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Top predictions for tomorrow’s classrooms

Classrooms are changing–how might tech shape the classroom of the future?

future-classroomsGiven the fast pace with which technology evolves, it’s not entirely a huge stretch to say that a new learning tool could transform classrooms within a year.

In 1984, only 8 percent of U.S. households owned a computer. But today, that has jumped to 79 percent. Fifty-eight percent of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. Only 18 percent of households had internet access in 1997, compared to 75 percent today.

Efforts are underway to expand technology and broadband access to the 25 percent of Americans without home internet access. (Next page: What the classroom of the future might look like) An infographic from Lenovo outlines how today’s technology might shape tomorrow’s classrooms. Online education is helping to reshape classrooms, too.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) give students instant access to some of the top institutions of higher education in the nation, and in the world. As more students have access to computers or mobile devices with internet capability, they are able to access interactive educational opportunities, such as online game-based learning, from classrooms, their homes, and libraries.

Tablets are becoming more common in classrooms, and students seem to feel that there is much more potential there. Ninety percent of college and high school seniors said they believe tablets are valuable educational tools, and 63 percent said they think tablets will transform learning in higher education in the future.

In fact, six in 10 college students said they prefer a digital book format. An International Society for Technology in Education study revealed that when students had regular access to technology, independent seat work improved, as did student engagement, jumping from 29 percent to 72 percent.

Eighth grade proficiency improved from 29 percent to 41 percent. In April, a study in the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education revealed that tablet-based notes helped to significantly improve retention among four groups of post-secondary students, including those hard of hearing, those with learning disabilities, English language learners, and those without identified disabilities.

Now that technology has put classrooms on the path to transformed learning, what’s in store?

1. Augmented reality will give students more immersive and cross-curricular learning experiences

2. Employers may start to take more interest in industry certifications and other methods that demonstrate knowledge and skills

3. MOOCs will continue to expand student access to higher-education courses

4. Tablets and touchscreens will personalize learning for students, connecting them with supplementary resources and information

5. More engaging forms of learning, such as game-based learning, will become more accessible as students have access to tablets and personal mobile devices

6. The traditional “teacher” role will continue to evolve, as teachers and students learn side-by-side in classrooms that are set up in more collaborative and challenge-based formats

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Laura Ascione

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