The advent of the internet of things (IoT) in education will help in the development of innovative applications that can improve the quality of education.
Every year, millions of students enroll in colleges and universities across the US. However, only 58% of these students will graduate over the course of four or six years. Hence, a significant percentage of students are going to drop out. If this trend continues, millions of students will drop out every year, which could possibly ruin their career. Therefore, educators are looking for alternatives to traditional methods of education to help retain students in their institutions. Educational institutions can utilize modern technologies such as IoT to deliver an interactive learning experience. IoT has managed to evolve multiple industry sectors such as retail, manufacturing, and healthcare and education is no exception. The introduction of IoT in education will give rise to multiple applications that can enhance student safety, offer communication channels for global students, and assist disabled pupils. IoT can provide an engaging medium for educating students and improve efficiency by automating certain administrative tasks. With this approach, educational institutions can make learning more agile and improve the quality of education.
Leveraging IoT in Education
The introduction of IoT in education will give rise to the following applications:
IoT-powered smart classrooms will become a reality in the near future. Smart classrooms can incorporate several IoT sensors and gadgets to improve the quality of education. For instance, wearables can help determine whether students are tired and disengaged in the classroom. Based on this data, teachers may decide to take a short break or reschedule the lecture.
The advent of IoT in education will also lead to the development of IoT-powered whiteboards. These whiteboards can be connected to a computer and provide an interactive display that can be operated with a finger, pen, or stylus. Such whiteboards will also record all the notes taken in a class. Additionally, classrooms can include smart microphones that can understand when a professor is announcing homework assignments and make updates to students’ planners based on the due date.
Daily operations such as maintaining attendance logs of students can be a time-consuming task. With the advent of IoT in education, professors can implement automated attendance tracking. IoT devices such as wearables can be used to detect students in a classroom and notify parents in case a student is absent. With the help of these devices, educators can see how many students are attending their class using their smartphones. These IoT solutions can also be integrated with internal systems to update attendance logs in real-time. With this approach, educators can automatically maintain attendance logs, eliminating any odds of introducing human error.
Educating students with disabilities can be a complicated task. However, leveraging IoT in education will help educators understand disabled students. For example, hearing impaired students can wear gloves that are connected to a laptop or smartphone. These gloves and smartphones can work together to translate sign language into speech. With this approach, educators can better communicate with their students and gain feedback about their teaching methods. In this manner, educators can deliver the best possible sign language education to their students.
Cashless Vending Machines
Carrying cash can be a daunting task for young students as it can be easily lost or stolen. To avoid such situations, educational institutions can use IoT-enabled cashless vending machines. With this approach, lunch queues can become shorter, food can be served faster, and payments will be quicker. Cashless vending machines can be connected to a centralized system in an educational institution. By using the centralized system, administrators can monitor transactions in real-time and generate a log of every student’s purchases. Also, educational institutions can track students’ diets and send weekly reports to their parents, providing complete details of student purchases. Such reports can also help catering staff in making informed decisions for menu planning and stock ordering.
Several students travel abroad for better education and professional opportunities. However, every student who aspires to get education abroad may not have the resources to do so. These students have to settle for education in their own country. Also, multiple underdeveloped countries may not have educational and professional opportunities for courses such as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and artificial intelligence.
IoT can be a key enabler of educating students worldwide. Students can stay in the comfort of their homes and interact with educators and other students across the globe. Digital highlighters and smart whiteboards can transfer class notes to smartphones, laptops, and desktops. In this manner, the introduction of IoT in education can make several courses and multiple educational opportunities more accessible.
School shootings have become a frequent occurrence in the United States. Many students and their parents feel unsafe in schools and universities. Until the government develops an effective solution to curb school shootings, educational institutions have to ensure the safety of their students by themselves.
IoT can help educational institutions implement more effective security protocols. With the help of IoT-powered smart cameras, school and college campuses can be monitored 24/7 for any suspicious activity. In case the camera encounters any malicious activity, it will notify school or college authorities and law enforcement agencies. Smart cameras can also identify strangers with the help of facial recognition. For this purpose, educational institutions need to collect pictures of all students, staff, and professors. Smart cameras can utilize this data to detect any possible intruders and alert campus security. Also, schools can install RFID tags on school buses to track their location in real-time. Thus, the utilization of IoT in education can help educators ensure the safety of their students.
The utility sector leverages IoT solutions for multiple business procedures. Similarly, educational institutions can install smart meters to monitor their energy consumption in real-time. Such smart meters can enable automatic meter reading for educational institutions. These smart meters will also notify electricity providers in case of a power outage. Smart meters can offer insights about power consumption to educational institutions. With this approach, educators can analyze their power consumption and understand which amenities require more power. Using this data, educational institutions can develop strategies for the efficient use of energy. Also, educators can incentivize energy conservation for students.
Educational institutions can also install IoT-powered appliances such as smart light bulbs and smart thermostats. Smart lighting can detect vacant rooms and turn off automatically. These lights can also adjust their brightness according to the amount of natural light entering through windows. Additionally, smart heating systems can record and analyze the preferred temperature in a particular room. Based on this analysis, smart heating systems can automatically control cooling systems to ensure that the temperature in a room is comfortable for students and professors.
Realizing the benefits and applications of IoT in education, educational institutions may wish to adopt this technology. However, allocating funding required for IoT infrastructure can be one of the biggest challenges with IoT adoption. Hence, educators can collect government funds or private investments. Also, educational institutions need to ensure that their professors know how to utilize IoT to its maximum potential. Hence, educational institutions need to develop an effective implementation strategy.