Emerging Technologies

Schools are incorporating emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality, into the classroom. The aim is to enable more innovative and engaging teaching methods and learning experiences.

82%

of US teachers think using technology better prepares students for future careers.

Tech & Learning, 2017

48%

of teachers in Australia have a strong interest in professional development using digital learning to engage students.

Pearson Education, 2017

8 in 10

teachers in New Zealand say that digital technologies are having a positive impact on student achievement.

Research New Zealand, 2018

Emerging Technologies

A conversation with Michael Bodekaer Jensen

Founder, Labster

Michael Bodekaer Jensen

How do you see virtual reality evolving over the next 10 years? How might that impact classroom education?

Virtual reality hardware will keep improving drastically over the next 10 years. Increases in visual resolution and performance will make the virtual and real world indistinguishable and lag completely disappear, all while all-in-one headsets become cheaper than $100 and much less obtrusive. We will also see additions such as haptic gloves become mainstream, making the experience even more immersive. Live and collaborative VR learning experiences combined with instant translations to hundreds of languages will completely shift the concept of an educational “classroom” to that of a “virtual global class.”

If used well, this will give educators the opportunity to provide their students experiences that haven’t been possible before. Just imagine being able to learn science on the International Space Station with students all over the world, or shrinking to the size of a DNA strand to collaboratively manipulate molecules hands-on, and traveling back in time to explore ancient Rome and role-play out important historic events – all from the safety of the physical classroom.

Why do you think emerging technologies like virtual reality have gained so much momentum and interest in recent years?

While the concept of VR is not particularly new, technological advances in recent years are now making it possible to produce VR equipment that is both cheap and high enough quality to provide a comfortable immersive user experience. While there is still plenty of room to improve, VR is close to a mainstream breakthrough because of 1) the continuous technological improvements combined with 2) the increasing content quality developed specifically for VR and 3) research providing evidence of the effectiveness of VR in education.Last year, Arizona State University launched the world’s first fully online biology degree using VR. This collaboration between ASU, Google and Labster has given remote students access to perform lab experiments in VR – something that simply wasn’t possible in the past. Students can access the lab on their own time and spend as much time there as they need. The degree has been a huge success, attracting thousands of students so far.

Tell us about the best example of how you’ve seen virtual reality in action in education.

Last year, Arizona State University launched the world’s first fully online biology degree using VR. This collaboration between ASU, Google and Labster has given remote students access to perform lab experiments in VR – something that simply wasn’t possible in the past. Students can access the lab on their own time and spend as much time there as they need. The degree has been a huge success, attracting thousands of students so far.

Dan Lindquist
Emerging Technologies

A conversation with Dan Lindquist

Expeditions Product Manager, Google

How do you see virtual reality evolving over the next 10 years? How might that impact classroom education?

Virtual reality has undergone a lot of changes over the last few years as the technology has matured and companies have gotten a better handle on what applications are most appropriate for VR. When VR first came to the forefront of consumer awareness, most of the expected uses were around gaming and entertainment. Now, however, we’re seeing a shift to more pragmatic use cases in education and enterprise applications like architecture.

I believe we’ll see hardware prices for VR devices drop sharply within the next several years, which will create more opportunities for schools to integrate them into their technology portfolio. Even as prices drop, the devices will get more powerful, with higher resolution screens and faster processors. This will happen alongside the rollout of high-speed 5G networks, all of which will contribute to richer, more immersive VR environments that really increase the sensation that users are actually somewhere else.

In education, we’ll see VR experiences being used to provide experiences that are hard or even impossible to bring to students today. Google Expeditions, for example, enables students to take field trips to faraway places without the logistical complexity, while companies like Labster let students run full labs without any lab equipment or supplies. More and more of these applications will be created, letting students have a wide range of experiences with a lower investment in highly specific classroom equipment.

Why do you think emerging technologies like VR and AR have gained so much momentum and interest in recent years?

VR and AR both create new avenues for engaging students in ways that simply weren’t possible before. Students can explore a high fidelity simulated environment or object, indulging their curiosity and inspiring them to ask unique questions based on what they’re observing. The increased engagement helps students better solidify and retain knowledge about a topic.

Teachers also love seeing the excitement that students experience when they bring VR and AR into the classroom, so they are finding lots of new ways to incorporate the tech into their lessons. As more and more teachers figure out the best ways to integrate VR and AR with their lessons, it gets easier and easier for other teachers to follow suit.

What does it look like when virtual reality is used effectively in classroom instruction? What does ineffective use look like?

We love seeing VR integrated as a way to bring extra depth and engagement to an already thought-out lesson plan, rather than trying to use VR as a lesson substitute. Teachers that use VR successfully will build the class up to the VR experience through appropriate context building, then put the students in VR to explore and add depth to the earlier context.

We also recommend that teachers keep students engaged during the VR experience itself. Sometimes it can be hard to have students listen to the lesson while they’re excitedly exploring their VR environment, so we encourage an in/out cadence; teachers let students explore for a minute or two, then have the students take their headsets off to ask questions and engage the students face to face. This helps students solidify the learnings from the experience while maintaining their attention throughout.

Tell us about the best example of how you’ve seen virtual reality in action in education.

We visited a classroom that was teaching students about archaeology and the study of ancient civilizations. The teacher started by telling students about the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations and their histories. After the students gained an appreciation for this history, the teacher then put the students into a virtual reality tour of Chichen Itza to let them see and explore the ruins themselves.

After the VR tour, the teacher switched to talk about the practice of archaeology and how archaeologists can infer insights by studying the artifacts that a civilization leaves behind. The teacher pointed out that properties of artifacts can tell us certain things, like how finding an arrowhead suggests the civilization used bows to hunt.

The teacher then used augmented reality to show a series of Mesoamerican artifacts in the classroom and asked students what they could learn about the civilization from each one. The students were able to look at the objects from all angles as if they were transported into their classroom, examining them firsthand.

The teacher did a fantastic job using both AR and VR to drive home the lessons they were trying to convey.

Describe virtual reality in 10 words or less.

The closest we’ll get to teleportation or a time machine.

Learn with peers around the world

June 12, 10 a.m. PDT
Future of the Classroom research findings

Hear insights from the research team that developed the Google for Education Future of the Classroom global report.

Watch on demand
June 13, 4 p.m. PDT
Computational thinking: now and in the future

Join a discussion on how coding and STEM education is changing, and how schools can support students in developing these critical skills.

Watch on demand
June 17, 10 a.m. PDT
Student-led learning around the world

Learn how classroom education is evolving to empower students and how you can support student-led learning at your school.

Watch on demand
June 19, 10 a.m. PDT
Digital responsibility in the 21st century

Join a discussion on how digital citizenship and online safety are evolving, and how schools and educators can prepare students for these changes.

Watch on demand

Explore emerging areas in classroom education

Learn about the key trends influencing education today and defining the educational experience of tomorrow.

Thanks for signing up!

Let us know more about your interests.