Education Technology Round Up 31/05/2012


It’s been another busy week in the world of education technology where several new ideas and schemes have been launched to help students get the best out of all the latest gadgets available to them and to help enhance their educational experience. Here we touch on some of the more interesting stories we came across in the web this week.

Virtual Sensory rooms created for special needs students

Researchers in America have created a room for special needs students which virtually mimics trips to different places. Students at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell have created the sensory rooms to help the children feel the different sensations that can be found whilst on a trip out. On first onset, the room may seem surprisingly empty with blank walls and only a chair to sit on. However, the walls are actually projector screens that will display a virtual environment that will fill fully cover the visionary field once it is running. There are several scenes available such as going to the beach, an aquarium or going out to a coffee shop. Extra machines can be used to mimic different sensations that can be felt at the actual location. For example, if the student was viewing a beach scenario, a mist machine will be used to represent sea spray and LED lights will mimic a setting sun.

Online game algorithms helping students learn

Computer games can be a means to help students escape from school pressures and learning. However, new research from India suggests that it can play a proactive role in helping them learn as well. Taking influence from popular social network games such as Angry Birds and Farmville, newly developed games are not only offering students a chance to play games that help them learn but it also gives them explanations about where they may have gone wrong, beat friends and fellow students previous scores. Researchers found that playing these sorts of games release a feel-good chemical which can help them improve their alertness and also help stimulate their mind. Digital and online games are becoming increasingly popular at the moment with educational gaming being tipped as one of the top 10 technology trends of 2012 whilst the industry itself is thought to be worth $25 billion.

Education body plans to increase the use of tablets in schools

Tablets are fast becoming one of the most popular gadgets on the market today and a Scottish education agency has said that they plan to use them to help them modernise teaching standards. Education Scotland said that they will investigate new ways to help use digital devices in education and to help schools get the best values and results from the move. The use of digital devices in education has risen over the last few years and currently 10 local authorities in Scotland have already started using iPads and other tablets as more and more schools move into the digital realm. Scotland’s Education Secretary Mike Russell told the BBC that “The range of mobile devices that are now available and the promise of what they can bring to teaching and learning is very exciting and something that must be embraced.”