Selected annotated articles on Augmented Reality and Gaming in education

Below is the content of a brief annotated bibliography I wrote for the graduate course Applying Educational Media and Technology at the George Washington University.

Eisele-Dyrli, K. (2010). San Diego pilot: Latest test of augmented reality.(news update). District Administration, 46(6), 18.

Eisele-Dyrli is a regular contributor to District Administration magazine, an industry magazine for district-level administrators.

This brief magazine article describing two Augmented Reality projects by the Handheld Augmented Reality Project (HARP) at Harvard University. In one, (AR) guides students through a physical museum space using devices acquired through a public private partnership. In the second, students use global positioning enabled devices to find and interact with virtual objects in a physical space.

Supplementary material and sources

Introductory video to the HARP project

HARP Project Home Page - few resources and some broken links, but links to external media provide

PowerPoint of HARP project with research findings demonstrating high potential for engagement mixed with high levels of frustration due to technology-based challenges.

Devices able to provide location specific information emerged when GPS technology was embedded in mobile computing devices, like the Palm Pilot and Pocket PC almost 20 years ago. Early research into augmenting reality focused on providing information based on the user’s location. Educational applications were scavenger hunt type activities that linked information to a particular space. Students received instruction or reinforcement once they arrived at a target location. We would recognize this technology in applications like 4Square that suggest restaurants or activities based on your current location.

At the same time, Virtual Reality was basing the visual display on the user’s movements. The user would view a virtual space through a video headset; areas of the virtual space could be viewed by physically looking up, down and side-to-side. Headsets through which the user could see both data and the physical world were tremendously expensive and used by medical researchers and practitioners.

As mobile computers and hand-held devices became more powerful and included integrated cameras, the it became possible to display location-specific digital data on top of a view of the physical world, thus augmenting the user’s view of reality.


West, D. M., 1954. (2012). Digital schools: How technology can transform education. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution. Link

West is currently with the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings and is vice president and director of Governance Studies. His book, “Digital Schools” is suitable for use in teacher training programs and introductions to different technologies and their impact on education.

West’s book explores several technologies and innovations made possible with technology. For each he offers understandings arising from early implementations as well as research relevant to the technology. He begins by exploring how technology enables innovations in program delivery, and program content but points out how slow education is to change to technological change. West highlights the opportunities to individualize learning and deliver programs at a distance to a wider variety of learners using mobile and online spaces.

Chapter 4 offers definitions and examples of both video games and AR in education, primarily as a content delivery system. While West uses the term Augmented Reality, his descriptions more closely fit reflect Virtual Reality as he describes virtual environments and simulations in which users use explore scenarios and make decisions using an avatar on the computer. He describes the value of immersion in a situation, experimenting to understand variable and decision-making that results in a dynamic and complex articulation of the decision consequences.


Educause Learning Initiative. (2005, Sept). 7 things you should know about augmented reality. Retrieved from

Educause Learning Initiative has published a series of “7 Things You Should Know About...” as part of its nonprofit mandate to research and promote best practice for information technology in higher education.

Written prior to widespread use of multi-function mobile devices, this article describes AR by differentiating it from virtual reality. The article shares current (at that time) applications, particularly in medicine. The authors describe limitations to widespread use of Augmented Reality due to the high cost of interface hardware but predicted, accurately, that mobile devices will be both accessible and powerful enough to manage the processing and network demands required for AR.

TAugmented Reality can push contextual information to the viewer bringing a layer of meaning that may otherwise never have been accessed. This, the authors say, is the unique and innovative element brought to education by AR technology.


Klopfer, E., & Yoon, S. (2005). Developing games and simulations for today and tomorrow's tech savvy youth. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 49(3), 33-41. Link

Eric Klopfer is  Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program at MIT. Susan A. Yoon is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work in this article was published in a journal for education practitioners and focuses on educational communications and technology.

How to harness the power afforded by the growing accessibility to portable computing is the focus for this article. Klopfer and Yoon recognize the social appeal of mobile computing and gaming technology and suggest ways to leverage it for teaching and learning. They see mobile tech and games not simply as a content delivery tool, but a window through which learners can uniquely engage with content and each other. Skills required in this environment for both learners and teachers is different. Learners are meaning-makers while they participate in activities designed to spur creative thought and problem solving.

The authors use games to explore how learners make meaning of complex situations in the context of a computer simulation game and in creating their own simulations. Klopfer and Yoon identify Augmented Reality using mobile technology as a way of bringing computer simulations and game-based learning out from behind the computer screen and into the physical world. They share that AR games are in development as is are AR authoring tools making it easier for teachers and learners to create augmented experiences.


Dede, C. (2004). Enabling Distributed Learning Communities via Emerging Technologies--Part One. T.H.E. Journal, 32(2), 12.

Christopher J. Dede is the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies,

Harvard University. He has researched, written, and presented extensively on learning technologies.

Examines the capacity for ubiquitous and mobile communications to change education to a more dynamic, personalised, and engaging activity. The author outlines assumptions about educational improvement: learning content must give way to learning processes, teacher training must include strategies in transforming education to a new model, professional development must be participatory rather than receptive, learner communities must go beyond communication to collaboration, learning enterprises must embrace virtual learning spaces and promote broader, more global learning communities.

Using a future scenario, Dede presents a vision of education where learners and teachers are joined by family, community, and social services to create a community with whom the learner pursues academic growth.


Dede, C. (2004). Enabling Distributed Learning Communities via Emerging Technologies--Part Two. T.H.E. Journal, 32(3), 16. Link

 Augmented Reality is highlighted in this article as an emerging portal through which distributed and mobile learning takes place. A future scenario shows students engaging with people and objects in their current spaces as they move from one place to another, their mobile devices recognizing and presenting learning opportunities.

Distributed, mobile, just-in-time learning like this requires a complete rethinking of how, when, and where learning happens. Such global change in understandings and attitudes will drive changes to pedagogy, instructional design, teacher education, and student groupings / learning communities.


Bhati, N., Mercer, S., Rankin, K., & Thomas, B. (2010). Barriers and facilitators to the adoption of tools for online pedagogy. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 5(3), 5-19. Retrieved from

The authors are variously researchers, school teachers, and independent consultants collaborating on research for a journal that explores pedagogical issues in the light of emerging issues and technologies.

The authors identify five barriers to widespread use of technology tools for teaching and learning: time, cost, pedagogical use, technical problems, and lack of strategic management initiatives. They note that the rapidity of technological innovation often means new technology is added to the teaching toolkit without taking the time to determine whether it is effective. More, but not necessarily better technology is adopted haphazardly contributing to integration challenges. Successful online educational programs demonstrated care in media selection resulting in a smaller, but more effective toolkit.

Online learning tools Mobile devices untether the learner from the classroom and the computer. This means that learning can be customised for the individual at that moment as they move through the world. Immersive virtual environments create myriad opportunities for engaging with content and other learners in unique ways unbound by geography.

Whether barrier or facilitator, the changing nature of communication and social interaction necessitates broad and deep changes to the way instructional programs are created and delivered.

For the next couple of years much of my time will be spent on coursework as I have enrolled in George Washington University's Graduate Certificate in eLearning, the first step toward completing the Masters Degree in Education Technology Leadership. In the spirit of learning in public, I plan to use my blog as a thinking and processing space. I'll use the #GWETL tag here on the blog and the same hashtag when tweets are course related. At the moment, I'm registered in Critical Issues in Distance Education and Computer Interface Design for Learning.

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