When you think about just how far education technology has come in the past ten years, it’s hard to believe that experts are already working on the next edtech revolution. But it’s true.
Many companies are already delivering sneak peeks of their latest creations, hoping to be at the forefront of modern learning – and we’re seeing some pretty exciting stuff. Read on for a quick overview of the biggest new trends in edtech set to transform the education sector all over again.
It’s been impossible to ignore the growth in remote working in the last few years. For one, you might have wondered where your colleagues keep disappearing too. Well in tech terms, business and education aren’t that far removed; many of the operational developments end up crossing over as both seek to encourage collaboration and group engagement, albeit in very different environments
Over in the business world, we’ve seen a huge step up in the quality, functionality and budget-accessibility of video conference technology. These developments have not gone unnoticed in the education sector.
Few organisations offer such an impressive example of distance learning in action as the University of the Highlands and Islands. Innovation in distance learning here in the remote areas of Scotland has made education accessible to many young people who would otherwise be cut off from schooling.
Although based across a number of campuses, the university has developed a strong distance learning network, which allows students from across the country (including those located on remote Scottish islands) to access videos and audio of advanced tuition from specialists in their subjects.
This progressive approach to learning is only set to evolve further as institutions around Britain adopt a more flexible approach to education. In fact, many primary and secondary schools are now making use of advanced conferencing technology to invite experts from around the world to share their knowledge with local pupils.
By connecting multiple classrooms and lecture theatres in this way, it’s easier to get expert knowledge to more people, even those who are nowhere near the traditional centres of education.
However, if we are to take this approach to the next level, investment in broadband and connectivity needs to be a real priority. As a number of experts have pointed out, the network infrastructure that our schools run on isn’t up to scratch for current requirements and needs attention if it’s to stand a chance of facilitating future technology developments.
As Lee Wade, CEO of cloud and unified communications provider Exponential-e, told Education Technology: “Broadband must be seen as just as much of an essential as any other educational resource. Not only is it vital for student’s digital education, but also a crucial resource for all subjects, from science and history to English and maths.”
We are eventually catching up to this new way of thinking. If we can get the infrastructure in place as well, then the potential for sharing niche knowledge with people in scattered geographical locations is almost boundless. Access to a medical conference in Cambridge could be shared with universities and remote home students across the UK, a language symposium in Spain is suddenly available to schools across all of Europe … this trend is already taking hold, what happens next is up to us.
It’s not just the business world that’s influencing the way we teach. According to the latest statistics from Statista’s remote on Gamers & Gaming in the UK, British teens are now spending 13.4 hours a week playing video games, up from 12.2 hours in 2015 and 11.2 hours in 2014. This consistent growth in video game interest has inspired some edtech pioneers to bring advancements from the gaming world into the education sector – most notably the rapid advancements in virtual reality (VR).
VR is actually already making its mark on the education sector, with some experts suggesting it could be a turning point for engagement in the classroom. Despite having some way to go before it truly transforms teaching, VR has already been introduced in a number of trial schools, allowing children to view 360-degree videos that immerse them in a chosen environment.
According to industry pioneers, this technology could provide a more cost effective and productive method of transporting children out of the classroom and into a world where they can experience the impossible, from walking amongst dinosaurs to visiting ancient castles.
At the moment, much of this technology is focused at enhancing lessons in the hard sciences, such as biology and geography, or found in museums and out of school locations. But it’s likely that rapid innovation in the area could lead to mass roll out across a range of alternative subjects in the near future as technology improves and prices stabilise.
Architecture, history and literature are already set to be some of the first to benefit, with developers determined to create an engaging and immersive learning experience, increasing the availability, accessibility and quality of learning for all.
At Projectorpoint we work hard to provide our customers with the best technology to suit their requirements. If you’re exploring the latest edtech for your school or university, we’d be more than happy to talk you through the options currently on the market.
You can contact our team of experts on 0800 073 0834 or send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.