This research examines how augmented reality (AR) tools can be integrating into informal learning experiences in ways that support children’s engagement in science in their communities. We conducted a series of video-based studies over 4 years in an arboretum and a nature center with families and children. In this study (the four iteration of the Tree Investigators design-based research project), 1-hour sessions were conducted at a summer camp for 6 weeks at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. The sessions supported children to learn about the life cycle of trees with iPad computer tablets. Data collected included pre-and post-assessments and video records of children engaged in the science practice of observation. Analysis included the Wilcoxon signed-rank test of 42 paired assessments, the microethnographic analysis of transcripts of dyads and triads engaged with AR tools, and the creation of one case study of a pair of boys, who were representative of others in the dataset. Across the dataset, we found three sociotechnical interactions that contributed to triggering situational interests during the summer camp learning experience: (a) discoveries in the environment related to nature, (b) prior experiences that led to anticipation or expectation about what would happen, and (c) hands-on experiences with natural phenomenon. Implications of the study include that AR tools can trigger and maintain children’s situational interest and science learning outcomes during context-sensitive informal mobile learning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- General Computer Science