Spill the “T” in STEAM Education: How technology is changing the way we communicate, collaborate
STEAM education graduates including inventors, engineers, and technology experts in STEAM fields are changing the future of communication and collaboration.
Technology has seen exponential growth over the last few decades, and it just keeps growing as innovators cook up new breakthroughs and inventions for almost every field. In the news or your social feed, there is always new tech to surprise and amaze!
Communication is a key to realizing great productivity, collaboration, and innovation. And we’ve seen some major upgrades in the way we communicate and do tasks on a daily basis. We’re starting to consume information at an increased rate, it’s easier to share, grow, manipulate, analyze and interpret.
New communication modalities meeting new technology, has seen innovation blossom, not just in the lab, studio or office, but also at home with many new inventors, researchers, and innovators working from the comfort of their own backyard. And there’s more sharing than ever before too, in many circles its less about being “top secret” and more about the collective sharing the same interests, passion, and curiosity for the good of the whole. And it’s worth noting that collaboration, an important 21C or enterprise skill, is a key learning objective of STEAM programs.
Let’s start with the “Internet of Things,” an idea that’s been around for a while and generally refers to the growth of interconnectivity between devices that communicate with one another including smart phones, vehicles, sensors, home appliances, and apps. The bigger and more intelligent the inter-networking between our devices, the greater the potential for leaps in communication efficiency, collaboration, and productivity. But it’s not just about devices talking to one another, but how people interact and talk with digital beings… wild huh!?
Another way we are likely to see communication change in the near future is through augmented reality. In an augmented-reality system, you view the world through a technological overlay, most likely using wearable devices like Google Glass which projects real-time digital information about the world around you. This might include navigational information, marketing and advertising, weather, news and social feeds, and other useful data, including access to your personal information, banking, and other tools. Check out this artist’s impression of what augmented reality might be like in the near future, otherwise known as hyper reality.
On a more specific level, wearable health tech is also helping to create new ways for us to listen to our bodies. The latest smart watches and dedicated devices like FitBit, monitor our vitals and help us better understand our health. By monitoring the steps we take, the calories we burn, and our exercise and sleep habits, wearable tech can tell us how well our bodies are functioning and empower us to make healthier choices. And for collaborating, these have opened up many new possibilities for health professionals to monitor and intervene for the betterment of our health. And for friends and family, these wearables have created a whole new support system to help us achieve our health goals with important peers able to follow your progress and cheer you on remotely!
Sick of travelling to the office? Or taking that redeye flight for an interstate or international meeting? Hologram technology is becoming serious business and promises to take video conferencing to the next level in the not too distant future by allowing us to project a full scale person to a distant location as if they were there in person. In the short term this is already possible using VR headsets and 3D rooms with lifelike avatars recreated thanks to computer tech adapted from gaming and military sims. In perhaps five years, the tech will level up so live holograms can be projected into a room without needing VR headsets, enabling what’s called a holographic telepresence. Read more here.
In thedistant future, many technologists believe we may be able to communicate by sending our thoughts through a network directly to another person’s brain. We’re probably a good twenty years from realizing such technology, but inventors are already making great progress with brain-to-computer interfaces that allow people to transmit thoughts directly to a computer. As the advances of the fourth industrial revolution accelerate, and more breakthroughs are made, perhaps years from now we’ll talk to friends and colleagues using a digital version of telepathy!
We’ve covered just a few examples in this article. While you’re reading this, a team of STEAM experts might just be crafting the next big thing. All around the world, active innovators are changing the way we live one step at a time.
STEAM education is an important part of this process, giving children the chance to learn important 21C or enterprise skills like innovation, problem solving and collaboration is a key step in establishing a pool of new technologists, inventors and engineers to keep trail blazing for years to come!