Imaging if students could study at school by freely exploring a lush, virtual world full of interactive life-like scenarios instead of staring at a flat, motionless page filled with formulas and diagrams? New software platforms such as Unity are fast becoming the standard for online education and making this a reality.
Education technology is evolving at lightning speed, changing the way we interact, learn and teach. In the United States for example, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report suggests that schools could save around $250 per year by switching from textbooks to tablets. These savings, along with educational and technical benefits, are being enthusiastically echoed by students, parents, teachers and ICT administrators. Put simply, the evidence indicates that in a very short time we are seeing major change in the hardware and applications used by students and educators.
Cumulative Unity Web Player Installs (Millions)
Software developers are also changing to keep pace with technology. With the rising popularity of devices such as the Android based Samsung Galaxy Note and iPad with iOS, coupled with the end of support for Adobe Flash, new platforms are coming through to replace the last generation and become the industry standard.
Unity, from Unity Technology, has recorded 160 million web installs over the past 5 years. This isn’t surprising when you consider there are over 1.3 million registered developers creating Unity based content, including industry heavyweights such as as Microsoft, Mac, Nickelodeon and Warner Bros.
One of the major benefits for developers using Unity is that it is compatible across a wide range of platforms. All of the following support Unity:
PC, Mac, Web, iPhone, iPod Touch/iPad, Android, Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The success of Unity within the gaming industry has placed it at the top of today’s software platforms. Unity’s state of the art animation systems, special effects, performance optimisation, ability to create 3D environments and share assets through an Asset Store, all across a multitude of devices, means that developers can more easily create complex and deep content.
An example of a problem in an open context. Source: Into Science, on the Unity platform.
Educators have been quick to adopt Unity. Many have already recognised that its interactive capabilities are ideal for facilitating learning within educational resources. And with more schools using PC’s in conjunction with tablet devices it makes sense to use resources that are compatible across both, something not possible with many platforms.
As the cutting edge technology behind Unity unlocks new opportunities, educators are developing immersive 3D learning environments, full of curriculum based content, taking advantage of many game-like elements to excite and engage students. Both students and teachers have responded enthusiastically as learning steps up into the next generation, becoming more relevant, fun and engaging.
The Unity platform has now been adopted industry wide, is compatible with almost any device and is behind some of the most popular and cutting edge games and educational resources available. With more schools discovering the multitude of content available to them once they have installed Unity, this is sure to continue well into the future.
You can find out more about Unity via their website.