August 21, 2018

In the realm of higher education, new wireless technologies are promoting new forms of learning and making college campuses more connected than ever. Chief among these new technologies are virtual/augmented reality and the internet of things (IoT). In this post, we’ll break down how these technologies are revolutionizing the college experience for students and faculty all across the country.

Hands-on Learning with VR & AR Devices

In recent years, we have seen a dramatic drop in price for VR and AR devices. This new level of affordability has allowed more people to experience these devices and has made it more lucrative for developers to produce various types of applications. While today VR is most commonly used for gaming and entertainment, the prospects of VR being used in an educational setting are growing. By 2021, it’s forecasted that more than 15% of U.S. schools will have a VR class kit.

In medical education, VR devices have already been used to run surgical simulation training software, allowing students to practice their skills in a safe environment. These simulations help students visualize human anatomy in 3D space, providing much greater context than the diagrams and figures found in textbooks. This type of software can also help schools save money by having to purchase fewer human and animal cadavers.

In engineering, VR can be used to simulate the inner workings of certain machines. These simulations can also be expanded to show how multiple systems interact with each other in a single virtual environment.

While there are many other examples we could talk about, the main point of emphasis is the interactive, immersive experience VR and AR applications can provide. Ultimately, these types of technologies aim to better engage students with course material so that faster learning can take place.

Higher education

The Internet of Things in Education

As all types of smart devices continue to flood the tech market, the possibilities for connected environments continues to grow. For university campuses, these new technologies will open the door for all kinds of ways to improve efficiency, safety and learning. These so-called “smart schools” of the future will operate in a hyper-connected environment where technology blends itself seamlessly into the education and daily living of its student body.

In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been expanding to incorporate all sorts of previously “dumb” devices. From smart door lock technologies to dashboard-connected HVAC systems, the IoT will no doubt continue to grow. Imagine a school’s student transit system being viewed through a mobile app and showing vehicle locations in real time. Or live streamed lectures for students who are sick and can’t make it to class. The possibilities are truly endless.

Prominent thinkers in this space have postulated that these technologies will start a new period in modern civilization called the imagination age. In this new world, creativity and effective communication will be the driving forces of economic growth. As automation pushes repetitive work toward obsolescence, the jobs of the future will have a greater emphasis on planning, critical thinking and problem-solving.

In order for young people to possess the skills needed to survive in this new economy, they need to attend schools that expose them to revolutionizing technologies and place a greater focus on teaching creative modes of thinking.

How Schools Can Prepare for The Technological Wave of the Future

While the changes these new technologies will bring to the field of education hasn’t yet been fully realized, one thing is certain: The amount of bandwidth needed to support these devices is going to be far beyond the current network capabilities of many universities.

The best way to solve this issue is through the installation of fiber-based cellular systems. This is because most apps and connected environments rely on a strong cellular connection for optimum functionality. It’s important to note that Wi-Fi alone is not capable of supporting these types of connected environments. Wi-Fi should instead be viewed as one piece of an overall wireless strategy.

Even if a school doesn’t intend to implement new smart technologies for another few years, a fiber-based DAS will provide immediate improvements to its on-campus cellular network. Such improvements include clearer voice calls, stronger reception (especially in sports stadiums or other high-traffic facilities), and faster, more reliable data transfers. This, combined with the added capability of easily onboarding new wireless technologies, a college with this type of network infrastructure will be primed to create the ultimate learning environment.

Get Started with Connectivity Wireless

So, if you’re a college administrator looking to improve your campus’s wireless connectivity, Connectivity Wireless is ready to supply our expert knowledge and begin designing a custom wireless solution for you. Give us a call at 1-888-591-9418 or fill out the contact form here.