Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playing the Future: Education for the 22nd Century

We just arrived at the TCEA 2011: No Limits Convention in Austin, Texas. This is our very first session of the day.  David Thornburg from the Thornburg Center discusses the future of technology in education as we move from the 21st century into the 22nd century.

He started out by talking about medical equipment and how everything has moved into minimally invasive surgery with very small digital equipment.  He moved into talking about digital equipment in the classroom. He predicts that many school districts that are currently buying projectors and Promethean/Smart boards are now buying their last boards and projectors. The reason is because the filters and bulbs cost a large amount of money and they don't last a long time.  There are new, large display screens that are starting to emerge that are expensive but will go down in price that don't require projectors.

Then he moved into talking about 3D. He talked about how the glasses are way too expensive, and how some of the population cannot even see 3D in the shutter glasses(depth perception).  However, he discussed how the concept is a fabulous concept.  He believes 3D without glasses is in the near future.

Another presentation tool of the future is holographics.  Musion Eyeliner is a 3D Holographic Projection system that is available for rental only because it is so expensive.  It could be a future tool in classrooms in the future.  We were shown a video of the holographic system in action and it was pretty amazing!  Check it out at

Another wave of future technology is here already, Kinect for XBox 360 by Microsoft. This software can be used in the classroom as interactive tools in education in the future.  Kinect is only the beginning.

Touchable holography is another emerging technology that is in the near future and a possibility in education.  You've seen it on Star Trek but it could also be in classrooms in the future. Check out this YouTube video to see what Japanese Scientists are doing to create touchable holograms..

Atoms are the new bits. Imagine teaching geometry and students get confused about a tetrahedron and a rectangular prism. You can use a 3D printer to build the solids. Students could now build a tetrahedron and a rectangular prism.  It is a lot cheaper than having legos and other building blocks around in the classroom. One example of a 3D printer is a MakerBot.

It's pretty interesting to hear where technology is going in the 22nd century. Things are changing every day rapidly.  It just reminds me we have to keep learning and stay up to date with everything that it is happening!  Stay tuned for more...

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