Hints and tips - 10 minute read
Vinay Thawait – Subject Advisor, Computer Science, IT and iMedia
We have redeveloped our Cambridge Nationals qualifications for first teaching in September 2022. For IT, this meant providing some new and improved content that is engaging and attractive to students and progressively used in many industry sectors.
As a result, we’ve introduced a unit to teach the basics of augmented reality (AR) and the creation of a model prototype product to showcase how it can be used appropriately for a defined target audience to present information.
The new qualification consists of three mandatory units. One is externally assessed, and two are internally assessed and externally moderated NEA:
Unit R050 – IT in the digital world (examined) – 48 GLH – 30%.
Unit R060 – Data manipulation using spreadsheets (NEA) – 36GLH – 30%.
Unit R070 – Using augmented reality (AR) to present information (NEA) – 36 GLH – 40%.
I feel very excited about this new, engaging content which has been developed by teachers with today’s students in mind. As it could be a new area for many, I’d like to share some information you may find useful when planning your teaching.
Our redeveloped Cambridge Nationals in IT (J836) qualification will be available for first teaching in September 2022 with first examination in June 2024.
The final assessment opportunity for our current Information Technologies (J808) qualification is June 2023 with a resit opportunity, for the examined units only, in January 2024 series. As the current qualification is designed for delivery over a two-year period, the last opportunity for Year 10 students to start a two-year programme is September 2021.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that allows people to superimpose digital content (images, sound, video, text) over real-life scenes or objects. There are three main types considered here:
AR provides increased engagement, interaction, and a richer user experience. The demand for AR products shows exponential growth in new mobile app development for almost all major industries, and especially in IT, architecture, gaming, retail and hospitality, entertainment, science, and education.
Professional-level skills are required for jobs as an AR app/product developer. This includes skills in using tools and techniques for different types of augmented reality software development kits (SDKs), programming language skills, 3D gaming engine or modelling skills, command over user interaction (UI) / user experience (UX), graphic designing skills, networking/communication skills and problem-solving skills. To work in this field in the future, students will benefit from developing some of these important skills now and develop further as they progress into higher or further education.
AR has made it possible to present information so that users can see more detail in item(s) or product(s) with 2D or 3D images and can place the item(s) or product(s) digitally in their surroundings.
Students will have the opportunity to design, create, test, and review an AR model prototype, using a range of tools and techniques. The prototype will have limited functionality to showcase how the fully working AR product for a given context and audience might look like. You can think of it as a minimal viable product – just enough to demonstrate to your client or customer what the full version will look like and how it might function.
Some of you may be thinking of students creating incredibly impressive commercial AR products that big companies use to present visually rich information to their customers. This would not be a realistic assessment goal at KS4! We are preparing students to understand the fundamentals of this exciting new technology and expose them to the creative process through the development of a model prototype.
Some of the key points to consider for creating an AR model prototype:
The following is a suggestion of an example task:
AR software development kits (SDKs) are used to create the AR products for real-life contexts. We have identified some SDKs that may be suitable for school use and are free to download for educational purposes. All SDKs listed below would enable a student to meet the requirements at MB3.
For some AR SDKs you need to use Unity or Unreal Engine as a platform. There are free versions of Unity Game Engine and Unreal Engine with plugins for AR SDKs that you may like to investigate:
Unity student plan
Free Unity licenses for education
Unreal engine for education
Included below are some open source SDKs.
Arloopa – open source online
Overlyapp – free online educational solution and paid plan
Brio – cloud-based platform, free and paid plan
DroidAR – open source Android platform.
Plugin for Windows, iOS and Android with no coding requirement for basic AR model prototype.
ARToolKit+ – open source Unreal Plugin and Unity Plugin
ARToolKitX – open source Unreal Plugin and Unity Plugin
Vuforia Engine – open source Unity Plugin and Unreal Plugin
Apple ARKit – open source iOS and iPadOS AR Creation Tools.
As we approach first teaching of this unit from September 2022, more SDKs may become available, while others may change to a paid-for service. We will continue to research and will update our information regularly. We’d also appreciate your feedback or concerns on the use of the AR SDKs, so we can give you the best possible information.
We will, of course, be providing more guidance, teaching and learning resources, scheme of work, mapping guide, switching guide, assessment story, other supporting materials and CPD training to support you. 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.
If you have any questions please comment below, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @OCR_ICT or call our customer support centre on 01223 553998.
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Vinay Thawait - Subject Advisor - Computer Science, IT and iMedia
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 and Entry Level Computer Science and currently with the redevelopment of Cambridge National in IT. Before joining OCR, Vinay spent 20 years in IT and Computer Science teaching and leadership roles, working for several schools as well as local authorities. He was the National Bid Lead for the Building Schools for the Future initiative (BSF) 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 the Warwick, Coventry and Nottingham Universities.