The 8 Most Intelligent Things In Education

Education has come a long way since the days of schools with dedicated computer labs. Forecasts from the National Center for Education Statistics predict that enrollment for prekindergarten through grade 12 in public and private schools in the United States will reach 56.5 million by 2025. These millions of students will need more learning mechanisms to help them in a time when long division and diagramming sentences are becoming obsolete. Smart software and chatbot guidance counselors are just a couple of solutions that make the classroom more connected than ever. Children represent the future and these are the tools that promise to change how they learn.

Better Building Blocks

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

While there are many coding kits designed for kids now, Lego is bringing that capability to its signature building blocks. At the International CES in January, the company debuted the coding kit, which allows users ages 7 and up to build and code interactive robots from hundreds of Lego blocks, allowing students to program actions through a mobile app. Set for release in August, the kit is so brilliantly simple, it just clicks.

Custom Language Lessons

Duolingo for Schools

Already used by more than 50 million people to learn new languages, the mobile app Duolingo also offers a platform specially made for educators. With an easy-to-use dashboard for teachers to assign and track homework assignments, Duolingo can supplement already established lessons, or act as the primary curriculum. Students receive progress updates based on their results, and teachers can track their pupils’ progress, offering customized lessons without the cost of expensive textbooks.

Cloud-Based Coursework

Instructure

Educational learning management systems from the software-as-a-service company Instructure are bringing school courses from the classroom to the cloud. For K–12 schools and higher education institutions alike, Instructure’s software helps educators create cohesive, in-depth online courses. Teachers can produce interactive videos for students to comment on and discuss with the Arc platform, or manage coursework and grading from the cloud, while letting students complete various types of quizzes that feature multiple choice, true-false, and short-answer questions on their mobile devices with the Canvas platform.

The New College Counselor

AdmitHub

Applying to colleges can be a hectic time for many high-schoolers. The virtual assistant AdmitHub wants to make it less stressful. Many classes typically have just one guidance counselor, and students often need extra help with the college application process outside of school hours. AdmitHub’s chatbot provides free guidance on topics such as financial aid and admission exams. A custom virtual assistant that AdmitHub created for Georgia State University communicated with admitted students and led to a 3.9% increase in enrollment. It also addressed a phenomenon called “summer melt,” where accepted students fail to enroll in the fall.

The Gamifying Gadget

Osmo

Gamifying education has been a leading approach for several years now. By incentivizing students to pay better attention through various activities, teachers hope their pupils learn the material more effectively. Meanwhile, students crave the real-time feedback that gamified platforms can provide. Osmo offers children ages 5 to 12 an interactive system that attaches to an iPad and uses sensors to read a student’s actions in front of the tablet, turning the game on the screen into responsive hands-on tasks.

Teacher Tech Support

Microsoft Intune for Education

Nearly 50% of teachers in the United States serve as their own tech support, according to Microsoft. Fortunately, the company’s Intune cloud-based application and device management service for educators allows teachers to configure their Windows 10 classroom devices, manage them across users and grade levels, and keep the device data secure. This platform is also being rolled out alongside a slew of low-cost Windows computers that include hybrid notebook-tablets made specifically for the classroom environment.

 

College Courses Without the Campus

Coursera

More than one in four American students are enrolled in higher education online courses, according to a report from Babson Survey Research Group. This group of nearly 6 million students can bypass college campuses with their computers, and education-focused companies such as Coursera are helping to expand access further. With respected instructors from institutions including Princeton, Yale, and Northwestern, Coursera offers introductory classes, for $29 to $99 each, and specializations with a series of courses to master specific career skills, for $39 to $79 per month.

A Special Robot for Special Needs

SoftBank Robotics’ ASK Nao

Many students with autism struggle to adapt to the social nature of the typical classroom. To help them, SoftBank Robotics worked with developers, therapists, parents, and researchers to build the interactive Autism Solution for Kids (ASK) Nao robot. With plain-speech capabilities, a lack of facial expressions, and more than 50 apps, Nao can help students focus longer. Studies have found that when a robot is present in the classroom, some children with autism had a 30% increase in social interactions and verbal communication, changing their educational experience for the better.