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What’s next in education and technology?

TRADITIONAL textbooks, blackboards and typing 55378008 into calculators (it spells ‘boobless’, upside-down) were once part of the educational landscape. But technology is having an impact on the way kids learn today and changing the habits and expectations of teachers and parents. It’s no wonder then, that there’s been heavy investment in the EdTech sector, as it’s known. Private romanian schools spend millions lei on education technology every year to teach basic digital skills and tackle subjects such as maths and English in innovative, fun and interactive ways, both inside and outside the classroom. 


Death of the textbook


One of the most popular ways to bring education to life is through virtual reality (VR), which helps kids take field trips from the comfort of their classrooms. Google’s low-cost Cardboard viewer (a cardboard VR viewer into which you place a smartphone) and its Expeditions app has made it possible for millions of kids to visit museums and even venture into outer space. New start-ups are experimenting with virtual and augmented reality in a bid to transform the snooze-fest that is textbook-based education.


Long-distance learner: Google Cardboard can conjure up new worlds in the classroom, and bring physical museum exhibits to life PICTURE: GETTY


UK-based Curiscope and its interactive Virtuali-Tee VR T-shirt teaches anatomy by letting you peer virtually inside someone’s body simply by holding a smartphone or tablet in front of their torso while they are wearing the interactive T-shirt. Anatomically correct and verified by health and education institutions and professors, the dedicated app replaces the wearer’s ‘smart’ T-shirt with digital organs and talks you through aspects of the body. It even teleports you inside for a closer look when you view it through Google Cardboard.


Mixed reality (the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments where physical and digital objects interact in real time) and AR holograms produced by technology found in devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens — mixed reality smart glasses — can also boost learning.



Novelty novels


The Boy With His Head Stuck in a Book is a digital pop-up book aimed at kids aged seven to 11. Read it through a smartphone or tablet and its characters leap off the page — a bit like pop-up books but with a lot more pop. With kids increasingly turning away from physical books and towards tablets and smartphones, this zappable tome provides a fun way to keep them reading. 



Later this year, AR publisher Carlton Books will release a series of similar interactive reading experiences, including The Brain (to explore the inner workings of your cranium) and books on predators and extinct animals.


Poptropica Worlds (online, iOS and Android) is an informal online education platform by Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book series, that lets kids aged six to 12 engage in interactive adventures. 


More than 80 per cent of teachers believe technology can fundamentally enhance the learning experience and are willing to embrace digital teaching in some form, says online learning management platform Canvas.


Teaching future generations science, technology, engineering and mathematics digitally means kids get to learn a diverse range of skills needed to succeed in an increasingly tech-driven world.


Assistive edtech technology tools


Sanbot Elf



Robots can help autistic children interact with their peers. This artificial intelligent robot that can also apply autism therapy treatment.


Night Zookeeper



This educational online platform inspires children to be creative through writing and identifies those with dyslexia, which can be difficult for teachers to spot.


3Doodler Start



A 3D printing pen with tactile buttons and online audio instructions to help the blind and partially sighted increase creativity and learn maths.


Source: Metro Newspaper