Internet of Things is so much into everything these days that it has started to be called as Internet of Everything. It is not very surprising that IoT or IoE, as it is now called, has made its way into the education industry as well. Keeping in mind the intervention of computers and smart phones into our lives and its effect on the educational system today, it sounds a bit far fetched at first for IoT to do anything with the education industry. While some of the effects that IoT can bring into the education sector are apparent but some will be implicit and are likely to make a silent change from the inside. Lets have a look at the changes that IoT can bring into the field of education.
How IoT is Contributing in Education Industry?
Increased learning efficiency:
The impact that the computers and smartphones have on education and related things maybe limited but it sure is entitled to get the credits for making accelerated learning processes. In times when YouTube or, for that matter, internet did not exist, the only means of reference and clarification of the doubts were textbooks. They mostly proved to be monotonous and sometimes, even indecipherable to the students seeking clarification and reference. Now, any student irrespective of their stream can vouch for the need of Internet for educational purpose and how much it is nearly impossible to survive without it. Since the internet could bring revolutionary changes up to this extent, we can expect IoT to bring it much closer to us. One such example would be the loading of study materials into the laptops and smartphones of students from a central server of the school. This reduces the weight that students had to carry to their schools, which seemed to be a long prevailing problem in India. Of course, this involves a lot of cost and investment on infrastructure but gradually it is likely to be implememted in the wake of changing times.
Many students prefer highlighting key points in their textbooks and take notes in order to improve readability and offer a quick go through before an exam. This process is time consuming and inefficient in many ways. Now with the advent of IoT, there are digital note-makers such as Scanmarker’s Air costing about a 100$. It is once in a lifetime investment for the note-makers because this pen-like device can transfer text that it highlights on any text book in form of digital text on a notepad or a web page and is claimed to be 30 times faster than the usual note-making process. This will be particularly useful for students pursuing higher studies where a monumental amount of text data is being read and notes are being taken. It shall also help in storing data for the purpose of referring in future.
IoT could also be used to aid the visually challenged. The systems in the campus could be programmed to identify students with visual challenges from their login data and present the material in a larger font, enable text-to-speech modules for improving their learning etc. Other than educating them, it will boost the students’ confidence and sense of independence.
When it comes to the education industry, schools and few colleges are seriously limited to funds. Hence, the allocation of resources and their conservation is of paramount concern. Two of the important resources that can be monitored and made effective use of are time and energy. The former could be conserved with the implementation of automated attendance processes, the mark updates and related practices which consume most of the time in a typical school. This could also mean that the real time mark updates can be made that can be analyzed and then compared with other marks to obtain a profile of a particular student. The latter resource is purely IoT oriented, viz, the energy management. Smart energy meters are already implemented in schools in the USA to monitor and conserve energy. One example is the New Richmond Exempted Village Schools located in Ohio will save $128,000 annually because of IoT based energy management practices. Now this kind of money would go a long way in the implementation of other Internet of Things and educational industry innovations.
Technology in solving math problems:
For many students and research scholars, solving mathematical equation is an essential part of arriving at a solution, testing of a hypothesis, proving assumptions and what not. While it can be fun and intriguing to some of the learning population, certainly it is painstakingly difficult for the others. And the one thing that is common to both classes is that these things surely do take a lot of time to solve and even more to debug when wrong. Here’s where IoT steps in. Remember Leonard Hofstadter’s math solving app from the Big Bang Theory ? Well someone downright went and made an app of the exact specification.
By description, you just point your smartphone’s camera to the page containing the equation, typically aligning it within the square box of the UI like a QR code scanner and it solves the equation and returns the value of x. ( Cliche, I know ). The best part is that it can show you a step by step procedure for arriving at the result for the same.! This is genius that IoT can bring into the world of mathematics into our hand. One such example of the app is PhotoMath. Here’s a link to see the app in action too.
It’s all great, but when is it all REALLY coming?
Now this may not be a million dollar question, just a practical one. The prospect of IoT changing the scenario of Education Industry is welcoming and bright but the implementation of the same involves a lot of planning, innovating, infrastructure and most importantly, the cash inflow to sustain all the changes. All this may sound a stressful and an arduous job but surely, this will be enabled, installed and implemented through IoT with a promise for better educational standards tomorrow.