If you’ve got children, you know just how quickly they become the most important part of a household. They’re the center of all our attention and all our love, and usually money, too–we want the best for them, and seeing them happy is the only thing that matters. We want to encourage them to be intelligent, strong, independent, self-confident, and healthy. It’s not an easy path, but augmented reality is working on opening new doors (very carefully) in order to help the children of today and tomorrow, and we want to give you a look into that technology.
Researchers from Ataturk University’s Department of Computer Education & Instructional Technology in Erzurum, Turkey are developing some new toys that blend the importance of early brain stimulation early in a child’s life with the promise of new technology. Obviously, this isn’t the easiest task, but they understand the importance of toys in molding a child’s personality–they help form their imagination and teach them behavior control, amongst other skills. With this in mind, they’re working on some pretty cool stuff, and we’re excited to show it to you.
They’re called Educational Magic Toys (EMT) by the creators, and they use AR to enhance both the educational capabilities and their attractiveness to children. They’re simple toys–flashcards, puzzles, and figures that, when displayed on a tablet with a camera, produce screen story animations, 3D objects, and flash animations. They can teach young children about animals, foods, vehicles, objects, professions, colors, numbers, and shapes–all the stuff integral to thriving in early childhood education. You can take a look at it in the video below.
The aim of the study was to get a feel for how the children and teachers would respond to these EMTs, and to discover how they influenced the children’s behavior, their relationship with their teachers, and whether the toys have an influence on cognitive development. For the study, 30 teachers and 3 students aged 5-6, all of whom were enrolled in early childhood education programs, were given EMTs to play with. After spending some time playing with the toys, the researchers conducted a survey for the students and teachers, and even though the results are still very preliminary, they were generally pretty positive. Children and teachers alike enjoyed the use of the EMTs, but they didn’t seem to have a significant impact on cognitive development.
This suggests that EMTs can be used in early childhood education, but more so for improving child-teacher relationships and interactive, collaborative learning than for actual cognitive development. More studies need to be done to improve this problem, as it’s obviously a pretty neat idea that isn’t presently fully attained, but in the meantime, EMTs are providing a new educational AR outlet that could very possibly become very important in years to come.
What do you think? Share your ideas in the comments section!