Can the augmented reality sandbox help learners overcome difficulties with 3-D visualisation?


  • Mary Evans University of the Witwatersrand
  • Bridget Fleming St John's College
  • Gillian Drennan University of the Witwatersrand



3-dimensional visualisation. Topographic maps. Augmented reality sandbox.


Research has shown that students have difficulties in understanding topographic maps and landforms associated with contour patterns and therefore have problems in reading and interpreting topographic maps and relating these 2-dimensional representa-tions to a real 3-dimensional environment. However, maps are a fundamental tool for understanding geographical concepts and solving geographical problems. Current research indicates that this is not uniquely a South African problem and various at-tempts have been made to address this problem such as the use of videos, models and fieldtrips – each with their own limita-tions and difficulties. Nevertheless, the ability to visualize in 3-dimensions from a 2-dimensional representation is an essential skill in understanding and interpreting topographical maps. To address the problem of 3-D visualisation, an augmented reality sandbox (AR-Sandbox) was introduced to a Geography classroom, to Grade 11 students at a Secondary school in Johannes-burg, South Africa. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of using the AR-Sandbox to enhance the learning of – and improve the learner's performance – in mapwork, and thereby address the problems experienced with 3-D visualisation. The results of the pre-test and post-intervention test are presented and show that the AR-Sandbox is an effective tool for en-hancing an understanding of landscapes rather an improving performance in the construction of cross-sectional profiles.


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Biografia do Autor

Mary Evans, University of the Witwatersrand

Professora da School of Geosciences, Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand. School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies.

Bridget Fleming, St John's College

St John's College, Johannesburg, 1st David's Road, Houghton, 2198, South Africa.

Gillian Drennan, University of the Witwatersrand

School of Geosciences, Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, 2050, South Africa.


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Como Citar

EVANS, M.; FLEMING, B.; DRENNAN, G. Can the augmented reality sandbox help learners overcome difficulties with 3-D visualisation?. Terrae Didatica, Campinas, SP, v. 14, n. 4, p. 389–394, 2018. DOI: 10.20396/td.v14i4.8654110. Disponível em: Acesso em: 9 fev. 2023.