Because learning doesn’t have to be boring.
A pair of undergraduate students has developed an immersive learning platform called SmartCards that combines augmented reality (AR) and machine learning technology with conventional flashcards to offer more engaging educational experiences for students, according to UConn Today. The platform is aimed at children ages 2-5, though to be honest, I could see students of all ages benefiting from this kind of technology.
Each SmartCard features a special marker that, when scanned with a tablet, unlocks informative virtual content students can interact with using basic hand gestures and buttons. According to its developers, Justin Nappi and Sudiksha Mallick, SmartCards can be especially useful for neurodivergent students, including those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, or dyslexia.
Different SmartCards can even interact with oneanother. For instance, placing an Earth card next to the Moon card will unlock a unique animation of the natural satellite orbiting our home planet. SmartCards also come with releveant facts to provide additional context.
“Especially when you’re a younger student from grades 2-5, learning doesn’t have to be this thing that’s so stressful and competitive, and you just sit and learn,” said Mallick. “It can be something that’s fun. It can be something that you enjoy doing.”
“It was just something I had in the back of my head from my experience with video games growing up and how they helped me grow as a person, and also my experience with the education system as well,” added Nappi. “I had undiagnosed ADHD growing up. Luckily, I did well in school [and] had the support I needed, but I would still always hear these teachers [saying] ‘Pay attention; stop distracting your classmates,’ and constantly [being] on me about my behavior.”
SmartCards is still a work-in-progress, so don’t expect a commercial product soon. That said, Nappi and Mallik are currently meeting with investors while attending classes. The team recently participated in the Big East Start-Up Challenge, a start-up competition composed of student entrepreneurs.
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Feature Image Credit: Sydney Herdle, UConn Photo