With the help of the PSP, a group of disadvantaged students became more engaged in a school project than ever before.

According to officials, the Mansel Primary School in northeast Sheffield faces “challenging circumstances” by serving an area characterized by social and economic disadvantage. The students that show up often face significant learning difficulties. However, a recent experiment with augmented reality learning proved that technology, when used correctly, can engage any level of student.

The “Imaginary Worlds” project was designed to see if a different style of learning would work in the Mansel Primary environment. The students that participated used a Sony PSP handheld with camera attachment and special software, as included with titles like Invizimals, to roam around the school and plot their own “imaginary journey.” After making a map, the students had to assign six special locations to the map, such as the “Tower of Doom” or the “Dark Cave.” They placed a useful object in each of these locations that would ultimately help them get through their journey.

Semacodes were located around the school that students could associate with images they found on the internet, which would appear through the PSP when viewed, giving students the feeling of actually being in their imaginary worlds. Students could also place a picture of food, a weapon, a monster, etc.

After the students planned out their quests, they recorded the audio of their journeys: what they saw, heard, and did. Once the quests were finished, students reported their experiences to the class.

Teachers reported that the project was a big success. The work students put together was of a higher standard than previously seen. Even students that normally don’t participate became more active, and bad behavior was at a low.

If you think about it, the results make perfect sense. Any student would find more engagement in an actual journey chronicled with real images through a PSP, rather than one that had to be written out on paper. Imaginary Worlds appears to be a great example of how technology really can improve how students learn beyond educational games and other software.

Source: SLCNC, via Joystiq

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