When it comes to improving study time, finding roommates, communicating with professors and registering for classes, students have solidly integrated technology into their educational experience.
Now, smart technology is quickly becoming another strong tool in helping students with their educational experience, whether it’s using smart boards in the classroom or saving money on energy costs that could better be put toward tuition. Here are some ways smart technology is changing the way students live and learn.
- Smart tech in your home
Have you considered smart technology in your apartment or home? Many new apartment complexes and even dorms are incorporating the ability to add smart tech gadgets like programmable thermostats and smart lighting. This technology is just one way to improve energy savings by keeping heating, lighting and other functions automatically regulated to your school schedule. Why keep your apartment toasty or the lights burning while you’re in class? The money you save on utilities could go towards student loans, rent, and anything else you need.
High-efficiency light bulbs in your desktop lamps can help illuminate your study time properly while also avoiding the higher costs of incandescents while you’re burning the midnight oil. Some smart lights can adjust to block out blue light at night or even emit aromatherapy scents so you can get the quality sleep you need before that big exam. And these smart lights can change colors to create the right atmosphere for when it’s time to invite your friends over to celebrate your success.
Additionally, you can turn any appliance into a smart appliance with a smart plug or power strip that can be controlled via app—it’s a great way to get your coffee maker going for those quick pre-class review sessions, set the timer on the TV to make sure you limit break time and get plenty of studying in.
- Smart tech in school buildings.
Smart technology that conserves energy is being incorporated into classrooms as well, cutting the costs of building maintenance and operations and letting universities focus the savings elsewhere. Sensors can help maintenance staff predict repairs before they’re needed by keeping up with preventive replacements and upgrades. Smart HVAC systems can keep temperatures regulated for a comfortable learning environment. Smart security systems can help protect school grounds by only allowing access to registered students, faculty and staff, creating a safer space for students.
Smart lighting technology can keep unused classrooms dark and adjust depending on natural light sources, and considering that lighting classrooms is typically one of the biggest costs for universities, it can result in thousands of dollars better diverted elsewhere. Not only can LED lighting improve costs, it also has been shown to help students improve their test scores, cognitive skills and productivity, particularly when the lighting can be adjusted between cool and warm lighting that better emulates natural daylight.
Smart tech also includes smart classroom design, such as capturing more of that natural daylight to enhance both energy efficiency and student alertness, and in functional furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured for small-group learning. Flexibility is the key—the ability to adjust lighting for better screen viewing, to move around desks and chairs to create small-group conferences, and to offer ways to integrate technology are all ways smart design will enhance learning.
- Smart tech in the classroom.
Learning has never been more accessible to students. More classrooms are incorporating smart boards and video projectors. Interactive whiteboards replace plain whiteboards or even chalkboards, functioning as large touch-screen computers or connected to a computer via projector, enhancing classroom experience and engaging students more actively in learning. Tablets, laptops, and phones are letting universities network the classroom experience and create more opportunities for small-group study and project collaboration.
Internet access at individual seats allows students and professors to share websites or screens with the class. Some universities are recording and uploading lectures for students to view at other campuses or streaming them in real time. That ability has allowed universities to expand class capacity, creating greater access to popular classes. Those larger classes require better audio connections within the classroom, eliminating the days of straining to hear from the back row. These video connections and recordings also have allowed universities like Stanford to offer free public access to courses for personal enrichment.
Undoubtedly, smart technology use is here to stay and is always expanding. As it grows, so will the ways it can help you enhance your work in the classroom and at home to maximize your educational experience.
Hilary is a freelance writer, small business owner, and a perpetual student of life. She loves to write about everything from tech to travel and health. You can follow her on Twitter @TypewriterHil