With the rise of technology in the classroom and digital advances rapidly changing, the landscape for technology in education (edtech) can be difficult to navigate. To kick off 2018, we invited global innovation and insight consultancy, Freshminds, to share their predicted top tech trends for 2018, and explore what this means for the education sector.
Voice and Smart Speakers
Amazon recently reported that The Echo Dot was the #1 best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon during 2017’s festive period. Comscore has also forecast that by 2020, voice searches will increase to 50% of all searches. As this trend continues to gather momentum, we can expect:
- more sophisticated functions on smart speakers
- an increase in interactivity within the classroom
- growth in software and platforms incorporating voice recognition, voice search and voice algorithms
- smart speakers incorporated as teaching assistants in the classroom and the assessment process.
There are already over 100,000 chat bots on Facebook and this is set to increase across all social media platforms, especially with the launch of WhatsApp Business. Meanwhile, Facebook and Microsoft have committed large investments to the development of personalised learning. Chat bots are beginning to play a critical role in making tailored education accessible to every student offering:
- an affordable alternative for personalised learning
- optimisation of data to guide learners and tailor the curriculum
- conversational and automised assessment methods and feedback.
AR / VR
Despite the hype, 4% of consumers are yet to use a VR headset. However, VR technology is becoming increasingly more affordable and since its launch in 2014, Google Cardboard now offers a fun and accessible way for leaners to experience virtual reality through applications such as Google Expeditions.
A projected global growth estimated to be worth $150 billion dollars for the AR and VR industry (AR taking around $120 billion and VR $30 billion) means immersive learning can open up a world of new experiences for learners and within professional training and virtual assessment, however:
- A complete departure from traditional classroom resources and curriculum content is currently unrealistic. So looking at integration is key for a varied and inclusive approach.
- There are concerns around teacher / student interactivity, but, this shouldn’t prevent the use of AR and VR. Instead it should be used as a springboard for increasing engagement and enhancing relationships with learners.
At NCFE we continually strive to embed innovative approaches and ways of working in all we do. These tech trends offer the potential for us to bridge the gap between imagination and experience within the education sector; improving the retention of knowledge and development of new skills. Looking forward, we will witness a continual growth of technology which actively increases learner engagement, in and out of the classroom. We can expect ongoing administrative changes to the way we work, helping improve time and cost efficiencies. From training and teaching right through to performance and assessment, we can harness the potential of 2018’s tech trends to create long-lasting, effective tools that ultimately enrich the learning journey for teachers and learners.