It seems that the Internet of Things (IoT) is gradually transforming areas of our lives at work, home and in social situations. The Education sector is certainly no exception when it comes to the utilisation of IoT to connect devices to the Internet to enhance the learning experience for our future generations.
In a post by Huffington it stated that “The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon be called the Internet of Everything (IoE) and that by the year 2020 it is predicted that more than 50 billion connected devises will be on the Internet”.
It’s a scary thought that anyone under the age of 28 years old has never known a life without the Internet, so it hardly surprising that Education providers have embraced IoT when its target demographic profile mainly fits within this age group. The Internet is so deeply rooted within our schools, colleges and universities whilst online learning has also seen a surge in popularity with 50% of all classes being predicted to be delivered online by 2019 (The E-Learning Revolution).
IoT could play a crucial part in safety, planning, accessibility and increases in efficiencies. Students particularly in Higher Education are moving away from the traditional pen and paper format towards tablets and laptops when it comes to writing assignments and reading course material. This provides advantages for both students and teachers.
Students can now learn at their own pace and have the same learning experience whether they are at home or in the classroom. Teachers on the other hand no longer must spend hours creating laborious lesson plans when they can now use technology to design smart lesson plans that are more interactive and interesting. Connected technology also makes the teaching process more efficient as teachers no longer need to manually grade tests.
Teachers can now keep up-to-date on their students progress at the touch of button to identify those that require more individual attention and assist in shaping future lesson plans to ensure that weaker topics are gaining additional focus. Nowadays universities are spread across numerous geographically located campuses, subsequently there is a need to keep track of students and to capture invaluable insight into their movements across the facilities. By using IoT it enables establishments to issue track ID cards to determine where a student is on campus and mark them present without manually doing so and identify areas of high traffic for maintenance planning purposes.
It’s not just within the learning environment that the use of connected devices can save time and money. By remotely monitoring resources and equipment that is being used such as classroom usage, student numbers and timetable changes it can help reduce operating costs and create energy efficiencies.
By working with local providers such as the bus or train networks university campuses can increase the safety of their students by tracking pubic transport availability and scheduling classes accordingly preventing the need to spend time unnecessarily waiting around in potentially undesirable areas.
IBM announced that it is looking to invest $3 billion into the IoT over the next few years with a significant proportion going into education. This must be fantastic news for the sector, however this will result in an increase in data which will need to be stored securely, subsequently education providers will need to consider the feasibility of their current IT infrastructure strategies and provision.