How 5G Augmented Reality Can Change the Way Students Learn

Kai Frazier
October 28, 2022

5G education is revolutionizing learning and teaching. 5G is 100 times faster than current 4G networks, and is the fastest generation of internet speed yet, providing speeds of up to 20Gbps. That means more people can access the metaverse from their smartphones or computers using less bandwidth than ever before. With 5G, augmented reality (AR) will revolutionize the way we interact with the world. 

By overlaying digital information on top of the real world, 5G augmented reality will transform the way classes are taught. Imagine the toughest subject you learned as a student. Maybe it was math, chemistry, or history. Now, imagine using 5G augmented reality to place you inside one of these tough concepts. Suddenly, you are walking around a digital environment full of acute and isosceles triangles. 

Already, many adults and kids regularly use some form of augmented reality within their devices.  If you've ever used a Snap filter that turned you into a kitty, then you've experienced this tech.

Today, we’re exploring how both the 5G augmented reality and the 5G metaverse are poised to change how everyone can learn—by diving into immersive learning experiences that empower every type of learner, at any age. 

At Kai XR, we’re transforming what augmented reality for kids can include—and how it can change how we learn forever. 

What is 5G Augmented Reality? 5G Augmented Reality Terms to Know 

If the terms augmented reality, extended reality, virtual reality, and 5G have you tabbing back and forth between this article and your favorite search engine, we’ve got you covered. The most important thing to know, as we already mentioned, is that you are already familiar with many of these concepts! Whether you’re aware or not, it’s likely that you have engaged in some sort of augmented reality through your smartphone, computer, video game console, or other devices. 

Let’s start by defining the most crucial terms we’ll need to know. 

What is 5G?

5G is the term used to describe the 5th generation of cellular technology that will allow mobile networks that are faster and more responsive. If you’ve seen one cellular service or smart device commercial, you’ll be very familiar with this term. 

What is AR?

Augmented reality is a type of technology that uses smart devices (like a mobile phone) to overlay digital images in the physical world. Augmented reality has many applications. Many of us are familiar with AR from a “fun” level.

What is 5G Augmented Reality? 

5G augmented reality is what happens when augmented reality applications are used on devices that access 5G technologies.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means an improved experiece where our filters are seamless. It means you can “move” through an augmented reality space without lag time, pixelation, or re-buffering.

Using 5G augmented reality empowers someone to immerse themselves in virtual reality without any disruptive technical difficulties. 5G and augmented reality are basically the power couple that makes extended reality learning a real and powerful possibility. 

What is Virtual Reality or VR?

Virtual reality falls under the umbrella of extended reality. VR describes a fully immersive experience in which a user generally wears a headset that blocks out their surrounding physical environment.

Instead of being in a “real” physical environment, the headset projects a 360-degree digital environment that a user can explore and navigate. Use cases include:

What is Mixed Reality or MR?

Mixed reality is similar to augmented reality with an added layer.

Mixed reality allows a user to play virtually while using their physical environments. While immersed in a digital reality, mixed reality also allows users to use their hands and feet to interact with their physical environment.

One incredible application of mixed reality is in healthcare, where physicians can conduct surgical simulations. 

What is XR and What is Kai XR?

Extended reality or XR is a sort of umbrella term used to describe the other realities (virtual, augmented, and mixed) we explored above. 

The term XR was first coined in the 1960s by Charles Wyckoff. Wyckoff, an innovative photographer and photochemist, filed a patent for his silver-halide “XR’ film, which could be used to photograph extremely bright light events, such as nuclear explosions. Because no film could previously capture bright light events without overexposing, the XR film exemplified the “next-level” in film photography. 

Just like Wyckoff’s XR film, Extended Reality is taking existing technologies and swiftly expanding what can be done, seen, felt, and experienced through digital immersion. 

Here at Kai XR, we are leaning into innovation as it happens at a rapid speed. Just like catching light that was previously too brought to be photographed on film, we think the same can happen in education if we all harness the inclusive vision that extended offers the students of today and tomorrow. 

Examples of XR include: 

  • Snapchat filters that alter your face 
  • Instagram filters that change the background of the oom you’re sitting in
  • Nintendo’s Pokemon GO App, in which users can “find” Pokemon hiding in real environments. 
  • The ability to “walk-through” an apartment listing without actually visiting it in real life 
  • Home furnishing apps (like IKEA) that allow you to “place” furniture in your living space to see how it might fit.
  • Design tools (like Vans or Nike) that let you design and envision a customized pair of shoes to order. 

