IoT Trends that Impact Educational Institutions and Learning
The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely entrenched in education today with distance and online learning, learning management systems, and completely virtual universities. With cloud-connected devices, students can take a class from an Ivy League university right from their home, prep for the SAT with an online tutor, and learn just about any skill by viewing a YouTube video.
Technology and innovation will propel IoT even further into educational institutions impacting how the physical classrooms and other facilities are built, maintained and managed. Smart Building IoT solutions including connected lighting, space optimization, wayfinding and more, will become mainstream to help reduce energy costs, support sustainability efforts, and improve the support given to students and staff in the way of comfort, added safety and security, and better learning tools. Smart building IoT will also enable new applications—some of which have yet to unfold.
Smart Classrooms for Better Learning
IoT is set to continue revolutionizing classroom learning by helping students become more engaged and organized with a variety of teaching methods and tools. Today, IoT can power smart whiteboards that record notes from classes that students can then access online and review. The combination of access to these notes as well as immediate access to additional online materials helps ensure students have access to better, more comprehensive information. By integrating different technologies and tools into the learning process, students can access information in different ways and find the best method of learning for themselves as individuals.
IoT enabled devices such as tablets or digital textbooks, paired with data analytics technology, have the potential to monitor student activity levels during testing, classwork and homework to assist teachers in assessing student learning levels. This data could help teachers better understand whether their methods are working, which students need additional help, and which tasks they struggle with most in order to provide a personalized learning experience.
Security and Safety
The safety of students is arguably one of the most critical issues in education today. IoT sensors in door locks, alarms, access control, and parking lots are helping fortify school campuses. Connecting school buses and video surveillance systems with IoT can monitor the location and activity of students. With wearable sensors, students and staff can be tracked entering and exiting the school premises. This data can help deliver real-time insight and swift response during emergencies.
Meeting Space Woes
Faculty and students across college campuses often have trouble finding empty meeting spaces even though numerous classrooms and conference rooms sit empty most of the time. Using IoT sensor data and analytics can determine those classrooms and spaces in use, and those that are vacant. When this data is uploaded to a reservation system, it can provide accurate information about meeting space availability. IoT sensor data and analytics can also optimize a building space by determining the number and size of meeting spaces needed based on actual usage and demand.
Energy Efficiency and Environmental Stewardship
Across many higher education campuses, environmental stewardship is being enacted with ‘Green’ programs including LEED and Zero Carbon Building certifications, alternative transportation programs, campus-wide recycling initiatives and more, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and minimize environmental impact. IoT sensors and connectivity are fundamental aspects of these programs, leveraging real-world data to automate lighting, HVAC and other core building systems that save energy and waste.
IoT can help schools meet their sustainability objectives. On many campuses, HVAC and lights stay on all day and even all night. By integrating IoT sensors into these systems, the lights, heat and air conditioning are triggered ON/OFF or dimmed based on occupancy, and the result is a dramatic savings in energy consumption and costs. In addition to occupancy sensors, connected lighting systems enable these institutions to employ additional energy savings strategies such as daylight harvesting techniques that reduce the amount of artificial light used by leveraging natural daylight when available. As light levels vary during the day, individual fixtures or zones can be programmed to dim up or down so that illumination is maintained evenly at the desired level throughout the space while also reducing energy consumption and costs.
Harnessing the data collected from IoT devices throughout school campuses is sure to be a game-changer for students, teachers, parents, and administration. IoT can improve a student’s learning and overall experience, enhance a learning institution’s operations, reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impact.