Augmented Reality

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    This project will be a collaborative effort between the School in the Park, The San Diego Museum of Art and *Dr. O’Shea to develop an educational Augmented Reality Experience (ARE) that will be used by School in the Park students (and others) in the San Diego Museum of Art. ARE simulations are played in real world environments via handheld computers or mobile technology (cell phones). Students take on the roles of professionals who conduct virtual investigations associated with complex (but authentic) problems. Aligned with curriculum, the content is interdisciplinary with a focus on higher order thinking and team-building. Because the activities use location-aware handhelds, students can physically move throughout Balboa Park and the San Diego Museum of Art while collecting simulated field data and interviewing virtual characters. The ARE unfolds over a one to two hour activity—completed over a few days. Each student in a team has a specific role to play, and the “clues” s/he receives, as well as the interactions and tasks s/he must complete.

    Introduce both classroom teachers and museum educators to new technologies that feature relevant, experiential contexts for learning

    • Motivate students to work collaboratively and to communicate effectively

    Engage English Language Learners in learning that encourage peer tutoring and other teaming options to boost their vocabulary and other critical language skills
    Create innovative learning opportunities for upper elementary school students that take advantage of emerging mobile technologies

    • Design a functional ARE that aligns with California educational standards
    • Engage students to become active participants in their own real-world learning while at the San Diego Museum of Art
    • Design and conduct research and evaluation activities that influence real-world practice—independently as well as with students and peers
    • Expose traditionally underserved elementary students to intellectual challenges not often available to them

    Build collaborative relationships/partnerships within the community.

    There are three groups of beneficiaries of the ARE:

    • School in the Park students.  All fourth grade students will be using the ARE within the San Diego Museum of Art setting as an instructional tool.
    • Non-School in the Park San Diego Museum of Art student patrons.  The ARE that is designed will be played on hardware that is maintained and managed by San Diego Museum of Art personnel, and thus would be available to other students who come to the museum.
    • Other patrons of the San Diego Museum of Art.  The ARE will be specifically designed and built so that it can be downloaded to specific hardware that patrons of the museum may bring with them.  In this case, these patrons would not be using the hardware that the museum maintains, but could still play the game if they already have appropriate hardware and software.


    This blending of “formal and informal learning” at School in the Park is served well by AREs, which leverage cutting edge technologies in order to place learning within a context of use.  The School in the Park’s mission involves “moving ‘school’ into the larger community,” and the incorporation of augmented reality technologies provides a tool through which this motion may be supplemented and expanded.  Such authentic learning experiences are at the core of the School in the Park’s mission.

    The very nature of AREs is based on the concept of using advanced wireless technologies to enhance education.  It is an effort to utilize the technologies that Millennial Learners are already comfortable with, and use in their non-school lives, in order to strengthen their learning of academic content and to more effectively motivate students to engage with their educational settings.  By using these tools, students will be more engaged by the content, more motivated to attend to their learning of that content, and more likely to learn the content.  Each of these will serve to improve these students’ educational experiences.

      September 1, 2009

      Project Implementation Date:
      April 20, 2010

  • Dr. O'Shea is an independent consultant working on Augmented Reality curriculum/game design issues.  He has consulted with projects at WGBH, PBS Kids, and The Old Courthouse Museum on the Freedom Trail.  Previously, he acted as the Director of the Handheld Augmented Reality Project at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.  This project was focused on studying the potential of GPS-enabled handheld computing in educational settings to improve academic and non-academic outcomes.  In addition, Dr. O'Shea has more than 15 years of experience working at every level of education, working in online and face-to-face settings teaching educational technology, assessment and evaluation, the social and cultural foundations of education, and action research (among other topics).  Among his accomplishments, Dr. O'Shea has consulted internationally for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, built online testing protocols, designed, implemented, and evaluated large-scale university-level projects, and has extensive experience with practical applications of technology in the educational setting.  
SITP 4th Grade ARE Schedule: 4/20/10, 5/3/10,  5/17/10,  5/24/10,  6/14/10,  6/21/10, 7/6/10, 7/1210