How 5G Improves the Use of VR and AR 

So how does 5G play into all this?

This is a great question, and the answer is that 5G connection allows all extended reality to work exactly as it was meant to. Before 5G, extended reality and virtual reality experiences were possible. However, they weren’t as reliable nor realistic as they can be when paired with a powerful 5G connection. 

Unlike its predecessors (like 3G and 4G), 5G allows more immersive experiences because it supports high data rates and low latency computation. Let’s translate what this can actually mean in an immersive learning experience. 

How 5g Augmented Reality Improves Realistic Immersive Learning

  • Frames per second: This describes the frequency with which a system can display consecutive images, or frames. With 5G, users can achieve high, constant, and uninterrupted frame rates that make motion seamless and realistic. 
  • Field of View: Field of view describes the angle an observer can see when immersed in XR. With 5G, the field of view is widened, which helps the user navigate the digital space with natural movements. 
  • Degrees of Freedom (DoF): Degrees of Freedom are the number of directions an object can move or rotate. With 5G, a user can move more naturally in VR, with almost limitless freedom. 
  • Latency: Latency describes the amount of time it takes a system to react to a movement or a command. With 5G, latency is improved. As users navigate an area, the system reacts with little to no latency, which allows for an uninterrupted immersive experience. 

5G is a key to making all types of extended reality look, feel, and appear real. By using fast, low-latency 5G, any technology can instantly achieve higher resolution, location-specific (when necessary) details directly from the cloud.

Now, let’s move on to discuss how these applications can transform the classroom and the next generation of 5G learners. 

5G Augmented Reality Increases Accessibility for Everyone

Recall the early days of digital learning in the classroom. Students lucky enough to access computer learning at their schools were limited by budgets, floppy disks, and access to computing devices.

As many cities in the country, in Oakland, there’s a strong correlation between neighborhoods with poor connectivity and those that were redlined. Redlining started in the 1930s, when banks and mortgage lenders commonly rejected loans based strictly on their race or where they lived. The city has been tracking internal data on the digital divide.

Below are stats on lack of high-speed internet access at home based on race:

  • African American: 40%
  • Latinx: 33.5%
  • Asian Americans: 25.2%
  • White: 14.6%

As a result, students on the “losing” end of the digital divide don’t have access to the tools needed to learn the 21st century skills needed to enter the future workforce.

Thankfully, the Oakland Unified School District has been leveling the playing field by distributing 25,000 hot spots and laptops. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 12% of low-income students had a computer or reliable internet at home. However, when school started this fall, 98% of them had access to both. But there’s still a lot of work to close the digital divide in education, and 5G can help.

5G augmented reality can enable students to access immersive learning experiences through devices (such as smartphones and tablets). Classrooms with access to 5G can use smart devices to access digital makerspaces or to journey together on a virtual field trip to the zoo.

5G Augmented Reality Makes Digital Learning More Reliable 

5G’s mobile network enables augmented reality to work as intended. Compared to previous cellular tech, it’s the difference between watching a nature documentary on the small screen of your laptop versus watching it projected on an IMAX theater with surround sound. 

The experience is bigger, louder, and more realistic. 

5G delivers an uninterrupted and immersive experience with:

  • Higher multi-gigabit peak data speeds
  • Ultra-low latency
  • More reliability
  • Massive network capacity
  • Increased network availability
  • More uniform user experience

This means the experience in doing a 360 virtual field trip is seamless.

If twenty students used their own devices to attend a virtual field trip using 5G augmented reality, then each student can learn in their own way at their own pace. 

For example, on Kai XR’s virtual field trip to Cape Town, South Africa, different types of learners might navigate the space in various ways. However, each learner will have the opportunity to explore, listen, read, and experience the lesson plans to their best ability. 

This is a far cry from reading aloud from a dense science textbook to learn about African penguins and animal conservation. In these field trips, students can see and experience the environment while learning about overfishing and the human impact on animal habitats.

Besides being a much more immersive method of learning, this allows students to broaden their social and emotional skills, and to have thoughtful discussions.

