The Internet of Things, the connection of devices (other than standard products such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet, is in the process of transforming numerous areas of our everyday lives. And while it might not seem like an obvious application of the IoT, education is on that list.
The Internet has deeply rooted itself into our schools, and e-learning has become common practice in the American school system. But the applications of the IoT in education are numerous, and the implications for this disruption are tremendous.
The rise of mobile technology and the IoT allows schools to improve the safety of their campuses, keep track of key resources, and enhance access to information. Teachers can even use this technology to create "smart lesson plans," rather than the traditional stoic plans of yesteryear.
Below, we've compiled a list of IoT education examples, including the uses of the IoT in higher education, the future of the Internet in education, and examples of companies that are using the IoT to enter the education space.
The IoT can begin disrupting the education process as early as kindergarten and can continue to do so through 12th grade, but perhaps the most profound effects occur in higher education.
Students, particularly in college, are increasingly moving away from paper books toward tablets and laptops. With all of the necessary information at their fingertips, students can now learn at their own pace and have a nearly identical educational experience in their homes and in the classroom.
And while this trend provides increased convenience for students, it also makes the teaching process more efficient for professors. The surge in connected technology means that instructors do not need to manually grade tests on paper or perform other routine tasks.
Instead, professors can focus on the actual, personal instruction that is most valuable to their students. Devices connected to the cloud allow professors to gather data on their students and then determine which ones need the most individual attention and care. These statistics also let teachers properly adjust their lesson plans for future classes.
Outside of the classroom, universities can use connected devices to monitor their students, staff, and resources and equipment at a reduced operating cost, which saves everyone money. And these tracking capabilities should also lead to safer campuses. For example, students would be able to keep track of connected buses and adjust their schedules accordingly, which would prevent them from spending unnecessary time in potentially dangerous areas.
As of 2015, 73% of all U.S. teenagers had access to a smartphone, according to Capterra. Nearly 100% of all U.S. public schools have Internet access. And 70% of middle school students and 75% of high school students use laptops for educational purposes.
With that foundation upon which to build, it's easy to see how the Internet of Things is poised to radically transform education as we know it.