In ten years, how will online learning look? Zoom has some ideas

Sana FatimaWeb Editor

17th Sep, 2021. 10:22 pm
online learning Zoom

online learning Zoom

Last March, Zoom, the ubiquitous online conferencing platform, became a staple of daily life for many students and educators as learning shifted online. When lockdowns forced billions of students online and at least 100,000 schools shifted to zoom millions of people downloaded it and first learned about it.

Of course, education has been a crucial development area for the company, and it has been busy hiring former educators and others with years of experience. Their goal, it seems, is to realize the potential of hybrid learning over the long term.

This week at Zoom’s annual conference, Zoomtopia, a trio of education-focused Zoom employees (er, Zoomers?) speculated wildly about what hybrid Zoom learning might look like 10 years from now, given the warp-speed advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning expected.

Below are highlights of their grandiose, vision for the future of learning on Zoom.

The AI-powered translation is already in the works

In June, Zoom announced the acquisition of German AI startup Kites, which is developing real-time text-to-speech translation that can appear as captions on video conferences.

The applications for schools are readily apparent, from teaching foreign language classes to helping English language learners and engaging parents or students who might want to talk directly to an educator.

“You’re able to bring people who may not always be comfortable coming to campus because of a language barrier, and instead you can do that remotely,” said Tain Barzso, Zoom’s product lead for education. “We’re able to break those visual and auditory and linguistic boundaries and things like real-time translation really just scratch the surface.”

Some innovation might not be from Zoom itself

Class, a company founded by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen, has already released a solution that extends Zoom’s classroom management and instruction capabilities (and raised $46 million in the process). Many more enterprises may spring up as a result of Zoom’s success in the future.

This is due to Zoom’s open software developer kit, or SDK, which allows third-party companies to create their own apps, including icebreaker games and even a Kahoot integration. “You can basically use Zoom as your construction blocks,” Barzso explained. Further afield he suggests that footage from a drone could be beamed into Zoom screens so that all participants could view or even control the action.

Look for more augmented and virtual reality integrations

Google has been in the virtual field trip game for years, through its inexpensive cardboard headsets that use ordinary smartphones. Zoom envisions its platform giving 360-degree tours of museums or employment sites such as film sets in the future, and possibly merging with more advanced virtual reality headsets.

In ten years, virtual reality may not be in every classroom, but it might be used for specialized job training. Advanced goggles may be paired with haptic suits, which allow the wearer to feel sensations like touch or vibration. Barzso has already seen nascent uses of this technology to bring lessons from top medical schools to students in Rwanda, he said “Trans-global medical education is incredibly powerful and I think we have a lot of opportunity with video, haptics, and virtual reality.”

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