What will a classroom look like in 10 years? In 25 years will they exist? The classroom space has varied very little in the last 30 years yet some of the greatest educational opportunities are currently pending. While desk chairs and teachers have yet to be replaced, the most notable change in any classroom in Europe is the switch to whiteboards. Significant? Definitely not.
In the last few years we have observed some of the most exhilarating technological advances that have changed the nature of the way in which we communicate, socialise and spend our time. Learning in any educational setting is a fundamental experience in a child’s life. The tools with which we teach and expose children to the cogs that drive the modern world are becoming more engaging than ever before. In the same way that technology has become a pillar of any household or office-space, technology is emerging as the pinnacle of modern teaching methods.
Albert Einstein once suggested that “your imagination is a preview of coming attractions”, what children imagine in their own time has the opportunity to transition into the classroom. In the 1990s and early 2000s, IMAX and 3D spectating gave viewers a sense of presence. In 2015 we saw the first of the VR headsets come to market, giving individuals an opportunity to delve into games and movies as if they were a mere spectator. In the same year technology research firm Gartner put VR on the upswing towards mainstream adoption with some analysts suggesting it would be a lifestyle norm by 2020. VR is about so much more than Minecraft and Hollywood, it brings to life things that can only be imagined from reading. The possibilities with VR technology are endless because if you can imagine it, it can be designed, if it can be designed it can be engaged with. CAD software and other visual packages are advancing exponentially while remaining compatible with the educational experience. Children of the future can learn about Dinosaurs by walking amongst them, engineering students will walk around an engine and to-be doctors will observe a kidney transplant from their desk. This is educational development on an unrivalled level.
eLearning courses at the moment involve sitting at a screen being lectured by someone most likely the other side of the world...how very boring. Cool yes, but boring nonetheless. By 2013 one in 20 people had downloaded Candy Crush. To put that into perspective that’s 500 million people. The cognitive structures that individuals engage with offer a wealth of information about how people engage and what they desire. Mastering concepts, immediate feedback and personalisation features were what people found desirable, didn’t you feel a slight tingle of self satisfaction when you leveled up. Apply these concepts to the classroom and you get an altogether alternative experience.
It's fair to assume that the level of engagement that educators currently get from students is substandard. Most children have exposure to a computer or a tablet. If their homework was an assigned piece of reading that unlocked a 2 minute game that became the talk of tomorrow morning's playroom discussion then it would be fair to assume engagement would increase ten-fold. Gamification offers teachers an opportunity to ensure that all children interact with course content in a way that is optimal for a child's development. In the past children with learning difficulties have been challenged by learning in ways that damage their personal development and lead many to develop anxiety. Whether you struggle with numbers or have dyslexia there should be an opportunity for you to learn in an enjoyable way. Gamification is a gateway to harnessing the best in all children.
Who doesn't love Ralph?
The purpose of this post is not to disregard the importance of any child’s ability to read, which of course will remain important for everyone’s intellectual ability. What we as a society need to do is re-engage with education and turn youths away from the idea that school is something that must be done.
Adopting the noted features as well as the endless tools which are currently in development will only improve young people’s outlook on learning. As a child I was given Mechano to learn about mechanisms and structures. I was given an abacus to count. All of this is because that was what influenced the world I grew up in. Banks counted and sheltered people's money and engineers designed the infrastructure I availed of on the way to school. Somewhere in between there was an explosion of technology which has now become part and parcel of my life. More than ever coding is an essential part of learning about the features which keep the world functioning. At Robotify we strive to provide young people with an opportunity to learn in an engaging and structured way while at the same time providing a distinct level of autonomy that is unrivaled right now.
Take your first step towards modern learning, take them with Robotify.