While schools ban distractive technologies such as cell phones and video games in the classroom, other technologies have created a whole new classroom environment. Schools have been implementing communication technologies in classrooms with laptops, tablets, SMART Boards, clicker response systems, and much more in an attempt to facilitate a more interactive and engaging curriculum. Not long ago, student necessities were a textbook, notepad, pen, and calculator. Now, students head to class with laptops and tablets instead. Technology has revolutionized how students engage with the curriculum and how teachers communicate with their students.
Generation Z was the first to fully grow up with internet technology with computers available at home, at school, and in their hands. While most millennials honed their skills before and in their teens, Generation Z was raised with technology from birth. Technology has been integrated into every aspect of their life, and they expect digital tools to be fully integrated into their education as well.
Virtual Reality Learning
Interactive learning tools like the iPad have changed the way children learn with and use technology. If every child knows the ins and outs of an iPhone before knowing how to read, what’s the next big thing that’ll change the education game?
Virtual reality is more accessible than ever, and it’s an important new tool that teachers can incorporate into their curriculum and teaching methods. The future is now, and it’s looking cooler and more exciting than ever.
Seemingly out of a movie, VR is immersive multimedia and one of the hottest new technologies becoming accessible to the public. With names like the Facebook and Google leading the way, the reality and uses of VR for students are expanding. Many children have already experienced some VR, be it through video games or even amusement park rides. But the idea that we can use replicated environments and simulated presence as a learning experience is very real and will soon be an added tool that teachers can utilize.
Video Courtesy: Google for Education YouTube
Much like how the military and aviation industries use simulation tech to teach, neighborhood classrooms have been following suit. Schools across the country have already incorporated VR in subjects like science, architecture, and history, and the opportunities only continue to progress. Programs like Google’s Pioneer Expeditions and Nearpod allow students to “tour” and take field trips all over the world. Teachers can bring lessons to life, teach new skill sets, support socialization through multi-player experiences, bridge cultures, and more. VR is the virtual ticket to endless possibilities in the classroom, further developing and complementing more traditional methods and lesson plans.
Implementing VR in classrooms doesn’t just give students the opportunity to explore different environments, but it also gives them the opportunity to create their own VR environment. With more and more high schools offering computer science classes, allowing students to create a VR environment fits right in with the current technology curriculum. Teachers can encourage creativity by allowing students to create, produce, and share their own VR expeditions.
Different tiers of the technology make it affordable for almost anyone to participate, and as the advanced options become more and more affordable, equipping classrooms with VR will eventually become commonplace. One of the most inexpensive options, Google Cardboard, can get students up and running for $15 plus the cost of a phone. Though public schools are often hit with budget cuts, spending for educational technology has increased, as educators understand the importance of investing in technology.
The AI-Driven Classroom
Virtual Reality is gaining traction and helping teachers make the classroom curriculum as interactive as ever. While some argue that technology in the classroom only causes distractions and enables teachers to be lazy by letting technology do the teaching for them, educational technology undoubtedly has the potential to enhance teaching and learning. Another hot technology that can change education is artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is the creation of intelligent machines that take in information to learn and plan in order to problem solve and react like humans. Some examples of artificial intelligence in everyday life are virtual assistants like Siri, smart home devices, and online customer support chatbots. AI-powered learning systems can provide many unprecedented new benefits to both teachers and students when incorporated into classrooms.
AI applications can never fully replace the teacher, but they can support and expand the capabilities of a teacher. High school teachers typically have 20-30 students per class, and they teach 6-7 classes per day, which means they have a lot of students they have to teach and tests they have to grade. The average teacher works 12-16 hours per day from in-class teaching, faculty meetings, grading, and preparing for the next lesson.
Scantron machines have been around for years, helping teachers grade their multiple-choice tests in a minute, but leaving them to still grade free response answers. To cut down the time teachers spend grading, artificial intelligence can work to recognize handwriting, distinguish question types, and identify correct answers. AI grading systems will free up time and allow teachers to focus less on grading and more on engaging with their students.
The United States school system is heavily focused on evaluating students based on standardized tests, so teachers help students prepare all year by teaching in a very “standard way.” Textbooks and course material are designed for the average student, and the same copy is printed for millions across the country to use. But learning isn’t one-size-fits-all scenario. AI-based teaching software can customize lesson plans for each student. It can determine if the student has mastered a specific lesson and identify which topics need to be emphasized. All students learn at different paces, and AI will help close the gap between students who are falling behind by providing extra attention to tailored lesson plans.
You won’t have to wait long to see this exciting tech infiltrating the classroom–the learning revolution has already begun. Students are learning and experiencing the world like never before. Students won’t be strapped to the pages of a textbook, but fully immersed in an educational environment that can be customized to fit their needs.
Are you a teacher, a student, or a University looking to learn more about VR and AI in the classroom? Contact us today to learn more!