Is there a way to promote Augmented Reality or AR use in the classroom when it comes to reading books and circle time? Recently, there has been an increase in companies innovating and looking at ways to create new and immersive layers by adding, “immersive lit” to their libraries collections.

Immersive, or Augmented Reality-based books can generally be enjoyed the traditional way, reading and listening to the words and allowing the readers’ or listeners’ imagination to fill in the gaps and actionize the items. But today, there is another way, an immersive way to enjoy storytelling by adding action-based or augmented elements to help tell the tale.

This immersive augmented reality technology has two end functions:

  1. The author’s original point is shared, created and developed so that there is no miscommunication on message or intent.

  2. An additional sensory-based experience is created, allowing those who might not have been able to follow-along or to develop their own mindful picture now to have an entirely new one shared just for them.

However, many questions arise when thinking about this new integration. Is there a downside to this new integration? Just as the fear of radio, TV or online tube-based video, will AR slow down or “deter” our youth from actually reading? Could there be a sensory overload for the end-user, the kids? Do we know what age is best for children to experience AR and to fully understand the impact that it can have on their cognitive development and synapsis?

 Or is all just fun and games and researchers like me, are simply perceiving a potential negative use-case that isn’t really there?

There has been countless studies that have talked about the negative impact of screen usage and screen time (which I will expand upon in a few more posts to share the academic side to screens) but does temporary exposure during story time really count as screen time exposure. Literally, it does but the variable of duration and compounding effects need to explore more. Time will literally tell.

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Catherine Halprin

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