From drones to robotics, a wide range of future technology was shared with the public as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas wrapped up this week. Most of the technology on display was directed towards simplifying tasks in our daily lives, or providing us with immersive entertainment experiences. As educators, we must consider how some of this emerging technology impacts what we and our students are able to do in the future.
Popular items were avenues for digital consumption, adapted to create immersive experiences. Large curved monitors, head-mounted displays ranging from the Oculus Rift to Google cardboard can all provide interactive platforms for entertainment with video games and movies, but we must ask how they can be transferred into the classroom. With the emergence of this hyper immersive technology, students will be able to practice the application of their skills with less risk and cost. What are some ways in which these products can be applied:
- Students using a virtual reality set can study microbiology going in depth with cells.
- They can travel across our skies as they study our stars and planets in astronomy.
- Students can hike across ancient ruins and historical sites without so much as leaving their seats.
- A large tablet display can be used for collaboration. Students can work together or have individual panels for greater interactive learning experiences.
- Students progressing towards engineering careers could build 3D prototypes and test them in virtual settings.
- In healthcare pathways students can study the human body in depth without having an actual cadaver.
- Those with an interest in architecture could build full size digital models without the actual cost of physical materials.
As the technology becomes readily available and affordable, it will be interesting to see how it is adapted by educators. These powerful tools for engagement and learning will require proper training and deployment to go beyond being entertainment devices where the student output is passive and secondary. As the possibilities truly become endless as to what students can learn and produce, educators must be at the forefront willing to adapt and find ingenious opportunities for engagement.