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The Rise of the Smart Classroom

The Rise of the Smart Classroom

With tablets replacing some textbooks and courses being taught online, it is clear that the educational landscape is rapidly evolving. The steady development of dynamic learning systems has been a major factor in this change. Many schools have adapted to these technological advancements, recognising they are essential steps to cater to the learning process of younger generations. The positive effects can be seen as recent research shows that middle and high school students learn more using alternate reality.

Independent Education Today identified some of the different technologies emphasised in the changing education model. They include device proliferation, app usage, and the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT). All of these involve some form of new tech or updating traditional methods. As students become increasingly mobile, it is expected that these demands will become increasingly standard.

Students typically use a laptop or computer throughout school and in their careers. IBISWorld notes that most students have a working knowledge of technology, so it’s only natural for it to be used more in the classroom. Learning management software and online systems allow teachers and pupils to collaborate remotely, which has even led to the popularity of online learning.

The Internet has allowed students to learn practically anywhere. Maryville University claims that 33.5% of students in the US took at least one online course in the duration of their education. This number will likely continue to grow given that tech has become an intrinsic part of learning.

Even so, there are a lot of things that are best learned in K-12 classrooms and university lecture halls. Arguably some of the most exciting introductions to a smart classroom environment are augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). It's been explored in other industries but proves to bode well for education. zSpace makes it easy for educators to adapt the tech into their schools by streamlining intuitive software and functional hardware and aligning it to curriculum standards. For instance, the application “Human Anatomy Atlas” gives insight to what goes on inside our bodies, while chemistry is more easily understood with an interactive periodic table and atom builder. zSpace strengthens the dialog between teachers and students by inciting them to ask relevant questions, test different methods, and form sound conclusions. This is where imagination gets cultivated and applied learning can be measured. The interaction proves to be more engaging compared to only listening to lectures or staring at slideshows.

Additionally, AR/VR programs and simulations create  sensory learning experiences and breed fearless learners. Being able to undo or pause a lesson removes anxiety from students who feel the pressure to do things right the first time. After all, making mistakes is a huge part of the learning process, too. The intuitive technology engages students, builds their confidence, and satisfies their curiosity.

Creative spaces are another trend in the smart classroom movement. Global Citizen featured Danish Kurani and Zoe Balaconis' mission to reinvent classroom layouts, incorporate shared discussion areas, one-on-one learning zones, galleries, viewing areas, and more. All of these can use smart tools like projectors, digital textbooks and tables, and AR/VR equipment. This not only spells out progress, but adds to the overall value a school provides to students as well.

As people see the optimisation of smart software for the academe, it's exciting to think about all the possibilities. It won't be long before the traditional classroom setup gets replaced by an advanced model filled with high tech tools that keep students engaged. (Ricci Juliette) 

educational technology
mixed reality
virtual reality
hands-on learning
3d technology
career and technical education
student engagement
augmented reality

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