Being involved in the SCARLET project has been very interesting, but also quite difficult. The concepts involved, and particularly working out how to apply the software best in a pedagogical situation, produce new and complex challenges to a teacher.
In planning my teaching session it was important to think about how the materials might be used, how the lesson might be organized, and, of course, what the pedagogical purpose would be. The technology has to be harnessed to a clear set of objectives otherwise it will be pointless. That said, the potential for the AR to augment and expand students’ experience of the texts is obvious, and harnessing this is the key.
What I have ended up doing is centering the class around one particular text – Paradise Lost – and the various editions it went through during the period 1667-95. Some of the first printings are nearly identical – some are wrongly dated – so the use of AR will enable the student to distinguish between them and understand the subtle material or contextual differences between texts.
AR will allow the student to look at each text (of 11) and then read supporting materials. These materials furthermore will augment their understanding of the originals, and also of the entire early printing history of Paradise Lost.
Some editions develop the text quite a lot – adding images or prefatory matter – and AR allows the students to consider how this works as well as to do some research about the added materials. In particular they can look at biographical information, information about printing and publishing, work on the reception of the first editions, and work on the images that are added to the later editions.
Once the student has looked at each text they will have an overview, but each individual text-journey can stand alone. This enables the student to think about how each text is unique and to begin to think about the importance of the material conditions of each printed book; it also enables the student to gain an overview of the conditions of printing during the late 1600s.