Purdue Startup Uses Augmented Reality to Teach STEM

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(photo courtesy Purdue University) (photo courtesy Purdue University)
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Purdue University-affiliated startup Explore Interactive says its platform will teach children STEM, all while having fun. The Explore platform uses augmented reality via mobile devices to make learning feel like play.

Kids just point a smartphone or tablet at Explore! cards and begin learning through hands-on play.  One lesson, on circuits, shows kids how to make a circuit by connecting wires, batteries and a speaker, with the augmented reality showing items that appear to float above their cards on a table, which allows kids to explore STEM concepts by doing, rather than by reading or watching. “The Explore platform walks children through the learning process in an engaging storyline so they have to actually internalize the concepts to execute the tasks,” Explore Interactive CEO Amanda Thompson says. “It makes the lesson come to life for children.”

Children have the option of completing challenges or building their own circuits in “create” mode.  It allows the students to touch and experiment with practice skills, while having fun. The Explore! cards are actually QR codes that eventually cover physics, biology, physics and engineering, among other subjects. The lessons are geared toward children in grades 3 through 6, and leaders hope to eventually expand into school systems.

Explore Interactive is also hosting an event March 17 at the Wilmeth Active Learning Center on the Purdue Campus. 50 kids will be able to try the interactive lessons during hour-long sessions running from 9am-1pm. You can sign up for the event by clicking here. Explore! cards will initially be available to some after school programs and STEM fairs, and company officials hope to have some cards available by Christmas.

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