Today’s education system is in the midst of a digital transformation. As classrooms become increasingly dependent on technology, tablets are beginning to replace textbooks and educational apps are transforming the way students interact with learning material. The adoption of technology has made information widely available, changing the way students think and learn. It is important to recognize that what students need from a classroom is also changing.
To help schools in Oklahoma address these changing needs, OneNet has launched the Next Generation Classroom initiative to educate teachers about emerging technologies and provide digital learning tools for the classroom. Digital technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing and “gamification” create an immersive, stimulated environment that advances learning for today’s students.
Emerging technologies also expand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities. One of OneNet’s goals is to ensure that Internet access and bandwidth are available to support STEM education at all grade levels. Through the classroom initiative, OneNet is extending its support beyond Internet and network services by equipping teachers with resources that enable them to incorporate new technologies in their classroom and engage students in STEM learning.
One way OneNet is creating new STEM learning tools is through augmented reality (AR). AR utilizes audio, graphics, text and other visual elements in a real-world environment, displayed in real time. AR teleports students to far-off places and encourages more creative freedom in their learning environments.
Through a collaboration with MetroTech’s Bioscience Academy, OneNet is working with a career technology instructor to create an AR app that makes biology lessons more interactive and engaging for students. OneNet has developed an AR experience that demonstrates the structure of DNA molecules. Students can interact with the app to transform a DNA helix and learn how the parts of a DNA molecule work.
OneNet is developing additional AR experiences to provide teachers lessons on atoms and the periodic table. These experiences will provide no-cost STEM activities that enable teachers to incorporate AR technology in their lesson plans.
OneNet’s partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center also combines STEM lessons with digital learning. The K20 Center focuses on educational research and development to promote innovative learning. OneNet is helping distribute the center’s digital, game-based, learning tools. The center’s learning games teach students important STEM concepts from inferential logics to hypothesis testing to calculus concepts. Thanks to the partnership, the learning games
are available to all Oklahoma schools at no cost.
In addition to these partnerships, OneNet plans to expand the Next Generation Classroom initiative in the coming year to promote other emerging educational technologies.
“The current education system is undergoing a digital transformation,” said Vonley Royal, OneNet’s executive director. “Technologies such as augmented reality and game-based learning create new avenues for learning in which students thrive. OneNet wants to be a part of that transformation.”
By providing educators with the tools they need to teach in the digital learning age, OneNet is furthering its mission to advance technology across Oklahoma.