Augmented Reality

New MOOC Uses AR to Teach About Water Cycle and More


A new massive open online course (MOOC) launching today uses augmented reality (AR) technology to teach about the water cycle — and how to build AR models for future coursework.

Canvas Network and Zappar have partnered to create the free course, designed for teachers and students 8 years and older. Students under 13 years old must submit a signed parent consent form in order to enroll and fully participate in the course.

The MOOC gives teachers and students the platform to create their own augmented reality environment, bringing to life a poster of the water cycle by using a ZapWorks online tool. The MOOC aids users through the AR-building process, and no prior coding knowledge is needed. Once completed, the poster comes to life when a smartphone or tablet is pointed at it, with videos, quizzes and animations at each step of the cycle.

The course aims to help students improve their STEM skills, according to the companies. Students should also learn skills that will help them construct future AR models, particularly for other STEM-related topics that are being developed by Canvas and Zappar.

“Augmented reality can bring subjects to life in a way that textbooks can’t, and its ability to deliver contextual and visual learning supports a wider set of priorities for schools — to put the user experience firmly at the heart of teaching and learning,” said Sam Blyth, director of further education and schools at Canvas, in a prepared statement.

“Augmented reality can help children visualize problems and immerse themselves in a topic — getting really hands on with the subject matter,” said Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO at Zappar, in a statement.

The MOOC, “Zappar Powered STEM Learning Using Augmented Reality,” will begin today, forming part of a month of STEM-related courses for teachers and students. Enrollment for the free, self-paced course is open now, and those who complete the course will receive a ZapWorks certificate. Users will need a PC to create the AR content and a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to view it.

For more information and to get started on the course, visit the Canvas Network site.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].