Last March, Zoom, the ubiquitous online conferencing platform, became a staple in the daily lives of many students and educators as learning moved online. When the lockdowns forced billions of students online and at least 100,000 schools zoomed out, millions of people downloaded and learned about it for the first time.
Of course, education has been a crucial area of ââdevelopment 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 blended learning in the long term.
This week at Zoom annual conference, Zoomtopia, a trio of education-focused Zoom employees (er, Zoomers?) speculated wildly on what Zoom hybrid learning might look like 10 years from now, given the high-speed advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning expected.
Below are highlights of their grand vision for the future of learning on Zoom.
AI-based translation is already underway
In June, Zoom announced the acquisition of German start-up IA Kites, which is developing real-time text-to-speech translation that can appear as subtitles during video conferences.
The applications for schools are obvious, from teaching foreign language courses to helping English learners and engaging parents or students who might want to speak directly to an educator.
âYou can bring people who aren’t always comfortable coming to campus due to a language barrier, and instead, you can do it remotely,â said Tain Barzso, product manager at Zoom for education. âWe are able to break down these visual, auditory and linguistic boundaries and things like real-time translation are only scratching the surface. “
Some innovations might not come from Zoom itself
Class, a company founded by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen, has already released a solution that expands Zoom’s classroom management and teaching capabilities (and raised $ 46 million in the process). Many more businesses could emerge as a result of Zoom’s success in the future.
This is due to Zoom’s open-source software development kit, or SDK, which allows third-party companies to build their own applications, including icebreaker games and even Kahoot integration. âYou can basically use Zoom as building blocks,â explained Barzso. Further, he suggests that footage from a drone could be shown on zoom screens so that all participants can see or even control the action.
Look for more augmented and virtual reality integrations
Google has been in the game of virtual tours for years, through its inexpensive cardboard headsets that use regular smartphones. Zoom is considering its platform offering 360-degree tours of museums or job sites such as movie sets in the future, and possibly a merger with more advanced virtual reality headsets.
Ten years from now, virtual reality may not be in every classroom, but it could be used for specialized professional training. Advanced protective eyewear can be combined with haptic combinations, which allow the wearer to experience sensations such as touch or vibration. Barzso has already seen emerging uses of this technology to bring lessons from top medical schools to students in Rwanda, he said: âTrans-global medical education is incredibly powerful and I think we have a lot of opportunities with video, haptics and virtual reality. “