Now that you have seen the latest technology employed in the School of the Future to improve the study conditions for the students, you would see how the improvement of study conditions has ameliorated the students' learning experience.
Academics: A Multi-Sensory Approach
The walls of classrooms are electronic displays. This is to enable the changing of classroom scenarios to suit different subject needs. A classroom can become a tundra for Geography studies, a neighborhood full of human activities for Sociology, or even a Pascal's pyramid for Mathematics.
To do this, classrooms are equipped with the latest Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED) foldable displays. The Toshiba OLED Wallpaper is one such technology currently in development. The displays act like touchscreen devices, enabling human- computer interaction.
These displays are flexible so that they can adhere to the nooks and crannies of the classroom walls. They fit together to give a panoramic view of landscapes or models. The Olympus 360 Degree Lens Camera, currently a prototype, is capable of producing such panoramic displays. Future displays might even be capable of using chromatophores, cells found in some chameleons that enable color-changing! Such is the versatility of our classrooms, they are called Virtual Worlds.
Experiencing Virtual Worlds
|Students interacting with a simulation, known as a Virtual World in the School of the Future
Source: Self-made using Adobe Photoshop
Remember the resources (Flash animations and presentations) that are now created by technicians for teachers and students mentioned in the section Teachers' Welfare? By using Virtual Worlds, students not only watch the presentations, they also interact with them.
Research in Turkey has shown that from many teachers' perspective, the two major aims of conducting science experiments are 1) to help develop students' observation skills and 2) to make learning easier. It is noteworthy that the element of discovery had become lacking in experiments.
Virtual Worlds bring back the element of discovery. How? Students are allowed to conduct experiments that were previously too time-consuming, expensive or even dangerous. For experiments that are time-consuming due to the involvement of repetitive routines, the simulations are able to do the manual work and take measurements automatically in the students' absence, so they need not monitor the experiments from start to end.
For experiments that were expensive due to the high costs of equipment, simulations do not require actual equipment! For example, students get to visualize what happens in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a behemoth in the world of high-energy physics. As for experiments too dangerous to perform, Virtual Worlds show the results without bodily harm to the experimenters.
Besides, students can plan experiments using the wall simulations, dipping more deeply into the topic of investigation. When students take learning into their own hands, they discover and innovate.
Students in the School of the Future not only conduct highly controlled experiments that are otherwise out of their league, they can also take very precise measurements that were previously impossible to do so due to inevitable human error.
Beyond Academics: Culture & Creativity
The school culture breeds humble students with a streak of altruism; they will be people who give back to society willingly, grateful for the effort and resources diverted towards the construction of their futuristic institution. The school of the future will then see an empathetic population, while racism and bullying will largely be a thing of the past.
Creativity cannot be taught. The School of the Future stimulates creativity in students and motivate independent learning with the use of Wikis. Because a Wiki is collaborative in nature, students can create articles on issues and topics they are interested in, while others can edit the content and come up with fresh perspectives anytime, anywhere, as long as a connection to the Internet exists.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” --Susan Sarandon, actress
Doing community work, and the use of wikis
|Students doing community work
|Students shared their thoughts after social work, using a Wiki!
Beyond Academics: Fitness & Sports
Don't you just hate the soreness of having overworked or strained your muscles? Everyone has their limits. The aim of a workout is to push their limits to keep fit, but by just a margin. Overdoing conditioning exercises is detrimental to muscle development and paves the way to more physiological issues, but that is often overlooked. A computerized training system will collate every student's health and allocate individual exercise schedules that will increase their fitness level.
Gone are the days when physical education was all about calisthenics and running. Depending on their interests, students in the school of the future play various types of sports, ranging from rugby and floorball, to water polo and underwater hockey. They will pursue sports they are passionate about, having fun while learning the correct techniques of the particular sport. Professional instructors who are first-aid certified will coach students to ensure a smooth and safe learning journey.
The School of the Future maximizes physical space, using Nintendo Wiis and Virtual Reality (VR) to simulate sports that would otherwise take up a lot of space that can be converted for other uses. The space required for a golf course, for example, can be alternatively translated into several auditoriums for watching 3D films, or indoor sports halls.
Indoor sports stadiums allow flexibility of timetables because physical education lessons can be arranged to be held on any period of the day, for there will be no weather conditions to be considered. For the more sports-inclined, the School also allows for further development of their skills. Sports Science is included as a subject of study for potential Sports Physiotherapists.