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2017 year in review: Here are 5 EdTech announcements that we loved this year

Why does technology seem to be advancing exponentially? Why does it seem to be so talked of?

Because it actually is –

Technologies of today are developing at a supersonic speed and there’s no way you can ignore them. The subtle incorporation of these innovative techs in the education sector is both awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping.

Generation Z is undeniably a lucky age group to be a part of this technological revolution. Almost three decades back most people didn’t even own a computer and today it is a classroom essential no school can do without.

Talk is cheap. Market trends speak enough of how edtech reigned the news headlines. Here’s a round-up

  1. Dubai Appointed a State Minister for Artificial Intelligence . Taking the AI adoption one step further, Dubai showed its resolve to promote futuristic solutions. A young and agile 27 YO Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama is the new flag-bearer of UAE’s pursuit of future skills, future sciences, and future technology. The young minister holds the forefront of development, “I don’t think the future will have tests, exams, or strict memorization. AI will help us actually make a more collaborative and personal learning process.”
  2. Google Announced Expeditions AR in I/O. Virtual Reality Expeditions have been a cherished classroom tool used to take students to field trips. This year at its annual developer conference in May, VP of Virtual Reality at Google, Clay Bavor broke the big news of bringing Expeditions in AR (augmented reality). With a Tango-enabled device and the use of Visual Positioning Service (VPS), it will be possible to map indoor locations making this happen. The technology maps physical classrooms and 3D objects and allows the students to spot minute details.
  3. Microsoft TEALS Supported CS4RI Summit 2017. The annual event CS4RI Summit intends to motivate the next generation of computer scientists. The summit was held in December to nurture a skilled workforce in the dynamic computer science field and was a success show celebrating computer science in action, supported by TEALS.

    Fostering enhanced access to computer science at the K-12 level, Microsoft had in 2009 introduced Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS). Under this, the computer science professionals can volunteer and assist students in entering CS degree programs. The step acts as a bridge between the increasing computing jobs and lesser computer science graduates.

  4. Use of Minecraft to Hone Engineering Skills. Minecraft is already a popular medium to teach geometry and literature themes to K-12 students. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh took one step ahead and introduced the open-world video game to teach engineering. Students can conceptualize complex chapters and demonstrate learning through visualization. A tool named MakeCode by Microsoft allows easy transition from drag & drop to other technical languages. Studying Java scripts codes, block-based program construction, etc. becomes simpler with the use of this tool. Integrating technology with education is the way forward.
  1. Virtual Reality For Research in Brown University. A researcher at Brown University’s Center for Computation and Visualization merged VR with a digital holographic microscope to ease the interaction with microscopic images. Providing a strong base for higher education studies, this technique paves way for intricate detailing in work. The data output of the tool is used to study the planktons and their movement in water columns. Benjamin Knorlein, the inventor of the tool says, “In a lot of cases, researchers are skeptical at first, but once they see their data in an immersive environment, they love it and ask for more. VR can offer a new perspective.”

These developments and plenty others made 2017 a successful year for EdTech. The future is brimming with newer possibilities. We’re hoping for a development driven 2018 ahead.

Dr. Sana Farid

Dr Sana is a contributor, general surgeon, emerging women leader, Speaker & Blogger, and CEO at Munfarid Consult. You should follow her on Twitter @drsanafarid