Where will we all be in the next year, five years or ten years even? Maybe you have dreams of escaping the rat race, packing a backpack and travelling the world? Or maybe you’re keen to just live a quiet life and do a bit more fishing/yoga/swimming. One thing for sure is that whatever we are all doing, the technology around us just won’t stop progressing. In fact it’s difficult to keep up with new inventions and technologies being introduced all the time and existing technologies improving every year. From learning simulations and full-on virtual worlds, to cyborg teachers and artificial intelligence for marking, where does this leave your school?

Budget aside, how do you even find out about new technologies, go on to choose which ones are right for you, get senior leadership buy-in and then get everyone trained up on how to use the products? It’s a tall order but nothing is unachievable if you have the right teams supporting you.

The following steps are those we advise you to consider for the future success of your ICT:

Step 1: the cloud

The one transition you will inevitably make, albeit eventually, is to the cloud. On-premise solutions are likely to become a thing of the past, so do you have/are you drafting up a transition plan to help you with the move? The cloud is the single biggest change you will need to make to your education environment in order to create a springboard for sleeker processes, improved communication and greater efficiencies. It might seem like a large-scale transition and your teams might not have the time to manage it. Yet there are many external support companies who can assist you and advise you on the best path to take. Plus, the cost savings involved in moving to the cloud over the medium to long term can run into tens of thousands of pounds each year – although there is upfront investment required and a transfer in spend to new areas like training and support.

Step 2: artificial intelligence

Yes it’s on its way for schools. It’s been talked about for many years now and it’s already in use – from helpful smart assistants to the not-so-obvious portrait mode in a camera, AI is impacting our lives every day. Not forgetting voice recognition systems such as Siri and Cortana that use machine learning and deep neural networks to imitate human interaction. And Uber’s machine learning that analyses data from millions of previous trips to apply it to your specific situation – oh and UberEATS, which takes food preparation time into account to give you the best possible delivery time prediction. The real-time analysis of these datasets has improved Uber’s estimations by 26% and increased customer satisfaction in the process.

According to TeachThought: “Using AI systems, software, and support, students can learn from anywhere in the world at any time and with these kinds of programs taking the place of certain types of classroom instruction. Educational programs powered by AI are already helping students to learn basic skills, but as these programs grow and as developers learn more, they will likely offer students a much wider range of services.”

Step 3: 3D printing

What’s better than just talking about a subject? Printing it and discussing it of course. The 3D printer will soon be the must-have technology in classrooms for children to better immerse themselves in a topic and touch and feel what they are talking about. According to the website Hongkiat, instead of being restricted to what they can play with, pupils in the classroom of the future will print out 3D models for various purposes, including show-and-tell.

Step 4: augmented reality (AR)

Taking your students out of a school environment and into a historic scene, a musical or a play brings learning to life. It encourages engagement, even for those less willing or able to learn. And according to an article in the Telegraph, the list of augmented reality apps being generated is dramatically and quickly growing; and with every new piece of software, another avenue for learners opens up.

ICT can be a minefield as it stands today and sometimes it can even be a challenge to just get the projector to work. Meanwhile you need to gain a good understanding of what’s coming next and how it could be used in your school for the benefit of teachers and learners.

If you can’t contemplate the next year, five years or ten years of ICT without a little (or a lot of) extra support why not talk to our team about RM Education support services? We will provide a flexible support model that suits you and we will commit to being by your side and available if/when you need us 24/7. We’ll be on the ball for you regarding the introduction of any new technologies that we feel will benefit your school and we can help with everything, from changing a projector bulb, to transitioning to the cloud, to (hopefully) keeping your cyborg teachers under control.

Try the online Health Check Tool to see your school’s ICT effectiveness.

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