How IoT has Benefitted Education
Over the last two decades the internet has become a valuable educational resource and millions of people in the United States have benefitted from e-learning, whether in schools and colleges or from the many free online courses provided by our universities. Now, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), the benefits to education are set to expand even further. The IoT enables schools to bolster campus security and child safeguarding, helps educational establishments better manage their key resources, and provides parents, teachers, and students with significantly better access to information.
IoT in Higher Education
While the IoT is useful across the entire education spectrum, one of its biggest benefits is to those studying undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The students of today are the millennial generation; they have grown up with the internet and the devices used to connect with it. For this reason, they are happier researching on smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and are less likely to want to leaf through books in a traditional library.
Thankfully, there are now apps and devices that let university staff provide easy to access, linked up resources that students can use to learn, not just at their own pace, but wherever they have an internet connection. They also provide much greater opportunity for collaboration, not just between students on the same campus but anywhere in the world.
At the same time, the data collected by these apps enables university staff to assess the progress of individual students and this can be used to provide highly personalized learning experiences. High-fliers can be given more challenging tasks while those struggling can receive one to one assistance.
Keeping Campuses Safe
The IoT has brought new and very effective ways to ensure the safety of students on school campuses. Combining RFID technology with IoT enabled access control devices means it is now possible for schools to keep track of every student when on-site. For example, providing students with RFID wristbands or smart ID cards, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards, means that as soon as they enter the school, their presence will be logged. It is also possible to track where they are on campus at any time, so in the event of an emergency, it will be easy to find them. If they decide to play truant, access control can be automated to lock doors to prevent them from exiting when they attempt to leave.
Linking access control to the internet means that parents can be informed automatically when a child arrives safely or if they fail to turn up. At the same time, staff can ensure students are in the classrooms they are supposed to be in. It also means attendance and punctuality reports can be produced automatically and be accessed in real-time by parents and school managers.
Additional IoT Benefits for Schools and Colleges
The IoT brings other benefits for schools and colleges, such as reducing the cost of heating, air-conditioning, and lighting. Smart temperature sensors can be installed in individual classrooms and linked to intelligent heating systems. These can open and close windows, turn radiators up and down and control cooling systems, ensuring that the temperature in each room is comfortable and that there is no wastage of energy. Similarly, with lighting, vacant rooms can be left in the dark and the brightness of any lighting can be turned up or down depending on the natural light coming through the windows.
As all information from each sensor is collected and stored on the internet, it is possible to analyze it to find ways to manage the school in more efficient ways. It also means multi-site schools and colleges can be managed from a single location.
The use of IoT enabled cashless vending provides another set of benefits. Besides preventing the need for students to carry cash, it makes running the school far simpler. Dining queues become smaller and service is sped up, payment is quick, safe and convenient, and cash can’t go missing or get stolen.
In addition, as each payment terminal is connected to a central system over the internet, it is possible for school administrators to have real-time transaction monitoring and reporting. There’s no need to tally up the money at the end of each day as this is done electronically.
Some schools also use this system to monitor children’s diets, sending home weekly reports to parents that gives full details of what their child has been buying for their lunch. It also helps catering staff with stock ordering and menu planning.
The Internet of Things is having a profound impact on today’s education. It offers better ways to learn, collaborate and teach, it ensures that children are safe when on school campuses, it provides ways to make schools be more environmentally friendly and save money, and it brings all the advantages of a cashless environment. And the IoT revolution is just beginning; who knows what amazing developments are just around the corner.
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