With the speed and sophistication of new and emerging developments in the digital technology, it is excitingly mindboggling to begin to imagine what prospects it holds for the future of education. What will the conventional classroom be like in the future? How will course works, home works, tests and examinations be graded? How will cloud computing and augmented reality (AR) change the way and how much we learn?
Analysts are forecasting that though iPads and mobile phones are give us a good glimpse of the impact of technology on learning, the future of education will maximise on the immense advantages of a pair of even more advanced technology: cloud computing and augmented reality. The future will be about virtual access both locally and globally. It will be about virtual social academic communities for learning and exchange of ideas. It will be about the speed of learning, reviews and teacher-student interactions.
It is generally agreed that the Cloud is the future of technology. So how can it be fully utilized to advance education and human knowledge, since technology can sometimes be a barrier to learning? By fixing a number of things that could go wrong and making seamless and faster learning possible with the basic requirement of internet connectivity.
These are some of the ways digital technology, in particular cloud computing and augmented reality, will transform learning as we know it.
Classrooms in the future will be digitalized: No paper, no chalk, no chalkboard. Each student will have a personalised computer and class studies will be taught with tools displayed on an interactive chalkboard, as well on the student’s computer. This will make learning more interesting, engaging and personalised. This advanced digital technology-enabled learning will also effectively take care of class communication and interaction, because it is no longer limited to talking and listening and the teacher can easily send comments and receive comments from students via the computers.
Moreover, the digitized classrooms will enable high quality 3D visualization and audio system to enhance learning and presentation. Lessons can also be simply saved for reuse and revision at a later time, which increases understanding and application of knowledge.
In the digitalized learning future, you simply won’t have a reason not to do your homework. With simplicity and convenience of virtual learning, made possible by Cloud computing, learning takes a bold and giant leap into unexplored territories for human advancement. Across all sectors of daily living, the buzz is in ‘the Cloud,’ particularly education. China is already seizing the initiative to modernize education. In the city of Zhuji in Zhejiang, more than 6,000 cloud computing terminal devices have been installed in 118 schools.
With the power of cloud computing, students may just need an electronic device to access their assignment and all their learning resources stored in the Cloud. This will eliminate heavy, physical textbooks and school notes substituted with digital reading materials that the student can access anytime once they have login, internet connection and an electronic device.
Cloud computing is all about virtual classrooms and learning seeks to virtualize the classroom, and students can now leverage on the technology to set up and actively engage in online learning and knowledge sharing forums and class discussion panels from their virtual location.
Cloud computing use a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and connected to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) managed by dependable web host companies like OpenHost.co.nz.
Better student learning and retention
Lessons taught and learnt under a relaxed and convenient atmosphere sticks to the mind for a long time. With the benefits of a digitized classroom or eLearning, students are able to more easily understand class lessons and retain the knowledge for examination and for life. This no-pressure learning further will likely improve student interests and enthusiasm in academics, therefore deepening productivity and intelligence.
Easier storage and access to learning materials
Virtual learning removes all the inhibiting boundaries in a traditional classroom setting. Digital lecture notes and structure materials can be stored and retrieved at anytime with further researches and study expansions to improve knowledge. Students will also be able to sift through the mass of information in the lecture notes and research works and focus on a specific subject or topic so they can get sharper insight and progress quickly with their course works with no hassles.
Flexible learning time
Digitized learning is not bound by time or space; and so allows students the convenience of learning at their own pace and favourite learning spot. They can access their favourite course at anytime of the day and study from anywhere – home, garden, on the plane or even on the bed before lights out. They are also able to easily compare notes and research supporting resources online to improve their learning.
More student-teacher e-interaction
Since digital technology plays the role of a learning facilitator, students easily connect with their mates anywhere anytime, review notes and exchange ideas. They can also engage in online learning discussions and forums; and improve interaction with their teachers by taking advantage of the online support provided by them. Students are therefore able to get the academic resources and tools they need to complete their projects, assignments and presentations much quicker, pleasantly and effortlessly.
Learning at the speed of ‘You’
Every student has their learning idiosyncrasies with every particular subject or topic. Some want to breeze through because they have a background knowledge already, others want to take it more slowly to get the details, because of other schedules or simple to disentangle the complex parts. Whatever the choice, the student now has the advantage of learning at their own speed, to improve their knowledge and productivity. So, there is no chance for a clash of schedules or interests and the student is able to work out their own learning guide and expand their understanding.
New field trip experiences with AR
The power of augmented reality - which allows users to view additional detail in the background over what they see through the lens – has not been really applied to learning and education. But the digital forecasters predict that when the storm finally hits ground, it will completely revolutionize knowledge sharing and advancement.
But it is already being utilized in outfield learning with virtual field trips. One Physics teacher in Switzerland conducted an outdoor class from inside the Large Hadron Collider, and streamed it to his students thousands of miles away using a beta Google Glass. Both the teacher and the students were seeing each other and interacted like they were in the same classroom!