The ARS, or Augmented Reality Sandbox, is an installation that allows users to create their physical terrains with kinetic sand and mimic, overlay, and dynamically view surface processes in real time.
This technology implies a depth sensing camera to detect changes in the topography of the sand over time. This information is then given to a computer to calculate and create colorful contours projected back onto the terrain through a screen.
One of the forefront suppliers of different AR sandbox variations in the United Kingdom is iSandBOX.
The potential and benefits of ARS for geoscience education
Practical education in geoscience is not only quite effective, but it also helps to develop spatial cognition in individuals. The more traditional form of this education ‒ fieldtrips, can be inaccessible to specific groups of students. This is where augmented reality technologies can help.
Sure, these virtual trips won’t completely replace the experience of an actual field trip, but the effect is very similar in developing spatial cognition.
This way, an AR sandbox can efficiently aid geoscience education, providing realistic models of places that students cannot reach.
The sandbox can be utilized to create lessons in which students are encouraged to use sand to build the terrain before predicting how water will flow after a flooding event. They could be encouraged to use a contour map in a different exercise to sculpt the terrain to resemble a real-world setting.
These tasks, which force students to engage their spatial thinking abilities, can be used to spot individuals who lack spatial cognition and improve it by exposing them to multiple exercises carried out in a sandbox.
Measuring the effectiveness of an ARS-based learning plan
Student questionnaires are currently being developed to collect student input, which will be used for learning in the future.
The results are anticipated to promote the usage of the AR sandbox in industries other than geoscience ‒ for example, in design and research.
Overall, interactive solutions have a significant potential for the future of education. Realistic terrain modeling and dynamic interaction through AR can be a part of practical education in geoscience and other studies.
ISandBOX provides such products to institutions all over the United Kingdom ‒ contact them now: +44 (0)2036 214 714.
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