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Manchester-based company develops augmented reality apps to help with distance learning

Augmented reality software provides an interactive experience for users by enhancing the real world with virtual elements.

MANCHESTER, Conn. — A recent survey published by Educators for Excellence is shedding light on the challenges educators across the country are facing as schooling goes virtual.

Almost half of all teachers who were polled said that low student engagement was a very serious concern in the implementation of distance learning.

Now, Manchester-based ARSOME Technology is looking to address those concerns through augmented reality software.

Augmented reality software provides an interactive experience for users by enhancing the real world with virtual elements.

ARSOME developed an augmented reality mobile app for Hartford that provides a one-of-a-kind history lesson about Mark Twain.

"What we did is we brought Mark Twain to life. If a user were to go to the Hartford Public Library where the Mark Twain statue is, pan their mobile application up to the statue, instantaneously you would see Mark Twain come to life," said Williams.

It's technology the co-founders said enhances the learning experience for students.

"The mobile device, plus the course content, plus the 3D elements of augmented reality become part of that ecosystem of input of actually getting to the brain to make it more memorable and at the end of the day education, if it's more memorable to the person sitting in that classroom, the retention rates are higher," said ARSOME Technology co-founder David Oyanadel.

In the age of distance learning and homeschooling, Williams and Oyanadel said augmented reality technology presents endless opportunities.

"Eventually why not, you could go on a field trip individually and the teacher could leave trails and tricks and things you find along the way, if you're trying to find for example maybe in a conservation class or unit to go and look at different things but sometimes you don't remember the particulars of a particular animal, so you could bring it up to life a particular animal in augmented reality or a plant or a flower in the field right where you are. You don't have to come back to the computer," said Oyandel.

"When we talk about the homeschooling market, it's not just the student. Everybody is under the same problem. Learning is a family problem so everybody needs to be engaged and working together to get through this covid, so augmented reality can really be that tool to do so," said Williams.