With the IoT industry forecasted to grow to a staggering $1.7 trillion by 2020, it is no secret that this technology has already infiltrated the majority of industries. 

IoT has a natural and profound impact in one sector:  education– with many universities and schools beginning to implement IoT into their learning methods and study programs already.

What is the Internet of Things?

The definition of ‘Internet of Things’ can vary, but it essentially refers to the connection of everyday objects or ‘things’– with wireless capabilities, to the internet. This allows data to be collected and shared between ‘things’, without requiring input.

Educational benefits of IoT

An intelligent environmental control system could monitor occupancy and regulate heating and lighting accordingly. For example, lights might only switch on when someone enters a room , or smart bins that can let students know when they are due to be emptied.

In addition, IoT can improve the safety of students and staff by equipping school buildings with sensors that detect the location of people within them, for example. In a similar vein, it can also be used to keep track of student attendance in real-time via an app or online portal.

It can also be used to enhance existing learning experiences. For instance, it could be used within lessons that focus on history or art to provide opportunities for students to interact with objects that they might not have had access to otherwise.

Connected Classrooms

IoT technologies can automate many aspects of a classroom, such as lighting or ventilation, depending on the time of day. 

Students in classes may also be provided with IoT based features that help them learn more efficiently. For example, an IoT enabled smart board could provide students with additional information.

IoT Enabled Campuses

The University of Surrey is currently building an ‘Internet of Things’ campus that will provide IoT enabled features to its students.

These include intelligent floor sensors that detect movement and turn off lights– if there are no people nearby, and smart bins that let students know when they are due to be emptied.

Support Benefits Claims

The Department of Work and Pensions has announced that it wants to use IoT technologies to provide an efficient service to allow students with disabilities access the benefits they are entitled to. 

With this in mind, they have also stated that they want their service to be accessible to students with sensory impairments, including visual and hearing impairments.

Reasons to be Concerned About IoT in Education:

Although the possibilities that IoT creates are numerous, they do not come without their problems.

The students may struggle to engage with learning if they are more interested in the connected objects around them than what is being taught in lessons. 

In addition, increased reliance on related technologies may encourage an insufficient approach to learning, where students rely too heavily on the technology.

How Is This Being Applied In Education Today?

At present, the full potential of IoT in education remains largely untapped. However, there are already many cases where it is being employed to significant effect. 

For example, Philips Lighting has created an educational program that uses connected lighting systems to teach students about sustainable development. Similarly, Whirlpool has launched a program that allows students to learn about robotics, programming and 3D printing by creating connected devices.

From simple classroom-based initiatives like the introduction of smart boards to large-scale rollouts that see entire school districts equipped with interconnected devices, IoT’s potential is only limited by the scope of the imagination.

How Much Does It Cost?

Connected devices can be expensive, primarily if they are intended for use in an educational environment. However, the initial purchase cost is offset by the potential savings that can come from implementing IoT systems, via lower energy costs and better school facilities management. For instance, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for an IoT enabled system is up to 35% lower than a conventional system or up to 40% higher than non-smart systems.

Other expenses may include the costs associated with developing and implementing specific applications that utilize IoT features, such as increased bandwidth use and security monitoring.

Conclusion:

IoT has great potential, but more needs to be done by both teachers and manufacturers if IoT in education is to become a reality. The possibilities of IoT in education are almost limitless, and it can help deliver new opportunities for students of all ages and abilities.

EdTech is an umbrella term used to describe educational technologies that enhance teaching and learning. The future of EdTech is fast approaching as new technological advancements are made every year. 

Technology is man’s greatest discovery, and it has proven to be a game-changer. Although these terms have been around for some time, many schools and colleges still do not have proper technological facilities.

Today, many Edtech companies across the globe offer innovative solutions to such educational problems. Here are some of the top 6 trends to watch out in EdTech for 2021:

  1. Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is one of the most trending topics in EdTech for 2021. Companies like Apple are already making strides in integrating virtual reality facilities into their products to create a completely immersive experience for users. 

Virtual reality can help solve educational problems, especially with math and science courses that require students to visualize concepts in a 3D environment for better understanding. Virtual reality has also been proven to help reduce learning anxiety for students and help visual learners grasp concepts better.

  1. EdTech As A Service

Today’s students are tech-savvy and have become accustomed to using technology in their lives. This has led to the rise of cloud computing services, especially in the educational sector. Moreover, schools can connect with tech providers and make payments online to provide access to content from anywhere.

Virtual education has also given rise to e-learning facilities where students can interact and study at their convenience. The use of software as a service for educational purposes is expected to double in 2021. The emergence of COVID-19 helped accelerate this process.

Applying SaaS in EdTech has allowed schools to improve their core operations, such as teaching and learning, by a margin.

Companies like Coursera are using SaaS to provide e-learning facilities for students worldwide. LMS (Learning Management System) software is also being integrated into EdTech solutions, allowing teachers and remote instructors to develop online courses.

  1. 3D Printing

Students are fascinated with 3D printing technology and have been using it to create amazing things. From toys to household items, 3D printers can create anything you imagine. By the year 2021, most schools will integrate 3D printers into their curriculum to facilitate hands-on learning.

Students can also use 3D printing methods for creating science projects and prototypes, which will help them learn the intricacies of engineering faster. 3D printing is making education more fun, interactive and more creative.

  1. Personalized Learning via Wearables And AI

Deloitte’s learning report shows that 40% of all 21st-century skills are dependent on the personalization of education. Students are now able to receive personalized content and adapt their learning plans as per their preferences.

EdTech companies are trying to establish a conducive atmosphere for students by providing them with the freedom of choice regarding their learning paths and courses while ensuring they’re on track concerning the curriculum.

The Apple Watch is already helping students develop better habits, especially when it comes to physical activity, which will help them be more effective. Similarly, AI technology is also being used to formulate personalized learning plans and analyze students’ data to provide better insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Fintech In Education Sector

The financial sector uses technology to solve complex problems and analyze vast amounts of data in no time. eLearning solutions are being implemented by many banks today using the same methods as EdTech companies. This includes developing interactive games that will help students learn faster— automating some processes and providing student-centred learning.

EdTech companies are also using gamification techniques to improve the results of their students. This is being done by adding elements like points, badges, and achievements in their eLearning solutions. This will help students study better as they’ll be able to choose from a wide array of courses and get regular feedback on their progress.

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) in Education

AR is a technology that superimposes digitally generated images over real-world images. It will play a huge role in education, especially concerning hands-on learning and experiential learning methods. Many EdTech companies are already using it to develop interactive learning apps and games for students.

AR apps help students learn Aurasma, an augmented reality-based eLearning solution that helps teachers and students engage in a collaborative learning process. This type of learning is especially useful to visualize artefacts, historical places, etc.