Aneesh Chopra strolled across the Radford University campus Wednesday evening holding a smartphone at arms' length. Chopra, former U.S. chief technology officer, was taking an augmented reality tour.
At each destination, Chopra and others on the brief walking tour, including RU President Penelope W. Kyle, were greeted with a video message from students providing important and fun information about the area of campus where they were standing.
"This is exciting stuff," Chopra said. "This is not what I thought I was coming to see."
Chopra, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's secretary of technology, visited Radford University for a presentation by Education Professor Matt Dunleavy and two RU alumni, Daniel Burgess and David Payne, on innovative work and research the three and a small group of others in RU's GAMeS Lab are doing with augmented reality to change the way children are educated.
The platform was developed at RU through a research and development program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and directed by Dunleavy as a professor in the Educational Technology program. "We are thrilled with this development that showcases how RU can create cutting-edge technologies and spin them out into the commercial market," said Dunleavy, who was honored as the Innovative Educator of the Year for 2011 by the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.
During Wednesday's presentation, Dunleavy provided information about the GAMeS Lab, which designs interactive mobile games and studies the impact of the products on student engagement and learning. Dunleavy and the GAMeS Lab have worked closely with Pulaski County Public Schools on the iLearn Project, which developed and tested iPad and iPod Touch applications aligned with Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL).