Augmented reality potential and hype: towards an evaluative framework
Augmented Reality adds a layer of digital information to a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment. Of late, many claims have been made about the potential of augmented reality software in education. Technically such software may offer many exciting features but little research has been done into the teaching and learning foundations upon which it is built. This is problematic because in a time of budget cuts, on the one hand, and ever increasing examples of such software, on the other, educators do not have available to them an objective framework that they can use to evaluate the potential pedagogical usefulness of such software. Furthermore, technical developers have little guidance as to the pedagogical expectations of educators. By focusing on the area of foreign language teaching this article takes a first step towards addressing this research gap by proposing an evaluative framework that has been constructed with reference to teaching and learning scholarship, as opposed to that of digital humanities or computer science. It tests this framework using a series of case studies dealing with existing augmented reality applications for language teaching and learning and those which could be repurposed. It concludes that the evaluative framework created in this study has established a potentially useful baseline for making decisions about the possible use of augmented reality applications for teaching and learning in the classroom. We hold that the integration of such a framework with existing digital humanities and computer science methods of evaluation may result in a more objective and interdisciplinary framework that can be used for the evaluation of such software.