Press Release: "ARETE" project: investigating the effect of Augmented Reality on behavioural management within primary schools


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Researchers of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Istituto per le tecnologie didattiche (Cnr-Itd) of the National Research Council of Italy are currently studying how to introduce the Augmented Reality for supporting behavioural teaching and learning processes at school. They are developing a set of 12 AR animated 3D scenarios for modelling and practising behavioural expectations and routines by students aged 9-12. The 3D AR objects will be integrated in an AR app developed by the ITD. The app will be tested during the school year 2021/2022 to understand how AR can facilitates behavioural learning and self-regulation skills and whether the school climate and social dynamics improve accordingly. This research is part of the Horizon 2020 Augmented Reality Interactive Educational System (ARETE) project. ARETE aims to develop, integrate and disseminate intercative techonology via AR methods and tools for the creation and inter-connection of existing digital systems and to build a pan-European competitive ecosystem.  

Within ARETE project three pilot studies will study the application of the Augmented Reality in the filed of 1) English literacy skills, 2) STEM concepts, and 3) self-management and regulatory skills in primary school children.

One of the pilot actions of the project is to experience Augmented Reality in teaching and practicing social behavior skills via teaching expected behavior. The researchers are interested to investigate how AR facilitates the acquisition of self-management and self-regulation skills and furthermore whether the school climate and social dynamics within classrooms improve within schools implementing the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) approach. PBIS is a preventive proactive approach developed in the United States to guide schools in creating systems that establish the social culture and individualized behaviour supports needed for a safe and effective learning environment. PBIS-practice promotes school-wide and class-wide positive behaviours based on shared school-wide values, such as respect, safety, and responsibility.

Target group of this pilot 3 are children between 10 and 12 years.  The so-called AR-PBIS app can be played via a mobile device, wherein AR learning scenarios are available which children can experience via teacher-designed lessons. The scenarios will be enriched with 3D characters and objects that add to the real world showing behavioural routines specific for school environments. Children, through an alien character, will be protagonists of behavioural lessons in AR. The alien will be the main actor of the scenarios and will support the students in the knowledge and training of the routines in the most common school settings such as the classroom, the entrance/exit of the school, the corridors, and so on. AR animations show alien acting most promoted behavioural expectations in a school environment like the “Walk calmly” routine depicting school values like responsibility and safety. For example, children are expected to ‘Walk calmly’ when entering or exiting the main door of the school building or when moving along the corridor before entering the classroom. The alien will show to the child the different self-regulatory skills to properly implement the behavioural routine, and this will be embedded in a behavioural lesson designed by teachers.

Dutch and Italian primary schools, which either have or do not have experience with PBS implementation will be involved for testing the AR app in the school year 2021/2022. In order to assess the impact of the educational intervention supported by AR, students will be asked to complete a number of questionnaires to evaluate their learning of behavioural, social, emotional skills and their perception of school- and classroom-based experience.

While the effect of AR solutions has been explored in other contexts like in the case of the promotion of consumer’s and prosocial behaviour, this research study will introduce for the first time AR in a behavioural lesson enhancing the effectiveness of interventions provided within the broader framework of PBIS.

Dr. Giuseppe Chiazzese, Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche Palermo, Italy 

Dr. Sui Lin Goei, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dr. Crispino Tosto, Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche Palermo, Italy

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 856533

For information:
Giuseppe Chiazzese
CNR - Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche
Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche c/o Area della Ricerca di Palermo, Via Ugo la Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo