Augmented Reality v. Alternate Reality

So when I was researching graduate schools I wanted to apply to next fall (I’ve now decided to attend Georgia Tech, woohoo!), I came across this idea of Augmented Reality. This sounded a lot like alternate reality, which is clearly my focus, so I did a little bit of research on it and discovered some really cool stuff. Augmented reality is kind of self-explanatory when you think about it, but it’s basically using technology to  augment reality. You reach some sort of physical checkpoint and using technology, whether it’s a smart phone or some kind of totally crazy glasses, you see more information through this technology– maybe it tells you information about the site.

Anyways, when I read about this, my mind totally clicked into “How can this be used for games?” So of course I’m thinking about using this for clues and having people running around with this technology looking for clue checkpoints that will send them on to the next clue.

Ultimately what I think this could really be used for is to make learning really fun. Make learning into a game that uses this technology with clues and checkpoints for students to run around, learn about certain buildings or historical facts, and then race off to another. I see it as being a totally educational and technological version of National Treasure. Yes, that really super cheesy movie with Nicholas Cage. Whatever, I totally adore that movie. It’s so entertaining. Imagine what we could do by mixing augmented reality technology with alternate reality game design with educational frameworks. I think it would just be such a cool idea for kids to learn this way, like a scavenger hunt for knowledge that also uses technology.

I think in researching ARGs and new technology, we should not only be thinking in ways that it can create better entertainment but also how it can create a better society. Super cheesy and idealistic, I know, but if you had the chance to learn American history through a scavenger hunt, wouldn’t you?

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