The use of the Internet of Things in education is expected to increase dramatically – this is how
According to Gartner, they expect a 30 percent increase in the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) this year. This growth will amount to a total of more than 6 billion devices joining the IoT, with more than 20 billion devices expected to be a part of the IoT by 2020.
Even though IoT is most widespread in the business world, it has notable implications for education. The use of IoT in education is expected to increase dramatically due to the growth of online and blended educational programs as well as in traditional classrooms that increasingly use tech as a teaching tool.
Engaging students through the Internet of Things
Educators are always trying to find new ways to connect with their students through engaging lesson plans, relevant discussions, fresh classroom projects and new teaching methods. Technology is transforming education through processes such as the flipped classroom, in which students watch lectures via live video feeds, recordings on YouTube or a similar venue at home, and discuss what they learned and engage in hands-on projects related to the lesson.
Social media is also in the classroom through blogs and discussion forums. Mobile learning allows students to access the internet from anywhere, such as a class field trip to a history museum. With eLearning, students are able to do their lessons on any device and from anywhere there is an internet connection. They get nearly instant feedback from the instructor and can also complete quizzes online.
Components of IoT
The Internet of Things is enabling technology researchers to develop smaller and more affordable wireless systems that consume less power and can be integrated into almost any type of device. While Wi-Fi is the most popular form of integrated technology, other formats such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC and RFID are also used throughout business, industry and personal technology systems. Some of this technology can add wireless sensor capabilities to any sort of device, such as FitBit wearable fitness trackers, books, fixed structures and even people.
IoT also has many possibilities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, such as physical computing and computer programming. The IoT simplifies and automates access to essential information in any type of educational or real-world setting.
How the Internet of Things is introduced into education
IoT has the ability to improve upon the learning experience by allowing for real-time and actionable insights into student performance. Students bring wireless devices into the classroom or use them at home. The materials available for learning on mobile devices, such as e-books, are more engaging and interactive. There is a constant need for new technologies for education, such as high-speed wireless networks with the bandwidth for streaming audio and video lessons.
The advanced eLearning applications allow students to work at their own pace through a course, which increases both satisfaction and course completion rates. Teachers can provide one-to-one instruction and seamless student assessments. Through cloud technology, instructors can collect data on student performance. The advanced technology used in education also allows teachers to share and collaborate with one another.
Potential of the IoT in Education
The Internet of Things would allow for better operational efficiency in every type of learning environment. Connected devices could enable educators to perform dynamic classroom interventions. Logging attendance would be simplified if students had a wearable device that tracks ECG patterns. EEG sensors could be used to monitor students’ cognitive activities during lessons. Classroom discipline would be much more easily enforced with vibrations that are similar to a silent notification on a mobile phone. These devices could redirect a student’s attention, such as giving a warm-up exercise to do on their device. During examinations, a student’s identity could be verified through their brain waves tracked by a wearable.
In 2014, U.S.-based education technology (EdTech) companies raised $1.2 billion over 357 venture rounds, which is less than 3 percent out of $48.3 billion in total venture funding. Such unfavorable results are mainly due to the fact that there are not as many exits in this area. However, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what education will look like in the future, but funding for more technology should be increased in order to make considerable impacts on IoT and education.
The views expressed are of the author.
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