Intel recently produced a conceptual video showcasing the company’s Learning Series initiative, an education solution designed for 1:1 learning in classrooms around the world. Take a look at the video and think about the concepts it presents:
This class shows students with a variety of mobile devices, from laptops to tablet computers, including Intel’s rugged, shock- and spill-resistant Studybook which was revealed last April. (Check out PC Mag’s review here.)
The students are arranged in pairs at double desks, and the desks are arranged in rows. Functionally this seating arrangement works because of the devices featured in this classroom. Students grouped around in a circle could not easily share their screens with their peers. All of the screens are appropriately parallel to the teacher’s ultra-advanced touch interface—the futuristic equivalent of a Smartboard. We’ve discussed Smartboards on Technapex before, but this one looks particularly special.
The board’s main space and intuitive touch UI is certainly amazing, but take a closer look at the board’s right side at the video’s 0:14 mark. There is a widget control panel with the teacher’s name at the top, possibly an indication of that teacher being “logged in” to the board. This account brings up all his class information which you see below his name, including the Question of the Day, a calendar, assignment lists, and more. These features are likely customizable to the teacher’s preference, like the arrangement of app icons on your smartphone. If this classroom was used by multiple teachers, a teacher could just log in to his or her account to immediately access the content and whatever personalization he or she has applied. A teacher’s territory is a sacred thing. Every teacher has his or her preferred materials, and the system depicted in Intel’s video allows teachers to hop from room to room and screen to screen.
Don’t continue the video just yet. Stay at 0:14 and check out the screens in front of the students. The same right-side widget configuration on the teacher’s board appears on the students’ screens as well. This kind of seamless interaction between devices already exists and is currently being used in some classrooms. Technapex covered NearPod, an application developed by Panarea Digital that allows teachers to engage with their students by sharing content between devices. This kind of synchronicity is a fundamental part of this classroom of the future, which suddenly doesn’t look so hypothetical anymore.
Okay, you can un-pause the video now. The teacher presents the assignment, the students go to work, and then he becomes a personal guide, with the responsibility to move around the room offering assistance and instruction to individual students as they work. You see him use a tablet computer to observe a “Student Activity Monitor.” Watch him as he notices a student at 0% “activity” and then hustles off to lend a hand. Of course, part of being a teacher is having an inherent sense of when a student needs help; however, developing an app to help that teacher isn’t a bad idea.
At 0:37 you see a student working at her own pace. She browses through the assignments given to her and picks the one she wants to work on. Allowing students to work at their own pace is a key component of concepts like blended learning and the flipped classroom. Earlier in the video there also appeared to be a scene showing a student at home, working on her computer on the assignment. “Homework” is done in class, and conceptual learning takes place at home. Perhaps another shout-out to the flipped classroom?
At 1:25, you see a student poke a “help” button to ask her teacher for assistance before her video chat with an engineer. Her photo pops up on the teacher’s tablet and he heads over to save the day. (In my day, we used to raise our hand when we wanted help.) After speaking with the teacher she and other students get started with a video chat with the engineer, which is a concept that isn’t so far-fetched. I just spoke with a teacher who Skyped with his classroom while he was out due to surgery (story forthcoming), and his students loved it.
This professionally produced video gives us a lot to think about when using technology in the classroom. Embracing mobile devices in education has spurred a huge variety of startups, developers and entrepreneurs to consider how education can be changed for the better so that videos like this can become a reality. What is most inspiring is knowing that much of this technology depicted in the video currently exists; it’s just a matter of getting it into the hands of educators and students.
I won’t lie, I smiled at the 2:53 mark.