Four tech trends reshaping education today

Technology is shaking up the world of education as we know it – and we’re not just talking about Zoom video calls during the pandemic

Whether it’s cutting-edge smart displays for the classroom or the usage of big data analytics to improve learning outcomes, here are four examples of groundbreaking tech trends that are reshaping education in 2021 and beyond.

Smart displays

The blackboard or whiteboard has been a fixture of classrooms for decades, allowing the teacher to stand at the front of the class and write notes or draw diagrams that can be read and seen by everyone in the classroom. Smart displays take this core concept and update it for the 2020s – and beyond. The Elmo Board and Visualizer is a standalone touch-sensitive 4K display that operates as its own computer, rather than as a second screen for another device.

It comes with its own dedicated apps and can do everything from showing videos to presenting written information. One of its best features is the Visualizer camera – complete with impressive zoom capabilities – which can be used for filming in the classroom and then putting this information up on the big screen for learners to see. Whether it’s live annotating a piece of work or showing a science experiment live, tools like the Elmo Board are a game-changer when it comes to presenting information in the classroom – and making them more interactive in the process.

Data analytics

When it comes to value, data – as the saying goes – is the new oil. One of the many areas data shows its value is in the classroom. While good teachers have always been able to pick up on the subtle (and not so subtle) signals regarding how individual students are learning, big data and data analytics certainly have a role to play. They can help build the optimal learning environment by picking up on cues that can indicate broader learning trends and highlight opportunities for possible intervention.

On a larger scale, data analytics can aid schools in better allocating resources, whether that’s faculty, facilities or equipment to ensure the best possible outcomes. Every school has collected data for years. Now that data is finally being put to use.

VR, AR, and other immersive technologies

There is no better feeling, either as a student or an educator, than when a class gets ‘lost’ in a particular topic, meaning that they are so deeply engaged that it no longer feels like learning at all. New immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality can help, offering fresh and innovative ways for teachers to introduce information in a manner that can help deepen understanding and battle learner apathy. For example, imagine helping students visualise a scene for a story they’re writing by placing them in a virtual environment that lets them absorb the sights and sounds before they put pen to paper. Or what if students studying a particular piece of architecture were able to explore it in AR, walking around the classroom to see it from different angles?

The rise of immersive technologies able to appeal to different senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste – opens up new educational possibilities that can help reimagine how learning is done.

One-on-one computing

There was a time, not all that long ago, when you could count the number of computers a typical school had available for students on both hands. Today, the age of having to share one computer among maybe a couple of dozen students is a distant memory. The concept of “one-to-one” computing, whereby every student has their own device, is increasingly widespread. In many cases, these devices – whether a laptop or a tablet – can be taken home by students and used for accessing everything from digital textbooks to tasks assigned for homework. It’s a great illustration of the democratisation of technology in action.

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