.


Andrew Tomlinson from BBC Teach started the session asking panellists to share their AR and VR experiences and projects.

Nicola Anderson from BBC Bitesize shared her experience developing BBC pilot projects including: GCSE History Cold War 360, where the user plays the role of JFK, and many of his critical decisions, 360 degree GCSE Music, allowing users to choose any member of the orchestra, AR prototype KS3 Water cycle, and a Voice prototype KS2 history quiz.

Japhet Asher from Carton Books shared that Carlton have sold over 4 million AR books, including 12 science books, licensed product, and his own authored integrated AR book ‘The Ghostkeepers Journal’.  Experiences include animals leaping off the page, changing the page itself, games, solving clues and mystery solving.

Ahrani Logan talked about Peapodcity, a multi-award winning STEM/STEAM focused AR toy/app producer.  The child’s experience is formed around activity packs with cards that engage students around science facts and then use AugmentifyIT AR technology.

Sophie Deen talked about Detective Dot, born out of a desire to make coding more accessible and fun for young children.  Dot is a nine-year coder and undercover agent for the Children’s Interactive Agency, with the experience including farting selfie-sticks and micro-pigs on hover-boards.

Andrew asked about challenges posed when developing AR for the classroom. Nicola talked about the ‘have and have not’ challenge where not all children have access to suitable devices at home or school. AR is not widely distributed, Japhet agreed, but added that this was typical of new technologies and that where the experience was valuable enough the accessibility of platforms would follow.

Andrew asked about using voice in the classroom. The panel questioned the value of voice tech, and suggested that AR did offer better, not gimmicky experiences. An AR of Aleppo that truly takes the child out of the classroom and imagine themselves was cited as an example creating a real sense of empathy. Children don’t actually care about the platforms; they care about the quality of the experience and even when children don’t understand AR, they pick it up quickly and enjoy it.

Sophie saw value in allowing children to add messages for other children if moderation issues could be tackled.  Nicola stressed the importance of good age appropriate experiences, and to be aware that when wearing VR headsets there was an insularity.  Japhed stressed the importance of understanding the difference between VR and AR, and that great shared experiences could be shared across headsets.

Andrew asked about future development across AR and VR in the classroom. The panel felt that soon any object could have AR, even a rock spotted on the walk to school, with possibilities for personalised education for individual learners and different experiences for each child. They felt it was important to teach the deeper concepts behind technology, and not just the coding itself, and touched on a fear factor with teachers, where often the children know more than the teachers themselves.


Written by Craig Hill

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