Technology In Education

Six Technologies Soon to Effect Technology

Melissa Baird

Experts are predicting that within the next five years that six different technologies will be causing major changes in classrooms. They are cloud computing, collaborative environments, game-based learning, mobile devices, augmented reality, and flexible displays. These six technologies have been chosen from a 100 different technologies to help in classrooms. Larry Johnson said, “Researchers examined 100 different technologies and whittled them down to the six most prominent technologies that are on the verge of classroom adoption in the next five years.”

Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing is internet-based, where all resources are connected and shared, information and software is accessible to computers and other devices on-demand. Cloud computing allows people to use application without having to go through the installation process. It also offers users access to their personal files anywhere that there is internet access.

Cloud computing effects schools by saving them money. It reduces the cost of the licensing and installation process, because the software is accessible anywhere. Krishnan Subramanian believes, “The basic philosophy behind any school system is learning and experimentation. It is only natural that schools would want to experiment with different kinds of applications and platforms. Under the traditional software system, this is expensive and difficult to implement. Cloud Computing offers greater flexibility to experiment with newer apps and platforms.” Cloud computing also makes it easier to make the same level of education available to everyone because everyone can have access to the same information and tools.


Collaborative Environments:
Collaborative environments will be easy for students to navigate because these environments have already been exposed to the students on a daily basis. These environments include social networking sites, and the students will enjoy it more because it already plays into their intreses. Experts predict that students all over the world can team up together to create projects together such as wiki’s.

There are two types of collaborative environments, working and virtual. In a collaborative working environment the people work together and in person. However in a collaborative virtual environment the people do not have face to face contact it is strictly over the web. A collaborative working environment can take place in a classroom between students within the classroom. An example of this is students working in groups. A virtual collaborative environment could put a new slant on the old practice of pen pals. Two different schools could group students together and have them work on projects together.


Game-based Learning:
Game-based learning (GBL) is still two or three years away from being adopted into classroom practices. So far there have been many single player games used in classrooms for many years. Two examples of this are Math Blaster and Reader Rabbit. These games have been used for years, but the problem with these game is that only a single player can play at one time. Experts are looking for multi-player games so that the learning can be collaborative. Ewan McIntosh believes, “Game Based Learning is one of the fastest growing conferences focused on the positive impact that video games and social media are having on learning."

In a classroom game based learning can help students gain knowledge and apply it to the real world. The reason GBL is still two or three years away is because the number of games that are currently available do not support multi-player and collaborative learning. Developers are working to include games that are goal oriented, social, non-digital, and games developed for education only.



Mobile Devices:
Another technology that is two to three years away from classroom implementation is mobile devices. With the use of cell phones, iPad, and other digital devices, people are now accessing internet away from just a building. The age at which students are being exposed to these devices is dropping. “The portability of mobile devices and their ability to connect to the Internet almost anywhere makes them ideal as a store of reference materials and learning experiences, as well as general-use tools for field work, where they can be used to record observations via voice, text, or multimedia, and access reference sources in real time.” The expansion of technology with the mobile devices allows students to connect and share with other students at any time.

The main reason why implementing mobile devices into the classroom is going to take so long is because most schools have a ban against having cell phones, mp3 players, and other mobile devices in the classroom, if not the school itself.


Augmented Reality:
Four to Five years from now it is predicted that augmented reality will play a roll in the classroom. “Augmented Reality (AR ) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-based imagery.” Augmented reality is thought to enhance and individual’s current perception of reality.

It is thought that augmented reality will help students reach a higher level of understanding because of how reality in one place may not be the same as in another. “Augmented reality has strong potential to provide both powerful, contextual, in situ learning experiences and serendipitous exploration and discovery of the connected nature of information in the real world. Most of the activity happening in this area is taking place in universities, but the work going on there can easily be transferred to K-12 settings.”


Flexible Displays:
The final technology that is thought to effect education is flexible displays, but its four to five years away from implication in classrooms. A flexible display is a very thin display screen that is the thickness of a credit card, and it can wrap around objects and doesn’t have to be confined to just a wall.

After flexible displays are implemented experts are predicting even more technology to be developed that can work alongside flexible displays. “Flexible displays, because of their adaptability and low cost, are certain to become part of everyday educational materials like periodicals, textbooks, and imaging tools. Since no separate light source is required, OLED screens can easily be placed into all manner of devices. Learning applications are still some years away and flexible displays are perhaps best thought of in the category of enabling technologies at this point; but once developed more fully, thin film technology will enable whole new categories of devices.”


These six technologies will change the way a classroom will look in the future. Cloud computing makes software easily accessible at an affordable price. Collaborative environments will change and won’t just be within a classroom, and allow students to work together on projects. Game-based learning will allow students to play games together that can be applied in reality. Mobile Devices will make accessing information easier. Augmented reality will give student’s a better understanding of what reality is truly like. Flexible displays will take projections to a whole new level. With all these technologies, learning will be changing.

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