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Friday, 28 March 2014

Designing the School of the Future

The school of the future leverages the Internet of things to connect students and teachers on and off campus. New educational portals will extend classroom learning, and create greater transparency between teacher and student. This is already happening in schools where more of the classroom materials are digitized. Soon, students will have customized lesson plans that guide them through multiple curricula, showing how these disciplines work together.

Chicago and Philadelphia are just two major cities already working on building these futurist learning institutions. What makes administrators so sure that this technology will impact students, and how will the technology actually work in the classroom?

Technology in the Classroom

A major point to this initiative has to do with quantifying data. Test scores and other indicators let teachers and parents know how a student is progressing. With digitized materials, student input is stored automatically in a database where it can be accessed at will. The introduction of the Internet will also help cooperation in the classroom.

The hope is that lesson plans will adapt to students in real-time, helping those at the bottom reach the middle-grade while motivating those at the top to solve more complex challenges.

Data Access

Cloud access designated for each student also means more input on data. For example, homework won’t need to be printed or even emailed. Schools can set up repositories for students to drop assignments, and teachers can grade from within the same programs.

Leveraging the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” is getting closer to a reality, and schools will work to support those devices in the classroom. Already, students use tablets to surf the web and follow along with lesson plans. Soon, tools like Google Glass will help students explore a visual history of the world around them. Many schools already require some of this equipment for new enrolees.

Securing the School Network

Student data - test scores, academic and personal data - will be stored in vast cloud libraries operated by school administrators. Security software will be needed to monitor traffic on the network, eradicate viral infections and detect potential data breaches on a 24/7 basis.

For their own parts, students and parents should also learn safer browsing techniques.

Using Apps for Teaching

Textbook companies are already offering study guides and applications designed to increase the interactivity of a textbook. Students will soon use apps to accomplish a variety of tasks around campus. Mobile apps will update students on event calendars and help them arrange gatherings for on-campus events. Cafeteria apps will allow students to place orders ahead of lunch time and give staff ample time to prepare the exact amount of food necessary.

This is just the beginning. The future of education is a complex but exciting place. All students and teachers interested in becoming useful members of academia should invest in understanding the foundations of these new tools.

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