SCARLET+, adding Augmented Reality to the University of Sussex’s Toolkit

SCARLET+ was funded by JISC to embed Augmented Reality knowledge and skills at the University of Sussex (UoS) and the University for the Creative Arts by Mimas. The UoS wanted to investigate how they could use AR with their Observing the 80s project: http://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/observingthe80s/

This was our first workshop at the UoS; these workshops along with one to one support from Mimas and internal working groups will lead to the development of an AR application but more importantly one that will be used by academics and students. By the end of this one year project these institutions will have the skills they need to continue developing and embedding AR into learning and teaching.

Rather than telling you what a great day we had I caught a few people on camera and asked other to tell me in their words what they got out of the day:

Video: Rose Lock, Senior Archive Assistant and SCARLET+ Project Officer

Image“I am always looking for opportunities to pull together people in the University from different areas – the SCARLET+ workshop was ideal with e-learning, the library and a historian attending. What was delightful was that everyone present got involved and everyone was very excited and enthusiastic about exploring new ways of working with augmented reality to add value to teaching”. Jane Harvell, Head of Library Academic Services (Library), SCARLET+ Institutional Lead

Video: Dr Lucy Robinson

Image“Thank you to Laura, Guyda, and Matt for coming down and inspiring us.  I’ve been thinking about how to get students to engage with augmented realities for a while, and particularly thinking about how history students can engage with them as part of a historical development – be it around public history and collective memory, historicising concepts of space, or thinking about the impact of new information technology.  The workshop gave me opportunity to think about how to harness AR in a more active way, and to think about ways to move beyond ‘making sense’ of AR’s and thinking about how to wield them to overcome pedagogical challenges.  A couple of things have sprung to mind, but I’m sure more will arise as I digest further. AR as ‘playful’ learning – at a time when skill acquisition is being privileged over learning for learning’s own sake, the idea of playful approaches to learning seem particularly important. I don’t think we quite pinned down the relationship between the two yet, but the way in which AR’s offer a way to BOTH invite new activity into the archive AND take archives out in wider communities seems very fruitful. At a general level using ARs will help underline the extent to which the meaning of a source is much wider than its narrative content alone seems invaluable, being able to visually and interactively represent meaning and constructed not just by content, but by the context of production and processes of reception”. Dr Lucy Robinson, Lecturer in History (History, Centre for War and Society, Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence), SCARLET+ Academic Expert/ content developer

“I think I am still musing on what I got out of the day.  I found the whole AR idea really intriguing and could see huge value in it in relation to things like exhibitions or campus orientation.  Where I’m still uncertain is how we use it in teaching in a way which gets maximum value out of the technology – so really adding something to reality, rather than simply using it as an alternative media for delivering information.  In the workshop, Stuart made that point, and in a way his example of the models with monster heads made the most sense to me in terms of augmenting reality! So the brief mention of using photographs from the MO Worktown collection and being able to overlay information on them seems like a good idea, but they’re not part of the Observing the 80s project! However, in practical terms I can also see how creating something such as a skills guide to using MO material would be a good way into the technology and a simple example to test it with”.  Jill Kirby, Project Manager, Observing the 1980s

Since the workshop the UoS have decided the route they are taking, Rose Lock will be sharing this soon in a blog post. Next we’ll be delivering a similar workshop at the University for the Creative Arts. As well as AR development, this project aims to produce two case studies that will inform other Instuitions about how to get involved with Augmented Reality.

You can also follow our progress on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/team_scarlet

 

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About Laura Skilton (formerly Shaw)

Project Manager....
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