Imaginality to Bring Learning to Life on Mobile Devices Using Augmented Reality

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Imaginality enables children to hold a beating 3D heart in the palm of their hand and see how blood flows through it, investigate solar eclipses, or even become a dinosaur. MindSpace’s Kickstarter uses clever promotions to bring this ‘playful learning’ Educational Technology to mobile devices.

Today, MindSpace Solutions launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring learning to life on mobile devices using Augmented Reality.

Their product, Imaginality, uses Augmented Reality to enable playful learning on over 60 topics, while also supporting teachers with curriculum relevant resources and worksheets. You can even have fun creating your own experiences and sharing them with the world.

Imaginality enables children to hold a beating 3D heart in the palm of their hand and see how blood flows through it, investigate solar eclipses, or even become a dinosaur.

Imaginality is already available on Windows computers, but the Kickstarter campaign aims to bring it to other platforms, particularly tablets and phones.

“Mobile devices are perfectly suited to Imaginality, as you can look ‘through’ them like a window into another world, walk around a desk interacting with virtual objects, and you can easily share them with others around the classroom” says Eric Woods, Managing Director of MindSpace Solutions.

MindSpace is offering rewards of Imaginality, with versions for home users, schools and businesses. They are offering steep, Kickstarter-only discounts, and a remarkable ‘Get one, Give one’ promotion: for every pledge made to Kickstarter, MindSpace will make an equal donation to a school of your choice! This enables teachers to promote Imaginality as a fundraiser with kids being able to take it home too.

“Sometimes I wish I could be a child in this era. They [my students] are very lucky” said Nigel Eames, teacher at Paparoa Street Primary School.

A MindSpace partner, CARE, will be demonstrating Imaginality and an early mobile prototype at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Atlanta, Ga., from 28 June to 1 July.

What is Augmented Reality? 
Augmented Reality, or AR, is technology that takes a view of the real world and places virtual content on it, as if it was in the real world. Using this technology, Imaginality enables students to hold a beating 3D heart in the palm of their hand and see how blood flows through it, investigate solar eclipses, or even become a dinosaur.

What is Imaginality
Imaginality topics currently focus on Science, Social Studies and Maths in mid-primary to mid-secondary school levels, however, they are also expanding into literacy with ‘Story Creators’, where students can arrange characters, props and environments on screen, type a story and take a picture. In addition to learning these ‘traditional’ topics, Imaginality can also be used with Sketchup to create or import 3D models from a library of over 200,000, add images, audio and text, choose simple interactions and then share the experience online. This can be used to teach creativity, higher-order thinking skills (HOTS), media, technology and even programming in a fun, visual way.

“Augmented Reality has been used for the last couple of years for marketing, but Imaginality is pioneering its use as a comprehensive learning tool” said Mr Woods.

How does it work?
Imaginality uses a set of 12 generic, handheld paddles, but when you choose a topic and view the paddles through a camera, the paddles come to life with virtual objects attached to them. The display allows you to see yourself moving the 3D virtual objects as if they were real objects. These objects then interact in various ways: scale to relative sizes, lock together to build a machine, or perform interactive simulations of systems like the Phases of the Moon. You can even hold a paddle up to your head to wear Māori artefacts or to become an endangered animal. Each 3D object includes supporting information, which can be read as text, or after the Kickstarter, narrated out loud as you look at it. Despite using the latest technology, Imaginality is surprisingly easy to use as it is based on simply moving around physical objects. And if there is no webcam or paddles available, you can still use everything by moving virtual paddles around with a mouse.

“The best part about it was how you spend so little time setting it up – a brief demonstration and they are off” said Nigel Eames, teacher at Paparoa Street Primary School.

Part of this ease of use is due to careful design:

“We knew we would have to design a new set of interface standards, and stay consistent to them” said Mr Woods, “We now take these standards for granted on desktop and touch-screen computers, but with Augmented Reality, we are essentially starting from scratch”. They also paid careful attention to enabling playful learning.

What is ‘Playful Learning’?

“In our first few years, we all learn so much, and have so much fun doing it” says Mr Woods, “We want students to keep this passion for learning throughout their whole school lives.”

The Kickstarter campaign is at here. For more information about Imaginality, visit here.[signoff predefined=”Enjoy this?” icon=”icon-users”][/signoff]

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