The classroom has come a long way from that single room schoolhouse your great-grandparents or grandparents sat in. Advancements in technology and how it can be used has changed the way students learn. It’s exciting to see how the classroom is going to continue to change as technology continues to evolve. Why, classrooms as we know them may be very different than the ones our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will learn in.
Today, our students are using tablets for their learning materials instead of those heavy backpacks we used to lug around. The tablets can be fun and interactive for learning, which can encourage a child to engage with the lesson. Not only are students interacting with tablets, they are also interacting with smart boards instead of the ancient overhead projector. The student (and their classmates) can touch and move content on the board. These interactive smart boards can display a wide range of content, including videos, pictures, graphs, and even games.
Many students are also given a laptop to use in the classroom. 98% of kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms have access to the internet, and schools that have implemented a laptop program have shown a significantly positive benefit to how the students learn, retain information, as well as become more familiar with technology and how to use it.
Through innovation and implementation, technologies of the future are going to have a significant impact on how educators and students approach learning. While we may have personalized learning and online testing and assessments, students of the future are going to experience a larger shift to things being done online or virtually.
Let’s take a look at how the classroom of tomorrow will be different.
Over the years, people have said that students do not all learn the same and some teaching methods may not work for everyone. In a 2008 review, distinguished psychologists concluded that there wasn’t enough scientific research to conclude that learning-styles needed to be incorporated into “general education practice.”
However, thanks to organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and EDUCAUSE, personalized learning may be on the horizon. Forbes describes how personal learning would be implemented, stating that teachers will have access to a student-created “learner profile” that details “each student’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and goals.” Then the student will be able to embark on a learning path that is customized specifically for them, and they’ll be part of a learning environment that supports their goals.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
We can’t wait for when augmented reality is introduced into the classroom. The technology is going to give students additional information that correlates with what they see. Let’s say you are learning about the universe. With augmented reality, you’ll be able to see the night sky or a life-sized depiction of the solar system.
With the implementation of augmented reality, students will use some kind of handheld device. It could be a tablet, but there may be some applications where it’ll require the use of a headset. Once this technology becomes commonplace, students can “travel” to wondrous locations all over the world.
For example, if a high school art class is studying Leonardo Di Vinci, they can tour the Louvre right from their classroom in the heart of Kansas Augmented, and virtual reality can save time and money, making the impossible, possible.
In today’s classroom, when a teacher gives the class an assignment, everyone has the same assignment. This “one size fits all” mentality in the education system isn’t doing anyone any favors. The only time there is any exception to how information is presented as if a student require special accommodations or needs.
In future classrooms, teachers are going to be more interested in testing a student’s competency in understanding the material, rather than checking a pile of papers where students have used the same method to come up with an answer.
Let’s say a teacher gives the class an assignment where they write a research paper on a particular topic. To complete the assignment, students will have to use the skills as outlined by the teacher to prove their understanding of the information. Students will have the chance to complete the assignment however they see fit, as long as they can prove to the teacher they understand the material.
Essentially, the teacher may receive the assignment in various mediums that can include a recorded video, an elaborate diorama, a research paper, or creating a thorough PowerPoint presentation. With flexible learning, the choice is up to the student.
As students work on assignments at school, they will either save their work on a thumb drive or on a disk. Students will then be required to remember those items when it comes time to show their presentation, print out their work, or even if they needed to complete the assignment at home. And heaven forbid if those items get lost, stolen, or broken – then all their hard work would be gone!
Cloud computing is going to change the way students and teachers access important assignments, documents, lesson plans, grades, and anything else that can be done on the computer, tablet, or smartphone. Students and teachers can send, receive, and work on their assignments from any computing device as long as they have internet!
When digital information is stored on the cloud, computers don’t have to depend on just their processor speed to access said information. Instead, the computer can draw some of that speed from the cloud, which makes researching, sending and receiving emails, and even communicating much faster.
But, cloud computing isn’t only going to benefit education in the classroom, it can be a huge asset to the administrative side as well. Cloud computing will save money on equipment, manage work easier, and student’s work can be accessed from anywhere.
NJIT describes “deep learning” technology as being modeled in the same fashion that the human brain operates. While the thought of having machines that can basically think and learn on their own may seem scary to some, it can take education to a whole other level.
For example, students who need help will be matched to the teachers who are available through dynamic scheduling or learning analytic programs that can track a student’s progress and recommend what is the next step in their learning. In a way, deep learning in the classroom will make each student’s educational experience more personalized to suit their specific needs and pace of learning.
With the implementation of new technology like cloud computing, deep learning programs, and personal learning, students will be able to have an education plan that is more in line to their ideal way of learning. It’s true that there isn’t any scientific proof that indicates learning styles work, 93% of teachers in the UK believe that it does work.
However, as technology continues to change and evolve, students and teachers will see and use those innovations in the classroom in the near future – many classrooms are even introducing some of these ideas right now! An example of this includes the use of tablets and smart boards in the classroom. The use of these devices appear to have a positive influence on the learning experience because it becomes a little more enjoyable and engaging for the students.
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.