To assist the learning process it can be helpful to journey out of the classroom and into certain places of interest. For example, visiting a heritage site to learn about the past, seeing a working ore processing plant to learn about extractive metallurgy or attending a significant event, such as eruption of a volcano. There are however barriers to such excursions. The place of interest could be impractical to get to, dangerous, or the significant event may have already passed. Further, if the site is visitable, expert guidance is needed in taking a group through the site.
A promising solution to the barriers on physical excursions is to augment them with mobile-based augmented reality applications. In augmented reality, a physical place is transformed by adding virtual content using the mobile device. This is typically implemented by using the camera on the mobile device to capture a view of the environment and presenting it on the screen with the additional virtual content overlayed on the actual scene. The content can include written text, images, video and recorded voiceover through to interactive 3D objects that appear to be a part of the actual scene. This has several applications. For one, an actual place of interest can be augmented with guides and information about the objects and history of the place . This information can be directly matched to meet curriculum objectives so that the experience is both engaging and educationally effective. Further, events from the past and objects no longer present can be recreated through augmented reality. In addition, a space that is not connected to the place of interest, but is easily accessible (such as a school oval), can be transformed with augmented reality to represent the place of interest. Importantly, since mobile devices are carried by individuals, personalised experiences can be delivered catering to the individuals interests and learning needs.
In this paper, we review the state of play in the field of augmented reality, overviewing the technology that is currently used and shows promise for future use. We then introduce our framework for creating augmented reality experiences with a small case study based around the cultural heritage space.