3D printing and virtual laboratories are among the new tools used soon to be used in education, experts predict.
BYOD and cloud computing in the short term
A group of international experts from the NMC (New Media Consortium), including teachers and researchers, have identified the new technologies – and their advantages – that will be adopted by teaching professionals in the short, mid- and long term in secondary schools.
This community of experts predict a gradual increase in the adoption of technologies which already exist but are as yet not widely utilised:
- BYOD: The advantage of BYOD is that students can work with tools they are familiar with and can use in both their school and personal life. It also has the undeniable advantage of limiting schools’ investments in devices.
- Cloud computing: online content platforms and SaaS services offer optimal flexibility to IT managers, teachers and students.
- The mobile teacher: Tablets and smartphones are becoming essential tools for one-to-one coaching and students’ homework.
- Remote teaching: online teaching resource platforms, such as MOOCs, provide access to teaching resources whilst offering a personalised approach to learning for students of all ages all over the world.
Analytics and customised teaching in the next 3 years
In the mid-term, NMC’s experts foresee widespread adoption of 4 technologies:
- Digital publishing: to combine text, images, videos and sound, thanks to new apps such as Apple’s iBook Author.
- Analytics: when applied to teaching, Big Data analytics will give teaching professionals a better understanding of students’ uses, expectations, and results and allow them to make decisions accordingly.
- Open content: This allows teachers to access and share a wealth of content online, anytime, whilst enabling learners to develop their online researching skills and learn how to assess and interpret online content.
- Customised, adaptive teaching: New applications, online interactions and free resources mean teachers can tailor their approach to the learner’s specific needs. According to the NMC’s report, adaptive teaching will initially be applied via online teaching platforms such as MOOCs.
3D printing and remote laboratories by 2018
A number of technologies, as yet still in the early stages of development, could have huge potential for education, according to NMC:
- 3D printing: With prices set to fall over the next five years, this technology will enable schools to create tangible 3-D prototypes rapidly with materials such as plastic, resin and metal. 3D printing would be ideal for creating body parts for biology or 3D art.
- Virtual laboratory: Via a webcam, students can follow experiments, thereby offering wider possibilities than physical labs and at minimal cost for the school.