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No Tie-in Contracts   |   Only Qualified Teachers   |   Money Back Guarantee

Geoff Ashton

Blogs by Geoff Ashton
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5 minutes reading time (997 words)

VR headset 

 New Technology Your Kids Could Be Using In School Next Year!


Education technology: Virtual reality and wearables


Education can sometimes be accused of lagging behind the consumer world with regard to the technology used with kids in the classroom, seminar or lecture hall. It’s only now that we’re beginning to see the widespread use of tablets as learning tools, six years after the first iPad was released into market. For years, the humble blackboard clung on desperately, staving off an attack from the whiteboard, and later, the smart board. However, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a blackboard in many school or universities these days.  

 smart board


Learning environments are highly innovative spaces, and should be absolutely at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. Unfortunately, educational institutions are often bound by long-term supplier contracts and a strict curriculum. Furthermore, technology needs to have a proven tangible function and benefit to obtain approval from the powers that be. Money certainly does not grow on trees in the education sector, so taking risks on unproven methods isn’t always the top of priorities.

However, for professional tutors and private institutions, technology offers supreme opportunity that can help lead the way for state-sponsored education thereafter. In this article, we look at how some of the world's most fascinating technological advances can benefit education.


Pushing the boundaries:


Let’s talk virtual reality. Believe it or not, virtual reality is becoming a reality. Headsets like Oculus Rift Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive are offering unbelievable interactive experiences for users, and may just revolutionise a number of industries - education very much included. But how?

Imagine, for a second, that you’re taking a History lesson. These students are not particularly engaged in the textbook, and you’re struggling to peak their interest. Now imagine that you have a virtual reality headset, in which you can transport each pupil back to the edges of a medieval battlefield. Archeologists and historians have done the research about how the battle played out, so the movements of each army can be historically accurate. Students can directly observe the throws of battle, helping them to get a picture of how events unfolded, and allowing you to test their perception and understanding of the event and its background.


roman soldiers

 The same could be applied to a Maths lesson. Students could be asked to solve a mathematical problem in the context of an engineering situation - preparing them for real-world industry after their graduation. Further down the line, trainee doctors can practice tricky procedures without putting patients at risk. The possibilities are endless. Problems can be brought to life through virtual reality, increasing engagement and get those brains firing on all cylinders.


Of course, we need the development studios and designers to stick their neck out to create these environments. Encouragingly, the anecdotal evidence would suggest that educators are enthusiastic about using these learning resources - if they're good enough.


Wearable technology in education:


What else can we look at in the consumer world to make a mark in education? In my view, it is also 'wearables' that could dramatically shake things up.

Wearable technology is such things as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Google Glass - although virtual reality headsets are also considered as wearables. Although Google Glass has been discontinued (a bold PR move, at the very least), Google are expected to make a further foray into wearables once they've nailed the design and functionality after initial feedback on the program.



Wearables could be beneficial for both education, and the operational processes of an educational institution. Due to the Apple Watch taking the consumer market by storm, I'll mainly muse on the potential for similar smart watches. It may be some time off, but imagine if every pupil at a school wore a smart watch. Teachers and admin staff could alert pupils to homework requirements, or remind them to get their parent or guardian's signed permission for next week's school trip. Break times and assemblies could be signaled through a watch alert in addition to the traditional school bell - meaning there are no excuses for absence.


smart watch


For purely educational purposes, smart watches have a number of fascinating applications. As just one example, you could empower students to examine their own heart rates between two points - perfect for biology classes. You could even cross-check heart rates during the closing stages of a class test, helping pupils to understand how their bodies respond to stress. Smart watches could also be used to measure performance and condition in sports classes.


Reigning it in:


All of this sounds fabulous, but we're all aware of the limitations set on education when it comes to adopting new technologies. Private institutions and universities are much more likely to invest in the more left-field methods of education, and it's often that we see these arenas setting the precedent for state-sponsored schools. For independent tutors, there's a real potential to set yourself apart from the crowd in offering new learning experiences. Again, you'll need the capital to invest in this technology, but prices are becoming more affordable over time. If you can set out and communicate the evidence for why these technologies enrich the learning experience, students will be keen to come to you.


We must also remember that rapid progression in technology has changed our culture, and made people more flexible and adaptable at short notice. Whilst the advent of virtual reality and wearable technology in education may seem pie in the sky, it's amazing how quickly things can change in a short space of time. If devices are affordable, and the software and support is available, there should be nothing stopping educators using yet more immersive and engaging learning experiences.


Matt Goolding is Head of Digital Marketing at Ribbonfish. They build and customised Salesforce solutions and enterprise apps for publishers in the education sector, both in the UK and USA.

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