Young children’s use of an augmented reality sandbox to enhance spatial thinking

Rhys Cameron George, Christine Howitt, Grace Oakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Augmented reality (AR) technology is being introduced in educational settings for its ability to overlay virtual information onto physical environments. The AR Sandbox is a conventional sandbox with depth coloured representations projected onto the sand’s surface. This research investigates how 4- and 5-year-old Australian children use an AR Sandbox to enhance their spatial thinking through play. Participants were four children, their two educators and the first author as a participant-observer researcher. Data were collected over an 8-week period during 2015 and included observation, child conferencing, photography, educators’ perspectives, and the researcher’s perspectives. Vignettes are presented to demonstrate how children’s spatial thinking was enhanced through exploration and representation in the AR Sandbox. Children’s active and dynamic manipulation of the space of the AR Sandbox, along with a range of socio-cultural contexts and tools, assisted in enhancing their spatial abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number2
Early online date8 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

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