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Over the past two years, we've seen the educational system transform to cater to the hybrid student. This shift redefined the traditional classroom setting we are familiar with; a whiteboard has been replaced with a computer screen, comfy pajamas took over college campuses and the Internet bill costs a week's worth of groceries. As we watched consumer expectations soar a decade beyond where they were a few years ago, we also watched the classroom transform to virtual learning. It wasn't a planned, easy transition backed by a strategic roadmap. It happened seemingly with the flip of a switch.

Colleges are striving to produce learning possibilities that meet every student's needs. They're making coursework accessible on every device and opening up video call discussions after office hours — digital touchpoints designed to help teachers engage with their students. But as virtual learning made a permanent entrance into schools all over, academic leadership also soon saw that remote learning does not suit every student. For example, distractions are more readily available — scrolling through social feeds, fielding group text messages and binging Netflix. Not to mention misunderstandings to questions and lectures that can lead students to not feel a part of the learning environment.

At this rate, how will virtual learning transform our classroom experience now that higher education is driving intuitive ways to help further a student's learning experience? What follows are five experiences that could extend the digital classroom.

1. Dorm room turned lecture hall

No matter how much the world opens back up, college students are now used to being able to learn from anywhere. So, we'll need to continue to evolve ways students can attend hybrid classes from their dorm. One approach is deploying Smart TVs as a learning platform. From the comfort of their futons, students would be able to log in to their student accounts to attend class. Faculty would be able to see who is online and paying attention. There would be no need to ask for notes because the class would also be transcribed right on the screen and raising your hand to ask a question would be as easy as pressing a button. Or, if AI cameras are involved, it could be as easy as just raising your hand.

2. Group project turned social 

The college student population is one of our most digital-forward audiences. Most of them have spent their whole lives around smartphones and have never questioned what a selfie is. In this example, students, via their preferred device, can track who is doing what within a group project, take and pin notes and chat amongst themselves — providing a new level of digital oversight to the dreaded experience of forced collaboration.

3. Geolocation notifications

Another opportunity is using personalized notifications that meet students where they are. These are tailored messages with information about specific study groups, events of interest, and even the office hours of professors on campus. From their smartphone and smartwatch, students could even have insight into live attendance tracking. Technology like this capitalizes on the fact that keeping students in the loop helps promote increased student activity and campus life productivity.

4. AI tutor

The differences from classroom to classroom and teacher to teacher can make it difficult for students to adapt to everyone's teaching style. Similar to smart voice assistants, the AI Tutor would adapt to each students' learning style-shifting to teach and instruct the way that student learns best. Deepening student relationships through digital, educators are enabled to reach a higher volume of students without sacrificing engagement and impact with the help of virtual AI.

5. Collaboration of tomorrow

Personalized, 1-to-1 student experiences should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Taking a note from various social networks and gaming platforms, where students are already connecting seamlessly from the comfort of wherever they are — why couldn't we bring that same invitation to interact to the student mobile app?

In the past few years, we've seen an increase in the creation of future-proof higher educational technologies. And we've seen that classrooms should always be where the student is. Which is why hybrid learning courses allow college institutions to have accessible environments for in-person and remote students alike. This can further foster digital classrooms with future immersive experiences. Thus, creating flexible virtual learning experiences that we can expect to see for years to come.

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