Engagement and learning - Schools in Dubai and the US - Main 1

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Students from Gems Metropole School and the Jersey City Public Schools district understand and apply the power of augmented reality toward learning

Quick read

➨ Gems Metropole School in Dubai and Jersey City Public Schools have been using augmented reality to better engage students
➨ Merge Cubes, dedicated apps and mobile devices are immersing students in additional content
➨ Jersey City Public Schools is so impressed with the augmented reality technology that it is expanding its use

The story

Science and mathematics can be difficult subjects to learn at school. They contain difficult-to-grasp concepts and formulae that may prove a barrier to students who are less interested in learning about them.

Two recent stories coming out of Dubai and the US show that schools are willing to meet these students half way and provide immersive technology tools that can boost learning engagement.

Gems Metropole School in Dubai has recently brought augmented reality into the classroom, as highlighted by The National, to make lessons, particularly those covering complex subjects, more engaging.

Gems Metropole School students in certain age groups have been using Merge Cubes as learning aids. These devices allow them to view 3D models in the real world.

Engagement and learning - Schools in Dubai and the US - Merge Cube
Merge Cub

With a smartphone or tablet, they can scan the cube using a dedicated app and see and interact with augmented reality content, which is delivered via Merge EDU, a library of hands-on digital teaching aids and simulations focused on complex science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts.

Naveed Iqbal, principal at Gems Metropole School, told The National the school deployed augmented reality in the classroom because it wants to better engage students.

Iqbal believes the addition of immersive content to the curriculum will aid learning, improve pupils’ experiences, and enhance the wellbeing of staff members by reducing time spent on administrative tasks.

According to The National, Gems Metropole School is so impressed with the augmented reality technology that the school is planning to roll it out across age groups and subjects, and intends to introduce virtual reality headsets as well as a dedicated space on campus soon.

US-based Merge provides a dedicated virtual and augmented reality headset that could be used. It works in parallel with a smartphone, for immersing students in 360 degree experiences.

Its content is aimed at visual-spatial learners, with as many as two-thirds of students falling into this category, according to Merge.

Engagement and learning - Schools in Dubai and the US - Main 2
As many as two-thirds of students are visual-spatial learners, according to Merge

‘Energising students and bringing lesson plans to life’

Students in the Jersey City Public Schools district are also using augmented reality in their day-to-day learning—and they could soon be joined by their parents, neighbours and the wider local community.

Currently as part of a pilot programme featuring the StraxAR app from US-based Strax Networks, Jersey City Public Schools students can scan any textbook page to unlock videos and other content related to the text or redirect them to a site or webpage for deeper immersion into that subject.

Like Gems Metropole School in Dubai, Jersey City Public Schools, the US State of New Jersey’s second largest school district with 38 schools serving nearly 31,000 students, has been so impressed that it is expanding its use of the immersive technology.

Jersey City Public Schools has commissioned Strax Networks to leverage its logo, which is prominently featured throughout Jersey City, as a direct portal to immersive content about the school district.

From next month, anyone with a mobile device can quickly scan the district’s logo and gain access to a trove of communications materials offered by the city’s education leaders.

Jersey City Public Schools Superintendent Franklin Walker says: “Technology has a way of energising students and bringing lesson plans to life that make the process of learning even more engaging. The entire Jersey City Public School system is committed to being a leader in education through groundbreaking technology that only serves to give every one of our students a competitive advantage as they prepare for life beyond high school.”

Walker continues: “As New Jersey’s second largest school district, Jersey City Public Schools recognises the important role technology plays in giving our students, parents and educators every competitive advantage in education.”

“StraxAR understands our shared objective of equipping Jersey City with the cutting-edge technology that will help accelerate both learning and community outreach in a timely fashion. We are so pleased that our district logo can serve as an important portal that brings the community even closer together.”

Eric Singleton, chief executive officer and co-founder of Strax Networks, adds: “Jersey City Public Schools are at the forefront of education in envisioning how AR content is the future.  The pilot programme illustrated the remarkable speed student leaders on the team were able to understand and apply the power of AR toward learning and Strax Networks couldn’t be more energized by having Jersey City Public Schools as a partner in recognizing how tech is transforming education for the better.”

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Images: Merge

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