Discovery Education Introduces Free Augmented Reality App for Students and Educators — THE Journal

Immersive learning tools

Discovery Education introduces free augmented reality app for students and teachers

Sandbox AR allows users to create virtual worlds or augment their own – all tied to real-world knowledge

Discovery Education today introduced its new Sandbox AR iPad app, giving students and teachers free access to an immersive learning tool that uses augmented and virtual reality to create interactive learning experiences that unleash children’s natural curiosity. students.

By overlaying virtual images and data onto a user’s real-world view, augmented reality enables learners to view and interact with complex topics and enhances student engagement with digital content. The Sandbox AR app allows students and teachers to create, share, and even inhabit virtual environments; users can create virtual “scenes” and fill those scenes with one of hundreds of built-in unique objects from history, science, nature, and more, Discovery Education said.

The app also has a mode for users to move around and inhabit their own environments in a virtual setting, using their iPad to take pictures of their surroundings; this virtual world or scene can then be populated with the app’s built-in objects to create a scene that combines virtual reality and augmented reality, Discovery Education recently told THE Journal. Objects in the app each connect to information about its history (like the Great Pyramid of Giza), its origins in the natural world (like an African elephant), and more.

Once a user has built their Sandbox AR scene to their satisfaction, they can take photos or record a step-by-step video with their own voiceover, to present to their classmates or teacher what they have created or what he learned, for example.

To help teachers harness the power of AR wherever learning takes place, Discovery Education has made the Sandbox AR iPad app available for free in the Apple App Store.

“We know that educators and students love augmented reality,” explained one of the app’s developers, Phil Birchinall, Discovery Education’s senior director of immersive content. “Sandbox gives students the ability to control and have some agency over this augmented reality.”

Sandbox adds multiple layers of data to the scene created by users, using built-in links attached to every object in the app to teach users “real world” information about every object they see in their “virtual world.” “, he explained.

“Sandbox AR gives students the ability to immerse themselves in any scene or topic they learn and really show off their knowledge,” said Jason Ediger of Discovery Education. “This app will have a real impact in the classroom and on learning outcomes. Highly engaging content is important, but giving kids a sense of belonging – underpinned by appropriate learning concepts – is key.

Sandbox AR offers pre-made scenes such as ancient Egypt, Mayan ruins, road construction sites, space exploration, and more, as well as hundreds of individual objects that students or teachers can use to create their own scenes. Each scene and object is linked to learning material, or for teachers using the app, each is linked to teaching material.

Visit the Discovery Education website to watch a demonstration video of the capabilities of the Sandbox AR app.

“It’s critical that teachers understand the power of this tool for them and their students, so we’ve included lessons for educators on how to use it in their teaching,” Ediger said. “The uses for this are endless – students can inhabit an AR world they build and really experience it; it could be part of a mindfulness meditation, or a game” or a lesson on endangered species like the African elephant.

Birchinall, a former teacher himself, said his team created the AR Sandbox for a purpose, not just to bring cool tools to the classroom. “We know AR has a huge impact on learning,” he said. “Tools like these amplify the power, depth and speed of student learning.”

Discovery Education first entered the world of edtech more than two decades ago, digitizing educational video content previously brought into classrooms on VHS tapes and media carts, then introducing digital textbooks.

“While 2021 marked Discovery Education’s 20th year of delivering innovative digital learning solutions to educators around the world, it also marked a new chapter in the company’s history,” said Scott Kinney. , CEO of Discovery Education. “Sandbox AR and the resources we are making available to educators today are just the beginning of what will be a number of powerful new resources Discovery Education plans to provide students and educators in 2022 and beyond. .

Discovery Education also featured DE Originals today. Produced by Discovery Education’s curriculum team, DE Originals airs videos featuring former teachers introducing students to various topics in a “fun and engaging” way, the company helps. DE Originals are exclusively available to subscribers of Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform.

The 100+ new DE Originals kick off with the DEmystfied series, which explains complex science concepts through fun, funny, short, digestible, and standards-compliant videos. Combining Discovery Education’s signature storytelling style with creative graphics, DEmystfied helps students ask and answer questions about the world around them. Discovery Education users can access DEmystfied through the DE website.

For more information about Sandbox AR, teachers can check out the Sandbox AR Quick Start Guide or check out a free Sandbox AR lesson. To learn more about Discovery Education’s digital learning resources, visit

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is the editor of 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].

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