The vision and goal of this research project is to use Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for educational purposes within the school system, primarily for K-12 grades.
Comprehending Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics can be hard to perceive specially for students whom are introduced to these scientific fields for the very first time.
Based on the small scaled survey that I have created from the responses of rising high school students, all of the participants mentioned that seeing a 3 dimension (3D) model of an object related to STEM subjects will create an interactive and exciting learning experience. They would rather utilize such technology instead of the used methods in today’s classrooms. In the survey, we have focused on 2 dimension photos used in text books and physical models compared to a 3D model where it can be augmented within an app.
I have used the AR technology to develop this idea. The research was funded by NASA * Space Grant Consortium and I have pursued this unique software development while being a full time undergrad Information Systems student at university.
The main software language used was C# to write scripts inside the Unity software development application to create AR mobile apps. In order for all students to be able to use this app, it needed to be cross-platform therefore same app can be packaged for both Android and iOS devices.
I have developed a beta version of this app which enables the user to augment 3D objects on predefined patterns. These patterns are same as Quick Response (QR) codes but the app has been programmed in a way that once the camera of the device detects the pattern within the field of view, the 3D object will be augmented on that pattern. I have printed these predefined patterns on paper and once augmented within the app, these objects will be precisely tracked and locked on the paper. Paper can be moved in every direction and the app will continuously track and place the 3D object on it in real-time.
I have presented the results of my research in 3 science fairs and the received responses and feedbacks from the users were amazing. Teachers, students, and parents were all astonished once they saw scientific models such as the DNA helix or chemical molecules being augmented within the app. The user can move the device around these virtual objects and at the same time can fully see every corner of the object as if it was projected in real life.
On the other hand, there are lots of technologies used in classrooms every day such as laptops or tablets, however, imagining scientific models can be frustrating or uninteresting for students. I hope that by using AR technologies within the educational system, the students will be interested and inspired to learn more about science and decide to pursue a STEM degree after graduating from high school.
* Based on rules of ASEE, to not identify the student.
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