Leveraging IOT in K-12 Schools

The K-12 segment

The k-12 segment over the last 5 years has undergone a sea change. The way knowledge is imparted at the school through technology-based products and solutions have changed the learning styles substantially. This has created a more positive impact and shrunk the distances between various stakeholders in the education ecosystem. The schools have come a long way from providing a small computer lab with limited machines to a complete computer lab and tablet labs with complete infrastructure. However, as you go deeper in the interiors the situation is grimmer. There is a remarkable polarization observed in the penetration of various ICT programs restricting the schools to get exposure to various technological advancements. With the availability of internet bandwidth and programs, the infrastructure development will have a remarkable turnaround by 2020. According to the study by Counterpoint research, with 220 million smartphone users India is the second largest consumer in the world. Out of the total market of the mobile phone, 33% is using the smartphone (ref: www.statista.com). This will penetrate the use of IOT in schools through various module adoptions.

Technology adoption

Technology adoption is not only restricted to using computer and computer aided devices in the classroom for concurrent learning. You walk through an aisle in the schools and you can relate to any of the tech products and solutions that the school has adopted. Right from the biometric devices for scanning and attendance, CCTV cameras for continuous monitoring, Tab labs, mini handheld devices generating enormous data for the school environment. The day to day gazettes and gizmos that were earlier traditional has been converted into smart devices. The school operated the bus that transports the student from home to school and back is fitted with a GPS tracker, the Student having a RFID or a GPS enabled ID card are all smart devices operational in school. Smart Classrooms connected to a central processing server and each classroom having roll number mapped smart devices to have a complete environment for experiencing tech-enabled learning.

Government is also trying to leverage the internet and its technology by undertaking various tech-enabled initiatives. They have already made e-books available for NCERT through the web and mobile App. During the recent budget by the Government of India, a central examination authority has been proposed under the National Testing Agency so that the competent authorities like CBSE, AICTE, and ICSE focus on improvising academic excellence.

Technology has been often related to improving efficiency in the system. The #BigData that the school generates through admission inquiry, enrolment, health, academic grades and co-curricular activity is enormous. Moreover, this data will be futile unless analyzed and not gone through the eyes of data analytics to form a decision-making matrix. Some or majority of the schools today have this data recording in manual form while others have a school management system through an offline server or cloud server. The input is still manual and this is susceptible to human error.

With the advent of super leased lines and fiber optics with growing interference of disruptive technology-enabled solutions, it gives a better customer experience in taking learning to new heights for personalized intervention. The smart tab in the classroom mapped to a particular roll number connected through a WIFI environment in school gives response instantly. This enables the teachers to know real-time results while suggesting and focusing on the module that requires more focus. Through the device, teachers can know students’ weaker and stronger sections whether basics or application of the concept. The devices that are IP enabled helps in improving the operations. Based on these inputs the system can throw assignments on the smart devices and help in sharpening the multiple intelligence levels. Some of the schools can go one step ahead of profiling the students through #DMIT (Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test) profiling and psychometric profiling. The data generated can be used for personalized counseling and suggesting corrective actions to further sharpen the inherent traits and skills.

The Data Sensors

The data sensors play a very important role in the administration of a larger network of chain school. Schools can be linked with IP enabled CCTV so that the management monitors the entire network through a central data center or a smart device. Imagine a fitness program run by an institute and spending enormously on training but without generating and monitoring the data. The smart fitness wristbands connected to a central server and tracking the continuous physical activity can certainly throw lot data for corrective measures in improving the fitness level. Based on the physical activity data the system can suggest the calorie intake and nutritional values as well as monitor vital stats. Sensors talking about various green initiatives in school and their impact on the ecosystem, quality of air, etc. can be studied further. The VR and AVR based learning gives a real-life 3D experiential environment.

By far there are tremendous opportunities in developing data analytics center and help the K-12 segment in making efficient use of IOT. It certainly enhances the safety of the students, improves creativity and reinstates the focus in learning through personalized suggestions. Students themselves can be part of the data analysis and understand and practice trends followed by successful students. Today’s generation is the team of collaborators so we need to engage them and make them partners in learning. Ideation, platform sharing and being responsive in real time are the real benefits that students and teachers can garner from IOT.

The implementation of the IOT should be robust and create a technology fencing to prevent data theft and improve on data security. Schools wanting to leverage IOT have to invest in the virtual connectivity and a WIFI environment, bandwidth, user devices and moreover user training to use smart devices in generating and using data. If the management has to create value for their students they should in principle align the infrastructure to the teaching methodology. Under a professional guidance and data analytics, the IOT can give an enriched learning experience creating value for all the stakeholders.

The next generation shall be blessed through personalized inputs, however, one needs to take note that the solution should not be cluttered. The product and solution innovation should be definitely Economical and User-Friendly!!!

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