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New MOOC brings the water cycle to life

Canvas Network and Zappar join forces to bring augmented reality to the classroom

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | September 23, 2016 | Primary

A new ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC) launching this month is set to showcase the ways augmented reality (AR) technology can help bring learning to life. 

The course, developed in partnership between Canvas Network and Zappar comes in response to huge user demand for AR in the classroom, which Zappar reports has tripled in two years (from 11% to 29%). 

The MOOC will offer an innovative way for teachers and students aged 8 years and up to explore ‘the water cycle’, grounding a theoretical subject in an authentic, tangible and visual way. Young learners under the age of 13 must submit a signed parent consent form in order to enrol and fully participate in the course. 

As schools and colleges strive to better engage students, STEM in particular has been put under the spotlight. With results in these subjects continuing to lag behind humanities subjects according to the most recent GCSE results2, innovations like AR can work alongside quality teaching to help enthuse students, helping them apply knowledge to practical problem solving. 

Augmented reality can bring subjects to life in a way that textbooks can’t, and its ability to deliver contextual and visual learning supports a wider set of priorities for schools – to put the user experience firmly at the heart of teaching and learning

“New innovations offer the chance for teachers to shake up their traditional methods and the Canvas Network is a great tool to help facilitate this,” said Sam Blyth, Director of Further Education & Schools at Canvas. “Augmented reality can bring subjects to life in a way that textbooks can’t, and its ability to deliver contextual and visual learning supports a wider set of priorities for schools – to put the user experience firmly at the heart of teaching and learning.”

The Canvas Network course will give teachers and students the platform to create their own augmented reality environment, bringing to life a poster of the water cycle by using the ZapWorks online tool. The MOOC helps users through the process of creating the AR poster and no prior coding knowledge is needed. Once finished, the poster comes to life when a smartphone or tablet is pointed at it, with videos, quizzes and animations at each step of the cycle. 

“The use of augmented reality in the classroom can be a fantastic tool to complement great teaching,” said Caspar Thykier, co-founder & CEO at Zappar. “Augmented reality can help children visualize problems and immerse themselves in a topic – getting really hands-on with the subject matter. All while improving their computing and communications skills and helping foster a collaborative and engaging learning experience.”

The Canvas Network MOOC ‘Zappar Powered STEM Learning Using Augmented Reality’ will begin on Monday 26 September 2016, forming part of a month of STEM related courses for teachers and students. Enrolment for the free, self-paced course is open now and those who complete the MOOC will receive a ZapWorks Certificate.

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