4 ways to use new technology in FE

virtual reality headset

Technology has developed more rapidly in the past few years than it has in previous decades. As more new technological devices and systems have been invented, so too have ways of using this tech as an educational tool.

Though not all new technology has found a place in the classroom, there is a very real value in utilising it for education, and especially further education. Here are four different recent technological developments that could have a big impact on FE.

1. VR can used to enable FE accessibility.

Virtual Reality (VR) could be one of the most valuable tools, bringing not only FE but education and courses of all kinds to anyone and everyone. VR in schools would make FE far more accessible to many as anyone with a connection to the internet could share in learning, regardless of distance.

Digital accessibility is the next big thing for further and higher education, and the topic has been the subject of debates and talks around the country. The idea behind this is that virtual reality can bring disabled or disadvantaged learners into a VR classroom, stripping away the physical barriers that may have stopped them from joining conventional classrooms in the past. This, combined with e-textbooks and digital course material, has the potential to transform the lives of many disabled people.

VR can also be put to use in the physical classroom for more practical industries. This could also encourage more students into the industries that need more workers, like construction and STEM.

VR environments are already used for training employees on how to handle potentially difficult situations. This VR simulation helps educate train drivers on what to do in emergencies. For situations like these VR is an extremely useful tool in education.

When it is risky to give further education students real hands-on experiences, such as with volatile chemicals or engineering scenarios, when they are first starting out, VR presents a safe environment to practice techniques. The main roadblock to creating these training programs, however, is the cost. Since VR is still new, it is not cheap.

2. Cloud computing will increase convenience (& eco-friendliness)

In the business world, cloud computing has revolutionised workflow. Workers and managers are able to share documents and work collaboratively from many locations, whenever they see fit. Further education can benefit from the cloud much in the same way.

Students can use the cloud to submit work online, allowing markers to access it and send back results without the need for printing anything, or for using the dreaded red marking pen. This will not only increase the speed students receive their marks, but it will help save the environment by conserving paper.

The cloud can also be used for disseminating course materials, such as e-textbooks or even video lectures. This will help aid the environment once again. And, like VR, it will open further education up to those who cannot access it at the moment.

3. Augmented reality brings greater depth to classrooms

Augmented reality (AR) differs from VR in that it simply projects a layer of visual information over the real world, as opposed to creating an entirely virtual one. It may be less technologically impressive, but that doesn’t mean it will have any less of an effect on the educational world.

The added augmentations will make learning far more engaging than it is currently. Augmented reality adds exciting new layers to lessons, and with many companies developing educational tools for the platform, it is only a matter of time before it becomes widespread.

For the younger generation that fell in love with Pokemon Go, augmented reality will make intuitive sense, and make learning fun. Gamification is one of the most powerful tools for re-engaging people and use of AR could spark new interest in subjects that are lacking it by adding a new dimension to its learning.

4. Live streaming and recording will preserve lessons for the future

Sometimes students need to hear something more than once for it to truly sink in. Recording lessons give students the ability to rewatch them again and again until they feel truly comfortable with the material. This is also one of the most cost effective solutions for using technology and making lessons more accessible, with free and paid streaming options.

A newer development than simple recording, live streaming lessons allows students to view classes without having to physically attend. This will once again increase accessibility as it means those who are physically unable to attend the classrooms are not barred from learning.

It will greatly aid courses wishing to cater to flexible adult learners, who may find it difficult to travel to a lesson due to work or childcare commitments. It can also help keep students motivated as it’s easier to catch up due to sick days, by viewing recordings, rather than relying on sharing notes.

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