Google's latest foray in augmented reality has really impressed me. It's already done well with Google Goggles. It's pushing boundaries of augmented reality with its latest innovation in the form of wearable glasses. Educational experts are pointing to augmented reality as the next wave of technology to transform the way instructors teach and students learn.
Augmented reality provides a powerful constructivist experience for exploration and discovery of the connected nature of information in the physical world. It also aligns with situated learning in that it that permits experimentation and exploration to take place in the same context in which the activity occurs. Augmented reality has much potential for serious gaming applications, as it adds an element of game simulation in the application.
In the Horizon Report, a research report published annually by the education think tank New Media Consortium that charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative inquiry, has forecast in their 2010 and 2011 reports that augmented reality as an educational technology will be a be an integral tool in education. Imagine a student as he waves his mobile device around the room to "uncover" hidden texts and information embedded on a world map on the wall with questions and answers all there for the student to view. Or imagine a doctoral student completing his American history dissertation scanning his mobile device over certain key hot spots in the in the Jefferson Library in the Library of Congress and being able to not only pick out each title on his device, but also open the digital book and flip through each page.
Whether Google Glasses will take off or not is beside the point: Google Glasses is one example of where "augmented reality" glasses is another step in the direction of the Internet-of-things -- where the virtual world and the real world collide and merge. This early prototype of the Google Glasses, which is developed from the same individuals that crafted self-driven cars, can snap photos, initiate videochats and display directions at the sound of a user. While augmented reality has been long in development, particularly by military and private commercial industries, augmented reality hasn't hit full force until just recently. It's exciting to see where it will go. How will libraries take full advantage of this? Time will tell.