Snapchat Lenses, one of the most accessible augmented reality (AR) offerings to the general public, could soon be an expanded learning option for teachers and students, the company announces new STEM curriculum Integration of the app’s popular AR.
The announcement is a collaboration with To inspire, a virtual experiential learning platform that provides students with immersive simulations, 3D models and other educational resources, based on support from researchers at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The interactive learning filters leverage Snapchat’s customizable AR platform software development kit. known as camera kitpaired with a comprehensive learning guide that helps students understand key STEM concepts – such as the fundamentals of geometry – in real-world visualizations.
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“Augmented reality improves conversations with friends, promotes self-expression and creativity, and takes experiences and education to new dimensions,” writes Snapchat. “The curriculum is designed to promote classroom engagement, increase self-confidence and improve student self-efficacy.”
After the initial launch, Snapchat plans to offer a total of 25 STEM AR learning modules to at least 50 schools across the country.
Public publication is supported by a Case study 2023 operated by Inspirit, Snapchat and Stride Inc., a K-12 education management organization. The study gave a group of eighth grade students and teachers working with Stride, Inc. access to Snap AR simulations designed to reinforce essential eighth grade STEM concepts such as volume, mass, and density. The simulations were based on and available through Inspirit’s STEM curriculum Innovative learning hub, which offers various extended reality lessons aligned with national and state educational standards.
According to Inspirit, participating teachers received specific training on how to integrate these tools into their teaching practices, and students took part in pre-tests to assess their initial attitudes, motivation, engagement and interest in the subject matter. Teachers and students also received guided activity sheets to facilitate AR teaching.
A follow-up survey of students showed that 92.3 percent said they found the content easy to understand and 84.6 percent showed renewed interest in STEM topics based on the use of AR. Teachers also reported positive associations with teaching, including increased attention span.
Research into various AR use cases has documented a generally positive impact on student learning. A current meta-analysis of several educational studies found that despite a notable lack of consensus regarding the impact of AR on student motivation, the majority of users have reported positive learning outcomes associated with the use of AR, as well as increased learning gains compared to traditional educational methods.
This focus on augmented reality reflects the complex needs of educators – including educational institutions, historic sites and museums – as well as the rise of online distance learning as a means to improve student engagement and retention. Working with supporting technology companies, educators continue to navigate the newest educational frontier, including expanding AI tools specifically designed for use in the classroom. Meanwhile, social media platforms are reckoning with their impact on things like young people’s mental health, digital literacy and educator burnout.
Snapchat’s new AR experiential learning offering joins a range of technologically advanced approaches aimed at addressing these growing concerns.
Educators interested in a free demo of the new lenses can do so Join Now. The full curriculum is expected to be released in fall 2024.
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