Cloud and tablet use will be commonplace within a year in many of Europe's schools, as computer games and virtual environments become an integral part of teaching over the next three years, predicts the European Commission.
The Horizon Report Europe: 2014 Schools Edition, carried out by the EC and the New Media Consortium, revealed that by 2019 technology adoption will fuel personalised learning in schools and help establish virtual and remote laboratories.
Citing the popularity of cloud-based services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, as promoting cloud adoption, the report declared: "Cloud computing has become widely recognised as a means of improving productivity and expanding collaboration in education."
The report explains that integration of cloud computing in everyday life, from IT infrastructure to powering mobile apps, has accelerated schools' interest in cloud adoption.
"The number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown to the point that few education institutions do not make some use of the cloud, whether as a matter of policy or not," the report added.
Sitting alongside cloud adoption is the use of tablets which is predicted to rise as more than 115,000 educational apps are being offered for small fees or for free.
The report explained that the potential of tablets as educational tools is intriguing many schools, but warned: "To realise this opportunity, teachers must know how to use tablets in activity-based and project-based learning."
Citing Minecraft as an example of a game used for learning, the report believes that games can form a "potential gateway to computer science" by requiring players to use programming skills to beat challenges in virtual worlds.
As such, the use of games in education is expected to increase over the next few years.
The report also said that in four to five years virtual laboratories will be used in schools to allow students to practise techniques and conduct common experiments in a safe emulated way before using real equipment.
Remote laboratories will also be used via a virtual interface to help schools lacking equipment and facilities to run experiments and lab work via an internet connection.
The findings tally with another report conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association which identified a rise in spending on computers and tablets in UK schools.
For more information on the cloud, visit the Intel IT Center.
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