Inclusive learning and new technologies

This article is written for the purposes of the GAD project


Augmented reality means the enrichment of human sensory perception through information, generally manipulated and conveyed electronically, which would not be perceivable with the five senses (V. Di Bari, P. Magrassi, 2015 weekend nel futuro, Edizioni Il Sole 24 Ore , 2005)

AR technology has the ability to render in 3D model everything that can hardly be visualized in a classroom, on the computer and in the students’ minds. The content, abstract and difficult, in this way becomes visible and interactive and therefore favors a better understanding of the topics of the lesson (Sural, 2018)

Augmented reality can provide opportunities for problem-based learning and exploration in a safe environment, which can be explored from different perspectives, where students can experiment with ideas, make decisions (Miglino & Nigrelli, 2011; Lee, 2012; Radu, 2012 )

We often tend to confuse augmented reality with virtual reality. Both approaches are based on the visualization of information in the field of vision, but augmented reality superimposes images and texts on what the user sees around him/her, without completely obscuring it, while virtual reality immerses people in a completely different situation from the real one, in which the natural perceptions of many of the five senses seem to be replaced by others, giving the sensation of being in another place.

AR makes it possible to increase, enhance and amplify what already exists, connect information levels of various kinds to what our senses are able to perceive, realizing what can be defined as: “a perceptive enhancement”.

To take advantage of virtual and augmented reality, there is no need for expensive and hard-to-find tools and technologies. In fact, it is possible to start with simple methods and techniques, based on the creative use of technologies, IWB, PCs, tablets and smartphones. In augmented reality teaching activities, the teacher/trainer/educator must be a mediator, therefore he/she must know and structure in detail the experiences he/she will offer to his/her students/participants.

Benefits of augmented reality in education

  • it allows to carry out impossible or difficult experiences that would be impossible otherwise: virtually visit distant monuments and countries, observe closely and in a three-dimensional way an organ, an ecosystem, a machine
  • allows to simulate and observe situations of laboratory activities that are dangerous or not simple to carry out, without any risk
  • provides​ the opportunity to explore the​ mechanisms of the world and​ experience them first-hand and at 360° involving people also from a perceptive and intuitive point of view.


Ubiquitous learning, referred to as u-learning, leverages digital content, the physical environment, mobile devices, pervasive components, and wireless communication to deliver teaching-learning experiences to users anytime, anywhere, anyhow.
U-learning represents an emerging paradigm that disseminates education in different contexts, where users are located, creating real and engaging learning contexts with the aim of learning effectively.​

Mobile and ubiquitous learning is increasingly attracting interest from academia and the public, especially in relation to its application in educational contexts. Particularly ‘hybrid’ projects, where students create multimodal plays outside the classroom and then discuss their documented experiences with peers and educators. This is also helping to connect formal learning with more informal and personalized environments.​

Design of inclusive digital learning environments

Among the factors that make augmented reality a possible tool to promote educational inclusion is multi-sensoriality: augmented information, in fact, is not limited only to the sense of sight, but can be applied to all senses, such as hearing, smell and touch (Azuma et al., 2001). In this sense, AR favors multiple means of representation, of action and multiple ways of involving students in the learning process (Meyer et al., 2014).

Hrishikesh and Nair (2016), in their studies, indicate that AR allows children with disabilities to understand concepts better and faster.
Mohd Yusof et al have demonstrated that AR offers challenging and entertaining educational tools for students with special needs, as it captures their attention.
Similarly, there is evidence that AR has a positive impact on students’ educational experience, increases confidence, increases level of engagement and interest (Fombona et al., 2017), provides opportunities for self-learning ( Akçayir and Akçayir, 2017), enhances collaborative learning (Phon et al., 2014), improves satisfaction and increases student motivation (Liu and Chu, 2010; Di Serio et al., 2013; Bacca et al., 2018).

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