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Don’t blink.

5G is changing

education fast.

5G has been in the works for years. Now that K–12 schools and higher education institutions have begun integrating high bandwidth and low latency into learning, the potential benefits for students, teachers, schools and the world are enormous.

New, more impactful ways to teach and learn

5G networks are poised to enhance learning inside and outside the classroom through virtual reality (VR). By donning specially designed headsets, teachers in Indianapolis could accompany their middle schoolers on a tour of an ancient archeological dig in Egypt or inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as it blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Medical students could travel as atoms inside the human bodies that they will one day care for.

5G can help untether headsets by placing VR’s heavy processing and rendering functions in the cloud. But headgear isn’t the only way to experience VR. High-bandwidth connections and WebXR technology allow students to experience VR through a browser instead of a downloadable application. WebXR lets teachers and students easily join VR meeting spaces without the burden of operating systems, updates, platform compatibility or device storage.

The New York Times Learning Network offers free resources for students and teachers to help them process the day’s events. It also provides augmented reality (AR) and VR experiences through a mobile app that lets students dive even deeper into stories.

  • By donning specially designed headsets, teachers could accompany their students inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as it blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center.

Classrooms as high-tech collaborative spaces

5G not only gives schools the ability to bring new information into the classroom at lightning speed, but it also makes classrooms feel larger and more productive through collaboration. Fast internet speed and bandwidth capable of powering many devices at once with ultralow latency can transform classrooms at all grade levels.

5G Ultra Wideband’s upload and download speeds—which  are many times faster than those from 4G LTE—and high bandwidth are enabling multiple connected devices, including 3D printers, smartboards that can process and display data in milliseconds, AR and VR stations, and intelligent touch screens to deliver compelling learning experiences, all at the same time.

  • 5G not only gives schools the ability to bring new information into the classroom at lightning speed, but it also makes classrooms feel larger and more productive through collaboration. 

Low latency means that remote communication with other students (from next door or across the globe) and teachers is seamless. Learners and instructors can work together on the same project in a remote art studio, concert hall or laboratory. In-classroom students can perform experiments in science class while the students who opted to be virtual learners can participate in near real time through the camera lenses of their in-person partners’ computers.

Lidar technology creates meticulously detailed 3D objects and scenery that students can view through a mobile device. It also transforms mobile devices into 3D scanners so students can quickly and accurately measure physical objects with a smartphone or tablet. Imagine placing Mount Rushmore in the middle of the classroom or watching the walls of a marine biology class transform into the ocean bottom, complete with sea creatures

  • Imagine watching the walls of a marine biology class transform into the ocean bottom, complete with sea creatures.

Gaining knowledge and understanding from anywhere

Schools never meant to keep learning within four walls. A trip to a library, zoo, factory floor or city street can transform students from casual observers to captivated participants when aiming their mobile device cameras at a QR Code® or AR marker. The result is a 3D overlay of text or moving images on the physical world. The Smithsonian Open Access program, for example, brings artifacts to life through 5G-fueled AR activations.

High-bandwidth 5G in higher education extends learning and experiences to anywhere students and professors have access to it—across a university campus or throughout an urban landscape. Educators and experts in a subject would no longer have to travel to a classroom to deliver engaging presentations or teach a course. They could broadcast from the field in high-definition video to enable more creative instruction and student interaction. 

And in the not-too-distant future, guests might even be able to visit the classroom via a hologram.  

  • High-bandwidth 5G could enable educators to broadcast from the field in high-definition video to enable more creative instruction and student interaction.

Artificial intelligence (AI) eyeglasses may be a thing of the past, but developers expect AR wearables to emerge again in 2021. Easy, intuitive access to the internet and AR capabilities anywhere students point their heads could transform learning and curriculums. Educators and institutions will be able to reach new milestones in education, and schools could become more competitive.

While most of the opportunities for students, teachers and schools have yet to be invented, 5G networks have a significant role to play in the future of education and the potential for learning institutions to turn out more prepared, employable, enriched and satisfied human beings.

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