ARKit 2.0 may allow AR to take off in K-12 classrooms

WWDC didn’t reveal much about K-12 environment but one of the important thing was ARKit 2.0, including Apple’s announcement of a new file format called USDZ:

“In collaboration with Pixar, Apple is introducing a new open file format, usdz, which is optimized for sharing in apps like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files, and News, while retaining powerful graphics and animation features. Using usdz, Quick Look for AR also allows users to place 3D objects into the real world to see how something would work in a space.”

This file format might be step one in AR gaining real traction in K12. On the live WWDC episode of The Talk Show, Mike Rockwell (Apple’s head of AR) said

“One of the things that has been a challenge is there are a ton of different file formats. There wasn’t really a format optimized for deliver an AR experience. We wanted to create something like the PDF of AR.

We worked closely with Pixar and then Adobe also came. We also connected with all of the other large vendors for 3D tools. What they’re telling us is they are going to provide native support for it in their tools.”

With the file format to build around, the industry can become more than just collection of apps. Curriculum companies can now begin to create experiences to go along with state curriculum. Apple’s investment in AR might be a good move in order to stay relevant in a time when Chromebooks and G-Suite are extremely popular due to their pricing.

Apple’s AR future is much more elegant: buy iPad and deploy AR apps. One of the best features is the Persistent AR feature that was mentioned in 2.0. It lets you leave the items where they are and pick up later. It’s like “pausing” a video game. This feature opens up a lot of possibilities. There are trades that aren’t taught in a lot of high schools today due to cost: woodworking, metals, car mechanic/repair class, electrical, etc.

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