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My Expected Classroom Enriched With New Technology

 My expected classroom enriched with new technology:

        What does the future of learning hold? What will classrooms of the future be like? Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing are paving the way for the future of education in ways we may have yet to see.
        However, just as the original intentions for new technology often give way to innovative and unpredictable usage, we can never be sure if a twist is waiting for these rising stars. As for now, we observe their progress and speculate on how these 8 up and coming technologies could potentially change education for the better.

1.  Augment Reality(AR)    

            It’s expected to wow audiences with its AR capabilities, which allow users to see additional information layered over what they see through the lens. Currently, however, access to AR technology for education purposes is mostly limited to smart phone apps.With Google Glass and the other AR-enabled wearable devices that will soon follow, students explore the world without having to hold up a device which could distract from the experience. 

 A New Way To Teach

           Virtual field trips are also possible with AR. Physics teacher, Andrew Vanden Heuvel, taught from inside the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, streaming what he sees through a beta Google Glass to his students thousands of miles away. They see him, and he sees them; it’s as if they are in the same classroom! The “Hangout” feature in use here is particularly promising for team collaborations in projects and assignments.

2. 3D Printing

           The 3D printer should really be a must have in classroom. Instead of being restricted to what they can play with, pupils in the classroom of the future can print out 3D models for various purposes, including show and tell.Engineering students and teachers are prime examples of who could directly benefit from 3D printing technology. In Benilde St. Margaret’s School in Minneapolis, the school’s Dimension BST 3D printer lets students create design prototypes.The 3D printer produces working mini models to test out engineering design principles, so students can perfect their design before making an actual prototype. Together with CAD (Computer Aided Design) modeling software, 3D printing allows these students to experiment freely with their designs without expending considerable costs and time.

Abstract Thought, Real-Life Models

            As it will be for many other subject that require some form of visualization, the decreasing cost of 3D printers means that more teachers will be able to reconstruct complex concept models to teach theoretical concepts. For instance, the concept of molecular structures and configurations may be hard to grasp, but by printing out physical versions of these structures, this can help students put a form on abstract through, and aid in better understanding.

3.Cloud Computing

           “My dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it with teachers in the near future. Cloud computing is buzzing these days and will most likely continue to change many aspects of our society, particularly education. In a bid to modernize education in China, the city of Zhuji in Zhejiang has installed more than 6000 cloud computing terminal devices in 118 schools.

           In the future classroom, students may just need an electronic device to access all their homework and all other learning resources in the cloud. This means no more lugging heavy textbooks to school, and having constant access to our reading materials as long as we have an internet connection.

           Such convenience will provide students the freedom to work on their projects or homework anytime and anywhere. The digital library is accessible even when the campus library is not. In fact we can skip hitching a ride there, or to the bookstore or even to class.


An Online Learning Opportunity

           Cloud computing seeks to virtualizes the classroom. Schools can now leverage on cloud technology and set up online learning platforms for students to log on and attend classes in a virtual environment.

           The concept of cloud based virtual learning environment (VLE), which allows students to access learning content and participate in discussions in forums. Assignment or even tests can also be easily disseminated to the class, minimizing the need for students to be physically present, but to encourage interaction and discussion, educators require another channel.


3. Online Social Networking

           Numerous universities have already registered themselves with the online virtual world, Second life to provide students with an online platform to socialize with each other. As a big part of the cloud platform, such social networks allow students to share their ideas freely, while teachers moderate.

For Homework…Discuss

           Furthermore, this many to many interactive learning where ideas are allowed to flow freely will be more aligned with real world scenarios where collaboration is usually the norm. Social networking tools can be incorporated to enhance collaboration and team building initiatives.Still, if there is a need, teachers, lecturers and professors can lend some guidance in the form of responses to forum queries or by uploading useful information to the cloud community instantaneously. Another benefit is that it also serves as a great feedback tool, to help improve the course ware. A social based approach to education will seem more than relevant to students of the future.

4. Flexible Displays 

           Note taking on memo pads is still very much alive during lectures although there may be a shift from paper to laptops, notebooks or tablets. As educational settings become more digitalized, how will the future classroom reconcile the differences between pen and paper versus keyboard and screen?The answer might just be flexible OLED based displays. Just like regular paper, these displays will be lightweight, flexible and extremely thin.  This means we can roll them up into tubs or fold them like newspapers.Paper thin smart phones Unlike regular paper however, these plastic e-papers are not only durable, but also provides interactivity. With swipes, taps and pinching, these flexible paper-thin displays can take over paper centric industries.


