The Internet of Things and how it will impact education

@Clara Rosales

Following the recent news of Softbank acquiring ARM, The Internet of Things (IoT) is once again a topic that arises in the tech market.

A recent report from Grand View shows that the market size was valued at USD 605.69 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow in the upcoming years. However, some issues related to privacy and security can somehow obstruct the rapid growth that is predicted for this market.

For those who need a quick recap on what the IoT is, this concept was created in 1999, so it’s not precisely new. IoT is the network of physical things connected to the Internet that will make our lives ‘smarter’, easier. This kind of devices are based on machine-to-machine communication; modeled on cloud computing as well as networks of data-gathering sensors; allowing the gadgets sending and collecting data. This is the trend the market is following, making everything smart. From entire cities, to one’s house, health care, our clothes, and even smart tattoos!

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So far we’ve heard so much about innovation, chips, smart wearables, etc. but -what will be the impact on education?

There are already some young entrepreneurs that are focusing on innovating in the education field. A good example of this trend is Alt School, a collaborative community of micro schools that offers programs of Lower & Middle School. The schools are located in NYC as well as Palo Alto (San Francisco). Their approach to education is personalysing the learning experience of every kid through tecnology – an example would be the application they call ‘playlist’ in which each pupil has different assignments based on their performance, their learning pace.

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But as an academic institution of higher education, our main concern is how we can improve the learning experience of our students based on innovation. High connectivity will allow students to share a classroom regardless their physical location. There is a big opportunity for campus integration, as well as great improvements on the access to higher education. The students will be able to have a higher impact by coworking with other scholars, reaching a wide range of resources that were not available before, such as virtual reality within the classroom. Virtual Reality will not only impact on productivity and engagement inside the classroom, but also will improve research methods.

There are already digital highlighters such as scanmarker, that lets students to highlight and take notes in a much faster way than writing.

Technology is already helping students but also teachers, allowing them to produce more in less time, and optimizing teamworks, workflows, etc.

Finally, the impact of mixed reality will mark a turning point within education: biology students will be able to replicate their study object in real size, be able to interact with it…