This blog has been updated from the version first published in March 2022.
Vinay Thawait, Subject Advisor, Computer Science, IT and Creative iMedia
We are the first exam board in England to include learning and creation of an augmented reality (AR) model prototype for 14-16 year old students in our Level 2 IT qualification. I’ll explain why we included this, and what students will achieve by learning and creating an AR model prototype.
I am very excited about this new, engaging, and future proof learning around AR content. I also understand that learning and teaching of AR content will be a new area for many teachers. You’ll find this mandatory unit in our newly redeveloped Level 1/ Level 2 Cambridge National in IT (J836) qualification. The qualification includes two further mandatory units: NEA unit R060, data manipulation using spreadsheets, and the mandatory examined unit, R050, IT in the digital world.
We’ve designed this qualification to meet the Department for Education (DfE) requirements for qualifications in the Technical Award category of the 14-16 performance tables, and you’ll see it’s clearly aimed at meeting the needs of today’s students.
I’ve also included a section on how our use of AR is expanding into lots of areas of everyday life, the increasing demand in industry, and the opportunities this brings for students in this exciting new area of learning.
Learning AR content will prepare students for the skills needed today, fuelled by an increasing demand for engaging, interactive, and user rich content experiences for personal, educational, and industry sectors.
In the Cambridge National in IT, students will learn to design, create, test, and review a high-fidelity AR model prototype to present information. It will allow your students to plan their progression path to further and higher education and help to support them into creative job roles.
The use of and demand for AR products has enjoyed exponential growth in mobile app development across almost all industries and sectors.
There’s been a surge in demand for AR devices and applications in healthcare, retail, architecture, science, education, hospitality, and e-commerce. And, in part due to Covid-19, it’s growing in global automotive industries, aerospace and defence, energy, entertainment and gaming too.
Touchstone Research has produced a helpful infographic about how AR is used across different industries, and here are some real examples of how AR is being used today:
Professional-level skills are required for careers as an AR app or product developer. These skilled roles consist of working with tools and techniques for different types of AR software development kits (SDKs), programming languages, 3D gaming engines and modelling, command over user interaction (UI), user experience (UX), graphic designing skills, networking/communication skills and problem-solving. And to work in this field students will benefit from developing some of these important skills now.
ReportLinker has released a report on the market growth, use and worldwide demand for AR products forecast to 2026. And this blog from Touchstone Research on growth between 2016 and 2020, as well as a LinkedIn report by Tom Emrich will help you understand the level of global demand for AR products. With 2023 being a big year for generative AI, we will see a further increase of AI in 3D/AR/VR product development.
AR jobs currently offer some of the best opportunities for creative professionals. Common positions held in this field include:
So that you can get a feel for the types of AR-related jobs that are available, I’ve linked to some “augmented reality” keyword searches on these well-known job sites. Please be mindful that the jobs linked through the list below will expire, but you will be able to reset the search using the keyword:
This shows the importance of the AR content in our redeveloped Cambridge National IT qualification.
As with any new qualification content and product development, to be able to succeed we all need to find out more and learn new skills.
Developing an AR model prototype requires students, as well as teachers, to become an effective user of AR software development kits (SDKs). Once you have developed these skills these will enable you to design, create, test, and review a high-fidelity AR model prototype to present information.
We have looked at free and basic versions of the AR SDKs that are suitable for educational and personal use. The suggested SDKs should enable candidates to secure the full range of marks available.
We reviewed and updated AR SDKs in our previous blog post, Teaching augmented reality in our redeveloped Cambridge National in IT, and I have updated the list again so you can review and use one that you find most appropriate for you and your students. Please download our AR software recommendations document to get to know which software is best for your school and students.
SDKs suitable for use now:
SDKs we are testing further:
As with all software, new SDKs may become available in the future and some recommended SDKs may change from a free to a paid-for subscription or may become obsolete.
To continue to support our teachers, we will regularly monitor and update our information about SDKs. We’d also appreciate your feedback about the AR SDKs shared in this blog, so we can use these to plan our ongoing support.
On the qualification webpage we provide:
We’ll also be running professional development to support you with the delivery and assessment of this qualification. Check for upcoming events on our professional development website.
The student textbook and learning and teaching resources are available from from publishers including Cambridge University Press and Hodder Education. Keeping up to date can feel daunting, but by taking steps early you can be confident that you will be on top of your planning and preparation for this new and exciting IT qualification.
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Vinay joined OCR in July 2014 to support the GQ reform and development of the AS and A-Level Computer Science qualifications. Since then, he has been involved in the development of the reformed GCSE (9-1) Computer Science, Entry Level Computer Science and Cambridge National in IT. He is currently working on the new Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in IT: Data Analytics and the Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in Computing: Application development qualification. Before joining OCR, Vinay spent more than 20 years in IT and Computer Science teaching and leadership roles, working for several schools as well as local authorities educational support team. He was the National Bid Lead for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative within Capita IT, and also the Head of Operations for an audio-visual educational software development company. Vinay has a degree, three post-graduate masters and NPQH from Warwick, Coventry, and Nottingham Universities.