Culture & Change

IoT and Its Impact on Education

Sep 04, 2019 | 3843 views

The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon be called the Internet of Everything (IoE). By the year 2020, it is predicted that more than 50 billion connected devices will be on the Internet. If Facebook has its wish of connecting the other two-thirds of the world, this number could be predictably higher.

Even though IoT is most widespread in the business world, it has notable implications for education. The use of IoT in education is expected to increase dramatically due to the growth of online and blended educational programs as well as in traditional classrooms that increasingly use tech as a teaching tool.The Internet has deeply rooted itself into our schools, and e-learning has become common practice in the American school system. But the applications of the IoT in education are numerous, and the implications for this disruption are tremendous.

The rise of mobile technology and the IoT allows schools to improve the safety of their campuses, keep track of key resources, and enhance access to information. Teachers can even use this technology to create "smart lesson plans," rather than the traditional stoic plans of yesteryear.

Engaging Students Through The Internet Of Things

Educators are always trying to find new ways to connect with their students through engaging lesson plans, relevant discussions, fresh classroom projects and new teaching methods. Technology is transforming education through processes such as the flipped classroom, in which students watch lectures via live video feeds, recordings on YouTube or a similar venue at home, and discuss what they learned and engage in hands-on projects related to the lesson.

Social media is also in the classroom through blogs and discussion forums. Mobile learning allows students to access the internet from anywhere, such as a class field trip to a history museum. With eLearning, students are able to do their lessons on any device and from anywhere there is an internet connection. They get nearly instant feedback from the instructor and can also complete quizzes online.

Teachers Will Be Able To Do Their Job More Efficiently

Teachers work hard. Sure they get the summers off but they can put in 12 to 14 hour days during the school year. How can we help them do their job more efficiently? From designing the curriculum, to teaching, to grading papers and communicating with parents — technology will help — but only if it is made available to them. For the most part, it is still cost prohibitive but in the next five years, this will be an inevitable expense.

Digital content means easier sharing and more collaboration amongst teachers. They can build on each other’s knowledge. It also means teachers can move through the material more quickly because they are not wasting time writing letter by letter on a chalkboard or whiteboard. It also means he or she can share lecture notes with students with very little effort. An innovator in this space is SMART, which created the world’s first interactive whiteboard in 1991. Like the digital highlighter, SMART seems to be targeting both businesses and education. I looked online for resellers, and the cost for a SMART Board can range from $2,000 to $5,000 — but I also found additional value in their knowledge exchange market, an app store for SMART Boards, which they are building for both education and collaboration. A more affordable option for education is IPEVO’s wireless interactive board available for $169. IPEVO claims to have 46 percent market share in K-12 schools across the USA. Even dry-erase whiteboard paint maker, Ideapaint, joined the digital era by creating an app called Bounce — which aims to bridge the offline and online user experience.

Connecting Learners Worldwide

Interactive boards and digital highlighters are among the latest devices related to the IoT in the field of education. The boards can accelerate and simplify the learning experience by receiving, acknowledging and reciprocating information. Similarly, digital scanners aid the learning experience by digitally transferring text to smartphones. Therefore, using these devices, students sitting in their classrooms can interact with educators, mentors and peers across the world.

Improving Campus Safety

Digitised wrist bands and identity cards enable schools to track students, staff and visitors. Data on the last-known locations are stored on a server and it helps ensure that every area on campus is accessed only by the right people. These also enable cashless payments, by also acting as digital wallets, which can discourage theft and bullying. Tracking of bus routes is enabled by a GPS-enabled bus system so that students have a safe journey to and back from school and parents are aware of the children’s whereabouts.

Increasing Efficiency

Streamlining the day-to-day operations of schools using IoT helps focus more on actual teaching activities by cutting down on the time and effort required in manual accomplishments of those. For example, connected devices that automatically detect the presence of students in the school can eliminate the need for taking attendance manually and submitting the information at a central office, among other time-consuming activities. The whereabouts of lab equipment, projectors and other such resources can be tracked using RFID technology for greater efficiency. IoT can also help reduce energy costs for schools by closely monitoring the energy usage.

The Internet of Things would allow for better operational efficiency in every type of learning environment. Connected devices could enable educators to perform more dynamic and efficient educational interventions. But education is far from the only area of our lives that the IoT will transform. Transportation, energy, homes, healthcare, and more will all feel the touch of the IoT in the coming years.