Tar AR: Bringing the past to life in place-based augmented reality science learning

Professional Forum

Friday, April 30, 2021: 11:00am - 12:00pm - - Professional Forum

Matt Davis, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Informal science learning spaces such as museums have been exploring the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) as a means to connect visitors to places, times, or types of content that are otherwise inaccessible. This proposal reports on a design-based research project conducted at La Brea Tar Pits, an active paleontological dig site located within a city park in the heart of Los Angeles. The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California engaged in a research practice partnership to enhance place-based science learning through the design and iterative testing of potential AR exhibits. Results from one implementation show that AR technology increased visitor interest in the park and positive emotions around science content. Significant learning gains and decreases in science misconceptions also occurred for participants.

We also give guidance on developing scientifically accurate assets for AR experiences and leading users through a virtual narrative. This presentation offers insights into museum and university partnerships for promoting public understanding of science in informal spaces by leveraging place-based learning through technology-enhanced engagement.

Azuma, R., Baillot, Y., Behringer, R., Feiner, S., Julier, S., & MacIntyre, B. (2001). Recent advances in augmented reality. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 21, 34–47.
Cobb, P., Confrey, J., diSessa, A. A., Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Design Experiments in Educational Research. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 9-13.
Davis, M. (2020). Towards frictionless augmented reality. Museum.
Davis, M. (2019). Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Real Reality: Thinking holistically about the spectrum of immersive technologies in museums. PaleoBios, 36(Supplement 1), 118.
Dunleavy, M., & Dede, C. (2014). Augmented reality teaching and learning. In J.M. Spector et al. (eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 735–745). Springer: New York.
Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). The best of both worlds: A critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher, 32(4), 3-12.
Herrick, R. I., Sinatra, M. G., Kennedy, A., Nye, B., Swartout, & W., Lindsey, E., (2020). Tar AR: Using AR to Enhance Science Enjoyment and Informal Science Learning. APA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Herrick, R. I., Sinatra, M. G., Kennedy, A., Nye, B., Swartout, W., & Lindsey, E., (2020). Tar AR: Bringing the past to life in place-based augmented reality science learning. National Consortium for Instruction and Cognition Annual Research Program, San Francisco, CA.
Kennedy, A. A., Thacker, I., Sinatra, G. M., Nye, B., Lindsey, E., Swartout, B. & Nelson, D. (2020) Reliving paleontology: Correcting scientific misconceptions with augmented reality in a museum setting. AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Kennedy, A. A. U., Jacobson, N., Thacker, I., Sinatra, G. M., Lu, X., Sohn, J. H., Nelson, D., Rosenberg, E. S., & Nye, B. D. (2018). Re-living paleontology: Using augmented reality to promote engagement and learning. American Psychological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Macdonald, S. (Ed.). (1997). The politics of display: Museums, science, culture. New York, NY:Routledge
Radu, I. (2014). Augmented reality in education: A meta-review and cross-media analysis. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 18, 1533-1543.
Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
Sandoval, W.A., & Bell, P. (2004). Design-Based Research Methods for Studying Learning in Context: Introduction.
Sinatra, G. M. (2019). The Power and Peril of AI in Education. International Conference on Media in Education (Keynote address). Shenzhen, China.
Smith G. A. (2002). Place-based education: Learning to be where we are. Phi Delta Kappan, 83, 584 594.
Smith, G.A. & Sobel, D. (2010). Place- and community-based education in schools. New York, NY: Routledge.
Sobel, D. (2004). Place-based education: Connecting classrooms and communities. Great Barrington, MA: The Orion Society.
Wu, H.-K., Lee, S. W.-Y., Chang, H.-Y., & Liang, J.-C. (2013). Current status, opportunities and challenges of augmented reality in education. Computers & Education, 62, 41-49.
Venkatesh, V.; Morris, M. G.; Davis, G. B.; Davis, F. D. (2003), "User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view" (PDF), MIS Quarterly, 27 (3): 425–478.
Zimmerman, Heather, and Land, Susan. “Facilitating Place-Based Learning in Outdoor Informal Environments with Mobile Computers.” TechTrends 58.1 (2014): 77–83.