The Classroom of the Future, 2015 Edition

Monday, January 26, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

Contrary to the fears of some educators, we’ll probably never move to a classroom made up only of robots. That being said, it’s no secret that technology has affected education in a multitude of ways and will continue to do so.

The Consumer Electronics Show just wrapped up in Las Vegas. That is where most technology companies showcase their new inventions for the coming year. It’s a small leap to look at some of those advances and other ongoing tech trends to see what they could mean for education.

Out of the innovative and practical devices, check out this wireless router that doubles as a wireless device charger. Beg your tech supervisor for one over the summer. Wireless charging is the future, and nowhere will that be more important than in schools (except maybe airports).

Assessment
A big challenge for any teacher, but particularly for newbies, is formative assessment. It takes a lot of practice to seamlessly take the pulse of the class and assess their understanding quick enough to change course if needed.

As more and more classes move toward a 1:1 model, through BYOD or other strategies, I think we’ll see software and apps that are constantly performing that formative assessment while new information is being presented by the teacher. As they improve, those apps will advance beyond asking a multiple choice question in the middle of the lesson and come up with more intuitive methods of assessment. But then comes the question: what do we do with that data?

Wearables
Wearable technology is where consumer technology will come into the classroom. Google recently made news by announcing that it would no longer be selling its once-visionary Google Glass prototype. It was just last year that many people at the edtech conferences were wearing one, touting Glass as the next wave in classroom technology. Oh well.

I still think there’s a place for augmented reality and wearable technology in the classroom. Imagine having something like Microsoft’s recently announced HoloLens during a lesson? Or, even better, imagine if all students have one?

From the teacher’s point of view, all of that formative assessment data could now come through the wearable. Actionable data would appear right above the student who is struggling or the one who is getting distracted. What might have taken minutes or days to identify could now take seconds.

From the student side, the benefits are obvious. They can now “visit” places and events instead of reading about them. Simulations are now interactive. This is the stuff from Star Trek that we were promised years ago.

Want to learn more about how Edmentum is keeping up with all of the latest classroom technology trends? Check out this resource on 5 Tips to Start a Mobile or 1:1 Initiative and this overview of 21st Century Item Types.

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