The impact of the ongoing pandemic on education and schooling has been nothing but catastrophic. According to UNICEF, COVID-19 put 1.6 billion students out of school.
However, in a time of an unprecedented crisis, the field of education has found a savior of sorts in information technology. Online classes, though not perfect, have been critical in continuing academic activities during the pandemic.
There’s a lesson in this for those who are those who shape educational policies and manage academic institutions. Technology has rescued education during a turbulent time and it can drive things forward once things go back to normal.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is among the emerging innovations that promise to transform schooling by introducing better-connectivity and making different procedures more collaborative.
What is IoT?
Before diving deep into everything that IoT can bring to the table, it’s important to first understand how this technology works.
According to Oracle, “The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.”
One of the most popular examples of IoT is smart homes that allow people to manage electronics, receive deliveries and monitor their homes from a remote location. With IoT, the possibilities are indeed endless and education is one field that is ripe for disruption through this technology. Much of this disruption is already taking place.
4 Ways IoT is Changing Education
IoT is among emerging technologies that are reshaping retail, medicine and many other sectors. So what can it deliver to students, teachers and school managements? To answer this question, I have shortlisted four ways how the Internet of Things is already influencing education.
Let’s dive in.
1. Maximizing Engagement Through Reading Pens
Taking notes is an important part of being a student. IoT-enabled technologies can optimize this process through a portable scanner that can capture and process printed text.
C-Pen is a perfect example of how IoT assists students in taking notes from a lecture. It can help in creating memos, translate the content in more than fifty languages and pronounce the words correctly.
Due to these features, this tool is especially useful for people with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or even those who might not speak English as the first language. Scanmaker is another tool that allows users to scan text from books and documents.
2. Collecting Student Data through Smart Cards
Having access to authentic and relevant data is the key to creating effective solutions. It’s also important for this data to be in one place. Smart cards can make this happen for schools.
Initiatives like Magicard help schools monitor student’s time in class, their attendance and whether they are accounted for in case of emergencies. These cards can be presented to an authenticating reader and linked to an access control system through IoT.
Some of the other functionalities of Magicard include allowing students to access campus facilities and logical access to monitor the usage of electronic data such as e-learning resources, coursework and printers. It also assists on the payment side of things when students have to pay for printing, canteens and retail items on campus.
3. Safety through Wifi-Enabled Smart Buses
When it comes to school transport, safety and comfort are the priority of school administrators. Smart bus systems named Kajeet allow drivers to monitor the behavior of passengers to improve onboard safety.
Parents can use this tool to track the location of the bus and be aware that their kids have safely made it to the school. Kajeet provides real-time knowledge of their child’s location to parents.
For students, the Wi-Fi connectivity means they can turn in their assignments or revise for a test by accessing learning material while traveling to the school.
4. Creating a Collaborative Learning Experience
At the end of the day, IoT is all about connecting different devices to creating holistic solutions. It should be aimed at creating an infrastructure where students, parents and teachers all have access to real-time information.
Tools like Blackboard allows schools to create personalized educational experiences. Among other things, it provides parents, students and others involved to monitor the latest grades, attendance, journey from school to home and the overall academic progress of the child.
Using the Blackboard Mobile Credential, learners can add their student ID to their Apple Wallet and pay for campus services.
IoT offers a lot to the field of education. However, this technology is rarely discussed when the subject of EdTech is brought up. This should change going forward as more and more IoT-powered tools are entering the market with each promising to upgrade the learning experience through a unique solution.
The rapid digitalization in the last year due to the pandemic should put further light on what IoT has to offer. Once schools and colleges become fully functional, they should utilize this technology for improving student engagement, campus security and transportation.
If utilized to its full potential, IoT has the potential to completely change the way education is provided.