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New Year, New Tech

January 01, 2016

These days, technology changes and improves quickly – there are some things starting to show up in classrooms today that would have been solidly relegated to science fiction ten years ago (like holograms). Some of these, moreover, are poised for more widespread adoption in schools. Here’s a look at some technologies that could make a huge impact on education in 2016 and beyond:

Virtual Reality

There’s already been a ton of movement in Virtual Reality (VR) – Google, Samsung, and Oculus, among others, are all developing their own version of the technology. In the classroom, VR can serve a wide range of functions – from offering students a different way to learn and solve complex problems, to helping them explore careers.

3D Printing

3D printers are quickly becoming more affordable and more widely used, but we’re only beginning to explore their true potential. They’re cool and handy (and potentially cost-saving), but their real value lies in allowing users to design and create things that don’t exist yet. 3D printers could be an important piece of revamping an engineering or science program.

Wearables

It’s still going to be a few more years before wearables are wholeheartedly adopted in the classroom, but some waves have already hit schools, like UNICEF’s 2015 Kid Power initiative – a program that tracks students’ steps through fitness bands, and then converts points earned from walking into donations for purchasing food packets for malnourished children across the globe.

Wearable technology has huge potential for physical education, but they also open the door for greater interaction between devices. Many students today not only use a tablet or a laptop in school, but also carry a smartphone (and maybe even an Apple watch…) – synchronization between these devices can help extend their learning experience into their time outside of school.