A quarter of teachers want more game-based technology in the classroom above any other type of ed-tech, such as laptops or tablets, according to research.
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Teachers also want virtual and augmented reality headsets to be made available to their students, the study shows.
According to the survey of more than 1,000 teachers, technology is playing an ever greater role in teaching and learning in schools across the US, with fewer educators complaining about the lack of hardware and connectivity compared with previous years.
The second annual Teachers and Technology Survey published by TES Global, the digital education company and parent company of TES US, revealed that teachers want more, not less, technology in their classrooms.
In particular, one in four teachers (25 per cent) want game-based technology more than any other tech, while one in 10 want access to virtual reality in class. The survey comes as teachers and educators converge in Austin, Texas for the SXSWedu conference.
And in a sign of the changing times, more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of teachers said they use technology to communicate with parents, using tools such as ClassDojo and Remind.
The proportion of teachers complaining about a lack of proper connectivity to the internet has also halved in the past year, with just 16 per cent saying it was a barrier to learning, compared with 35 per cent in 2015.
Just over a quarter (27 per cent) indicated that they lacked enough computers and tablets for their students.
“We are thrilled to see improvements around access to technology and high-quality open resources,” said Rob Grimshaw, chief executive officer of TES Global. “Arming teachers with the tools they need to succeed is the right way to ensure that innovative technologies can impact student performance.”
By Blake Montgomery Mar 11, 2016
At the SXSWedu workshop “Enhancing Learning with Virtual and Augmented Reality,” held on Monday, Mar. 7, roughly 20 people spent most of the time waiting in line to try one of the three devices, according to Maya Georgieva. The event made her nervous that there wouldn’t be enough devices at her own talk, “Learning Through Virtual Reality Experiences,” presented with her co-founder, Emory Craig. Together, they have created Digital Bodies, an outlet that covers how wearable tech, virtual reality included, will influence teaching and learning.
Fast forward to their session on Wednesday, where they began by profiling the virtual reality device industry and its upcoming offerings—including Oculus, the Homido Mini, Meta Glass, Microsoft’s Hololens, the Mattel Viewmaster, Magic Leap, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR—and discussing how most of the high-profile tools are currently in the development stage. Few devices are out on the market now, but virtually every major tech company and even major film studios like Lucasfilm have announced a device that will enter the space in 2016. There is even a virtual reality theme park in Utah and a theater in Amsterdam. The virtual world is about to get crowded.
The speakers were optimistic. “It’s now really about experiences. It’s no longer about content,” Georgieva said. “It’s no longer about visual resources on a device. It’s about worlds.”
Worksheet from "Enhancing Learning with Virtual Reality." Shot by Blake Montgomery
Craig then quoted Chris Milk, CEO of virtual reality app Vrse, who famously dubbed virtual reality the “last medium”:
“Ultimately, what we’re talking about is a medium that disappears, because there is no rectangle on the wall,” Milk told Re/code, “and there is no page you’re holding in your hand. It feels like real life.”
Milk also offered an opinion on the proliferation of press about virtual reality with comparatively little content and few devices: “I prefer making stuff to talking about how I made the stuff,” he said. “Right now, there’s a lot of people using the technology and the format to impress people. There’s a certain reliance on the ‘wow’ factor out there. If people are going to engage with the technology on a longer scale, they’re going to need deeper, more affecting, more human stories to engage with.” ... Read more
From Texas, Media Editor Ian Burrell reports on moves to attract more girls to technology
Ian Burrell Media Editor
Robots should be introduced to primary-school lessons in order to show a more “humanistic” side of coding and to help attract more girls to the digital sector, a government-backed technology leader has said.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City, a showcase network of UK-based technology companies, said an early introduction to robotic human models and vehicles would assist children as young as five in appreciating the value of learning how to write code, which is already part of the new computing curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds.
“We could go further and introduce robotics to make technology even more accessible regardless of gender – that’s where you make technology come alive,” Grech said. “The more physical something can be, the more it can be inspirational.”
Iranian school teacher builds robot to teach children prayers
Robotics has already been introduced into schools as part of an experiment in Estonia, which was one of the first countries to teach coding to young children and is the home of Skype.
Grech was talking from the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, where the issue of sexism in the technology sector, and especially in gaming, was a big topic last week. Women games developers spoke of receiving death threats for taking up prominent positions in the industry.
Grech said the UK tech sector needed to do more to encourage women, and called for an overhaul of recruitment procedures to eradicate gender discrimination on interview panels. “We could introduce more attitude-testing as part of the interview process, and more initiatives to ensure there is no subconscious bias,” he said.
Grech also called for “more role models” to inspire girls to follow careers in technology. He highlighted the importance of British-based women such as Sarah Wood, co-founder of video advertising tech company Unruly, tech investor Sherry Coutu, Kathryn Parsons of tech campaign group DeCoded, American-born venture capitalist Eileen Burbidge and tech entrepreneur Wendy Tan White, founder of the software company Moonfruit. ...Read more
TES on game-based tech
EdSurge on Virtual Reality
INDEPENDENT on Robots
Virtual Reality Science lesson in the classroom environment
Our aims is to enhance science understanding and learning for students aged 14 to 16 via Virtual Reality (VR). In 2016 VR is being pushed into the mainstream mass market by the likes of Oculus Rift, Samsung (Gear VR) and Google (Cardboard).
VR has untapped potential to improve learning and students' understanding of difficult concepts.
We aim to support schools and students from deprived backgrounds by providing them with free VR lessons focusing on Physics for the GCSE curriculum in an interactive first person perspective.
VRARschool will be providing the software that will power this project.
Most students learn best via experiments, engagement or interaction, however this is not always possible within the constraints of a school, as many schools struggle with the high costs of equipment or lack of expertise due to non-specialist teachers.
Our VR lessons offer students a fun and immersive way to explore and experience events, that may not be accessible in reality, helping their understanding, learning and memorisation.
Why is the Sky Blue? is an iPad book App, which was created to encourage young children to understand a difficult concept in a simple way.
iPad Book App
2016 POSSIBLE WORLDS