As the general classroom setting takes a turn to create opportunities for progress, newer technologies that see its application in various fields are now using their characteristics to bring about changes in education. From machine learning to Artifical Intelligence, Computational Thinking and Internet of Things, the field of education has taken a massive swerve from the conventional process of teaching. It no longer consists of a monotonous, one-way dialog between the teacher and the student, but a more energetic, fun, and interactive way that enables the student and teacher to learn together.
As mentioned in my earlier articles, technology sure has wrapped the world in amazement and progress, driving every field, concept and idea towards innovative solutions. One such solution is IoT, with its use cases being found in various fields, such as communication and education. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary change that is taking place even as we speak, and promises to transform a multitude of sectors, including education. Keeping education in mind, it not only seeks to augment human-to-human classroom interactions, but also challenges education in a broader sense.
Did you ever wonder how when you leave a room, the lights automatically switch off, and switch n in a room you walk into? How does the air conditioning unit function when there are more number of people and when there's just 1 individual in the room? How does the lighting and air conditioning unit work in either of these cases? All of these cases are answered with the help of the Internet of Things.
IoT equips machines and everyday objects with sensors, that allow them to communicate with each other via the Internet and the Local Area Network. And just as the Internet is a resource available, so to is the scalability of this innovation. There could be billions of objects connected with each other through the internet, sending data back and forth. This technology is predicted to almost triple from 2015 to 2020, with the number of connected devices already being 13.4 billion.
The advancement in cloud computing, integrated networks, high speed internet and 4G/5G internet protocols have enabled the internet to cross over our physical space. This will allow more number of devices to be connected via the internet. From refrigerators that keep the grocery in check, to IP cameras that allow you to monitor your home with the help of your smartphone, IoT is quickly gaining pace.
The education sector has already been disrupted through the internet with the advent of online and distant learning, learning management systems, and full-fledged virtual universities. When a certain technology is introduced into a sector it wishes to evolve or revamp, its aims should be to solve the existing problems faced by the individuals that work in the specific sector.
A few problems that IoT helps solve in the education sector are:
Data Collection. What IoT can help educators and instructors do, is provide boat-load of information on student data at their fingertips. According to a research paper by IEEE, titled "The Effects of the Internet of Thing on Education Business Model", IoT will allow us to gather data and manage 4 key areas : energy management and real time ecosystem monitoring, monitoring student's healthcare, classroom access control, and improving teaching and learning. A wearable, such as RFID, can automatically record a student's attendance, that also notifies the parent of a student's attendance record. Considering the performance of the student, a teacher will be notified and can help a student, if they find their performance to be weak.
Personalized Learning. As education is taking a drift from the conventional "all styles fit" method of teaching, the Internet of Things can help each student be evaluated and monitored on an individual basis. Weaker students may be granted a modified course that caters to them coming up to speed with the rest of the class. Also, the aggregate data can guide the instructor to modify the coursework on the go, depending on the collective class needs.
Increased Human-to-Machine Interaction. As a teacher, it is impossible to guide and pay individual attention to class of 30 or more students. Even though stronger bonds are built with the help of human interactions, it is impractical and time-consuming for this interaction to be your go-to resource. As resources are now migrating to digital devices, classrooms and the process of learning can be done at a pace suitable for the student. Interconnected devices, such as smart pens, tablets, and smart boards, can enhance the distribution of educative material from teachers to students and vice versa.
Security. Schools aren't equipped with the best security systems, therefore the need to provide schools with a system that's robust and available for staff and students is high. The application of facial recognition, remote RFID checks and GPS tracking devices can detect and deny any potential intruders. Besides, with the progress of AI, it can be possible to detect staff and students with ulterior motives and deny them access to the system, before a potential damage is carried out within the campus.