Sep 21, 2015

The Internet of School Things is Coming

School is back in session, and with that comes a sense of nostalgia; the smell of dry erase markers, the rustling of papers, and the slamming of locker doors as students scurry to get ready for class. But, as 2016 approaches advancements in technology have dramatically changed our perception of school. Schools today are looking into more innovative and engaging ways to help students learn, and while highlighters and textbooks may be classroom fixtures, the internet of things (IoT) may quickly make them obsolete.

Among the potential innovations being implement in schools are IoT devices. Major tech corporations are already making headway in IoT devices for school with programs such as “The Internet of (School) Things,” a collective project, hosted by “Intel Education” along with seven other partners with the unified goal of bringing together a series of IOT connected devices for students. Their mission: to enhance the learning experience inside the classroom. Thus far, the Internet of (school) Things has created a platform in which students can perform experiments spanning a variety of topics such as tracking the watering levels for plants, measuring the dew point in the morning, and building robots to engage in a tug of war battle. These experiments are meant to inspire independent thinking among students, and to enhance their problem solving skills.

The idea of utilizing IoT connected devices to measure data and enhance experiments is not new. However, by enabling schools to use this technology we must ask: “what’s next for schools and IoT?” Using a host of pre-selected devices is one thing, but the possibility of interconnecting devices to student’s tablets, phones, and other mobile devices creates immense possibility. Imagine a classroom where students are all engaged in their tablets as their focus is directed toward the stream of data a classroom IoT device is creating. The teacher is simultaneously guiding them through a data chart linked to an IOT device that measures weather patterns as the students eagerly follow along. That sounds like a little more fun than flipping through a textbook, right? With sixty-six percent of high school students claiming to use their mobile devices to complete schoolwork more than twice a week; the answer seems to be yes.

Considering that schools could be headed towards a more IoT driven curriculum, the rate of speed at which these devices perform – and more importantly, the cost of such devices is paramount. Integrating affordable, high-speed LTE chipsets in the manufacturing of these devices, will enable even more students to be better connected to their schoolwork outside of the classroom. The interactive element and convenience that IoT technology provides will serve to inspire students and hopefully encourage them to enhance their learning both in and out of the classroom.