Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Contract

Title: LabAR: An Augmented Reality Learning System for STEM
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Chan, Joshua Awardee: LightUp, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (06/18/2020 – 06/17/2022) Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990020C0086

Project Website:

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: In this project, the team will fully develop and test LabAR, an augmented reality (AR)app to support high school students in performing hands-on physical science investigations that would normally not be feasible to conduct in a classroom or distance learning setting. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize the actual doing of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) so that students can apply learning to the real world. However, students often have difficulty collecting, measuring, and applying data from inquiry activities to further their ideas, skills, and knowledge of STEM.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2019, the project team developed a prototype of LabAR, including an augmented reality user interface for an iPad, a small number of physical manipulatives (including magnets, weights, model airplane, and cards) for use in NGSS-aligned high school physical science classes, an information management system for housing and organizing data, and 10 learning modules. The team completed a pilot study with 54 high school students who used the prototype for 1 week in a science classroom. Results demonstrated that the prototype functioned as intended, that 88 percent of the students agreed that they would like to use LabAR again for learning about the physical sciences, and 65 percent of students indicated that they learned when using the prototype.

In Phase II, the team will fully develop the architecture to deliver LabAR on tablets and personal devices across platforms (iOS, Android, and ChromeOS), a dashboard to host diverse sources of data, content for a full school year (40 modules), a complete set of physical manipulatives for high school level physical science classes, and AR recognition software to track the manipulatives in real time. After development is complete, the research team will conduct a pilot study to assess the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product for improving student learning outcomes for high school level physical science topics aligned to NGSS standards. Participants in the pilot study will include 250 students and 10 teachers in 10 high school science classrooms. Treatment teachers will incorporate LabAR with regular instruction and control classrooms will receive instruction in a business-as-usual fashion on the same topics as the treatment group. Analyses will examine if LabAR increases students' learning of NGSS science and engineering standards compared to the control group. A cost analysis will determine the per-student cost to implement the intervention in treatment classrooms.

Product: This project will fully develop LabAR, an augmented reality (AR) app for students to perform hands-on physical science investigations. Using the on-device camera, LabAR will augment the environment around the user with simulated instruments and equipment, real-time data visualizations, and annotations. The simulation will be designed to look and feel realistic to maximize transferability of knowledge between the simulation and the real world. Designed to be integrated with standard instructional practices, LabAR will include 40 modules with hands-on investigation aligned to a particular NGSS standard. The project will also provide a teacher handbook to support classroom implementation.

Related IES Project: LabAR: An Augmented Reality Learning System for STEM (91990019C0029)