The Internet of Things in Education : Tendencies and Assumptions

September 11th, 2017

BY MELISSA BURNS

Education is an area where one expect innovations to take hold as soon as they become available – and at the same time one of the most conservative industries out there. To a considerable degree modern schools and colleges still keep on using methods and principles that have been developed centuries ago – and not always because there is nothing better.

However, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it finally seems that we are about to experience a serious paradigm shift – and education in five-ten years’ time may be something completely different from what we are used to. What will it be? Nobody knows. But at least we can see some tendencies and build assumptions based on them.

How Your College Experience May Change after Implementing the IoT in Education?

1.    Safety

Although it may be considered to be an invasion of privacy, schools and universities can use connected devices to monitor their students, staff, equipment and other resources, thus leading to a more safe environment outside of the classroom. It will make locating stolen devices quick and easy, students will be able to check on the location of connected buses to alter their schedules and spend less time in potentially dangerous locations, and if something happens to a student, the authorities will be able to take action sooner.

2.    Individualization of Education

The most valuable instruction is the one that is given personally, that is adapted to the needs and peculiarities of a particular person, that takes his strengths and weaknesses into account. Normally, teachers and professors simply don’t have the resources (primarily time) to do so when they have to pay equal attention to dozens if not hundreds of students. The rise of connected technology means that instructors will spend less time performing routine jobs like grading tests and more instructing students individually. If all the devices used in studying are connected to the cloud, it let professors gather information on the progress of individual students and help them modify their approach for each of them.

3.    Energy Efficiency

A school or university that fully “goes smart” – that is, introduces a web-based system to control all the mechanical equipment inside the building – will dramatically increase its operational efficiency. Moreover, it isn’t even necessary to build an entirely new building to fully introduce such a system – this effect can be reached even in older buildings through the installation of smart sensors where appropriate.

4.    Automation of Routine Tasks for Students

According to the 2015 data, more than 70 percent of American high school students have smartphones, and almost all schools in the country have Internet access. Students already use their mobile devices to perform a wide variety of tasks, many of them education related – note-taking, scheduling, finding information sources, research. Full integration with the IoT will simply mean that this practice will be accepted as legitimate, introduced as a part of the education process and optimized for maximum efficiency. Students will get an opportunity to spend less time performing routine tasks (like consulting dictionaries, looking for books, taking notes, etc.), and centralized scheduling will make it easier for them to keep track of all their activities and lessons.

5.    The Change in the Role of the Classroom

With the use of connected devices, students get access to almost identical resources at home and in the classroom. As a result, many of the tasks that recently only could have been done in class will be moved outside, with only the activities requiring active participation from students in groups remaining there.

These are just the most obvious applications of IoT in education – just like with most other things, technology will likely be used in ways we cannot even predict so far.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at burns.melissaa@gmail.com

 

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