Technology is growing, and soon a younger generation of teachers who grew up with the Age of the Internet (yes, mil- lennials), will take the reins. What will happen once the digital world completely infiltrates the classrooms? What might the education of future generations look like?

As technology advances it is inevitable that it will shape the classroom of the future. There are endless possibilities to merge both the education sector and the tech industry, but what does that look like?

3D Printing Presents New Possibilities

3D printing allows creativity to run wild by allowing students to translate virtual models into something they can touch and experience. Instead of simply drawing a model on paper, students will be able to realize it in full 3D glory. This interac- tive technology is great news for kinesthetic learners and can in turn can improve the cognitive development of our future architects, engineers and even surgeons.

3D printing will also give teachers access to items they previously may not have been able to obtain. For example, a teacher who is giving a lesson on ancient Greece would be able to print a historically accurate eating utensil for the classroom to pass around and get a stronger sense for the material they are learning.

Virtual Reality Brings Education to Life

Imagine a classroom where students can just strap on a virtual reality headset and become immersed in a different time or different place. The options of where to go would be endless. Field trips could take the shape of ancient Rome, or students could even visit another country in modern day. Imagine being immersed in another time, another culture, or even a different province is an exciting thought, and we’re not that far off. Virtual reality video games are becoming increasingly mainstream. Right now virtual reality video games allows you to explore the bottom of an ocean or make music with digital instruments. As this technology becomes more affordable, it will be natural fit for the classroom. Being immersed in an experience gives it life, thus making it more memorable. Education becomes reality.

The Dog Can’t Eat Your Homework Anymore

Many schools across the world have adopted cloud comput- ing as a tool used for homework collection. As the world turns digital, paper assignments are declining. Not only does cloud computing allow for schools and students to save money, it reduces paper consumption and promotes an eco-friendly initiative. Being able to complete homework online and upload it enables teachers to track specifics of a student’s educa- tion and streamline grades. Students also have the ability to work on papers and edit projects in real-time from different devices. With real-time collaboration students can work with their classmates on group projects, and teachers can provide commentary inside the working document. The only downside is that the dog might go hungry.

Social Media Will Increase Collaboration

Social Media has been heavily demonized as a distraction in the classroom or a potential source of bullying, but there are many positive aspects of online networking. Social media has given students the ability to coordinate their collaborative projects more effectively with group chat and easy file sharing among peers. Facebook groups and apps such as Slack allow people to work together and share resources. Many of these platforms even allow for teacher or parent moderation. With online group communications already available today, the future only stands to offer students even more ways to work together through online mediums and most importantly, more oversight from their guardians.

Teleconferencing Will Bring Experts to the Classroom

Video conferencing is not new technology, but with the advent of FaceTime and the prevalence of broadband internet con- nections long distance communication has never been easier. Imagine a physics class taught by a world renowned scien- tist or a literature study lead by a famous author. Even within school districts, many schools could be taught by a single teacher who is an expert at their craft, while classrooms are facilitated by teacher aids. The possibilities are endless.

Digital Surfaces Will Dominate the Classroom

As touchscreen technology becomes more affordable, expect it to replace many of the static surfaces of the classroom. Digital whiteboards have existed for years, but generally provided an experience that was less fulfilling than a modern smartphone. In the coming years, expect chalkboards to be replaced with large touch capacitive screens where teachers can write, manipulate objects, and stream videos from the internet. Emerging software also allows teachers to connect with their students computer devices and beam them content. In the coming years, this experience will only become more seamless. The screeching sound of fingernails being run down the chalkboard will be a distant memory.

Biometrics Could Provide Valuable Insight

In a distant future, expect biometric data to inform the science of learning. When a student shows interest in a subject matter, their heart rate increases slightly and their pupils dilate. This information for an entire classroom of students can indicate whether a teacher is able to maintain the attention of their audience. Biometric data may also help teachers flag students who are struggling or show an unhealthy level of stress through increased sweat activity or erratic heart palpitations. Biometrics are currently an area of interest for government regulation and access to biometric data from students may be shaped by the future of society’s perceptions and the senti- ment of political discourse.