Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen schools go from just starting to build ICT suites with a few computers at the back of the class, to an ever-increasing number of students equipped with tablets, and teachers using smart boards, giving life to the i digital classroom. As we enter the new decade, we’re set to see even more exciting developments within the edtech space.
Digital learning has been shown to boost student achievement and is vital to the modernisation of school curriculums, helping teachers deliver better results for a generation of digital natives. It’s not just lessons that can be improved, digital classrooms can bring improvements in school operations, from registration to resource management, and student safety and experience.
But it’s not just a case of buying the latest solutions and hoping for the best.
Teachers must be able to collaborate, put together lesson materials and mark student work easily, whichever location they’re working from. Making lessons more engaging requires cutting-edge technology like virtual and augmented reality, but it needs to work perfectly every time and be easily setup by teachers.
Fundamentally, all of this requires superior network infrastructure; one that goes beyond just connecting classrooms to the internet, and instead helps schools create a foundation for new types of learning. But with change comes new pressures for the education sector – in this article we outline the biggest technology trends that will impact teaching over the next 12 months, and the potential hurdles that schools and IT teams must overcome to reap the benefits.
With research showing that the number of devices connected to the internet reached 22 billion at the end of last year, the IoT is swiftly expanding beyond devices for schools. The onslaught ranges from connected lights and door locks to classroom instruction and pupil registrations, with ever-more introductions in sight. All of this places strain on the network, requiring a robust connection.
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It’s not only IoT devices demanding ‘anytime, anywhere’ connectivity. Whether in the playground, classroom, gym or assembly hall, all users now expect speedy performance from their devices and apps, enabling them to work, teach and learn seamlessly indoors and out.
Intelligent spaces in the digital classroom
A year ago, location-specific services were novel. This year, context-aware mobility is about adding intelligence to spaces so that the space interacts with you. For example, when a teacher walks into a room, the configuration of equipment and amenities can now adjust automatically to that individual’s profile. Or, as a pupil who has opted-in for notifications walks past a specific classroom, they will receive a push notification telling them when their homework is due.
Wearables and location-awareness solutions
Although decision-makers within schools are still working out guidelines around maintaining privacy, many expect it’s only a matter of time before institutions start leveraging data collected from mobile devices and networks as pupils move around the school grounds. With research establishing that class attendance is the best predictor of academic performance, the ability to quickly identify at-risk pupils helps teachers establish interventions that can help get them back on track.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for teaching
Wider access to commodity virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) innovations is moving the technology out of research labs and into classrooms. From entry level to higher level learning, teachers are embracing VR and AR as mechanisms to immerse pupils in realistic simulations unavailable in the past.
The digital classroom is now a complete priority for schools, local authorities and governors, and by building the right foundations, that concept is becoming a tangible reality.