5G Augmented Reality Makes Digital Learning Much More Realistic 

If you’ve ever streamed your favorite television show online, then you’re likely familiar with the frustrating re-buffering wheel. When your internet signal becomes unreliable in the most suspenseful part of your favorite drama, you’re left to hit refresh and hope your signal comes back. 

This is also a common frustration when implementing tech tools in the classroom. Without reliable devices or reliable internet connectivity, digital makerspaces we meant to use turn into pixelated webpages. Instead of experiencing an undersea field trip, we are left to look at frozen screens of blue.

If you've ever met an unimpressed middle schooler, then you already know how challenging it can be to teach a lesson plan with lagging internet or low-resolution devices. 5G augmented reality blasts open learning opportunities for even the most disengaged thirteen-year-old. 

With reliable access to 5G augmented reality, students can:

  • Increase engagement, interest, and understanding of all subject matters
  • Commit complicated lessons to memory using details suited to their learning styles (ie. visual, auditory, verbal lessons) 
  • Enhance sensory development through immersive lessons and exploration
  • Increase collaboration between students
  • Help disengaged students to become more involved and engaged in their learning environment. 
  • Create a cost-effective solution to adopting XR in the classroom. As many devices can support new and emerging XR apps, almost anyone with access to a smartphone or computer can access immersive learning

5G Augmented Reality Use Cases in the Classroom

So, how can classrooms and educators actually use 5G augmented reality? Just like AR, MR, and VR are used in marketing and sales, the applications in the classroom are pretty limitless. Let’s explore a few examples:

  1. STEAM-Powered Learning
  2. Diving into Social Emotional Learning
  3. Supplemental Learning for Tough Leaders

STEAM-Powered Learning

Using 5G augmented reality, students interested in STEAM can build skyscrapers, communities, or even fashion design lines by entering their own digital makerspaces. With limitless materials and space, students can allow their imaginations to create the boundaries. 

Diving into Social Emotional Learning 

One common argument against digital learning is that it disconnects individuals from their fellow students. This simply is not true. In fact, studies have shown that Gen Z, the first true “digital-native” generation, has grown up more connected to others than ever before.

As a result, Gen Z is more attached to the struggles, experiences, and points of view from folks they’ll likely never encounter “in real life.” 

The connectivity offered by access to 5G technologies can help them build and maintain relationships, and raise students' self- and social awareness. Read more here:

Supplemental Learning for Tougher Lessons  

There are certain lessons that can seem insurmountable for different types of students. Even the best book learner struggled with an idea, a concept, or a theory in their education career. When education relies too heavily on text-based learning, it misses the mark for so much potential. 

One commonality between many of the most innovative minds of all time? They were students who didn’t fit a traditional classroom. When engaging in immersive XR learning, educators can quickly adapt lessons to different types of learners. This allows every student to get their fair shake on understanding and mastering a topic. 

Examples of Supplemental Learning for Tougher Lessons:

  • Using the digital makerspace to explore basic math concepts like counting, adding, and subtracting using digital blocks. 
  • Visiting places (like Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial) to explore social and emotional learning topics like social justice, equality and empathy.

Gamified Learning in the Classroom

One huge benefit of extended reality is its use of multiple senses. Instead of reading a complicated theory in physics, students can learn it by being part of it. With roots in the games sector, educators can also engage students by “gamifying” certain lessons. 

Examples of Gamified Learning:

  • “Points” earned for students going on different virtual field trips 
  • Challenges to create makerspace communities for different needs or communities. 

Improving Digital Literacy for All 

One of the challenges in adopting digital learning is fear of technology. While some folks see VR as just another video game, it has been found crucial to the way the next generation learns inside and outside the classroom.

Generation Z is already active in the metaverse, so let’s join them!

Get Started With Kai XR 

Just like 5G is breaking barriers, so is Kai XR. By making emerging technology accessible to everyone, Our mission is to help bridge the digital divide, increase digital literacy, and position students for success.

Kai XR is a web-based platform. It works on any device, including tablets, VR headsets, and smartphones, with no app or download required. Designed by educators with security in mind, Kai XR lets students explore a range of age-appropriate content in a safe, ad-free environment, while protecting their privacy.

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There’s so much for you and your students to explore. All you need to do is start. Try out Kai XR on your smart device, tablet, VR headset, or laptop. We’ll be your guide!

In memory of my sunshine, Ky(ra) G. Frazier. Love you to the moon and back.