Imagine you are a high school learner struggling with the textbook in front of you. You point your smartphone and ta-da – a video pops up on screen. Sound too good to be true? This type of technology – called augmented reality as it digitally ‘augments’ or adds additional features such as pictures, text or video to printed and other educational material – is already being used in classrooms in some parts of the world. It is only a matter of time before it makes headway in South Africa – with the potential of becoming a game-changer in our education system.

Virtual reality is another emerging technology which could transform the learning experience. It enables students to learn in a three-dimensional (3D) environment, bringing abstract concepts to ‘life’. Imagine going on a virtual ‘walk’ along the Great Wall of China, or taking an exploratory trip through our solar system, using your smartphone as a virtual reality headset? This type of technology can turn the traditional method of teaching on its head, making learning fun and truly immersive.

In South African schools, it is the adoption of basic digital learning programmes (on either smartphones or tablets) which is starting to make inroads in terms of transforming learning experiences. A number of private and public schools have introduced digital content, and digital content providers are moving away from mere ebooks to interactive materials aimed at keeping learners engaged.

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