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Photos: From robot teachers to Microsoft Surface

Classroom tech of the future
By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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Classroom tech of the future

Forget laptops - tomorrow's classrooms could be getting their lessons from robots.

This is ED-E, a humanoid robot and learning tool that featured in education tech supplier RM's Shaping Education for the Future display at the annual Bett educational technology show.

silicon.com went along to the show at London's Olympia to check out ED-E and other technology that could be making its way into classrooms in the next few years.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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ED-E can be programmed to move into positions that can teach children how balance, joints and angles all work, using the software package shown here.

In this picture the robot, made by MechRC, is demonstrating how a combination of angles allows it to balance. ED-E can also be used to teach the physics of walking, forces and basic computer programming.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Here, you can see how the robot corresponds to the position the user has defined on the computer screen. ED-E has 17 servo motors that allow it to move in numerous ways.

The robot's creator, Jim Wyatt, told silicon.com that 10 UK schools are currently testing out ED-E in the classroom.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Also making an appearance at Olympia was Microsoft's Surface touchscreen technology which is being used by a number of businesses - including Barclays' high-tech bank branch in London's Piccadilly Circus. As RM demonstrated, however, it can also be used for educational purposes.

Here, Microsoft's Virtual Earth application is being used in geography lessons to show information about individual cities and countries.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Kids can navigate to anywhere on earth by rotating the onscreen globe and then zooming in to an area of interest.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Surface can also be used to help kids improve their spelling - with this interactive game, students can manipulate letters on the screen to create words.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Biology is another subject that could use Surface technology.

Here, the screen shows an image of the human circulatory system. Students can get more information on how it works in the different parts of the body by touching the icons or the body itself.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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For example, by touching the heart on the screen, a close-up film of a real heart beating appears.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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OptiMusic was also on show at the event. The technology is aimed at children with special needs and allows them to create music by interacting with light beams using the paddle shown (or with their hands) to trigger various beats.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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The Shaping Education for the Future display also featured one of Asus' Eee PC mini laptops running a beta version of Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Asus also demonstrated its multi-battery charger that can take up to 14 batteries at a time, enabling a school's Eee PC fleet to be quickly ready to go even after a hard day's use.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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