What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication and it’s just beginning to roll out around the world. It promises speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G connections, more bandwidth and more stable connections. All four wireless carriers have begun using 5G in the U.S., and 5G phones are available to help take advantage of faster speeds on those networks. And yet, we haven’t seen the full potential of 5G quite yet.
What can it do?
5G will improve the quality of high-definition live video streaming and allow people to download full length movies in just seconds. However, its uses extend beyond just convenience and comfort — 5G has the possibility to really revolutionize education.
What will it look like in the classroom?
Cutting-edge technology can be a great learning tool, especially in the age of STEM/STEAM where jobs in technology are set to explode tomorrow for students in the classroom today. Technology already makes subjects more engaging, helps children who don’t learn as well using textbooks, and brings education into the homes of kids who don’t have easy access to a physical classroom.
With 5G, classrooms can extend their horizons and become even more global than before, opening up opportunities for cultural exchange and collaborative learning. Learning also becomes more flexible, with students able to continue their education outside the classroom with reliable devices that can go home, or out and about via phone or laptop.
Virtual reality and augmented reality have been touted as the next big thing for years, but with 5G connectivity, VR could become truly seamless, providing immersive experiences that aren’t distracting or frustrating due to lag time. Students can explore the inner workings of the human body, zoom around the solar system, or swim alongside sharks and stingrays in the ocean.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices that communicate with each other helping to collect, analyze and monitor data and information about their surroundings. Products like the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest are already commonplace. In the classroom, the IoT will help cut down menial tasks like taking attendance and gathering student feedback, while high bandwidth means any tasks involving tech will run more smoothly without dropped connections that derail focus.
5G will also mean higher quality assistance for students with special needs. Robot applications can help these students with problem solving, but they aren’t as responsive as the children they’re designed to help. The increased speed and functionality provided by 5G will enable robots to support teachers with full-time assistance, responding immediately to help with learning exercises.
What are some ways you think 5G could change classrooms? Have you used 5G yet?