At Zyxel, we recently did a little research to find out what impact new wireless technologies are having on K-12 classrooms, both now and to come in the near future.
Wow. Going to school has never looked more engaging and dare we say, more fun. Here’s a quick look at some of the latest and greatest technology that we think will have a huge impact both now and in the years to come.
Sorry textbooks, your days are numbered. The era of lugging big, heavy textbooks is coming to a close as digital textbooks are fast becoming much more practical and easier to handle. And in case you’re wondering, a digital textbook is much more than a regular textbook in PDF form—often it includes external links to additional content, videos, supplementary resources, databases and more. Question is, will digital textbooks be viewed on a computer or tablet in the foreseeable future? Or is there a new device coming our way that uses flexible LCD or OLED displays that has multiple screens that fold or turn like a paper-bound book does? We’ll have to see…
The chalkboard or whiteboard is arguably the most important tool a teacher has to work with. Teachers use them to work through arithmetic problems, spelling and grammar rules and so on—all in a manner for the whole classroom can view. A smartboard takes that practice to the next level, with the ability to capture what is written on the board and turn it into a digital document that can then be printed, emailed, etc. To take it a yet another step further, some smartboards resemble giant tablets that are projected on a screen and are controlled via hand gestures or styluses. No more taking pictures of the teacher’s notes with a phone—students will have them on their devices instantly.
This one is probably a little ways off, but we expect it to make a big impact on how well kids learn. Consider this: students wear a biometric device (maybe a headband or wristband—we’re not sure how it will play out), that monitors how well the student is able to comprehend or engage in the subject matter. The feedback is then relayed back to the teacher in real time. Teachers will know immediately if their students “get” what they say. How cool is that?
Chromebooks and Tablets
This one is obvious. But you can expect Chromebooks to evolve, with more location-based applications (that only work when logged-in in the classroom) and with devices that are shared among students that include face or retina scanners that immediately log into that person’s profile. Also, teachers can adjust individualized online learning plans to meet differing abilities, needs or learning habits of each student. This seriously brings a whole new meaning to personalized learning—all thanks to Chromebooks.
Virtual Reality Googles
Ready to take a tour of the Louvre in Paris? How about a field trip to explore the Colosseum in Rome? With Virtual Reality (VR) googles, teachers will soon be able to explore well beyond the confines of what a classroom or project can provide.