Use of IoT in the Education Sector and Why It’s a Good Idea

With IoT, the possibilities are endless. The educational institutions of the future will offer greater security, increased access to students, more interactivity and better learning.

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A stack of books with an apple on top
Illustration: © IoT For All

The current technological advancements are poised to revolutionize the world that we live in. Machines and everyday objects can now communicate with each other.

IoT systems are the driving force behind all this incredible change. IoT has the potential to incorporate data-driven decision making into every aspect of human activity. The network of sensors and actuators in an IoT system are blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds.

But IoT Isn’t an Entirely New Concept

We have already witnessed its adaption in our lives. Industries have been utilizing the technology to monitor machines and sense changes in the environment.

Hospitals are using it to keep closer tabs on vital human signs. Internet-connected devices and appliances are taking care of our homes, offices and schools. And soon, autonomous cars will be governing the roads.

The technology is quickly expanding to encompass every angle of our lives. The vision of the entire smart cities isn’t a distant reality. According to Deloitte Insights, this model will help improve the quality of life, economic competitiveness and sustainability.

It is, in fact, the internet, which is laying the foundation for the vast applications of IoT systems. It’s facilitating new forms of collective intelligence that are supporting the automated world.

However, education is one of the sectors where this technology is still in the infancy stages. It’s only now that educational institutions are striving to implement IoT methods.

The Importance of Modernizing the Education Sector

Despite significant technological progress over the past few years, the adoption of smart classroom technology has been rather late in leveraging change in teaching methods.

Don’t get me wrong. The syllabus has been dramatically updated. The digital generation focuses more on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses. But the process is still the same.

We all understand that education reduces poverty, boosts economic growth and increases income. But utilizing up-to-date and modern teaching techniques can bolster enormous progress for any country. Therefore, the latest tech developments should be integrated into the educational system. Otherwise, it’s at risk of falling behind.

Modernization of the education sector can increase the productivity of both the individual and the nation. As the quality of education improves, so too does the acumen of the students.

A recent survey from Microsoft and YouGov stated that 60 percent of parents were optimistic about the role of smart classroom technology in their child’s life. More impressively, 86 percent said that the use of tech in schools, such as computers and educational software, was beneficial to their child’s education.

Classrooms Are Changing

Gone are the days when teachers reprimanded students for passing notes. Now it’s more so for using a mobile phone in class. And, as electronic devices are becoming commonplace in schools, teaching methods are aiming to be more interactive and applicable to the real world.

The one-size-fits-all approach no longer holds true. Advancements, such as IoT, AI and VR, are altering typical ideologies. They’re bringing change into the mainstream. Schools and universities alike are embracing a whole new world of concepts.

How Can IoT Systems Be Implemented in a Classroom?

IoT can reform the educational system. Inter-connectivity is linking previously disconnected offline objects and devices. The applications here are numerous, beginning from classrooms and extending beyond its walls.

IoT enabled education solutions range from smart boards to school security applications to managing a comfortable physical environment to study in.

A technically-advanced classroom can be equipped with the following IoT systems:

  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Automated attendance tracking systems
  • Student ID cards
  • Temperature and environmental sensors
  • Smart, efficient lighting and predictive maintenance for infrastructure
  • Smart HVAC systems
  • Wireless door locks and lockdown protocols
  • Security systems

As an extension of the system, connected schools could also provide smart buses. They could inform parents when a child is dropped off at home or provide students with internet access, allowing them to consume content en route.

What Are the Benefits of IoT in Educational Institutions?

1. Active Engagement

Education must be interactive in order to be effective. As the technology behind the Internet of Things is also interactive, it only makes sense to combine the two and reap double the rewards.

Students can learn more by receiving constant feedback on their work. Interactive learning material promotes a child’s interest, passion and creativity.

For example, the use of supplemental study aids can make dissections more accessible to students of all ages everywhere.

2. Extends Current Resources

IoT systems require an array of devices from which data is collected. Smart learning software and IoT apps permit students to collaborate through their phones and tablets.

Tech-enabled books that are enhanced with connected pens can allow students to mark various portions of text.

IoT aids in bringing activities to the classroom that would have been impossible before. Students can now experience a more technical side of a course.

For instance, simulation and models can help explain topics such as planetary movements or the development of weather conditions.

3. Greater Efficiency

This smart classroom technology can help ease a teacher’s workload. By automating specific tasks such as taking attendance or grading tests, a teacher can focus on the more essential aspects.

This is only the beginning of connected technology. A school in Eastern China has gone so far as to install facial recognition technology.

It allows teachers to monitor how attentive students are in class. If a student seems confused or distracted, the teacher can intervene sooner.

4. Enhances the Quality of Instruction

The use of the internet and modern devices can encourage the improvement of current lesson plans. More interestingly, whiteboards could record everything discussed in class and facilitate access to courses from any location.

Smart-microphones may even recognize a teacher assigning homework and update a student’s planners automatically.

But as teaching shifts away from the traditional textbook material, students may be able to relate better to real-world situations. References to real-time problems and real people can improve the quality of education.

5. Expansive Learning

A school based on IoT does not necessarily constitute an ordinary classroom full of students reading from a book. It fosters learning over the internet through group activities, discussions, webinars and debates.

6. Promotes Interactive Teaching

IoT is altering the dynamics of the principles of education. An instructor no longer explains a topic. Instead, they interact with various components of a classroom.

Activities that require constant feedback, like coaching and academic training, help boost an individual’s skills. IoT cultivates task-based
instruction where students learn-by-doing and teachers assist when needed.

7. Identifies Weaknesses

A problem that often happens in classrooms is a weak or shy student often falls behind. A child that does not respond promptly may require one-on-one attention.

Additionally, teachers can design interactive learning modules to match their pace. The lessons could be personalized to build a stronger base. The sooner the child gets back on track, the quicker he can perform alongside his classmates.

8. Aids Students With Disabilities

IoT and AI can help disabled students obtain an education, as well. Microsoft, a company applauded for its contributions to technology, is backing the modernization of classrooms to cater to children with special needs.

It has developed a symbol-based communication app, Snap + Core First, to help children with speech and language impediments express themselves.

9. Empowers Better Security Measures

Smarter schools can implement stringent security measures, primarily through student IDs. Some may call it encroachment in privacy, but it’s one effective way to monitor a student’s location.

Final Thoughts

Though it may be a while before IoT systems in classrooms enter the mainstream, its future is optimistic. There’s no denying the robust
benefits it has to offer.

Implemented in the right way, it enables a considerable amount of innovation in the education sector. It can help create a system to educate the next generation of tech-savvy students. The use of real-time data will provide valuable insights to students, parents, faculty and the administration.

With IoT, the possibilities are endless. The educational institutions of the future will offer greater security, increased access to students, more interactivity and better learning.