Translation:My students are going to use a new method today.
In this sentence, at skulle (= skal) is used to talk about the future.
I morgen skal jeg vaske tøj.
I morgen skal jeg købe en bil.
In your other example, it is used to imply necessity
- Jeg skal bruge dine mål = I have to use your measurements = I need your measurements
The two overlap in their meanings, since talking about the future also implies a form of necessity/intention
Thanks, but what confuses me is whether (and when) "skal" means "shall" or "will", and when it means "have to" or "must".
Jeg skal bruge dine mål = I have to use your measurements = I need your measurements
Mine studerende skal bruge en ny metode i dag = My students are going to use a new method today.
Why is one "skal bruge..." translated as "have to use (your measurements)" and the other as "are going to use (a new method)"? In English, "have to" and "shall/will" are two very different concepts. It seems to me that there is not such a clear difference between the two concepts in Danish, but if that's the case, couldn't "Mine studerende skal bruge en ny metode i dag" also be validly translated as "My students need a new method today"? (Though, admittedly, that's a weird English sentence because it doesn't say what they need the new method for.)
It's mostly a matter of intonation.