How Schools can Access the Future, Now

There’s no doubt that technology is changing the educational landscape. The way teachers instruct and the way classes are held are being flipped on their head. The future is full of endless possibilities, but here are a few you can access now.


Holographs were a part of science fiction merely a few years ago, but now it is becoming a reality in fields like medicine. 3D imaging has not become a part of an everyday classroom just yet.  Holography introduced in classroom activities would change entirely how some subjects are taught. Biology, physics, astronomy, and chemistry could be taught on an entirely different level.


Experiential education has been used as an instructional method for years. Field trips have always been a way to introduce students to real-world issues, and to experience what they have learned and studied from books. Technology using virtual reality has introduced new levels of experiential education. Virtual 3D worlds allow students and teachers to visit places that would have been impossible to visit without it.


BYOD is a reversal on the original stances of “no phones in school.” Now, schools are beginning to encourage students bringing their own devices so they can use them for class work and engaging in learning. It’s affordable for schools and parents, since it uses what children already have. While not every child has access to their own mobile device or laptop, this is a step in a good direction for engaging students.


In the easiest definition, a natural user interface (NUI) uses the body’s movements to provide outcomes. Some common examples of this are the Nintendo Wii system, Xbox Kinect, and iPhone’s virtual assistant, Siri. The potential in the educational field is still being realized but will certainly lead to developments in the next half decade. Students who are blind, deaf, or have physical disabilities can better learn through use of this still-evolving technology.


Bringing a personalized experience into learning has always been a challenge since standardized public schools began. With personal learning environments, students can fit their lifestyle and learning pace to work for them and the teacher. For public schools to embrace this, cloud computing and mobile device technology needs to in place. For PLEs to work, they must be portable and accessible.


Speaking of cloud computing, this is a great way to get collaboration in education. This is true for teacher-to-teacher, teacher-to-parent, and teacher-to-student applications. By using a common location, academic expectations can be better accessed, along with actual student work. Instructors can also share learning materials and experiences through the remote opportunities that cloud computing provides.


Learning analytics is essentially showing students what they have achieved and how that matches up with their peers. If implemented correctly, this technology can warn teachers about some students who may be falling behind, as well as keeping students more accountable. Using mobile and online tech that’s already in place, students can better track and tailor their academic experience.


3D printing could allow K-12 students to create tangible models for their ideas. Many fields like manufacturing already make use of this technology to see a protoyp3e before their build a large scale version. In education, this technology will help students be creative and innovative, and has applications in nearly every subject.


Ever wanted to do science experiments at home? Well now students can with virtual laboratories. Just like a physical lab the performance of the student determines the result of the experiment. While not a true replacement for all in-lab experiments, the virtual versions allow practice and guidance.


While some of these technologies are still in the realm of hypothetical for schools, several are available now. Checking out local science groups, maker-fairs, and other tech-savvy gatherings for ideas and inspiration is a great start to bringing the future to students now.

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