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Spring break is right around the corner, but the education conference season is in full swing. Here’s what we’re learning from educators and IT leaders around the world.

1. Augmented reality is becoming an actual reality in K-12 classrooms.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology is a way for students to explore “physical, real-world” environments from inside their own classrooms. With computer-generated settings beamed through AR or VR headsets, students can experience, say, Ancient Greece any day of the week.

“Augmented reality, virtual reality, and eye-tracking technology are all gaining steam and finding ways to influence the classroom with purpose,” says former educator and Atlas product manager, Alex Fernandez, who attended FETC in Orlando last month. “This is a trend helping prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow which may not yet exist.”

2. Lecture-based learning is being replaced by…

As technology continues to command attention in today’s K-12 classrooms, savvy teachers have pivoted their pedagogies to accommodate more modern learning environments. With an emphasis on mobile computers, interactive whiteboards, and flexible furniture, modern-day classrooms are making traditional, lecture-style classrooms seem outdated and—more to the point—ineffectual.

“Breaking down the ‘command center’ at the front of the classroom for teachers is the new norm,” says former fifth grade teacher and Bak USA account executive, Brian Jones, who also attended FETC last month. “The goal is to create more mobile and engaging environments for teachers to interact with technology and their students.”

3. Classroom computers have evolved into portable labs and studios.

The days of green computer screens, floppy disks, and perforated printed paper have, well, died of dysentery. Even the classic computer lab is fizzling out in favor of the more modern-era makerspace. And that’s the point: If schools are meant to prepare students for college and career readiness, they must teach 21st century skills.

To satisfy the need for versatility, creativity, and interactivity in the classroom, computer companies are converting accessories into standard features. Similar to air conditioning, navigation units, and even heated seats in automobiles—touchscreens, cameras, and microscopes have gone from luxurious commodities to commonplace features for plenty of classroom computers.

We recognized this trend last month at BETT 2018 in London, England, when (WARNING: Shameless Brag Alert) our 2-in-1 Atlas laptop was on display in the Microsoft booth alongside global monsters such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo.

“We of course met with Microsoft and we also shared booth space with Actiontec,” says Bak USA’s Microsoft relationship manager, Daryn Rank, who attended the event (and spent nearly 20 years working as an engineer/manager with Microsoft). “Our Atlas devices were heavily used, and their features such as touch, digital inking, and rotatable camera were highlighted throughout the event.”

So, where are we now? Well, the #BakPack will have a presence at seven—SEVEN—edtech conferences across the country from now until the end of March. So follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to see where we are, who we’re working with, and what we’re learning.

In the meantime, feel free to explore the Atlas from Bak USA. And thanks for dropping by!

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