The education methods that most of us will be familiar with are long gone from many classrooms across the nation, making way for smarter, technologically informed approaches. In fact, the UK government has recently confirmed an investment of £10m to advance upon existing technology measures in our schools. So, how will this change the nature of education, and what kind of new innovations will become commonplace in the classroom? Let’s explore what the future may hold for learning.
The government is innovating its current stance on education, exploring new digitisation avenues — one of which being the implementation of cloud -based learning. This will help to make learning materials readily available to students through a connected network of computer systems and creating ‘testbeds’, whereby schools can trial new innovations before they are rolled out on a wider scale. The teaching profession is notorious for having a heavy workload, and the government has identified technology as a potential avenue for removing five hours of workload per term, supported by an improvement in parental engagement. When these systems are fully embedded, part time or flexible working contracts could become a reality for teachers.
The success of such a system could see teacher’s schedules decrease, with much of the learning process digitized and accessible from any connected device. The possibilities would shape a new kind of classroom, which benefits from a less rigid learning structure with teachers who are not struggling to contend with excessive working hours. Building upon existing initiatives such as the use of programs such as Skype and FaceTime, teaching on the go will be given a whole new dimension. One key introduction will be artificial intelligence- known commonly as AI, as it enables for the automation of many daily processes within schools. Over time, it will become increasingly personalised, meaning it could be a vital tool in grading and providing feedback for students. A further branch of this is machine learning, which will adapt to the individual requirements of students, and it could even go on to provide AI tutors. These forms of AI have already been developed on a small scale, and they can teach subjects such as mathematics and writing. As their use increases, they could also help to alleviate the workload of human teachers.
While this technology has already been trialed in some schools, it could enter the mainstream in the near future — taking students on virtual reality learning experiences. In the past, teachers would take days away from the classroom to attend courses, but this can be avoided with VR. These simulations can replicate the setting by providing a sense of online community, where ideas and concepts are shared. The nature of these as an alternative to conventional courses can be more engaging, as they can be freely interacted with. The VR technology could also spell extinction for the traditional text book, with the opportunity to use it to revisit points in history or to take field trips without leaving the classroom. Learning has transformed into an immersive experience, with the development of programs such as Google Expeditions, students enjoy deep sea excursions or visit the International Space Station. The simulation allows students to embrace their curiosity and ask more questions, from a first-hand perspective. Other aspects of schools such as security and visitor management could be enhanced through virtual reality, using the technology to safeguard students as they learn.
Technology could also be helpful for refining discipline and truancy tactics in schools, which might not be welcomed warmly by many pupils. Biometric technology is most commonly used in activity trackers, but they can also prove valuable in getting the most out of the school day. Facilities such as fingerprint recognition and facial recognition scanners can help to cut down the time-consuming administrative processes, for example taking the class register and recording absences. There are also important safety requirements which can be enhanced using biometric data, by storing information on individuals who are allowed into the building and preventing anyone who is not recorded from entering.
The way our kids learn at school is changing and technology is playing a fundamental role in this, from boosting the clarity of information to increasing efficiency in teaching — who knows what could be next!