Future Trends & Emerging Technologies

Technology is constantly changing to adapt to the needs of our classrooms. Platforms, apps, programs, tools and games are making learning more fun, more engaging, more personalised and more successful than ever before. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest new trends at this year’s REAL.

#1: Virtual Learning Environments - Google Cardboard
Few technologies are making education as truly immersive as Google’s new virtual reality experience; using a simple cardboard viewer and a mobile phone, students can enter a world of completely immersive learning through a plethora of apps. Teachers can virtually take their students through space to explore planets and star systems, to the bottom of the world’s oceans to explore marine life, or to new countries to explore unfamiliar and landscapes and cultures, all from the comfort of their desks.

#2: Gaming in the Classroom - Minecraft
Gaming for education is a growing trend, and we’re seeing more and more examples of schools leveraging this trend to foster interactive learning and engagement. If you’re not familiar with Minecraft, it’s a virtual environment game which lets users dig (mine) and build (craft) different terrains and habitats. Schools can use Minecraft not just within the context of coding, but as part of lessons to take students’ engagement with gaming at home and replicate it in the school environment. It’s already being used to tremendous effect in some schools to support the teaching of subjects like history and geography.

#3: Engaging Shy Learners – Instant Messenger

Collaboration was a key theme at REAL, but not all your students have the confidence to shout out, share ideas or ask questions. There are lots of shy learners who won’t put their hand up, and if they’re not really taking part then they’re not going to feel involved or engaged. But a simple way to address this is to use an established messaging tool like Instant Messenger in your classroom to allow students to ask questions anonymously.

#4: Writing to Improve Memory – Surface 3
When students make handwritten notes rather than typing out their notes during learning, they are better able to answer conceptual-application questions (based on research by Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014). Microsoft’s Surface 3, with its accompanying Surface Pen, helps students process ideas and information in a way that keyboard typing can’t; they can label diagrams, jot down pointers, make side calculations to solve maths problems and even create art, ultimately enabling them to better understand the subject matter and improve their memory of the topics.

#5: Creating Quality Content – iBooks & iBooks Author
We already know that the flipped learning environment is having a significant impact on making reading more fun and engaging, and if you’re using iPads in the classroom, you may already know that Apple’s extensive iBooks platform is helping teachers turn reading into something truly interactive. Equipped to help educators teach practically any subject, iBooks is packed with children’s books, classic novels, biographies and reference guides. It lets students flick through photo galleries, rotate 3D objects or play video and audio to help them forge a deeper understanding of the subject matter and truly bring content to life; conversely, iBooks Author lets teachers and students author Multi-Touch books and learning materials to collaborate and share ideas in compelling new ways.

#6: The Emergence of Voice Technologies

Touch-based technologies have been around for a number of years, but during this year’s talks from our three tech partners, it’s also widely predicted that voice-based technologies will take on increased significance over the next few years. Voice could become instrumental for note taking, collaboration, research and project-based work, so now is a great time for educators to start considering how this technology could benefit their classroom.

We’re sharing lots more content from our REAL event over the coming weeks, including summaries from some of our speakers and debates, key themes, new technology trends and classroom ideas.

To stay informed, keep an eye on our blog at www.rm.com or follow the links on Twitter from our profile @RMEducation with the hashtag #RMreal.

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