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Education is an industry fuelled by the people inside it; the staff, the teachers, the students, they are the most important people. To provide the most stimulating, successful, safe and innovative environment for these most important people, it seems you have to get your head around all the technology. Transport your education space into the 21st century with connected systems. Just like your "Alexa" at home or the digital menus at your favourite coffee shop on your commute. It makes you wonder, what are the top 6 benefits of the connected education space.
Given everyone’s (the students included) attention span is reduced, we are so stimulated by screens, it seems you have to modernise to be able to capture people's imagination. From digital signage, digital screen advertising, the apps for everything and even your chrome-cast, if you aren't "online" you aren't relevant. It's sad that the analogue age is done but if it means keeping students engaged, interested, happy and even safe, then it's a change we are all willing to make.
In this post, we will look at the top six benefits the connected education space will pose for the people working within it.
Smart devices will save money sure, but we’re super interested in how they’ll affect learning. In principle, the classroom has stayed the same for the past few decades. Sure the curriculum might change but the most advanced tech in the room is often still a whiteboard.
The connected education space will both remove obstacles to learning and implement benefits which have never before been seen.
Imagine teaching geography then being able to ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to pull up a video or live feed of the Alps. Or even a weather display, current stocks or currency information to illustrate economics.
As this video illustrates, voice-activated screens and presentations are already here.
Part of the restriction in the current education space is that teachers are forced to rely on pre-planned lessons. Students are unpredictable and often ask enlightened questions which take the topic off track. In this instance, the teacher is limited to the worksheets they’ve prepared, books and imagination. According to the Teaching Alliance, 65% of the population are visual learners. Digital signage in classrooms, using screens that many schools probably already have lying dormant, can completely change a lesson and its visual effect on learning.
Take the connected education space even further and you have teachers and students equipped with augmented reality devices allowing them to see, touch and hear situations whilst sitting in the classroom.
Using a future version of Google Glass (which let’s face it, is possibly already in the pipeline) students could be tasked with interacting to answer questions and assignments. Even more useful, would be the opportunity for the device to adapt to the curve of each student's individual ability. A lesson that can adapt itself more effectively and change with circumstance would be a better learning experience for all.
Smarter doors, smarter ID badges and even wearable devices that allow teachers and staff members to track the whereabouts of students. Once you move past the initial data protection and privacy issues, you create a seriously smart system where data automation gives better visibility, safety and tracking of patterns.
Even the ability to see what rooms and spaces are used when, could be beneficial from a logistics point of view to save money, reduce waste and better optimize the space available.
Connected spaces can be used to better track staff performance and optimize the resources, support and training needed in different areas. Devices which track student progression, would help identify areas where additional resource and teaching is needed.
Internet connected devices could collate information from different points within the school and ease sharing of resources between departments and campuses.
A benefit that is certainly positive for educators is that connected system that turns them from facilitators into creators. The scope of connected systems widens the availability for what you can do, tell and show within a lesson which benefits students and is likely to infuse those teaching them.
One of the big blocks in the connected space supply chain and even more so in education, is finding interoperability between devices and systems. Here’s the thing; nearly every student already has a powerful, IoT-enabled device sitting in their pocket: the smartphone.
In the future, why wouldn’t schools and campuses take advantage of the context in which students and teachers are already operating? A simple school app, networked with a system of beacons (cheap and easy to deploy) would open the door to a network where students could receive reminders, links to lesson plans and assignments.
This could incorporate a gaming element, finding new (and potentially more exciting ways) to help students latch onto specific lessons and assignments. This allows staff members to reward students, incite a healthy level of competition and create digital tasks that can be completed solely online.
At the beginning of the school term, the same system can be used to initiate students and help them to find their way between classrooms and corridors.
This would ease and improve many of the processes used within schools, freeing up teacher time and resources.
For sporting activities, connected systems enable gyms to work more efficiently (adapting automatically to each exercise taking place), therefore saving money. Smart wearables would allow teachers, coaches and students to track the health and fitness of their team players and potentially even set targets to ensure optimal health of their performers prior to games.
If you’ve ever listened to the popular Podcast Serial, you’ll remember that the accused student’s alibi was football practice. Unfortunately, his coach wasn’t able to be 100% sure whether he was at practice that day or another. Understandably, the different sessions blend into one and the information of who attended is difficult to recall. We can’t help but think that in an connected world, this would never be the case.
Wristbands, smart check-in devices, iPads on the walls and smartphones would all be connected in order to allow students to check in at a particular session. Smart doors and sensors could also only let a student into a practice at a specific time or when a particular coach or member of personnel has arrived.
Ever thought about trusting your students with your kitchen, lighting or water systems? No, perhaps not. However IoT opens up regular school systems for more ‘real world’ learning experiences.
As one Quora thread suggests:
“If you are feeling brave, replace the boiler/pump controller with a computer and get the older ones to work together, using the data collected so far, to come up with a better control regime for the boiler that optimizes energy usage.”
Sure this may feel risky but perhaps only because we are so used to organizing these devices using manual systems. With internet controlled devices, settings can be changed (and reversed) at the click of a button. You could place students in charge of energy conservation projects, school solar systems and effective use of gym and sports time facilities that would enable them to raise funds towards other activities or charitable initiatives.
Some may argue that for students learning in this hyper-connected world there will be almost nowhere to hide. The effective management of data and processes will be needed in order to protect students and stop information from being used negatively or to the detriment of their learning and social experiences.
At the same time, a connected learning space, that gives opportunity for students to tailor their program more than ever, also allows for greater inclusivity. Imagine a timetable where students can check in to classes (and handpick them) based on ability. Where those better at manual tasks can opt in to manual lessons and those more academic can switch irrelevant lessons for ones more tailored to their aspirations.
In the connected space, there are more options because there are more effective ways of utilizing and sharing big data.
A more inclusive school experience can of course, only be a good thing.
We see a ton of positives for the connected education space of the future. What’s more, is that many of them are already here! Digital signage can be implemented in education today, using any screens that you have lying about. Beacons are available and can be implemented easily - both technically and physically. We’d love to see what happens when teachers and administrators are given the nod to begin harnessing them.
To find out more about using digital signage in education and our educational discounts available, visit https://screen.cloud.