Augmented Reality -Virtual Reality-Mixed Reality

Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are transforming businesses, redefining trainings for military and rescue personnel, aviation professionals, medical students, and changing learning around the world.  

As AR, VR, and MR resources become more accessible, educators now have the ability to bring educational concepts to life across grade levels and content areas.

NowKeystone AEA educators can step into these new realities by checking out one of the Merge Headset and Cube kits in Keystone's Media Collection. Use keyword MERGE and look for kit numbers: KM 90031 OR KM 90027.


Common Question: Aren't those "reality terms" all the same?


Answer: Not really!

Think of the three terms as siblings from the same family. As siblings, they share common family characteristics; however, each sibling has a personality and purpose all their own.


Now, get to know the latest, coolest "reality" family capturing students hearts and minds around the world

Augmented Reality "layers" a real scene to demonstrate, explain, or show something. AR is easily adapted into classroom settings as resources only require a mobile device. 
Virtual Reality is a fully immersive experience in a simulated digital environment. VR easily "transports" students into worlds they may never visit in person. VR requires a headset and sometimes a compatible small mobile device as seen with Keystone's MERGE Headsets. 

Mixed Reality allows you to see the real world (as in AR) sometimes using a see-through viewing device (similar to VR). In Mixed Reality, users interact with BOTH the real and digital world. Microsoft HoloLens 2 is one favorite headset example. Mixed Reality is a hot area for innovation, though, so keep your eyes open for the next wave of MR sets that may be compatible with your smartphone. 

View welcome video on Merge cube by following these directions: 
1. Download CoSpacesEDU app to your mobile device. 
2. Scan QR code. 
Should "launch to
CoSpacesEDU app 
OR DIRECT LINK: https://cospac.es/4OQJ
3. In CoSpacesEDU app, click on PLAY. 
4. Hold MERGE Cube in front of camera to "trigger" welcome experience. 

About this resource

This webpage offers teachers the basics about AR, VR, and MR to simply get started with lesson integration. The resources highlighted work with Keystone's Merge Kits, but a majority of the resources can work with or without a headset. 


The apps highlighted focus on Apple's versatile mobile devices equipped with the ARKit; however, some of the tools highlighted are also available for various devices in Google Play or Microsoft Store. 

The best news: AR, VR, and MR tools are endless with new options being discovered and shared among educators daily. 

How does AR, VR, and MR Benefit Students? 

Although AR, VR, and MR is still a new resource for educators, teachers don't need to be experts and will appreciate how this new reality benefits students.

In her book "Learning Transported: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality for All Classrooms", Jaime Donally identifies several benefits for students including: 

  • Increased student engagement

  • Providing Authentic Learning Experiences

  • Transporting students to places outside the classroom

  • Offering support and a means of communications for ELL students

  • Creating innovative spaces to collaborate and share information

The innovative resource CoSpaces EDU also addresses benefits and concerns in their guide "Using CoSpaces with Virtual Reality." Following are just a few of the benefits of integrating AR and VR as mentioned in their guide:

  • Offers new ways to connect with the learning material through “embodied learning” and multi-sensory experiences

  • Offers personalized learning opportunities

  • Develops 21st Century skills needed by new generations

  • Enhances collaboration among kids and teamwork skills development

  • Builds empathy through experiencing different situations and roles

  • Simplifies the understanding of complex concepts through visualizing in 3D

Considering the many positive outcomes for students and the number of wonderful resources available, it's time to embrace new realities for your classrooms. 

Learning Transported Book.jpeg
cospaces icon.jpg

How can AR, VR, and MR "fit" within a lesson? 

AR, VR, and MR can serve many purposes within lessons. An obvious place for teachers to start might be to simply "hook" students into a lesson. However, with thoughtful lesson planning that might include collaborating with a trusted colleague and coach, teachers can do so much more with these new resources.  AR, VR, and MR can help students: 

  • visualize concepts for better understanding

  • experience virtual field trips

  • access previously inaccessible concepts

  • build global understandings, develop empathy

  • dive into authentic learning experiences

  • create and share their learning with others through AR, VR, MR

Consider the following simplistic example of preparing students for a frog dissection. Typically, students might be read a chapter on dissection, watch a short film about the lab, and complete an Anatomy of a Frog worksheet to match a textbook graphic.


Now educators can more effectively prepare students and appeal to a variety of learning styles by asking students to also complete the MERGE EDU "A Frog's Life" Lesson and/or experience the "Froggipedia" app. 

In this case, the AR experiences serve as simulations to supplement the traditional lesson, more effectively prepare students for the dissection lab, and deepen student understandings of complex living things. These resources might also allow for a simulated dissection experience in labs where there is no budget to order dissection materials.

Enhance traditional lessons to reach different types of learners through ARVRMR. 

MERGE EDU offers teachers a variety of options to integrate ARVR experiences to support curriculum. New features within the Merge Explorer app include the ability for students to record and reflect while completing an experience.

Froggipedia won 2018 iPad App of the Year for the incredibly powerful biology lesson that incorporates some AR learning experiences. Although not free, well worth the small fee to supplement curriculum.

Scan QR code for a special message and book recommendation. 

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