           Feast your eyes on this paper thing, A 4 sized digital paper prototype by Sony which weighs only a 63 grams. Laptops and even smart phones cannot hold a candle to that kind of portability.


6. Biometrics:  Eye Tracking


           One technology that’s been gaining recognition is biometrics. Conventionally biometrics are associated with the security industry, as it uses what is unique to each one of us to authenticate our identity: fingerprints, facial recognition, iris patterns, voice. In terms of education, some schools are only using finger printing to prevent truancy and for borrowing books from their school library.


           However, eye tracking can be helpful for instance, in providing invaluable feedback for teachers to understand how students absorb and understand the learning content. As a matter of fact, advertising research have been using eye Tracking technology to see how consumers respond to  their ads and to determine what captures their attention.

7. Multi touch LCD screens

           Over the past few decades, we have seen the transition from black board to white board, to overhead projector and to video projector for computers in schools. If we’re guessing that the next in line will be something that is akin to our smart phones and tablets, we may be right. Specifically speaking, the next “board” is likely to be a giant touch screen LCD screen which allows a greater amount of interactivity.

           The multi touch LCD screen will be attached to a computer capable of generating infinite combinations of images, sounds and videos, just like our smart phones. The major difference with this new “board” and our smart devices is that it will be capable of detecting multiple touch inputs from many students simultaneously.

LCD Touch Boards

           Instead of the traditional big board in front of the classroom, it will probably be just like the Samsung SUR 40 for Microsoft surface, a giant tablet with its LCD screen lying flat atop a table-like structure. Students will sit around the table tablet, swipe on the board to manipulate and drag images around the screen, or type notes with their onscreen keyboards.

           Think of the possibilities if every pupil gets one of these desks. Along with the social networking feature, these multi-touch surfaces will also allow students to collaborate live with peers around the world by manipulating virtual objects in real-time. The multi-touch project by synergy net in Durham University is a great existing example of how such technology can be used by school children.

8. Game Based Learning

           Growing up at a time when the world is connected by the internet, kids today seems to have very short attention spans. This is unsurprising, since their childhood revolves around YouTube, Face book and smart phones that provide them with on the go 24 hours updates and the answers to all their queries through Google and Wikipedia.

           To cater to such a fast paced generation, schools will eventually abandon traditional teaching methods of rote learning to align themselves with the times. One great way to achieve that is to use what had always been considered as a major distraction to learning – video games.

           Gaming for Grade Kine-ct Education provides a one stop online community for interested educators and students who want to use Microsoft Kine ct for learning purposes.

           In an example, a professor from the University of Washington Bot hell teaches mathematics to her class by giving them the first hand experience of learning through their motions which are captured by Kine ct. Along with successful devices like Wii Remote and Play station Move, the motion sensing technology is believed to be able to provide the necessary level of interactivity for students to feel more engaged with learning.

Learning To Design Games

           Another concept adopted by educators does not focus on the game play or interactivity; rather, emphasizes on how learning the game design process can educate students. In Game star Mechanic, the idea is to impart students with basic game designing skills to create their own games and consequently help them develop both skill sets such as language, systematic thinking, problem-solving, storytelling, art and many more.School children from fourth to ninth grade learn how to design one by playing a game itself, they assume the role of a young aspiring game designer who’ll go through quests, missions etc to be awarded with various sprites to  use in their tool box (an area for them to design their own games). This not unlike the role –playing video games we seen in today’s market.This illustrates how educators are moving away from traditional class room teaching to that of letting students have fund and learn while they play interactive games. It’s inevitable that students in the future who grow up with such technology will require much higher levels of fun and excitement before they see education as appealing and captivating.


Education beyond the classroom

           In the future education will no longer be restricted to  formalized institutes like schools and classes. Using AR, cloud computing, online social networking and adaptive learning systems utilizing eye tracking technology, learning can take place outside the traditional class room. Experimentation and mistakes will also be encouraged as simulations are made possible through 3D printing and game-based learning without actually incurring real world consequences or costs. Chief among all, students will soon be imparted with the wisdom of seeing learning as not a chore, but as a critical and gratifying part of their life which requires their proactive involvement.

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