ARTutor: An Augmented Reality Platform For Education And More...

An Augmented Reality Platform For Education And Its Main Contributions To The Latter

ARTutor embraces the "Education for All" initiative, trying to remove socioeconomic or cultural barriers which prohibit the access to high-end educational technologies and to the technology enchased learning in general.

ARTutor is a domain-independent platform, focusing on adding digital content, so-called augmentations, to traditional educational books (typically in any PDF) and other texts.

ARTutor enables each educator to create augmented books in an easy way, without any requirements of programming background. In addition, the platform serves the aim of assisting the students’ independent study and ultimately improving the understanding of the educational material.

The ARTutor platform consists of 2 parts: (1) the authoring tool, which is a web-based application used to upload the learning material and the assorted learning objects; and (2) the mobile application, which downloads and displays the learning objects and also allows interaction between the learner and the learning material.

The main contributions of ARTutor in the field of education can be summarized as follows:

  • The implementation of an Augmented Reality authoring tool to enable teachers with limited IT skills to develop Augmented Reality books.
  • Maximize students’ engagement to the educational material (textbooks).
  • The implementation of a single mobile application to enable students to access all the Augmented Reality books in order to enhance their study and to promote independent and distance learning.
  • Easy interaction with the enhanced digital content of any book using haptic or voice commands (in order to assist even students with movement disabilities).
  • Voice-based interaction with a virtual tutor for information retrieval with the integration of Artificial Intelligence services.
  • As mentioned above, ARTutor. consists of a web-based authoring tool and a mobile application (already available in Google Play and IOS Store).

The web-based authoring tool is used by the teacher to upload the educational material, namely a book and its corresponding augmentations. The teacher can upload a book in PDF format and attach to it a title, a description, and a category. When the book is uploaded, the teacher can select areas in the various pages of the book that and associate them with augmentations. Various types of augmentations are supported, such as images, videos, 3D models and sounds. Each augmentation is also accompanied by user-defined commands that are used to interact with the augmentation e.g. to start or stop a video augmentation.

The mobile application ARTutor2 (available for Android and IOS) serves as the gateway that students use to access the augmented books created in the authoring tool. When the student selects a book, he can then start scanning its printed copy and view the various augmentations. The student can interact with the augmentations using the commands defined in the authoring tool. The student can also interact with the augmentation using voice commands. In addition, the student can use the speech recognition capabilities to ask questions and receive visual and audio answers based on the text content of the book.

Figure 1. Scanning and recognizing the printed copy of the book with ARTutor2 app

(1) 3D model augmentation (2) Video augmentation

Some of the most recent publications related to ARTutor are:

  • Lytridis C., Tsinakos A., Kazanidis I. (2018). ARTutor-An Augmented Reality Platform for Interactive Distance Learning. Education Sciences.; 8(1):6.
  • Lytridis, C., & Tsinakos, A. (2018). Evaluation of the ARTutor Augmented Reality educational platform in tertiary education. Smart Learning Environments, 5(1), 6.

While typical videos explaining the functionality of ARTutor, are available in the following links:

  1. ARTutor demo (Version 2018 of ARTutor, voice interaction examples are available at a 2.31-sec segment of the video)
  2. ARTutor demo (Initial Version of ARTutor 2016-17)
  3. Other resources and the most recent developments are available at ARTutor.

ARTutor operates in English and, in the newer version (expected in the next month), French and Greek are also supported. Furthermore, the new version of ATutor will support a commercial use of the platform (i.e for commercial publishers, companies focusing on training, developers 3D designers etc).

As ARTutor has been already used by a number of educators and organizations around the world, it was recently nominated by UNESCO Greece,and it was proposed to the UNESCO Prize for the use of ICT in education 2018-19.

The main vision of ARTutor development team is the provision of "Education for All" services free of cost for all educators and students!